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Tasha Cadotte

Tasha Cadotte

You may have recently seen or heard the names Pembina and its Jordan Cove Project as we’ve opened new offices and launched an information campaign on the South Coast and across Southern Oregon.

Pembina has served parts of North America’s energy industry for more than 60 years, and we’re excited for this opportunity to finally put down some roots and invest in Oregon.

Pembina talks about “roots” because we approach opportunities like this differently than many companies. Our investments are significant, and our horizons are long. So, 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.

Jordan Cove is engaged in a complex and rigorous permitting process on the federal, state and local levels. Recently, the lead federal agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and a state agency, Oregon Department of State Lands (ODSL) each separately announced some minor delays in their respective authorization processes.

As the project applicant, we wanted to let Jordan Cove supporters and watchers alike know what these delays mean. They mean that we are still moving forward on these adjusted timeframes and we are still on track.

FERC announced a delay of just over a month in our federal permitting process due to the partial government shutdown. While the updated FERC schedule won’t impact our projected goal of first export by 2024, we feel confident that all cooperating agencies recognize the importance of their original schedules.

We continue to work collaboratively and transparently with all relevant federal and state agencies, as we move through the permitting process for the project. We look forward to FERC’s publication of our Draft Environmental Impact Statement at the earliest possible date and taking the next steps toward approval, confident that the merits of our application will generate a favorable FERC permitting decision by early January 2020.

Six-month review extension

You may also have heard that Oregon Department of State Lands’ (ODSL) requested an additional six months to review our application. The extent of our DSL application is considerable, as would be expected for a project of this size and cannot reasonably be assessed and processed in the standard DSL timeline.

Additionally, DSL must review all comments received during the comment period including substantively positive statements from a majority of the landowners along our proposed pipeline route, and a majority of the elected leaders in the four Project counties.

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.

Those 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.

For the public process and the issues that matter, we think this extension is a good thing and remain 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.

Project momentum

Of course, some will try to distort the DSL extension and predict it as some sort of project doomsday. Respecting everyone’s right to their opinion, attempting to put that spin on these facts is both misguided and dishonest, and shows a lack of understanding of the process and the significant momentum Jordan Cove has gained over the past year.

We continue to enjoy significant progress on the Project by building trusting relationships with the 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, landowners in Oregon and customers overseas.

Jordan Cove has developed plans to invest $100 million in environmental protection, including reconnecting more than 100 acres of estuary and freshwater floodplain to restore endangered Coho salmon habitat lost long ago and support delisting as an endangered species.

With landowner cooperation, we’re also exploring ways to preserve old growth forest and wildlife habitat. Working with service providers and non-profits throughout Southern Oregon, we’ve placed more than $600,000 in grants with local organizations that are helping people just like you, or someone you know.

Cultural Resources Agreement

Recently, we entered into an innovative Cultural Resources Protection Agreement with one of the Oregon Tribes, which underscores our commitment to protecting cultural resources as an essential part of the project.

This agreement outlines how we will work cooperatively with the Tribe to ensure protection of their cultural resources and supports their 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 cultural resource protection agreements as part of our ongoing dialogue with Tribes.

And we continue to make enormous progress in reaching agreements with the many landowners all along our proposed pipeline route, signing more agreements with landowners 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. This is the ‘Pembina Way’.

So you see, some administrative delays are far from fatal in the big picture of a project that’s this good for Oregon. The momentum is positive and the focus and diligence by regulators well-placed.

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 the manager for communication and community affairs for Jordan Cove LNG.

Gerry OBrien, Editor