By Dan Serres, Conservation Director
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) finally did something that people can celebrate. For the first time in recent history, FERC – often nicknamed the “Federal Energy Rubberstamp Commission” - denied an LNG terminal and its connecting pipeline. In its decision, FERC said that Jordan Cove LNG had “presented little or no evidence of the need” for LNG export. FERC determined that the project’s benefits did not outweigh the impacts to private landowners and communities along the pipeline route, noting “significant opposition from directly-impacted landowners.”
The Oregonian explained the decision, quoting long-time LNG activist Jody McCaffree, rancher Bill Gow, and local landowner John Clarke. And the News-Review in Roseburg detailed how an unusual coalition of conservative landowners and environmental activists stood firm in their opposition to the Pacific Connector Pipeline.
First of all, this is a huge victory for the hundreds of local activists in Southern Oregon who have worked for over a decade to protect Coos Bay, family homes, forests, rivers, salmon habitat, and our global climate from a major destructive proposal. We are proud that Oregonians – both along the Columbia River and in Southern Oregon – have maintained solidarity in opposing all LNG projects in Oregon. Although Jordan Cove’s parent company, Veresen, will undoubtedly challenge FERC’s decision and attempt to revive its dying project, FERC’s decision is a devastating blow from which the proposal is unlikely to recover.
Where does that leave Oregon LNG and Jordan Cove LNG, now?
Oregon LNG faces the same obstacles at FERC that defeated Jordan Cove. Namely, Oregon LNG has little on-the-ground support, and it has failed to secure any customers for its exported fracked gas. Using the same logic it applied in Jordan Cove’s case, FERC could deny Oregon LNG.
Remarkably, just a week before FERC denied Jordan Cove LNG, an impartial City of Warrenton hearings officer ruled that the Oregon LNG project would interfere with public trust rights, violate local laws to protect salmon, and periodically block public access to traditional fishing grounds. Oregon LNG appealed the hearings officer’s final order to the Warrenton City Council, and the Commission will hold hearings on May 4 & 5 at the Warrenton Grade School. Please plan to join us in Warrenton for one final hearing on Oregon LNG!
Most importantly, Oregon’s own agencies have critical decisions to make in coming months. After hearing from thousands of Oregonians, Oregon’s Governor and state agencies could deny Oregon LNG and Jordan Cove LNG, regardless of any federal actions by FERC or Warrenton. Because the two projects would be Oregon’s largest climate change polluters if they were built, and because both projects threaten to harm water quality and salmon habitat, Oregon is well-positioned to deny both proposals outright. Oregon’s Department of State Lands could deny key permits for the Pacific Connector Pipeline as soon as May 2016.
Help Send a Clear Message to Governor Brown, Call Her Today: 503-378-4582
- Tell her who you are and why you are opposed to LNG
- Urge Gov. Brown to use her power to protect Oregon from LNG