Jordan Cove LNG Terminal Land Use Hearing
Oregon Shores earlier won a temporary “victory” in our battle to block the LNG (liquefied natural gas) export journal proposed for Jordan Cove on Coos Bay’s north spit. The Jordan Cove Energy Project (a branch of Canadian corporation Veresen) had persuaded Coos County to reissue all the land use approvals the company received six years ago when the project was to be an LNG import facility. Oregon Shores, represented by attorney Courtney Johnson through our Coastal Law Project (a partnership with the Crag Law Center), argued that an export facility is very different and poses more severe impacts. After arguments before a hearings officer, Jordan Cove withdrew its application, obviously seeing that we would win the appeal.
Jordan Cove has now come back with a somewhat more comprehensive application, seeking the county’s approval for Conditional Use, Compliance Determination and Floodplain Development applications for the new project. Again represented by Courtney Johnson, Oregon Shores argues that the county’s comprehensive plan, zoning ordinance and estuary management plans don’t contemplate a major project like this on the North Spit, dramatically impacting the Coos Bay estuary, and simply won’t accommodate the project. We argue that the company’s application doesn’t come close to addressing the real risks the facility poses both to human health and safety and to the ecological health of the estuary.
We also contend that the applicant does not come close to demonstrating a public benefit sufficient to justify the interference with “public trust rights”—such as navigation, harvesting (crabs, oysters and so forth) and recreation—that the project and subsequent LNG shipping would create. For instance, LNG tankers require wide safety zones which would seriously interfere with the passage of fishing boats and other shipping on the bay. We do not believe that the desire of a Canadian corporation to ship fracked gas to China through Coos Bay outweighs the impacts to the estuarine environment and to local uses of the estuary.
We further note that the applicant has failed to adequately address the risks of developing a dangerous facility directly opposite the North Bend airport, and the risks of potential flooding at the site.