On Tuesday, Dec. 22, Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) overturned Coos County’s permits for the construction of Jordan Cove LNG, adding another chapter to the controversial project. The company constructing the pipeline, Pembina, has to work with the county for further review.
“LUBA first overturned this permit in 2017. We won again, and we won’t stop fighting. The longer this battle goes on, the more it becomes clear that this project is bad for Coos Bay communities and ecosystems,” Courtney Johnson of Crag Law Center said in a statement.
One problem in the permit applications, LUBA noted, is that LNG tankers accessing the estuary could have a bottleneck effect, affecting fishing boat movement “during the critical window of high tide.”
Another issue LUBA had with the application is the project’s wastewater treatment pipe. According to the ruling, the wastewater treatment facility would discharge about 2,842 gallons per minute to the ocean through a pipeline. LUBA agreed with petitioners that it’s a sewer system operating outside of an urban growth boundary. LUBA said Coos County has to either prove the wastewater treatment pipeline isn’t a sewer system or make adjustments.
“LUBA’s decision today shows that the Jordan Cove proposal is damaging at every level,” Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition Executive Director Phillip Johnson said in a statement. “It isn’t good for the climate, with all the greenhouse gases it will emit; it isn’t good for the state, crossing it with a dangerous pipeline; and as the result of this appeal demonstrates, it isn’t good for the estuary and the North Spit.”
The proposed pipeline would span 229 miles, going through four southern Oregon counties. It would move natural gas from Canada, Colorado and Oregon to export to Asian markets. The terminal would be located north of Coos Bay, across the shipping channel from North Bend and west of the McCullough Memorial Bridge on Highway 101. If completed, the project would be the largest greenhouse gas emitter, according to a report from OilChange International, a U.S.-based advocacy group that tracks fossil fuel projects.
Although Gov. Kate Brown has refused to take a stand on the project, Jordan Cove LNG has not received the necessary support from the state. In February of this year, the state’s Department of Environmental Quality denied the project’s clean water permit.
The project has had federal support, a reflection of the Trump administration’s pro industry stances. In March of this year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the project without state support. And in June, U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Bouillette issued an order authorizing the export of Jordan Cove liquified natural gas (LNG) from Oregon to non-fair-trade-agreement countries.
According to a press release from Rogue Climate, legal challenges against FERC’s ruling are awaiting court proceedings.