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Western lawmakers press FERC for swift review of Jordan Cove LNG

A group of 14 U.S. lawmakers put pressure on federal regulators to swiftly approve the 0.9-Bcf/d Jordan Cove LNG export project proposed for Oregon's coast, saying the $10 billion venture would stimulate economies in their home states of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

Six senators and eight representatives wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in support of the project. Jordan Cove Energy Project LP is again seeking approval after the commission rejected the venture in March 2016 when it determined there was a lack of commercial support for the roughly 230-mile greenfield pipeline that would supply the export terminal.

"The Jordan Cove project is essential to our states because it [is] the only proposed West Coast LNG export facility that will allow Rocky Mountain producers to access the growing demand for American gas in overseas markets," the lawmakers wrote in a July 20 letter recently made public in the FERC online library. "In addition, the project will move billions of dollars of private capital off the sidelines to build a massive infrastructure project that will put people to work and contribute to America's growing energy economy."

The letter asked FERC to work with cooperating federal agencies and to "not unnecessarily delay" construction and operation of the project.

Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Reps. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., Rob Bishop, R-Utah, Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., Mia Love, R-Utah, Chris Stewart, R-Utah, and Ken Buck, R-Colo., all signed the request. Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Ed Perlmutter, both of Colorado, were the only Democrats on the letter.

Colorado localities in the Piceance Basin have repeatedly offered support for the project, which they say would monetize natural gas from the Mancos Shale. But despite encouragement from some local governments, lawmakers and even the White House, Jordan Cove has been the subject of persistent opposition by Oregon residents, who say the LNG project would harm the environment while economic benefits are realized overseas or in Canada, where project sponsor Veresen Inc. is headquartered.

Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both Oregon Democrats, recently took issue with FERC meetings meant to allow stakeholders the opportunity to comment on the proposal. In a June 21 letter to acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur, the senators criticized the commission for allowing only 30 days to comment on Jordan Cove's prefiling applications. They said the format of the sessions does "not adequately respect the spirit of openness that Oregonians have come to expect from public meetings." (FERC docket PF17-4)