COOS BAY, Ore. -- State and federal regulators have yet to decide whether or not to approve the Jordan Cove Project, but in the meantime, community members are divided.
The project proposal includes a 229-mile long natural gas pipeline that would begin in Malin and would cross Klamath, Jackson, Douglas and Coos counties before ending in North Bend.
A proposed export terminal would then meet the pipeline on the North Spit in North Bend. Through that facility, the natural gas would then be cooled and turned into a liquid. From there, it could be loaded onto ships and shipped to Asia.
The project was first proposed by Fort Chicago in 2006 as an import facility. That facility was approved, but the market changed, which changed the need for the project. Canadian company Veresen reapplied years later for an export facility, which was rejected in 2016. Pembina proposed the current pipeline project in 2017.
Proponents of the project said it would create thousands of jobs and bring in millions in tax revenue.
“It’s a rare opportunity to enable the area to once again prosper,” said Timm Slater, the executive director of the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.
However, opponents said it would cause extensive environmental hazards.
“The bay gets enough dirt and crud in it as it is. To add to that and disturb clam and crab beds I think is wrong,” said Bob Litton, a Coos Bay resident.
Some environmental concerns are raised about possible pollution, as well as dredging that would have to take place to allow larger ships into the channel of the Port of Coos Bay.
Although, officials from Pembina, the company behind the Jordan Cove Project, said it could help the environment.
“We see this as a benefit, an environmental benefit to southern Oregon. If you think of the very purpose of the project, to ship liquid natural gas to Asia, where it will be offsetting coal, where it is twice the environmental impact that liquid natural gas has,” said Tasha Cadotte, a spokesperson for Pembina.
Part of the project includes the Kentuck Mitigation Project. Pembina would turn the old Kentuck Golf Course in North Bend into a habitat for Coho Salmon to help get the fish off the endangered species list.
“I appreciate your willingness to identify the needs our community has, but the social impacts of those investments do not add up. That investment is not enough to allow that kind of damage to our environment,” said Shannon Souza, a business owner in Coos Bay.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission just released an environmental draft statement acknowledging that while the project would have significant impacts on the environment, many of them could be reduced.
To get involved, the public comment period for this project is still open and will be until later this summer.
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