[COOS BAY, OR] The City of Coos Bay voted 4-3 to approve a request for Pembina to rezone a sensitive part of the estuary from protected to industrial-use for the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal. This decision can be appealed to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA).
The City voted against recommendations from Lane Council of Governments (LCOG) to deny the proposal. LCOG is a neutral party the City hired to review the application and comments from community members, and to make a recommendation to City Council.
City Council chambers overflowed with about 90 people in red no LNG t-shirts and 60 people in support of Jordan Cove LNG. Local organizations including the Coos Bay Chapter Surfrider Foundation, Citizens for Renewables, Coast Range Forest Watch, and Rogue Climate held a “Rally to Protect the Bay” outside of City Hall before the meeting started.
“I am grateful that Councilors Matthews, Farmer, and DiNovo listened to the independent analysis by LCOG, who put it clearly that the applicant missed on three major factors in the application,” said Jamie Fereday, a retired teacher and resident of Coos Bay. “The approval to rezone this protected part of the bay will have much greater impact on our bay and the commercial fishing industry than the City Council knows. This is one small piece of this effort and our community is not going to give up until Jordan Cove LNG is stopped.”
“We’re disappointed in the Coos Bay City Council but this is not the end. We will keep showing up to every meeting, voicing our opinions, until we stop Jordan Cove LNG. We will not let a Canadian fossil fuel corporation silence our community’s voice,” said Todd Buchholz of Coos Bay Chapter Surfrider Foundation.
Despite this local permit approval, the Jordan Cove LNG project can still not move forward because it lacks critical state permits, including the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s 401-Clean Water Act certification which was denied in May. The Oregon Department of State Lands and the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development are scheduled to make permit decisions in early 2020.
“The Coos Bay City Council has made a decision that puts our bay, and the commercial fishing and tourism industries that rely on it, at risk for a project that has no public benefit. Tonight, local fishermen, impacted landowners, marine biologists, and other Coos Bay community members made it clear that we won’t let our bay be sacrificed for a Canadian fossil fuel corporation’s private gain. We will continue to challenge the Jordan Cove LNG project until it is stopped for good and our communities can focus on a transition to renewable energy instead,” said Ashley Audycki, Coos Bay Organizer at Rogue Climate.
Council members Carmen Matthews, Lucinda DiNovo and Drew Farmer voted to deny the application. Council member Robert Miles, Philip Marler, and Stephanie Kilmer along with Mayor Joe Benetti ignored LCOG’s recommendation to deny the permit, and voted in favor of the application.