Oregon DEQ Says No to Critical Clean Water Permit

Monday, May 6, 2019
Allie Rosenbluth, Rogue Climate,  allie@rogueclimate.org, 703-298-3639

Oregon denies critical clean water act permit for Jordan Cove LNG

[SALEM, OR] - The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) today delivered a potentially fatal blow to the Jordan Cove LNG project and the Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline which has faced fierce opposition for more than a decade by a grassroots coalition of impacted landowners, anglers, small business owners, tribal members, health professionals, and many more Oregonians and Northern Californians.

In today's action, Oregon DEQ denied the Clean Water Act Section 401 permit because the massive LNG export terminal and pipeline could not demonstrate that they would meet Oregon's clean water standards. Jordan Cove LNG and the Pacific Connector Pipeline cannot be built without the state permit. With their denial, DEQ released 200 pages of detailed findings about how the project does not meet Oregon’s water quality standards.

DEQ notes that “DEQ does not have a reasonable assurance that the construction and authorization of the project will comply with applicable Oregon water quality standards.”

This decision follows a record-breaking public comment period that closed last August in which 42,000 people submitted comments raising concerns about the impact the Jordan Cove LNG project would have on fishing, recreation, public drinking water, and the economy of southern Oregon.

“Oregon’s decision shows that when we come together and speak out, we can win,” said Hannah Sohl, Director of Rogue Climate, one of the organizations involved in a broad coalition opposing the LNG project. “For years, a record number of Oregonians have urged Gov. Brown and Oregon agencies to put the public interest over the special interests of Canadian fossil fuel corporation Pembina. It is great to see Oregon DEQ do just that. Oregon should be focused on creating good-paying jobs in renewable energy, not on new fossil fuel projects that hurt us all.”

“Today’s denial is great news for our Klamath Tribal members and other Oregon citizens that have been concerned about protecting  fisheries and Oregon’s waters. The impact this project would have on our waterways is only one of many reasons the Jordan Cove LNG project should be stopped for good,” said Chairman Don Gentry of the Klamath Tribes. “The Klamath Tribes are very encouraged that the state of Oregon is making this move to protect clean water, cultural resources, and our traditional territory.”

"For 15 years, we have known that this project would harm our local Coos Bay area - threatening our public safety, our estuary, and our fishing," said Jody McCaffree, a Coos Bay activist who has fought the Jordan Cove LNG since first learning about it 15 years ago. "I am so relieved to see the State of Oregon take this stand for a healthy Coos Bay community and clean water in our state. We will remain vigilant until this project is dead and gone."

“Today’s decision shows that the state of Oregon is standing up for our clean water and our communities,” said Stacey Detwiler of Rogue Riverkeeper. “Despite efforts from the Trump administration to weaken the Clean Water Act, this decision reflects the threat to our waters from the project and the impact of overwhelming public opposition.”

This decision comes on the heels of Pembina announcing last week that they are cutting their projected spending for 2019 in half and are delaying the proposed launch date of the export facility by a year as they wait for state and federal regulators to make decisions on project permits.

Other permitting periods like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) are still moving forward. The comment period on the DEIS is open until July 5th, and hearings are expected to take place across southern Oregon in late June. However, the project cannot be built without the Clean Water Act permit.

“Oregon DEQ’s decision to deny this permit will now allow Oregon landowners to get on with our lives after 15 yeaars of living under the threat of eminent domain,” said affected landowner in Klamath County,  Deb Evans. “We are incredibly thankful for Oregon DEQ’s decision to deny this permit.”

“We are pleased Oregon DEQ followed the law and the science. DEQ concluded the risks to our water, wildlife, and communities were simply too great to allow this project to go forward," said Andrew Hawley, staff attorney for the Western Environmental Law Center. "This decision shows that the Clean Water Act still works in Oregon to protect our citizens, our rivers, and our fish.”

“Today’s DEQ decision is a win for the public health of all Oregonians,” said Patricia Kullberg, MD, MPH of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. “The Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline would degrade drinking water for nearly 160,000 Oregonians and threaten the health of babies, pregnant women, the elderly, low income communities and communities of color. This is what the Clean Water Act was meant to do: protect the environment and public health by keeping our water safe and clean.”

“We’re thrilled that the state of Oregon is standing up for Oregon’s drinking water, local fisheries, and world class waterways by denying this project,” said Sam Krop of Cascadia Wildlands. “This denial should show Pembina their fracked gas project isn’t wanted in Oregon.”

"As we've said all along, it's never a question of whether a pipeline and fossil fuel facility will threaten our communities and waterways, it's a matter of when. We applaud the recognition -- once again -- of the dangers Jordan Cove and the Pacific Connector pose, and for the DEQ rejecting them. Today's decision is a reminder that the people's power, no matter the attempts from corporate polluters and the Trump administration, will never be silenced," said Rhett Lawrence, Conservation Director with the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club.

"Frontline organizations across the state oppose the fracked gas pipeline. We believe Oregon needs a Green New Deal that transitions us from dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure to green jobs and community-controlled, clean and renewable energy, and it begins by ending bad projects like this one" said Janaira Ramirez, Coalition Organizer with the Oregon Just Transition Alliance.

"Pipelines always leak. They violate tribal and rural communities' land and water rights. Fossil fuels make a few people wealthy as they degrade our air and water and exacerbate climate breakdown. We hope DEQ continues to protect the quality of our sacred environment from insatiable corporate greed," said Khanh Pham, Organizing Director with OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon.

“We are thrilled for the local activists who’ve spent the last fifteen years fighting for their homes, farms and rivers, and doing a huge part to prevent  climate changing pollution along the way. We hope this will inspire leaders throughout the Northwest to take a strong stand against fracked gas proposals like this highly polluting LNG project in Oregon.”Said Dan Serres of Columbia Riverkeeper on behalf of the Power Past Fracked Gas Campaign.

The DEQ denial is linked here. https://www.oregon.gov/deq/FilterDocs/jcdecletter.pdf


FERC Releases Draft Environmental Review of Jordan Cove LNG Export Terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline

Twice-Denied Fracked Gas Project Faces Tremendous Opposition Across the Pacific Northwest

Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the twice-denied Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Export Terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline proposed for southern Oregon, opening a public comment period that will close July 5th. Public hearings will be held in southern Oregon in June.

In 2016, FERC denied this project, citing adverse impacts to landowners and a lack of public need for the project. This is one of the few fracked gas pipelines ever denied by FERC. Since then, the Canadian fossil fuel corporation behind the proposed project, now Pembina, has reapplied under the Trump administration. The proposed 229-mile Pacific Connector Pipeline and the associated Jordan Cove LNG export terminal would impact more than 485 waterways in southern Oregon including the Rogue, Umpqua, Coos, and Klamath Rivers, and would quickly become the single largest climate polluter in the state.

“FERC already denied this project because of the harm it would cause to me and other landowners impacted by eminent domain for this private corporation,” said Russ Lyon, an impacted landowner in Douglas County. “We are still here. FERC needs to reject permits again and end this nightmare.”

“This project threatens our watersheds, forests, culture, ancestral homelands, burial sites and future. We have been here since time immemorial and will not let our home be violated for a fossil fuel corporation’s short term profit,” said 16-year old Ashia Wilson of the Klamath Tribe’s Youth Council. “FERC and Governor Brown need to listen to my generation and my Tribe’s call to stop the project now.”

Read more

Jordan Cove Continues to Fail to Demonstrate That it Qualifies for State Permits

Oregon Department of State Lands Requests Extension of Review for Pembina’s Application.

As a result of the overwhelming number of public comments received by the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) in opposition to Pembina’s “removal-fill” permit application for the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and the Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline, DSL announced a six month extension for further review.

Throughout the 60-day public comment period on the permit, the Department of State Lands received over 50,000 comments in opposition to the project. More than 3,000 people spoke out against the project in public hearings, including impacted landowners, anglers, small business owners, tribal members, health professionals, and many more Oregonians concerned about the impacts the fossil fuel project would have on nearly 500 waterways. The majority of attendees at hearings in Klamath County, Jackson County, Douglas County, Coos County, and Salem demanded that the permit be denied.

Pembina must receive Department of State Lands approval for one of the largest dredging projects in Oregon history to drastically alter the Coos Bay estuary for the proposed liquefaction and LNG shipping terminal, as well as for the river crossings of nearly 500 Oregon waterways. The Department of State Lands has the authority and responsibility to deny this permit if the project would harm waterways or impact navigation, fishing, and public recreation.

Read more

Help send a REAL climate action message at Saturday Hearing

Southern Oregon communities need to turn out in big numbers this Saturday to send a message to Governor Kate Brown and the Legislature that we need real climate action now.

While you might have heard that the Oregon Legislature is hosting a climate change hearing in Medford this Saturday, Feb. 23 at 9AM (arrive by 8:25 if you can), you might not know the background of why it’s so important that we all show up.

The hearing has been set up to focus on the Clean Energy Jobs Bill (House Bill 2020) -- something our climate action movement in southern Oregon has been fighting for over the past six years.

The problem is that the largest climate polluters and their political allies have been hard at work watering down the bill, carving out exemptions for the largest utilities, waste incinerators, and more. Without some significant changes, HB 2020 as it is now written could actually be a step backward for statewide climate action.

Will you join communities across southern Oregon in asking for a real Clean Energy Jobs Act (RSVP HERE)?

  • WHERE: Central High School Auditorium, 815 S Oakdale Ave, Medford, OR 97501
  • WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 23 from 9:00AM to 12:00PM. Come at 8:25AM to sign up to testify.
  • WEAR: #NoLNG red!
  • *We will have Rogue Climate comment guides to help you testify at the hearing*

By showing up Saturday, we can tell the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction three things:

First, we need a real Clean Energy Jobs Bill that results in:

  • The immediate, bold action that is needed. We have to take bold action during the next decade to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, according to the recent climate reports. The current goals in HB2020 are far below what the world’s best scientists say is necessary.
  • Significant investment for communities like ours that are most impacted by climate change to transition to renewable energy and greater energy efficiency and prepare for the climate change impacts. This should be paid for by the largest polluters.
  • No carve outs for the largest polluters. This means no offsets, no exemptions, and strict limits on free allowances.
  • A real voice for our communities on boards overseeing the program.  

Second, the Clean Energy Jobs Act must ensure that there will be no new fossil fuel infrastructure built in Oregon, such as the Jordan Cove fracked gas pipeline and LNG export terminal. We cannot make progress on climate change if the corporate special interests behind Jordan Cove are allowed to build the largest source of climate pollution in the state.

Third, we can’t stop at a strong Clean Energy Jobs Act worthy of the name. We also need an Oregon Green New Deal, supported by grassroots groups throughout the state, that will create new jobs in renewable energy, lower energy costs, prepare our communities for the impacts of climate change, promote sustainable farms and forests, strengthen our public transportation systems, and more.

Will you show up to tell our elected officials that climate action is a top priority for southern Oregon? Make sure to come early if you can to get testimony guides and talking points from Rogue Climate. (Testimony will be limited to two minutes per person who signs up.)

Even if you don’t plan to speak, please be there to show your support, and wear red!

Unprecedented Number of Comments Submitted to Oregon DSL Opposing Jordan Cove LNG

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, February 4, 2019

Over 35,000 Comments Submitted by Oregon Communities Demanding the Department of State Lands Deny a “Removal-Fill” Permit for Canadian Fossil Fuel Company Pembina

[OREGON] -- On Sunday, February 3rd, a state public comment period closed after over 35,000 total comments were received by the Oregon Department of State Lands in opposition to a “removal-fill” permit for Pembina’s proposed Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline. The comments were submitted by impacted landowners, anglers, small business owners, tribal members, health professionals, and many more Oregonians concerned about the impacts the fossil fuel project would have on nearly 500 waterways.

The 60-day comment period ends only a few weeks after over 3,000 people, mostly rural Southern Oregon residents, spoke out against the project at overflowing State Lands hearings in Klamath County, Jackson County, Douglas County, Coos County, and Salem. Over 70% of attendees at those hearings demanded that the permit be denied.

“As a fishing guide, I know how important clean rivers are for Southern Oregon’s economy,” said Stuart Warren, owner and guide at Stuart Warren Fly Fishing. “The Oregon Department of State Lands needs to protect our existing jobs in fishing and recreation by denying this permit for Jordan Cove.”

"The project will unreasonably harm our fisheries, particularly the Dungeness crab fishery," said Coos County resident Mike Graybill. "LNG vessel traffic will limit access to crab fishing areas in Coos Bay."

Jordan Cove from the air. Photo by Rena Olson.Photo of the proposed LNG Export Terminal Site from the air. Photo by Rena Olson.

Read more

get updates