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On Thursday, various groups and citizens will be holding a rally at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Medford office in opposition to the purposed Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas pipeline.

Starting at 11 a.m., folks from all over the state will come together at the office to listen to speeches from people who will be affected if the Jordan Cove LNG project progresses.

The rally comes just before the end of a DEQ mandated public comment period, which is part of the Section 401 Water Quality Certification the pipeline project would need to move forward.

“Communities are going to gather at the Medford DEQ office to celebrate the amount of comments we’ve gotten in so far. This is the highest number of comments that DEQ has received for a permit like this,” Allie Rosenbluth, with the organization Rogue Climate said.

Rogue Climate is one of several environmental groups in the state that are working together to put on this rally.

According to DEQ representative Katherine Benenati, the agency has received approximately 23,000 public comments by email, and more than 1,000 post cards and letters concerning the application for the permit.

“Right now we’re in a public comment period that closes on Aug. 20, for the Section 401 Water Quality Certification. This is for the application itself. We’re accepting written comments on the application through 5 p.m. on Aug. 20,” Benenati said.

A Section 401 Water Quality Certification is required through the DEQ for any federally licensed or permitted projects that may result in a discharge into navigable waters. Specifically, the certification ensures that work permitted under a federal Clean Water Act Section 404 Permit will meet the state's water quality standards.

“We will review and provide a response to the comments. Basically this Section 401 Water Quality Certification program will review and evaluate water quality impacts for the project,” Benenati said.  

The project calls for building a liquefied natural gas facility on the North Spit of Coos Bay near North Bend and a connecting roughly 230-mile pipeline near Malin that would cross Klamath, Jackson, Douglas and Coos counties.

The public comment period was supposed to end last month, But DEQ officials extended it due to an overwhelming number of requests.

This certification is just one of several the DEQ requires for projects like Jordan Cove LNG. Some of the permits Jordan Cove will be applying for in the future include an Air Containment Discharge Permit, and a Solid Waste Landfill Permit.

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

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