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COOS BAY — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has postponed its decision on whether to approve a permit for the Jordan Cove Energy Project. The decision, which was on the agenda to be discussed and voted on at the commission's Feb. 13 meeting, instead will be discussed at the Feb. 20 meeting. 

FERC spokeswoman Mary O'Driscoll said the commission is still considering records in the case.

The proposed natural gas terminal and a 230-mile feeder pipeline would permit shipment of natural gas from the United States and Canada to Asia and would be the West Coast's first liquefied natural gas export terminal.

If on Feb. 20, FERC approves the LNG export terminal, the JCEP must still acquire permits from the Oregon Department of State and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality before the project can break ground. 

If the commission approves the project, it would likely set up a court battle over state versus federal jurisdictions.

If federal approval is granted, Pembina may begin the process of using eminent domain to acquire land where owners have not given the project right of way.

The necessary permit from DEQ is a Section 401 Water Quality Certification, which the project was denied last May. The State of Oregon requires any federally licensed or permitted projects that may result in a discharge into navigable waters to water quality certification. The certification ensures that work permitted under a federal Clean Water Act Section 404 Permit will meet the state's water quality standards.

Jordan Cove must also reapply for its Removal-Fill Permit from DSL. Just a few weeks ago the JCEP withdrew its application for the permit from DSL right before the state agency was to make a decision on the application. Any project in Oregon that proposes putting material into or taking material out of waters and wetlands is required to receive a removal-fill permit from DSL in order to mitigate any impacts to waters and wetlands associated with that project.

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, on Jan. 27 wrote to President Donald Trump, noting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had two vacancies. Wyden urged the president to appoint a full and bipartisan five-member commission before the agency rules on the project.

He said failure to do so would mean any decision could be interpreted as lacking full, fair consideration and therefore being politically motivated.

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

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