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LNG project makes progress, adjusts to delays

You may have recently heard the names Pembina and its Jordan Cove Project as we’ve opened new offices and launched an information campaign across Southern Oregon. Pembina has served parts of North America’s energy industry for over 60 years and is excited for this opportunity to put down some roots and invest in Oregon.

Pembina talks about “roots” because we approach opportunities like this differently than many companies. When we say we’re committed to the Jordan Cove Project, we’re saying we’re committed to building a long-term business and strong relationships right in the heart of Southern Oregon.

We’re engaged in a rigorous permitting process on the federal, state and local levels. Recently, the lead federal agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and a state agency, Oregon Department of State Lands, each separately announced minor delays in their respective authorization processes. As the project applicant, we wanted to communicate what these delays mean. To be clear, we are still moving forward; we are still on track.

FERC announced a delay of just over a month in our federal permitting process because of the partial government shutdown. The updated FERC schedule won’t impact our projected goal of first export by 2024. We look forward to the next steps toward FERC approval, confident that the merits of our application will generate a favorable FERC permitting decision by early January 2020.

Also, recently, the Oregon Department of State Lands requested an additional six months to review our application. In our experience, extensions like this are not unusual for projects of this size and complexity, so we didn’t hesitate to agree to DSL’s request. Additionally, DSL must review all opinions received during the comment period including substantively positive statements from the majority of both affected landowners and elected leaders in the four project counties.

Credible views will weigh greatly as DSL determines which opinions speak to the actual core permit issues: protection, conservation and best use of the state’s water resources and the prevention of unreasonable interference with the use of state water and wetlands for fishing, navigation or public recreation. We think this extension is a good thing, confident that the key questions will be answered affirmatively and that our application meets all technical specifications and criteria. We look forward to receiving our DSL permit in September.

Some wish to distort these developments as some sort of permit doomsday. Attempting to put that spin on these facts is misguided and dishonest, reflecting a lack of understanding of the processes and the significant momentum Jordan Cove has gained over the past year.

Jordan Cove has enjoyed significant progress by building trusting relationships with people who share Oregon’s environmental values, care for their communities, and will be our customers. Important parts of the project that aren’t seeing any delays include: environmental protection, community support and services, and agreements with tribal organizations and landowners in Oregon.

Jordan Cove has developed plans to invest $100 million in environmental protection, including reconnecting more than 100 acres of estuary and freshwater flood plain to restore endangered coho salmon habitat lost long ago, to support delisting as an endangered species. We’re also exploring ways to preserve old-growth forest and wildlife habitat. And we’ve placed more than $600,000 in grants with local organizations that are helping people just like you, or someone you know.

We entered into an innovative Cultural Resources Protection Agreement with one of the Oregon tribes; this agreement outlines how we will work cooperatively with the tribe to ensure protection of its cultural resources and supports the tribe’s extensive involvement in planning and monitoring our cultural resources work. We’ve negotiated cost recovery agreements with other tribes to support their cultural resource protection efforts and have conveyed our willingness to enter into similar agreements with other tribes.

We continue to make enormous progress in reaching agreements with the many landowners all along our proposed pipeline route, signing more easement agreements in the past four months than the previous project owners did in a decade. Why? Because we value their land like they do, and we’ll treat it like it’s theirs, because it is.

Administrative delays are far from fatal in the big picture of a project that’s this good for Oregon. We have the support of many thousands of Oregonians to thank for this. They understand we share their strong environmental values, will contribute our fair share in substantial taxes, and create thousands of jobs and opportunity for people today, tomorrow, and the future.

Tasha Cadotte is communication and community affairs manager for Jordan Cove LNG.