Proposed Liquefied Natural Gas Project (LNG)
This proposal threatens our rivers, forests, fish, wildlife, communities and private property rights.
After seven years of advancing LNG import applications, the proponents behind the Jordan Cove terminal and Pacific Connector pipeline withdrew their LNG import proposal in early 2012. In June 2012, the companies began their application process for a LNG export proposal, which had long been suspected to be the real purpose. The public admission of the true intent of this proposal was a huge development in this campaign and allows us to not only articulate the problems with, and fight against, the real proposal but it also allows us to take part in the larger national discussion currently taking place on energy policy and security, fracking and climate change.
Watch the Video
Click here to watch Rogue Riverkeeper's 6-minute video about this project and the impacts it would have on our environment, local landowners and our pocket books. This new video by award-winning filmmaker Trip Jennings features some of the affected landowners, fish advocates and ratepayer advocates; paired with stunning scenery and aerial photography.
FERC APPLICATION TO BE SUBMITTED IN APRIL, 2013
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the central regulating agency for LNG proposals in the U.S. According to FERC, energy companies are expected to file their full applications for the Jordon Cove/Pacific Connector LNG proposal in April, 2013.
In April of 2012, the companies filed their "pre-application" with FERC which officially switched the project from their original import proposal to export. They must now submit full applications for the project to inform an Environmental Impact Statement. In addition, the project requires a variety of local, state and federal permits before proceeding. We anticipate that FERC will release a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for public comment later this year.
DOE’S ECONOMIC REPORT FLAWED
In December of 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released an economic report on exporting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from the United States. The report concluded that LNG exports would economically benefit the nation. However, the report states that exports would benefit large energy companies while likely increasing the cost of gas for the average consumer. The report fails to recognize that the “trickle down effect” is not a conducive mechanism for benefiting the nation as a whole.
The first public comment period ended in late January with more than 200,000 comments submitted on the report! Oregon’s own Senator Ron Wyden submitted a letter of concern regarding the study, stating that the report “had shortcomings that rendered the study insufficient for the Department to use in any export determination.”
Thank you to all who voiced their concerns!
Read Senator Wyden’s letter here.
MAJOR U.S. CORPORATIONS OPPOSE LNG EXPORTS!
A host of major U.S. corporations have recently come together to oppose LNG exports.
For example, Dow Chemical Company left the National Association of Manufacturers claiming that they were disappointed in the group’s failure to take a neutral stance on U.S. exports of LNG.
Soon thereafter, the Woodslands-based chemical company Huntsman Corporation followed suit by joining America’s Energy Advantage, a group that is spearheaded by Dow and other chemical companies worried that the export of U.S. natural gas will raise energy and feedstock costs here at home. The company warned against allowing “our natural gas advantage to be stripped and sent overseas to build a manufacturing base that would otherwise be built here in the U.S.”
“America’s Energy Advantage” consists of major organizations Alcoa, American Public Gas Association, Celanese, Dow Chemical, Eastman specialty chemicals, Huntsman and Nucor. To learn more about their LNG export concerns and their mission check out their website at www.americasenergyadvantage.org
Read the articles here:
“WE WILL RESPOND TO THE THREAT OF CLIMATE CHANGE…”
January 21, 2013 - After four years of little mention of climate change, President Obama gave center stage to it in his second inaugural speech. Climate Change is gaining more attention, appropriately so as more fossil fuel projects press forward while the science tells us to pull the brakes on such development.
Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” coupled with LNG exports, now appear on the list for the top 14 most dangerous projects with regards to climate change.
Projects like the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and the Jordan Cove/Pacific Connector LNG proposal would not only perpetuate fossil fuel development and release deadly greenhouse gas emissions , they are stealing resources, time and attention from sustainable energy development.
“Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But American cannot resist this transition—we must lead it.” ~ President Obama
FORWARD ON CLIMATE
The nation’s largest climate rally ever was held in Washington D.C. on Sunday, February 17th to let the Obama administration know that the time is now to address climate change and the dangerous projects that would worsen our current conditions. While President Obama made bold statements in his address, his inaugural inclusion of climate change was a call to action. We the people must show that the grassroots support is there for this administration to take action on what is likely the most important issue facing us in the 21st century.
Across the nation, localized events coincided with the D.C. rally, one of which took place in Medford, Oregon. For more information, check out the Southern Oregon Climate Change Action Network’s event and photos here:
MORE ON THE PROCESS
On June 4, 2012, the companies filed their "pre-application" with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for export approval. We anticipate a Draft Environmental Impact Statement in late 2012.
On April 16, 2012, FERC revoked their 2009 approval of the LNG import terminal in Coos Bay.
On December 7, 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) approved Jordan Cove's application to export LNG to Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries. Energy companies are also seeking approval to export LNG to non-FTA countries.
On November 8, 2011, Senator Wyden participated in a hearing in the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Due to a recent wave of natural gas export proposals in the U.S., including Jordan Cove, the congressional hearing focused on market developments for U.S. natural gas, including the approval process and potential for LNG exports.
In September 2011, energy companies announced their intent to switch the Jordan Cove/Pacific Connector LNG proposal from an import facility to an export facility.
Following the 2011 announcement to export U.S. natural gas from Oregon's south coast, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said, "I think it's premature to conclude that the United States now has so much natural gas that it can afford to export it overseas. I think there ought to be a time-out on approving LNG exports until there is a better understanding of how much natural gas there is, whether it can be safely extracted, and what the impact on the U.S. economy would be from LNG exports."
Mail Tribune article, June 6, 2012: Pipeline project revived: Company reapplies with FERC to export liquified natural gas to the coast through Jackson County
Mail Tribune Editorial, April 18, 2012: Reversal of fortune: A gas pipeline for LNG export raises the question: What's in it for Oregonians?
Mail Tribune article, April 17, 2012: Feds withdraw LNG pipeline approval: But exporting option remains a possibility
Oregonian article, December 5, 2011: Oregon asks feds to revoke license for Coos Bay LNG project
Mail Tribune Editorial, December 7, 2011: Not so fast: Oregon is right to ask that LNG permit process start over for export request
Rogue Riverkeeper Opinion Editorial, September 6, 2011: Bait and switch: Gas export threatens Southern Oregon
Since the 1970s, plans to construct liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in California have been defeated one after another. As a result, multi-national energy interests turned their sights south to Mexico and north to Oregon. In 2008, the Costa Azul LNG terminal in Baja, Mexico, became the first LNG facility to be completed on the West Coast of North America, and until recently, there were three proposals for massive LNG terminals in Oregon. One proposal for LNG in Oregon failed when the company declared bankruptcy in 2010 and two proposals now remain in Oregon: one at the mouth of the Columbia River and the other in Coos Bay. Either project would be the first LNG import facility constructed on the West Coast of the continental United States, furthering our nation’s reliance on imported fossil fuels. Click here to learn more about statewide efforts to stop LNG development.
Jordan Cove/Pacific Connector LNG Project
In 2005, energy companies filed joint applications for a LNG import facility in Coos Bay, Oregon and an associated 235-mile pipeline across Coos, Douglas, Jackson and Klamath counties to the California border.
The Jordan Cove Energy Project is the proposed terminal and is backed by Veresen (formerly Fort Chicago Energy Partners), based in Calgary, Alberta and Energy Projects Development, based in the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates.
The Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline Project is the pipeline portion of the proposal that would run from the coastal terminal to the pipeline hub at Malin, Oregon on the California border. Pacific Connector is a joint venture of Williams, PG&E and Veresen (formerly Fort Chicago Energy Partners).
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval
- FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff in a dissenting opinion on the 12/17/09 approval of the Jordan Cove/Pacific Connector LNG project.
In December 2009, in what could be called a rubber-stamp decision, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the Jordan Cove/Pacific Connector LNG import facility in Coos Bay and the associated 235-mile pipeline. This decision came after enormous opposition from state agencies, rural landowners, ranchers, anglers and conservationists who expressed a multitude of concerns about this project—including insufficient analysis, threats to the environment, public safety and private property rights.
FERC’s vote to approve was three-to-one. The lone dissenter was Chairman Jon Wellinghoff. His opinion succinctly explained why it is so important to stop the project. “Based on my review of the evidence,” he stated, “I believe that there are reasonable alternatives that would more efficiently, more reliably, and in an environmentally preferable manner meet the projected energy needs of the markets that the Jordan Cove Project is intended to serve. I am also concerned about specific characteristics of the Jordan Cove Project. Therefore, I conclude that the Jordan Cove Project is not in the public interest, and I respectfully dissent from today’s order.”
Who is behind this project proposal?
Jordan Cove LNG terminal is a project Canadian company, Veresen. The Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline is a project of Williams and California-based PG&E Corporation.
Where would the pipeline run?
The 235-mile, 36-inch high pressured gas pipeline would originate at the proposed Jordan Cove LNG terminal in Coos Bay/North Bend, then cross through Coos, Douglas, Jackson and Klamath Counties, ending at Malin, Oregon.
How are water resources and salmon impacted?
One of the principal threats presented by these proposed facilities is to wild salmon, an integral part of the Pacific Northwest’s cultural, ecological and economic fabric and a regional icon. "Think of the Northwest," Carl Safina wrote in his essay The Soul Who Swims, "and salmon soon come to mind." Wild salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest are already at historically low, even crisis, levels, largely because of dam construction, water withdrawals, habitat loss due to development, poor water quality and habitat degradation due to logging.
The proposed pipeline would cross 379 bodies of water in the Coos,
Coquille, Umpqua, Rogue and Klamath watersheds. These crossings would
require extensive riparian cutting that would increase water
temperatures in streams that already violate temperature standards for
salmon and other cold-water fish. Yet, FERC’s evaluation did not
include site-specific impacts analysis or crossing plans for any of the
sub-watersheds that will be affected. The inadequacy of the energy
company’s crossing plans for the Rogue River was recognized by the
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, but the company ignored them,
and FERC approved their plans without requiring additional analyses.
How are endangered species impacted?
The project would impact twenty-nine federally endangered or threatened species, including Coho salmon, marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl, six species of whale and four species sea turtle. Extensive dredging for terminal construction in the Coos Bay estuary would have an enormous impact on sensitive estuarine habitats and marine species: the amount of material that would be dredged out of the estuary would fill the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena nearly 14 times.
How are public lands impacted?
Approximately 80 miles of the pipeline would cross public land on the Rogue River/Siskiyou, Umpqua and Winema/Fremont National Forests as well as the Medford and Coos Bay Districts of the BLM. The pipeline would create a linear 90-foot wide clearcut, and in doing so, would degrade and fragment forest habitat for endangered species, increase erosion, cut forests in old-growth reserves and in and riparian reserves and open up a highway for invasive species and ORV use.
The Forest Plans for all three National Forests and the BLM currently do not allow such harm to our public resources for pipeline construction. As a result, the Forest Service and BLM have begun a process to amend their Forest Plans to allow for pipeline development. We are engaged in the process for Forest Service and BLM plan amendments.
How are private landowners impacted?
Approximately 150 miles of the 235-mile pipeline would be on private property. Over 300 private landowners are threatened with the use of eminent domain for the pipeline right-of-way. Landowners would likely receive a small one-time payment for the pipeline running across their property, while they would lose access and endure limitations on that right-of-way such as: an inability to plant crops with deep roots, lack of access with heavy equipment, and a clearing of all brush and trees. A majority of impacted landowners are opposed to the project.
Who authorizes this project?
This is a complicated question because there are a lot of permits the companies have to acquire at federal, state, and county levels. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has already given Jordan Cove LNG a certificate, however that is being challenged by a coalition of groups and individuals, including the state of Oregon. The state of Oregon will process applications for use of state lands, impacts to waterbodies, and the dredging proposal at Coos Bay. The U.S. Forest Service, BLM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries all have a role to play in granting, or denying, permits.
How does this project fit into our national energy policy?
Why is Rogue Riverkeeper involved?
Rogue Riverkeeper got involved in fighting the Jordan Cove/Pacific Connector LNG proposal because of the project’s potential impacts on water quality, salmon and public forests in the Rogue Basin. Home to old-growth cathedral forests, rushing whitewater rivers and those iconic salmon, southwest Oregon is one of the last truly wild places left on the West Coast. The Rogue Basin has the second largest wild salmon runs in Oregon only after the Columbia River, and its temperate forests are among the most biologically diverse in the world. Rogue Riverkeeper is working with individuals and organizations throughout the project area and western Oregon to protect our public resources from this ill-conceived project and help steer our national energy policy in a better direction.
For more specific information on the impacts to the Rogue Basin, take a look at this PDF.
Using our power to stop LNG
In January 2010, Rogue Riverkeeper and allies, represented by the Western Environmental Law Center, filed a petition against FERC’s decision, as did the state of Oregon and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Rogue Riverkeeper is prepared to file litigation when and if our request is rejected. We are also involved in various state and federal permitting processes. Meanwhile, the voracious energy companies, empowered by FERC’s rubber-stamp approval, continue to pursue this project, ignoring and masking its serious impacts. Rogue Riverkeeper is determined to take that rubber stamp out of the federal regulators’ hands, and continue the fight to safeguard our rivers and our salmon and to realize a more rational and secure energy future for our nation.