Background and History of the LNG Pipeline Project

Forest reserves designed to protect wildlife would be clearcut to facilitate the gas pipeline, such as this misty forest in the Fuji Mountain Roadless Area of the Oregon Cascades (photo by Brett Cole).

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Proposed Jordan Cove Fracked Gas Pipeline and Export Terminal

Project Timeline

February 20, 2020: With a 2-1 vote, FERC decided not to issue an approval for the Jordan Cove Project, citing a need to understand Oregon’s denial the night before; they provided no indication of when it would revisit Pembina’s application. This is a monumental victory for Oregonians against the Jordan Cove fracked gas pipeline. Landowners, tribes, conservationists and community members have spent over fifteen years fighting this toxic project.

February 19, 2020: Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) denied the Coastal Zone Management Act Consistency Certification, marking the third key state permit Pembina failed to obtain.

January 24, 2020: Anticipating a permit denial, Pembina withdrew its state lands permit application entirely.

January 21, 2020: Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) rejected a request from Pembina to extend the permitting deadline for the project.

May 6, 2019: The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (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. Other permitting periods like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) are still moving forward. However, the project cannot be built without the Clean Water Act permit.

January 15, 2019: Cascadia Wildlands teamed up with 13 other organizations to coordinate a rally in opposition of the Jordan Cove Energy Project. At this rally the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) heard from the public about whether Jordan Cove’s Removal-Fill permit should be denied or approved. This is one of the state permits that, if denied, would stop the Jordan Cove LNG even if the Federal Government approves the project. The removal-fill permit for the Jordan Cove Energy Project covers the three main elements of the project: 1) the liquefied natural gas (LNG) slip and access channel; 2) the LNG terminal; and 3) the fracked natural gas pipeline. The comment period for this permit has now closed. 

Submit a comment to FERC today telling them this dirty fossil fuel project is still not in the public benefit!

2017: With a new federal administration in 2017 came a renewed push for this project, and this scheme is back. The Jordan Cove Energy Project is now a plan by Pembina, another Canadian energy company, to export fracked liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Canada and the Rockies overseas using Oregon as a right-of-way.

March 11, 2016: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied the LNG pipeline proposal in an unprecedented decision. FERC found that the Canadian developer Veresen and pipeline company Williams did not demonstrate there were sufficient markets for its product to justify the impacts to private landowners along the pipeline route. Without the pipeline, there was no justification for the Jordan Cove export facility. The decision was a huge setback for the companies, though Veresen released a statement announcing it would ask for a rehearing.

The Pacific Connector Pipeline

The pipeline would be a 3-foot tube carrying unodorized gas at up to 1,480 pounds per square inch, beginning at from Malin, Oregon (at the California border near Klamath Falls, where the Ruby pipeline ends). The pipe would be buried at least 30” deep and require a 100′ to 150’ wide clearcut through southern Oregon forests.

It would travel across two mountain ranges, six major rivers, and hundreds of salmon-bearing streams.

It would threaten tribal territories, cultural resources, and burial grounds.

Old growth sugar pine tree

Ancient sugar pine tree in the path of the proposed pipeline (photo by Francis Eatherington).

70 miles of the pipeline would travel through public forests and waterways that shelter federally protected endangered species. In particular, the clearcut swath would fragment habitat for two imperiled bird species: the northern spotted owl and the marbled murrelet.

It would destroy over 3,000 acres of terrestrial wildlife habitat and cross over 400 water bodies supporting salmon streams.

160 miles would be through private land, owned by over 300 Oregonians faced with the threat of eminent domain. (They would be offered a tiny, unfair compensation.)  Most southern Oregon families in the path of the pipeline are in what is considered a “Class 1” location because of a low population density. This allows a lower safety standard to be used. Examples of corporate cost savings in rural areas include: fewer weld inspections (10% vs. 100%), thinner pipes, shallower trenches, fewer block valves, higher gas pressure, and fewer patrols and leak surveys.[1] Even though southern Oregon has issues with earthquakes, steep mountains, unstable soils prone to landslides and annual forest fires, safety standards are still reduced. Perhaps this is because, in the event of an accident, fewer people would die than in urban areas.

The Jordan Cove Terminal

The terminal would supercool and liquefy the fracked natural gas (LNG) for overseas shipping. The LNG terminal would include a marine berth (a berth is a designated location in a port or harbor used for attaching or anchoring a vessel when they are not at sea) to be dug out of the North Spit, big enough for two huge ocean takers, two enormous gas storage tanks (storing 80 million gallons of LNG), and a new 450 megawatt power plant; all built on top of unstable sand dunes, in line with the airport runway, in a tsunami and earthquake zone, in rough seas within sight of the New Carissa ship wreck, and near a highly populated city.

The Oregonian reported in 2014 [2] that FERC did not require Jordan Cove to consider multiple failure events, as occurred in Fukushima when the earthquake and tsunami devastated the Japanese coast. Oregon geologists warn that a similar mega-thrust earthquake off the Oregon coast is overdue. “This will happen during the lifetime of the facility” said a seismologist at Oregon State University, adding “I would certainly have reservations about building one of these terminals down there”.

If the power plant and its backup system were to fail, the 80 million gallons of LNG would immediately begin to warm and expand. What could happen then? Pembia isn’t going to describe that catastrophe in southern Oregon’s most populated coastal area, and FERC is not requiring them to even consider what would happen.

Global Warming Issues:

LNG is a worse polluter of our climate than coal.

Carbon emissions. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) proposed to give the Jordan Cove Terminal a permit to emit 2.16 million tons of CO2e a year. That’s half of the 4 million tons CO2e that Boardman Coal plant puts out in a year. While Boardman, Oregon’s only coal plant, is scheduled to close before 2020 because it is so polluting, DEQ is proposing to allow over half the CO2e emissions in Jordan Cove for the many decades that plant will run.

Fossil fuels to support infrastructure. The 2.16 million tons of CO2e produced at the Jordan Cove terminal doesn’t even count the fossil fuels used to build this massive infrastructure, the fossil fuels used by the ships, the burning of natural gas once it gets to the end user, or the biggest impact of all, the methane leaks from fracking and transporting.

Methane leaks. Studies[3] have shown that large methane leaks occur at fracked well sites and pipes. Unburned methane leaking into the atmosphere is up to 100 times more potent a greenhouse gas than coal. This means that LNG causes more climate pollution than burning coal. The myth that natural gas is a “bridge fuel” has been busted.

If approved, this project would become the largest source of climate pollution in the state of Oregon.

Environmental Issues:

Threats to endangered wildlife. The pipeline, LNG terminal, and shipping would impact 28 species protected under the Endangered Species Act, including: 7 species of whales (threats from ship strikes), 4 sea turtles, 2 salmon species, 4 other kinds of fish, 7 plants and 4 birds[4].

Impacts to protected bird species. The pipeline through southern Oregon would impact the homes of 80 spotted owls. Marbled murrelet habitat in the coast range is similarly impacted by directly destroying nesting habitat as well as inviting nest predators along the edge of the pipeline clearcut.

FERC requires mitigation for impacts to endangered species. Unfortunately, the proposed mitigation for the pipeline’s impacts to our bird species is appalling… It’s commercial logging. Veresen claimed that if they can just do commercial timber sales along the edge of the pipeline route (even in old growth forests), the probability that a wildland fire would jump over the linear clearcut would be reduced, in theory saving spotted owl and murrelet habitat on the other side. They claim this will make up for the “taking” (read:killing) of dozens of spotted owls and marbled murrelets.

Risks to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (ODNRA). The LNG terminal is proposed to be built on the southern edge of the remarkable and unique Oregon Dunes, immediately adjacent to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (ODNRA). Studies[5] have found that unique wetland ecosystems in the ODNRA are susceptible to water well drilling on the North Spit. The Jordan Cove LNG Terminal and the South Dunes Power Plan will use a tremendous amount of fresh-water from well-drilling on the North Spit, threatening to dry up lakes, such as Horsfall Lake, and other wetlands in the southern part of the ODNRA.

Economic Issues:

Higher energy costs. The U.S. Department of Energy determined[6] that if we export natural gas, our electric, cooking and heating costs will rise, because we will be competing for natural gas on the world market. They estimated we could loose up to 1.2 million jobs because the increase in natural gas prices will cause some manufacturing to move overseas[7]. (Compare this with the 150 jobs the Jordan Cove project will bring to Oregon).

Disregard the rights of farmers and landowners. The threat of eminent domain could impact the property values of over 600 private landowners in southern Oregon along the proposed pipeline route. Williams Pipeline, made initial offers to landowners in 2013, and it is shocking how low they were. For instance, Williams Pipeline wanted to use 8 acres of private property near Days Creek. They offered the owners a one-time payment of $2,290 and included information on how eminent domain works.

Corporate financial gain while Oregon loses. While Pembia stands to make billions of dollars on this project, southern Oregon will see virtually none of that, even though we are bearing most of the burden facilitating the project, being forced to live with a potential bomb in our yards, and limiting what we can do on our property.

Threats to existing jobs and businesses. The pipeline will affect farms and fishing businesses as it disturbs more than 400 waterways, damages salmon and steelhead habitat; and the export terminal would require blasting bedrock in the sea floor of the bay in order to dredge a marine slip and access channel.

Q: How can a corporation in a foreign country (Canada) claim their pipeline — used to ship their gas to China, for their private profit — is the public good of U.S. citizens?

Pembia claims they deserve the power to condemn Oregonians’ lands because they will provide jobs fracking more wells and building the pipeline. They will also provide their investors with lots of money. Therefore, they claimed this project is in the public good.

FERC has denied this project 3 other times over the last decade.

But the the Fracked Gas Scheme is BACK as of 2017!


To go back to the introduction and recent updates page, click here.


[1] Jordan Cove FEIS for Importing NG. May 2009. page 4.12-54.


[3] Measurements of methane emissions at natural gas production sites in the United States. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Shale Gas, Natural Gas, Coal, and Petroleum. Environmental Science & Technology.

[4] Biological Assessment for the Jordan Cove Energy and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline Project. 9-2013.

[5] Plant Associations of the Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area. USDA FS PNWR. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-09-98. Cristy, Kagan, Weidmann. 1998. Page 13

[6] Department of Energy NERA Study. 12-3-2012.