The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave new life to the Jordan Cove LNG project that's viewed as a lifeline to exporting Colorado's vast natural gas supplies.
On a 2-1 vote Thursday, federal regulators approved the Coos Bay terminal and the 230-mile Pacific Connector Pipeline, a controversial project in Oregon that still faces challenges over its impact and need.
“Today’s announcement is outstanding news for the Western Slope, and the jobs it will bring to Colorado should be welcomed by the entire Colorado congressional delegation,” U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Yuma, said in a statement.
A longtime advocate for the project, Gardner noted that Jordan Cove would be the first LNG export facility on the West Coast and provide a gateway for Colorado producers to overseas markets.
"Jordan Cove will create more high-paying jobs and generate more revenue for our counties, schools and roads in Colorado," Gardner stated. "Exporting Colorado’s responsibly produced natural gas to our allies abroad, specifically in the Indo-Pacific region, will promote global stability and advance America’s national security by increasing our allies’ energy independence and decreasing their vulnerability to the influence of OPEC and Russia, in line with the Indo-Pacific energy strategy in my Asia Reassurance Initiative Act."
If it can clear the rest of its hurdles and challenges, the Pacific Connector Pipeline would bring natural gas from Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico basins to the terminal.
“This could mean construction jobs and operational jobs in Western Colorado, as well as an opportunity to lower emissions in Asia via Colorado’s highly regulated natural gas industry," said Chelsie Miera, executive director of the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association. "Responsible, Colorado-based natural gas can improve global energy security, particularly for countries that otherwise must rely on Russia, China or OPEC nations for their energy.
"We are hopeful that the state of Oregon will recognize the need now for this project and to give the final regulatory approvals to move forward. We are proud and excited to provide reliable energy in markets who need it while creating jobs and local tax revenues in a time we can’t take any of that for granted.”
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, for example, denied a water quality certification for the project last month.
The dissenting commissioner in Thursday's vote, Richard Glick, said the project violates the Natural Gas Act and the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to account for the the impact greenhouse gas emissions will have on climate change. He said they would significantly impact 20 threatened and endangered species.
Pembina Pipeline Corp., the Canadian energy company behind the project, would not comment on how it plans to secure Oregon state permits.
"The approval emphasizes yet again that Jordan Cove is environmentally responsible and is a project that should be permitted given a prudent regulatory and legal process was undertaken," Harry Andersen, Pembina's senior vice president and chief legal officer, told the Associated Press Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.