Fight over Jordan Cove pipeline not over yet, both sides say

Federal regulators’ rejection of the Jordan Cove project will be challenged, supporters of the project said Monday.

Opponents of the project, meanwhile, called on Oregon officials to halt work on the project in view of the federal rejection.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday decided against reopening the case for the $7.6 billion project, saying that proponents had acted too late in demonstrating market demand for natural gas from the Rocky Mountains to be shipped by pipeline from a collection point in Wyoming to an export terminal in Oregon, on the shores of Coos Bay.

Supporters had said the project would be a steady economic boon in Colorado and in Oregon.

“We’re just disappointed a project with this much bipartisan support had its information ignored” and its case closed, said John Swartout, who works on rural issues in Colorado for Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat. “The West Slope needs this.”

Supporters are seeking ways to keep the project alive and Congress might be involved, Swartout said.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., echoed that in remarks on the Senate floor, calling on the Senate to press nominees for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for their positions on developing domestic energy sources and supplying American allies with energy sources.

The commission’s action “is a missed opportunity, especially for the communities across the West Slope producing natural gas in a safe, environmentally responsible manner,” U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said in a statement. “We’ll continue to work to help them access new markets for this natural gas.”

The commission’s original denial was based on a “perceived lack of demonstrated market demand, which was very quickly refuted by subsequent contracts for the lion’s share of the project’s total capacity,” said U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., noting that a study by the U.S. Geological Survey showed that there is more than 66 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Piceance Basin of northwest Colorado. That, he said, “unequivocally shows that we can meet both export and domestic demand without increasing prices for Americans. We aren’t going to lie down and let the project die.”

That’s exactly what opponents want to have happen, though.

One opponent said the decision was a victory over money and power and in favor of environmental and property-rights concerns.

“Even when you are up against huge amounts of money, you can still win,” said Jody McCaffree of Citizens Against LNG.

The Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity welcomed the commission’s decision.

“We have been working for years to stop this and other (liquefied natural gas) facilities,” said Rhett Lawrence of the Oregon Sierra Club. “We hope this is the beginning of the end for Jordan Cove and for proposed LNG export terminals nationwide.”

The decision protected homes, “but also hundreds of rivers and a more stable climate,” said Jarod Margolis of the Center for Biological Diversity.


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