COOS BAY — The Confederated Tribes Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw’s attorneys filed an appeal with the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals on Tuesday regarding the City of Coos Bay’s Jan. 7 decision to approve dredging in Coos Bay.
In a 4 to 3 vote of the Coos Bay City Council, it was decided to follow through with the 3.3 acre dredging of the Coos Bay navigation channel as requested by officials with the Jordan Cove Energy Project.
“The Tribe supports any economic development project that follows all local, state and federal laws and does not harm our local environment," said Tribal Council Chairman Doc Slyter. "Given this, the Tribal Council takes the decision to take legal action against the decision of a partner jurisdiction seriously."
The City of Coos Bay contracted with the Lane Council of Governments to review JCEP's navigation channel project application, and the public comments associated with. It was the recommendation of LCOG to deny the application.
In a press release about its appeal, the Tribes argue that the LCOG determined the proposal would be inconsistent with state law. The Tribes say the permit's inconsistency is that it seeks expansion of the navigation channel without looking to preserve the current levels of navigation.
“Our goal in this action is making sure that the city, Jordan Cove Energy, and everyone else follows the laws that protect our bay,” said Slyter. “We are not convinced this action meets the law and are not convinced that it is even needed for the project.”
The Tribes cite the staff report provided by LCOG to the City Council as the grounds for its appeal to LUBA, which states, “Keeping the general rule in mind, staff believes it to be common sense the proposal goes beyond the 'continuation of the present level of navigation.' Staff notes that OAR 660‐004‐0022(8)(b) appears to be DLCD’s attempt to balance the interests of protecting coastal resources and economic and navigation interests, and the rule was most likely intended to preserve only the navigation rights that are in existence when the exception application was filed."
“The Tribe remains open to working with the city or Pembina to resolve the issues in this appeal and other issues that this project presents,” said Slyter.