Locals press feds to back facility for natural-gas exports

Mesa County and two Grand Junction-based organizations are urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take into account natural gas-producing areas’ economies when considering a proposed natural gas export terminal in Coos Bay, Oregon.

Approval of the Jordan Cove Energy Project would boost the West Slope economy by providing an outlet for natural gas from the Piceance Basin, the letters from the county, Grand Junction Economic Partnership and West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association say.

The county urged the federal commission to consider the economic benefits of jobs and increased tax revenue in northwest Colorado and other “upstream” locations in deciding to approve a permit for Jordan Cove.

“Such an analysis will clearly illustrate how the need for this project is in the public interest,” said the county’s letter.

Markets for Piceance Basin natural gas “would create the need for additional production, which would lead to the creation, or in some cases, retention of high-paying primary jobs,” writes Kelly Flenniken, executive director of the economic partnership. “We believe the Jordan Cove project not only facilitates growth and stability in our region, but in regions upstream as well. We are excited to support Jordan Cove in their pursuit.”

The economy of northwest Colorado has suffered under “depressed natural gas prices and as a result of no access to overseas markets,” wrote West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association Executive Director David Ludlam. “Unemployment has increased, jobs have been reduced and general economic output has declined. These challenges have resulted in northwestern Colorado not having a meaningful place in the ongoing economic recovery.”

Per capita income in northwest Colorado lags behind the national average, as does median household income, Ludlam noted.

Jordan Cove sits at the western end of the Ruby Pipeline, which carries Rocky Mountain natural gas to the West Coast, and is envisioned as a significant part of a plan to market Piceance Basin gas to Pacific Rim countries at set prices. Supporters of the idea say that would encourage development in the region while providing a stable supply of natural gas to buyers.


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