January 20, 2021 Read More →

Federal regulators deal potentially fatal blow to planned Oregon LNG export facility

The Oregonian:

Federal energy regulators on Tuesday upheld the state of Oregon’s decision to deny a water quality certification for the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export terminal in Coos Bay and its feeder pipeline, the Pacific Connector, another sign that the massive energy project may be on its last legs.

Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality originally denied the permit, without which backers cannot move forward, in May 2019. It did so partly for procedural reasons: To avoid unintentionally waiving the state’s authority as a deadline loomed for making a decision and the company’s application was still deemed incomplete.

The agency said at the time that it was denying the application because there “is insufficient information to demonstrate compliance with water quality standards, and because the available information shows that some standards are more likely than not to be violated.”

Pembina appealed the decision to federal regulators, arguing that the agency had failed to make a decision in a timely fashion. In a unanimous decision Tuesday, commissioners at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission disagreed, effectively arguing that the state had never received a completed application.

“The order finds that Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector never requested certification with respect to the Commission authorizations for the Jordan Cove Energy Project and that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality could not have waived its authority to issue certification for a request it never received,” the commission said Tuesday in a summary of its findings.

Tuesday’s decision still leaves the company free to reapply to the DEQ for the certification. But 15 years after the controversial LNG terminal and pipeline were originally proposed, backers face a daunting set of obstacles at the state level.

[Ted Sickinger]

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