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Time to Break out the Champagne — 'Endless Pressure, Endlessly Applied' Defeats LNG Pipeline and Terminal

Energy

Western Environmental Law Center

By Susan Jane Brown

After more than two years of silence, I was surprised to receive an email notification on Tuesday that the Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility proposed for Oregon’s southern coast was back on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) monthly Commission meeting agenda.  What was this about? Was FERC going to deny our pending Petition for Rehearing, giving Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector the green light to start building the terminal and pipeline?

And then, the biggest surprise I’ve had in a long time: a press release from FERC stating that the agency “today vacated, without prejudice, an order authorizing Jordan Cove Energy Project, L.P. to site, construct and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Coos County, Oregon, and the related Pacific Connector pipeline from the terminal to a point near the Oregon/California border.”

Did I just read that right? FERC pulled its approval of not only the LNG terminal but also the pipeline? According to FERC’s Order accompanying the press release, it sure did. Time to break out the champagne and celebrate.

FERC’s Order explains that due to “changes in market conditions,” and Jordan Cove/Pacific Connector’s corresponding pronouncements that it intended to change the purpose of the facilities from importing LNG to exporting domestic natural gas to foreign markets, the basic assumptions leading to FERC’s approval of the project were no longer valid. Consequently, Jordan Cove/Pacific Connector needed to go back to the drawing board and start over.

Clearly, this is a major setback for the proponents of the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and Pacific Connector pipeline. Opponents like WELC and our clients, meanwhile, should congratulate themselves on a job well done. Many people have worked for many years in many ways to bring to light the problems with this ill-conceived project—it has truly been a multifaceted group effort, demonstrating that the power of working together can accomplish great things. Despite this significant victory, our fight is far from over. 

The Jordan Cove terminal and Pacific Connector pipeline developers have already filed initial paperwork with FERC to commence the environmental and fiscal review of an export facility, and continue to move forward in their efforts to obtain the necessary state and local permits for both facilities. Other federal agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Marine Fisheries Service continue to slowly work through their legal obligations to consider the environmental impacts of the project.  

Western Environmental Law Center will continue to fight the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and the Pacific Connector pipeline until the bitter end. We believe that the battle hymn of the conservation visionary Brock Evans, “endless pressure, endlessly applied," will confound and ultimately scuttle misguided boondoggles such as the Jordan Cove/Pacific Connector project.

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WELC attorney Susan Jane Brown has been battling the Jordan Cove LNG proposal for 3 years. We are working with local residents and conservationists who are unwilling to see Oregon communities, habitats and watersheds sacrificed in the unsustainable drive for energy development. For more information on WELC's work battling the LNG facility, click here.

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