Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and fracked gas pipeline. This project has faced fierce opposition for more than a decade by a grassroots coalition of impacted landowners, anglers, small business owners, tribal members, health professionals, and communities across Oregon and Northern California.
The FEIS does not grant Pembina permission to build the Jordan Cove LNG project. The Canadian fossil fuel corporation is still missing federal, state, and local permits required for the project. The FEIS is prepared by the federal agencies involved in reviewing the project to assess its potential impacts to the environment, from drinking water supplies to healthy forests.
In 2016, after a similar FEIS, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied this project because of adverse impacts to landowners and a lack of public need for the project.
“Myself and over 90 other landowners along the pipeline route are facing eminent domain if this project gets a permit from FERC,” said Ron Foord, impacted landowner in Coos Bay. “I am concerned about our safety and groundwater, and quite frankly, FERC should deny the use of eminent domain to export gas because that’s simply not for public use.”
“FERC was right to reject this dirty fracked gas facility in 2016, and nothing has changed since then,” said Sierra Club Senior Attorney Nathan Matthews. “This project remains a threat to clean water and the climate, and it should never be built.”
This spring, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) denied a critical Clean Water Act permit for the Jordan Cove LNG project specifically because “DEQ does not have a reasonable assurance that the construction and authorization of the project will comply with applicable Oregon water quality standards.” This state authorization is required for the project.
Today’s FEIS does not remedy the deficiencies identified by the Oregon DEQ, or other gaps in the analysis. As the FEIS repeatedly acknowledges, many elements of the proposed projects have yet to be developed or specified, such as plans to mitigate impacts on non-federal lands. Without these plans, there is no basis for the FEIS’s assertion that the project’s impacts–which the FEIS acknowledges will otherwise be long term and significant–will be mitigated.
Pembina has still not reapplied for this Clean Water Act permit that is required for the project and has pushed back a decision on their Coastal Zone Management Permit from Oregon’s Department of Land Development and Conservation to 2020.
“FERC continues to gloss over Oregon’s findings that this project will harm the streams and rivers that our communities rely upon for drinking water and fishing. This project can’t proceed without approval from the state,” said Stacey Detwiler of Rogue Riverkeeper. “Oregon must stay strong to its values of protecting clean water and a stable climate so Jordan Cove LNG never sees the light of day.”
In 2009, FERC released a similarly inadequate FEIS, which the State of Oregon ultimately challenged under the Kulongoski administration for failing to address Oregon’s substantive concerns and threatening to overstep the state’s authority under the Clean Water Act. In July 2019, Oregon agencies submitted over 200 pages of comments detailing gaps and flaws in FERC’s analysis.
“Our communities in Southern Oregon are counting on Oregon’s leaders, including Governor Brown, to stand up to this dangerous, destructive proposal, like Governor Kulongoski did in 2010,” said Natalie Ranker of North Bend. “After 15 years and three inadauate Environmental Impact Statements from FERC, it’s time for Oregon to stand up and reject this project.”
Hundreds are expected at the Oregon capitol building this Thursday, November 21 for a rally starting at 11AM to tell Governor Kate Brown the time is now to stand up against Jordan Cove LNG.