Programs

Jordan Cove Energy Project L.P. proposes to construct a liquefied natural gas export facility on 500 acres of the North Spit across the Coos Bay from the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport. The facility would have the capacity to export up to 7.8 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas per year. Pembina, the parent company and applicant, also proposes to build a natural gas pipeline called the Pacific Connector between the Jordan Cove facility and Malin in Klamath County. The approximately 229-mile, 36-inch diameter pipeline’s capacity would be up to one billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. 
 

Background 

Latest updates

May 2019

DEQ issues a decision on a water quality certification for the Jordan Cove project
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued a decision on Jordan Cove’s application for a Section 401 Water Quality Certification.  The certification is required for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue permits for the project.

DEQ’s decision is to deny the requested certification at this time.  However, DEQ’s action is being made “without prejudice.”  This means that the applicant may reapply for the certification, and submit additional information that could result in a different decision.

If Jordan Cove resubmits an application along with information addressing DEQ’s concerns, DEQ will work to keep the timing of its review in line with the overall federal schedule for the project, but this will depend on the applicant submitting the requested information in a timely manner.

DEQ had expected to make its decision on certification in September of this year.  However, DEQ accelerated the schedule and is making a decision now in order to assure that it does not unintentionally waive Oregon’s authority to review the water quality impacts of the proposed project. The Corps initially instructed DEQ to complete its review by May 7, 2019.  However, last fall the Corps extended that date to Sept. 24, 2019 following the applicant’s withdrawal and resubmittal of its application.  Recent federal court and agency decisions have raised significant questions about whether this extension was valid. As a result, DEQ is making a decision by the date initially provided by the Corps – May 7, 2019.

DEQ is denying the requested water quality certification at this time because there is insufficient information to demonstrate compliance with water quality standards, and because the available information shows that some standards are more likely than not to be violated. Through further analysis, and possibly through project changes and mitigation, the applicant may be able to show the standards for certification will be met, but the current record does not allow DEQ to reach that conclusion today. 

DEQ’s specific concerns, among others, include:
  • Expected effects of the construction and operation of the proposed pipeline and associated road and work areas on water temperature and sediment in streams and wetlands
  • The risk of release of drilling materials from the construction of the proposed crossing of the Coos Bay estuary

DEQ requested additional information from Jordan Cove in September 2018, December 2018 and March 2019 relevant to the project’s effect on water quality. Jordan Cove has provided some, but not all, of the information requested.
 
 

More on the 401 Water Quality Certification process

 

Previous updates

Permits

DEQ expects to receive a number of additional permit applications from Jordan Cove in the next year or two that will involve various aspects of the project from construction to wastewater management, and landfill closures on the North Spit of Coos Bay. As part of the permit review process, DEQ will hold public comment periods and in many cases informational meetings and public hearings.

The status of those permit applications is below. Check this page for regular updates throughout the permit review process. Information on the public involvement process for each permit is included in the chart called DEQ Estimated Permits Schedule in the Documents section below.
 

Permit applications

Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, DEQ has the authority to certify whether federally permitted activities that may result in a discharge to state waters comply with applicable water quality standards.

Project activities that have potential water quality impacts include those associated with dredging, filling in wetlands, excavating, clearing the pipeline corridor, drilling, stabilizing site soil to prevent ground movement during earthquakes, and managing post construction stormwater runoff.

DEQ and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened a 60-day comment period on a Section 401 Water Quality Certification application from the Jordan Cove Energy Project. The comment period closed at 5 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2018.
 
View the full public notice in the documents section below for details on the comment process.

DEQ will review and consider all comments on the application received during the public comment period. DEQ may request additional information requests from the applicant. DEQ will use the application material to develop an evaluation findings report and draft certification decision. DEQ may issue the draft certification decision on the project as proposed, issue the certification with conditions, or deny the certification.

Next steps:

  • DEQ will draft an evaluation and findings report and decide whether to draft a 401 Water Quality Certification or deny the certification.
  • DEQ will hold a separate public comment period on its proposed determination.
  • DEQ’s will also hold public meetings and public hearings at multiple locations during the public comment period.
  • DEQ will evaluate and summarize public comments in its evaluation report before making a final determination.
 
DEQ recently submitted two information requests to Jordan Cove on its 401 Water Quality Certification application. The requests seek information about drilling under rivers or trenching through rivers along the pipeline route and about land use. DEQ has also asked Jordan Cove to provide a timeline for when it can fulfill the requests.
 
See the Document Section to review the information request and applicant responses.

The Air Quality Program received an air contaminant discharge permit application for the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas facility and an air contaminant discharge permit modification application for the Pacific Connector pipeline compressor station. Air Contaminant Discharge Permits primarily regulate minor sources of air contaminant emissions, but are also required for any new major source or major modification at a major source. DEQ will review the application materials and begin drafting permits.

When DEQ finishes drafting a permit for the liquefied natural gas facility and a permit modification for the compressor station, DEQ will hold separate public comment periods and hearings. The air quality liquefied natural gas facility public hearing will be held in Coos Bay and the air quality compression station public hearing will be held in Malin.

​Jordan Cove has a permitted landfill with three cells on the North Spit (Solid Waste Permit No. 1142). Jordan Cove is developing plans to close the landfill, which would require revised Operations, Conceptual Closure and Post-Closure Care plans under its current permit. In April 2018, DEQ received those revised plans from Jordan Cove.
 
In July 2018, DEQ approved the revised Operations, Conceptual Closure and Post-Closure Care plans. See the documents section below.
 
Under the 2018 Operations Plan, Cells 2 and 3 would no longer receive new waste. In addition, the 2018 Conceptual Closure Plan and Post-Closure Care Plan for both Cells 2 and 3 have changed. Under the new plans, Cell 3 will no longer be closed and capped. Instead, waste would be removed from inside the liner in two phases. In the first phase, some waste would be removed and taken to a permitted landfill off site. In the second phase, the remaining waste and the liner would also be removed and disposed of off site. Any removal in the second phase will be reviewed and approved as part of the closure permit. The Conceptual Closure Plan for Cell 2 is not changing. That cell will be closed and capped.
 
Next steps:
DEQ is waiting for revised plans from Jordan Cove to draft the closure permit. Jordan Cove prepared a dewatering plan to reduce the amount of liquid from the bottom of Cell 3. The information gathered under the dewatering plan will help Jordan Cove finalize its closure plans. DEQ approved the dewatering plan in March 2019. See the Document Section for a copy of the plan and DEQ’s approval letter.
Jordan Cove needs stormwater permits for:
  • Its liquefied natural gas facilities on the North Spit of Coos Bay
  • The Trans Pacific Lane road improvements for the road into the facility from Highway 101
  • The Kentuck mitigation site in Coos County
  • The former Al Pierce Lumber Co. site in North Bend
  • The Pacific Connector pipeline from Malin to the North Spit terminal
DEQ requires National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits for stormwater discharges to surface waters from construction and industrial activities and municipalities if stormwater from rain or snowmelt leaves a site through a "point source" and reaches surface waters either directly or through storm drainage. Projects that disturb more than one acre of land are required to obtain a 1200-C permit.
 
Next Steps:
DEQ is reviewing the 1200-C stormwater permit application for the Pacific Connector pipeline project to see if there is sufficient information to proceed.
A Water Pollution Control Facilities permit is needed to manage the land application of the spent hydrostatic testing water. Hydrostatic testing will be used to check for leaks during the construction of the Pacific Connector pipeline. The spent water will be land applied in several locations along the pipeline route.
 
Next Steps:
DEQ is reviewing the application to determine if there is sufficient information to proceed.
Jordan Cove is planning to treat industrial and domestic wastewater from its facilities on the North Spit. DEQ will require Jordan Cove to seek a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit to manage the wastewater using a new wastewater treatment system. 
 
Next Steps:
DEQ is reviewing the application to determine if there is sufficient information to proceed.
 

Environmental Impact Statements

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
FERC released the draft Environmental Impact Statement, which evaluates the potential environmental effects of the Jordan Cove project, on March 29, 2019. DEQ will provide comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement by the comment deadline, July 5, 2019. The draft Environmental Impact Statement can be found on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission website under Jordan Cove Energy Project LP, docket number CP17-495-000, and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline LP, docket number CP17-494-000.
 
DEQ will post links to the draft and final Environmental Impact Statements when they become available
 
Port of Coos Bay
The Port of Coos Bay proposes deepening the navigation channel in the bay to 45 feet and widening it to 450 feet from the ocean entrance to approximately River Mile 8.2 past Jordan Cove proposed facilities. The project would require the dredging and disposal of approximately 18 million cubic yards of sand and rock to a proposed ocean disposal site. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the lead agency on this project. The corps will draft a separate Environmental Impact Statement and the Port of Coos Bay will draft and submit its joint permit application to DEQ. The Corps anticipates the draft Environmental Impact Statement being released in March 2020.

 

Documents

​Contacts

For more information about DEQ's role in the proposed Jordan Cove Energy Project, call Mary Camarata, Project Coordinator, at 541-687-7435.
 
Members of the media should contact Katherine Benenati at 541-686-7997. 
 

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