Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector Pipeline Dec. 1 asked the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to vacate authorizations for the LNG export terminal and related pipeline, putting an end to questions about whether they would renew attempts to gain missing permits and resume development of the projects.
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The additional clarity on plans for the 7.8 million mt/year Jordan Cove project in Coos Bay, Oregon, and the 235-mile pipeline that would feed it came in an initial brief the applicants filed at FERC addressing whether the commission should stay the authorizations (CP176-495).
"Applicants are requesting that the commission vacate the authorizations issued in this proceeding, which would then moot the question of whether to stay the certificate authorization granted to PCGP," Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector wrote. They had completed a review of the prospects for obtaining outstanding permits in the future and have "decided not to move forward with the project," they said.
"Among other considerations, applicants remain concerned regarding their ability to obtain the necessary state permits in the immediate future in addition to other external obstacles," they said.
If developed, Jordan Cove would have benefited from being the first liquefaction facility on the US West Coast, providing shorter shipping distance to East Asia compared with existing terminals on the Gulf Coast.
But Pembina, and the original developer of the project that it later acquired, Veresen, encountered significant challenges in securing necessary regulatory permits and commercial agreements to be able to sanction construction.
FERC recently queried the developers about their intent in a briefing order to help determine whether to stay the authorizations. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Nov. 1 remanded the authorizations to FERC in order to give the regulator a new opportunity to stay its approvals after landowners argued that they were stuck in limbo while the project remained paused (CP17-495 and CP17-494).
Pembina back in April had told the court it was pausing development to assess the impact of state regulatory decisions that could threaten the project's future. The litigation at issue involved multiple challenges to the FERC authorizations (Deborah Evans, et at., v. FERC, 20-1161).
Among the regulatory barriers for Jordan Cove, the US Department of Commerce on Feb. 8 sustained Oregon's objection under the Coastal Zone Management Act, and the FERC denied Jordan Cove's effort to have the commission declare Oregon's water quality review waived.
The Jordan Cove's request that FERC vacate the authorizations was immediately welcomed by environmentalists.
"This victory comes after over almost two decades of communities across Southern Oregon fighting to stop this project and fighting to protect our homes, our waterways, and our climate," said Allie Rosenbluth, campaigns director at Rogue Climate in a Dec. 1 interview. "We are excited to focus instead on building a resilient, renewable economy in southern Oregon."