Oregon Denies Permit to Controversial Natural Gas Project
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality denied a key permit Monday to a controversial liquefied natural gas export terminal and its feeder pipeline, a move that cheered project opponents who argued the Trump administration is moving too fast when it comes to green-lighting fossil fuel-related facilities.
Pembina, an energy company headquartered in Canada, – wants to build a 229-mile underground pipeline through four counties in southern Oregon to a proposed export terminal north of Coos Bay.
The pipeline would carry North American natural gas to the coast for export to Asian markets.
But the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, which is in charge of administering the federal Clean Water Act in the state denied the so-called Jordan Cove project a water quality certification, which the developers must have before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue permits for the project.
In a letter to officials at Jordan Cove LNG, LLC and the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, the agency said it “does not have a reasonable assurance that the construction and authorization of the project will comply with applicable Oregon water quality standards.”
The letter went on to say that Pembina failed to demonstrate that construction and maintenance of the pipeline and export facility wouldn’t harm waterways and fish habitat either directly or indirectly through future landslides and erosion caused by the facility.
The agency also noted that during its review of the project it received more than 42,000 public comments on the proposed facility.
Pembina responded to the certification denial on Monday with a written statement that said, “[t]oday we were advised by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, of its decision to deny our Section 401 permit without prejudice, based on procedural concerns DEQ has in relation to recent court decisions.
“Pembina’s management team is working to better understand this decision and its impacts and will communicate updates when appropriate,” the statement said.
Because the agency’s denial of certification was issued without prejudice, Pembina can reapply for approval.
This isn’t the first time the project has faced regulatory opposition.
Federal regulators denied a license for the project in 2016 because backers failed to show sufficient demand for the facility to overcome the impacts of the pipeline on landowners.
Since then, the company has offered minimum payments of $30,000 to landowners along the pipeline route, and it has said in the past that it reached voluntary agreements with many of them.
Pembina has also said the pipeline and export terminal project will create 6,000 construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs if it is allowed to go forward.
The company has also said the facility will generate $60 million in property tax revenue in the four affected counties, and an additional $50 million in tax revenue for the state.
In The News
For the first time in history, renewable energy surpassed coal earlier this month as a source of electricity generation in the United States, the Brookings Institution reported Wednesday. The paper underlying the report attributes this remarkable development to U.S. municipalities and businesses striving to fill the... Read More
WASHINGTON - Democratic members of Congress said Wednesday that environmental policies of the Trump administration are threatening the nation’s outdoor recreation industry. During two House Natural Resources Committee hearings, a Trump administration official defended the Interior Department’s record, but environmentalists warned of severe consequences. Some of... Read More
House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., has launched a new House Task Force on Rural Broadband to provide coordination and leadership to end the rural-digital divide. The Task Force will work to advance solutions to ensure all Americans have access to high-speed internet by 2025. Several... Read More
New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation last week adopted the final elements of a regulatory regime intended to end carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants in the state by the end of 2020. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo first announced the phase out in 2016, and... Read More
The South Carolina State Senate Thursday unanimously passed The Energy Freedom Act, a comprehensive solar bill that will lift the state's 2 percent cap on net metering, among other solar-related actions. The state House is expected to take up the measure early next week. The compromise... Read More
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality denied a key permit Monday to a controversial liquefied natural gas export terminal and its feeder pipeline, a move that cheered project opponents who argued the Trump administration is moving too fast when it comes to green-lighting fossil fuel-related facilities.... Read More