COOS BAY — The Jordan Cove Energy Project has cleared another hurdle with the U.S. Department of Energy’s support.
On Monday morning, the U.S. DOE conditionally authorized Jordan Cove to export liquefied natural gas to non-Free Trade Agreement countries. The approval allows Jordan Cove to export LNG at a rate of 0.8 billion standard cubic feet per day for 20 years.
The LNG facility had already been granted approval to export LNG to Free Trade Agreement countries in December 2011. The U.S. has FTAs with 20 countries.
The Natural Gas Act directs the DOE to grant export authorizations unless it says the proposed exports “will not be consistent with the public interest.”
Officials have been watching the DOE’s list closely, where Jordan Cove’s application sat in the No. 1 spot awaiting approval or denial.
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., applauded the DOE’s decision. Wyden, former chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, had urged DOE to strongly consider Jordan Cove’s application.
“This announcement is exactly what Coos Bay, North Bend and America need: new jobs and new investment, while factoring in a changed geopolitical landscape through a case-by-case process,” Wyden said in a statement. “Priority one for me has always been ensuring American jobs and employers see the full benefits of the natural gas renaissance. The Department of Energy must monitor markets closely and be prepared to adjust course should any threat to American jobs or energy security emerge.”
Mark Wall, co-chair of Boost Southwest Oregon, said his email account began bursting as the news became known among supporters.
“It’s a great day for Coos County, and a long time coming,” he said. “It’s not the end of it, of course. But this is the one step that makes it all financially feasible.”
Veresen Inc., Jordan Cove’s parent company, announced in October 2013 that it had finalized 25-year non-binding Heads of Agreement with three prospective customers in Indonesia, India and an eastern Asian country. Indonesia and India are not FTA countries.
“It basically is catering to people who do not have the decency to sign a trade agreement with us,” said Jody McCaffree, executive director of Citizens Against LNG. “If they want our gas, sign a trade agreement with us. We’re giving them our cheap gas at our expense. It’s just totally unconscionable that they would do that.”
The DOE has been working on this particular application for the last two years, receiving public comments for and against the project, as well as around 200,000 public comments about the impact of increased LNG exports.
“Obviously they didn’t consider any of our concerns, which is disappointing,” McCaffree said. “It just feels like citizens’ voices are not being heard.”
Jordan Cove is still waiting on the biggest stamp of approval: the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Jordan Cove public affairs director Michael Hinrichs expects FERC’s draft Environmental Impact Statement could be published in April or May, and the final EIS near the end of 2014.
Without FERC’s approval, Jordan Cove dies.
The South Dunes Power Plant is the only Jordan Cove component that doesn’t fall under FERC’s jurisdiction. The plant requires a site certificate from Oregon’s Energy Facility Siting Council. Oregon Department of Energy spokeswoman Diana Enright previously told The World that Jordan Cove will have to wait at least a year for a decision.
Reporter Chelsea Davis can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 239, or by email at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: @ChelseaLeeDavis.