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COOS BAY — The Coos Bay City Council decided Tuesday night to move up its decision date on a Jordan Cove Energy Project permit that seeks to dredge sections of the bay to widen the navigation channel to Jan. 7, 2020.

Originally, the JCEP requested that the council consider changing the scheduled Jan. 21, 2020 council meeting to take action on the land use application to one of the council's December meetings.

That same dredging project requires state approval from Department of State Lands in the form of a removal-fill permit. According to the request from JCEP, DSL will not issue the project a conditional use permit without approval of local permits first and needs to know of that approval within 30 days of their own decision on the matter.

The city reached out to DSL to verify there was a time constraint, and in the city’s initial responses from DSL there was no specific time frame disclosed. At the meeting to discuss changing the date, the city asked the applicant to provide proof that DSL requires the city’s permit be submitted within 30 days of DSL’s decision on its removal-fill permit.

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It was discovered that while it is not a written rule that DSL have 30 days to review the local permit, DSL director Vicki Walker did verbally tell Jordan Cove officials they would likely need a decision from Coos Bay around 30 days before making its own decision.

Since the permit application is lengthy, the council expressed to Jordan Cove that it would like as much time as possible with the document. At Tuesday’s meeting, Jordan Cove changed its request from December to early January in order to give the council more time to review the application.

Staff reports for this project are being prepared by Lane Council of Governments, and the council felt that if LCOG could present them its report by the end of November, then the majority of the council felt comfortable moving the permit decision to Jan. 7.  

The council’s meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 will be held at 7 p.m. in the Coos Bay City Council chambers. The public comment period for the comprehensive plan amendment and land use permits is open until 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31. There will be no oral testimony taken at the Jan. 7 council meeting.

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Nicholas A. Johnson can be reached at 541-266-6049, or by email at nicholas.johnson@theworldlink.com.