Higher hopes for Jordan Cove?

Simulated graphic of the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export facility.

A group that is against the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project in Oregon says tens of thousands of comments have been submitted to a federal agency in opposition to it.

The group Rogue Climate said in a news release that the comments were filed by impacted landowners, tribal members, fishermen and others to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission before a deadline last Friday to comment on FERC's draft environmental impact statement on the project.

"For over a decade Southern Oregonians have sent a clear message to our federal and state agencies that this project is not in the public interest. For that reason FERC denied this project twice in 2016, and should do so again," Allie Rosenbluth, campaigns director of Rogue Climate, said in the news release.

Jordan Cove spokesman Paul Vogel said Monday that thousands have commented in support of the project.

The comment deadline came a week after FERC held four events in southern Oregon to take oral comments from the public. FERC took those comments in private but they will become part of the public record along with comments submitted in writing. Several county commissioners from Mesa, Garfield and Rio Blanco counties were among a contingent of project supporters from Colorado, Utah and Wyoming who went to Oregon during the FERC events to speak in support of Jordan Cove due to its potential to serve as an outlet to Asian markets for natural gas drilled in the Rockies.

The Jordan Cove project previously said in a news release about the FERC comment sessions that turnout in support of the project was strong.

After the last of those events, in Klamath Falls, Klamath County Chamber of Commerce Executive director Heather Tramp was quoted in that news release as saying, "As a longtime supporter of the project, I was thrilled by how our community turned out to step up and speak up in support for Jordan Cove. It was also clear today that project support is growing while opposition is declining."

Rogue Climate said FERC is hearing concerns on everything from the explosion threat the LNG facility would pose to the public due to earthquake and tsunami dangers, to the potential impact to commercial fishing in Coos Bay as a result of a planned security zone around LNG vessels, to the project's greenhouse gas emissions.

Vogel said in his email Monday, "We're reviewing all of the comments submitted to FERC, including the thousands of comments in support of the Jordan Cove project and FERC's (draft environmental impact statement) from a broad and diverse range of people and organizations. "We will be providing FERC with our responses to the comments filed and have a great deal of confidence in FERC's ability to sort through the comments submitted and focus on those relevant to its decisions.

"We thank all Project supporters and opponents alike for participating in the process."

Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance industry group, signed a comment letter arguing that Jordan Cove and the in-state pipeline are "critical infrastructure projects that (would) transport and export natural gas in a responsible manner while providing the benefits of clean-burning natural gas to U.S. allies in Asia. The project would be sourced by natural gas from Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, where it is produced in accordance with the strictest environmental requirements in the nation and world."

The same letter was signed by several other project supporters, according to a filing on FERC's website.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said in a separate letter that the Jordan Cove facility "has been designed to an extremely high standard and will provide jobs while preserving the environment of the area."

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has taken a neutral position on natural gas exports, and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown so far has remained neutral on Jordan Cove.

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