Jordan Cove Gets Denied

DEQ denies natural gas pipeline, says Jordan Cove can reapply

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) denied a Clean Water Act permit Monday, May 6, for the Jordan Cove LNG project. The permitting is a necessary step to build the 229-mile, 36-inch diameter pipeline that would export natural gas from a terminal in Coos Bay.

DEQ’s decision has resulted in celebration from statewide environmental groups and is a slight glimmer of hope after a dreadful UN report about the fate of more than 1 million animal and plant species due to climate change. OPB recently reported that Jordan Cove would be Oregon’s top carbon polluter if approved.

“We are pleased Oregon DEQ followed the law and the science. DEQ concluded the risks to our water, wildlife and communities were simply too great to allow this project to go forward,” said Andrew Hawley, staff attorney for the Eugene-based Western Environmental Law Center, in a statement. “This decision shows that the Clean Water Act still works in Oregon to protect our citizens, our rivers and our fish.”

In DEQ’s decision letter to Jordan Cove released May 6, the state agency says it denied the water quality certification because there’s insufficient information to prove the project wouldn’t comply with Oregon’s water quality standards.

DEQ states several concerns with the project in its report.

One was the expected effects of constructing and operating the project and other impacts that could affect water temperature and sediment in streams and wetlands.

DEQ also cites the risk of releasing drilling materials from construction in the Coos Bay Estuary.

“Today’s denial is great news for our Klamath Tribal members and other Oregon citizens that have been concerned about protecting fisheries and Oregon’s waters. The impact this project would have on our waterways is only one of many reasons the Jordan Cove LNG project should be stopped for good,” said Chairman Don Gentry of the Klamath Tribes in a statement. “The Klamath Tribes are very encouraged that the state of Oregon is making this move to protect clean water, cultural resources, and our traditional territory.”

The Klamath Tribes have said in the past they opposed the pipeline for its impact on the water bodies used by Klamath people. The construction of the pipeline would take place within a large portion of traditional Klamath territory, which could likely disturb buried human remains.

Jordan Cove applied for a Section 401 Water Quality Certification, which is required for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue permits. Section 401 of the Clean Water Act is necessary for any project that may result in discharge in navigable water bodies, according to DEQ. During the application process, 42,000 people commented on the project according to 350 Eugene.

“We’re thrilled that the state of Oregon is standing up for Oregon’s drinking water, local fisheries, and world-class waterways by denying this project,” said Sam Krop of Eugene-based Cascadia Wildlands in press release. “This denial should show Pembina their fracked gas project isn’t wanted in Oregon.”

The project was financed by Pembina, a Canadian firm.

This decision doesn’t mean that the project is completely axed. The denial was made “without prejudice” according to DEQ. If Jordan Cove resubmits an application addressing DEQ’s concerns, DEQ would ensure the project’s timeline wouldn’t be delayed.

The pipeline project would, if completed, would transport 1.6 billion cubic feet of fracked gas per year from Canada and Colorado to Coos Bay, where it would ship from a terminal. The project has been around for about a decade and was originally pitched as an LNG import project.

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