The Jordan Cove Energy Project is a proposal by Canadian-based energy company Pembina to install a 234-mile long pipeline across Oregon that will transport liquified natural gas, more commonly known as LNG. The project first gained state approval back in 2007, but many Oregonians are still unsure about their support.
If final approval goes through, four natural gas meter stations will be built including one here in Douglas County at milepoint 69.7.
The pipeline will connect to an already built pipeline that currently stretches from British Columbia, Canada to Malin, Oregon. This plan is according to the proposal that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released in 2012 on their website. The pipeline will end in a proposed facility or terminal that will be built in Coos Bay where the LNG will be stored and then transported to any interested buyers.
Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality is now reviewing several applications from the Jordon Cove project including a national pollution discharge elimination system storm water application for the proposed Pacific connector pipeline as well as another national pollution discharge elimination system wastewater application for the proposed liquid natural gas facility, and a water pollution control facility application for hydrostatic water testing. More applications are expected.
DEQ has concluded collecting public comment on the water quality certification application and is in the process of reviewing those comments in order to draft an evaluation and findings report which will help them decide whether or not to certify the water quality application. When the report is finished, DEQ says it will hold another public comment period with meetings and hearings at multiple locations to discuss how it proposes to proceed and will then evaluate those comments in an evaluation report before making a final decision. In the meantime, DEQ has sent several information requests to the developer asking for further details about drilling under and trenching through rivers, according to DEQ’s April updates. DEQ hopes to gather the information in time for an Environmental Impact Statement due July 5, 2019.
Jordon Cove developers have also submitted an air contaminant discharge permit application for their liquefied natural gas facility and another air contaminant discharge permit modification application for their Pacific Connector pipeline compressor station. DEQ plans public hearings for these applications as well: air quality comments for the natural gas facility will be collected at a public hearing in Coos Bay with another meeting in Malin to collect public input on the air quality compression station.
DEQ is also reviewing Jordon Cove’s 1200-C storm water permit application to see if there is sufficient information to proceed. A 1200-C permit is required for construction and industrial projects which would discharge storm water into surface water areas when a project could disturb more than one acre of land.
The project’s progress has been slow since its initial approval due to environmental concerns, property disputes, and a potential lack of buyers for the LNG that will be transported. As the public comment hearings are approaching, however, many Oregonians will see advertisements for the project on Youtube or in their daily paper. Ads are also running frequently on the television, and many people have received Jordan Cove brochures in their mail.
The brochures are adorned with smiling people and scenic photos of the outdoors. The ads portray people camping along with statements like “Respect Oregon,” or “Protecting Oregon’s Natural Beauty.” The ads mention bringing in more jobs to communities, but none of ads show a pipeline, and in some ads the pipeline is barely mentioned, so readers may not realize that the ads are actually promoting building a natural gas pipeline.
The large ad campaign’s focus on portraying the Canadian corporation as neighbors with Oregonian interests at heart leaves some Oregonians feeling skeptical. “This Canadian corporation is trying to sell this project as if they are our neighbors and our friends and as if they have the best interests of our community at heart,” says Rogue Climate director Hannah Sohl. “Southern Oregonians have been fighting this project for over 14 years, and it’s time that our state stands up and denies this permit so that we protect our waterways, our climate, and southern Oregon communities,” said Sohl in a recent interview by KVAL.
Rogue Riverkeeper is an organization that strives to protect and defend clean water, especially that of the Rogue River. As the pipeline’s proposed route would cross though the Rogue river, along with the Coos, Coquille, South Umpqua, and the Klamath rivers, the organization is advocating against the pipeline’s think construction as they think any leakage will severely impact the health of the rivers. Their website states that about 675 private landowners will be affected by the pipeline. Pembina either buys the right to use their property though deals with the landowners or claims the land through the legal process of eminent domain.
Other environmental concerns regarding the pipeline involve seismologists’ prediction of a 9.0 earthquake in the Cascadia subduction zone occurring sometime in the next 100 years. The pipe breaking open and releasing gas may cause harm to air quality. Though the earthquake may not occur and the Jordan Cove Project fact page on their webpage states “the Jordan Cove terminal will be designed to resist earthquakes up to a magnitude of 9.3,” the website mentions nothing about the pipeline itself withstanding an earthquake.
When searching for Coos County applications on the Department of State Lands website, people can find comments left by concerned Oregonians under the Jordan Cove application such as the following from Jean Marr from Corvallis: “We simply cannot allow any more fossil fuel infrastructure to be built. Our oceans are acidified. Our air is full of smoke from wildfires. Our cities are inundated with rising seas. We must do all we can to combat man-made climate change. This project is not in the best interest of Oregonians or any other person.” Jack Steinhoefel from Eagle Point commented,“This project will harm Oregon communities, polluting our waters. This is a Canadian company only wanting to enrich themselves, not carrying anything about Oregon, it’s only a money maker for them.” More comments can be found by searching for Coos County applications on the Department of State Lands website.
An article written by The World in 2015 also transcribes the input of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians who brought their concerns about the project to the Jordan Cove Board and the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee. The local tribes stated that the project will impact cultural, historical and archeological resources located throughout Jordan Cove.
Not all Oregonians are against the project though. “I support this project 100%. Oregon’s economy has been hurt badly enough by nonsensical liberal platitudes, foundationless ideas and programs. We NEED this project and others like it to turn our economy around,” wrote Steven Duchscherer from Coos Bay.
All comments have been left unaltered as they appear online.
The facts page on the Jordan Cove Project website promises “more than 6,000 family-wage construction jobs and an estimated 8,500 spin-off jobs in sectors like hospitality, retail, tourism and healthcare.” The page also states that $100 million will be invested in environmental protection and that the project will bring in approximately $10 billion in private capital.
If you are at all concerned with the project in any way, you can voice your opinion by searching for Oregon.gov and the Department of Environmental Quality, and then continue to programs and projects and find the Jordan Cove project.