The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is denying requests for a rehearing in connection with its recent approval of the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export terminal in Oregon
With the denial, announced by FERC Thursday, opponents of FERC’s approval of the project plan to take their battle to court.
The project is touted by some, including western Colorado’s natural gas industry and its supporters, as a means for opening up Rocky Mountain gas to Asian markets and helping provide stable long-term demand for that gas. Opponents object to its environmental and landowner impacts, including to people living along a planned 229-mile pipeline route in Oregon.
“There’s so many reasons why this project is not in the public interest that we are looking forward to seeing how this plays out in the courts,” said Allie Rosenbluth with the group Rogue Climate in Oregon.
Her group said in a news release that FERC’s rehearing denial can be challenged in federal appeals court.
Environmental groups, fishers and crabbers, landowners on the pipeline route and tribal governments had sought a rehearing of the project’s approval earlier this year, as did the state of Oregon.
Despite Jordan Cove’s success getting approval from FERC and local governments in Oregon, it has struggled to get state agencies to OK the project. State agencies argued in seeking a rehearing that FERC’s approval of the project “both violates and allows violations of federal environmental laws” that the state implements.
Jordan Cove, a project being pursued by Canada-based Pembina Pipeline Corp., also had sought a rehearing on certain aspects of the approval of the project.
The company couldn’t be reached for comment by late Thursday afternoon.
It has asked FERC to make clear that Jordan Cove can meet a condition of FERC’s approval by obtaining a U.S. Secretary of Commerce override of a state-level decision that Jordan Cove doesn’t comply with the Oregon Coastal Management Program. It wanted a rehearing on that issue if that clarification isn’t made, and also sought a rehearing on other matters.
In another effort to overcome the hurdles Jordan Cove is facing at the state level, last month it asked FERC for an order waiving Jordan Cove’s requirement to obtain a state of Oregon certification under the Clean Water Act. Pembina says a state agency had failed to meet an obligation to act within a year on the project’s certification request.
Rosenbluth said the state denied that certification within the required timeframe, and if FERC rules in Jordan Cove’s favor on that matter it also will be challenged in court.
In another development, project opponents in Oregon say Pembina has closed its Jordan Cove office in Coos Bay, the last of its Jordan Cove offices in southern Oregon. Rosenbluth says the move makes it look like Pembina is no longer interested in convincing communities and the state, and instead is putting its energy in lobbying in Washington for waivers from the state approval process.
Richard Glick, the sole FERC commissioner who opposes the Jordan Cove project, told fellow commissioners Thursday that he believes the COVID-19 pandemic is making a difficult market for LNG exports all the more challenging. He questions whether Jordan Cove will ever get built, but worries that the FERC approval nevertheless lets the project proceed with pursuing right of way from landowners on the pipeline route through eminent domain proceedings.