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Ore. tribes criticize Jordan Cove's 'frustrating' response to their concerns


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Ore. tribes criticize Jordan Cove's 'frustrating' response to their concerns

A group of Oregon tribes told the developer of the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export project that it is unsatisfied with how the company has communicated with the tribes about concerns over culturally significant land.

The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw said in a May 26 letter to Jordan Cove President and CEO Elizabeth Spomer that they were upset with the developer's response to their concerns over the protection of cultural resources.

"It is frustrating to receive what boils down to a boiler-plate reply that was sent to all Oregon tribal governments rather than engaging in meaningful discussions regarding our detailed concerns," said Stacy Scott, tribal historic preservation officer and cultural resources protection specialist with the group.

The tribes have repeatedly weighed in on Jordan Cove's plans for a natural gas liquefaction and export terminal and associated 233-mile greenfield pipeline. In March, the group of tribes wrote Spomer to say that it had agreed to monitor geotechnical investigations for the proposed site, but with "great reluctance" after developers gave late notice and failed to engage the tribe's officer in charge of historic monitoring. Spomer responded by saying notice was sent almost two weeks ahead of the anticipated Feb. 27 start date, "well in excess of the 72 hour notice provision used in our previous interactions with the tribe," and the company had mentioned need for additional study in an earlier meeting.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied an application for the Veresen Inc.-led LNG export project in March 2016 after finding that the pipeline lacked commercial support and would have environmental and community impacts that outweighed potential benefits. FERC stuck by its decision in December 2016, rejecting the developer's request for a rehearing.

Jordan Cove now hopes support from the White House and a financial boost from the planned acquisition of Veresen by Pembina Pipeline Corp. will help get the latest proposal through the regulatory process. The newest application, which was accepted into FERC's prefiling review process on Feb. 10, eliminated the South Dunes power plant and incorporated 53 route modifications in an effort to accommodate stakeholder requests.

The tribes appreciate "the protective steps that have been taken regarding cultural resource protection," they said, but the tribes have been "ill-informed and included far too late in the majority of important conversations" during the early review of the proposal.

"Though the tribe is frustrated by the applicant's behavior thus far, we remain optimistic," the group wrote. "There is still time and opportunity for the applicant to engage in meaningful discussions with the tribe in a way that will serve our mutual interests."

A spokesman for Jordan Cove did not respond to a request for comment. (FERC docket PF17-4)