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COOS BAY — Coos Bay’s Surfrider Foundation held a meeting at Shark Bites Theater, informing its members how to fill out public comments in an upcoming permit that Jordan Cove LNG has applied for from the Oregon Department of State lands.

In application for this removal and fill permit Jordan Cove is asking for permission to dredge out four spots in Coos Bay leading up to where the LNG export terminal is proposed.

The DSL permit application is currently open, and will be open until Feb. 3. A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday Jan. 10. At the Mill Hotel-Casino.

Marine biologist and Surfrider member Jan Hodder presented her thoughts on the 3,600 page application regarding dredging in the bay that Jordan Cove believes to be a necessary side project to accompany the building of its proposed export terminal.

“When we think about comments were going to make for this permit, we’re not making comments about the Jordan Cove project, this comment period is specifically about the removal and fill permit,” Hodder said.

Hodder argued that Jordan Cove is only seeking this permit so that in the future if the pipeline and export facility are approved it will be able to meet its projected yearly export amount. An amount which Hodder says they would be able to meet 99 percent of without dredging requested by this permit.

“Jordan Cove wants to export 7.8 million tons of LNG a year, that’s what the pipeline can hold and that’s what they says their requirements are. If they don’t straighten out four places in the navigation channel they can only export 7.762 million tons of LNG per year. They think for that extra amount they have to straighten out this navigation channel,” Hodder said.

Within the four areas of the navigation channel that Jordan Cove would like to dredge out 580,000 cubic yards of dredge spoils, which it would place in two sites east of the southern part of the McCullough Bridge.

“They will need to maintain these areas, so they have to dredge them every three years. So essentially what you’re doing is turning a hard rock habitat, which would have certain organisms living in it, into a disturbance habitat,” Hodder said.  

Among other issues with the proposed dredging, Hodder was also unhappy with the relocation of a large patch of Eel grass in Jordan Cove’s mitigation process.

Another speaker at the meeting, Samm Newton, spoke against the project as a person who grew up in an area of the Gulf Coast in Texas where another LNG facility was located, as well as petrochemical industries.

“When you bring this type of infrastructure into your community you’re opening a door for more of that infrastructure to come later, because then the reports will read that there is minimal impact on the community because the infrastructure is already there,” Newton said.  

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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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