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.
- Decision Letter, May 6, 2019
- Evaluations and Findings Report, May 6, 2019
- Additional information request dated Sept. 7, 2018
- Additional information request dated Sept. 25, 2018
- Supplemental information request dated Dec. 20, 2018
- Additional information request dated Mar. 11, 2019
- Additional information request dated Mar. 13, 2019
- JCEP response dated Oct. 8, 2018
- JCEP response dated Oct. 25, 2018
- JCEP response dated Jan. 22, 2019
- JCEP response dated Feb. 20, 2019
- JCEP Response Cover Letter dated April 1, 2019
- JCEP Response Attachment A dated April 1, 2019
- JCEP Response Attachment B dated April 1, 2019
- JCEP Response Attachment C dated April 1, 2019
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.
Jordan Cove submitted several permit applications in early 2019:
- National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Stormwater application for the proposed Pacific Connector Pipeline
- Water Pollution Control Facility application for hydrostatic water testing of the proposed pipeline
- National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Wastewater application for the proposed liquid natural gas facility
DEQ is reviewing whether Jordan Cove and the Pacific Connector Pipeline have submitted all required information for each application.
Jordan Cove also submitted a dewatering plan for a pilot study aimed at reducing the liquid in the landfill’s Cell 3 on the South Dune site on the North Spit of Coos Bay. DEQ has approved the dewatering plan for the site, which was formerly a mill.
After conducting a preliminary review of the 401 Water Quality Certification application, DEQ requested more information from the applicant. The applicant provided a response to DEQ’s September 2018 request on Oct. 8, 2018.
DEQ asked for additional information on how the project will comply with state and federal water quality standards and information on how the project could affect beneficial uses of ground and surface water. DEQ found that many of Jordan Cove’s responses did not fully address the September information request. On Dec.20, 2018, DEQ requested more detailed information and clarification for Jordan Cove’s response. The supplemental data request, which is in the documents section below, provides comments and clarifies the information the applicant needs to provide to meet certification requirements. DEQ has asked the applicant to provide the additional information by Jan. 22, 2019.
401 Water Quality Certification application
The Jordan Cove Energy Project has withdrawn and resubmitted its application for the project’s 401 Water Quality Certification. DEQ was awaiting additional information from the applicant that it needed to make a decision on the application. The applicant chose to withdraw and resubmit the application to restart the review period, as allowed under state and federal rules. See the documents section below for a copy of the DEQ’s letter acknowledging the new review schedule.
DEQ will complete its analysis of the certification once it receives all necessary information.
Additional information request
DEQ sent an information request on the Post Construction Stormwater Management Plan for the LNG facility on Sept. 25, 2018. See the documents section below for a copy of the information request.
DEQ is reviewing more than 43,000 comments it received from members of the public and tribal representatives on the Section 401 Water Quality Certification application during the comment period, which closed on Aug. 20, 2018. (You can learn more below about the 401 Water Quality Certification process and other DEQ programs.)
DEQ has conducted a preliminary review of the 401 Water Quality Certification application. As part of its review, DEQ is requesting more information from the applicant including additional information on how the project will comply with state and federal water quality standards and information on how the project could affect beneficial uses of ground and surface water. DEQ has asked the applicant by Oct. 7, 2018 to provide the information or a schedule to provide the information.
As DEQ continues its review of the application material and the public comments, it may develop additional information requests. See the documents section for a copy of the information request.
DEQ has extended by 30 days the public comment period on an application from the Jordan Cove Energy Project. DEQ received a large number of public requests for an extension.
DEQ’s public comment period on the Section 401 Water Quality Certification application was originally set to close on July 21, 2018. It will now close on Aug. 20, 2018.
Written comments on the application related to water quality must be received at DEQ by 5 p.m. on Aug. 20. Written comments may be emailed to JCEP401PublicComment@deq.state.or.us
, faxed to 541-686-7551 or mailed to Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, 165 E. 7th Ave, Suite 100, Eugene, Oregon 97401, Attn: 401 Water Quality Certification Project Manager, Chris Stine.
On May 22, 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 will close at 5 p.m. on July 22, 2018. Update: DEQ will now accept comments through Aug. 20.
The certification is required through DEQ for any federally licensed or permitted projects that may result in a discharge into navigable waters. Specifically, the certification ensures that work permitted under a federal Clean Water Act Section 404 Dredge/Fill Permit will meet the state’s water quality standards. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues the Section 404 Dredge/Fill Permit.
DEQ will review and consider all comments on the application received during the public comment period. Following this review, DEQ may request additional information 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.
Once a draft certification decision is developed, DEQ will conduct an additional public comment period, during which the public will have an opportunity to provide comments prior to the draft decision documents – evaluation findings report and certification.
Written comments on the application related to water quality must be received at DEQ by 5 p.m. on July 22, 2018.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality,
165 E. 7th Ave, Suite 100,
Eugene, Oregon 97401,
Attn: 401 Water Quality Certification Project Manager, Chris Stine.
You may also view documents or download documents to your electronic device at one of DEQ’s offices below. While not required, scheduling an appointment will ensure that water quality documents are readily accessible during your visit. To schedule an appointment please call one of the offices listed below.
- Northwest Regional Office - 700 NE Multnomah St, Suite 600 Portland, OR 97232-4100
- Phone Number: 503-229-5263; Toll free in Oregon: 800-452-4011
- Eugene Office – 165 E. 7th Ave., Suite 100, Eugene, OR 97401
- Phone Number: 541-686-7838; Toll free in Oregon: 800- 844-8467
- Coos Bay Office - 381 N Second St., Coos Bay, OR 97420
- Phone Number: 541-269-2721, ext. 0
- Medford Office - 221 Stewart Ave., Suite 201, Medford, OR 97501
- Phone Number: 541-776-6010; Toll free in Oregon: 877-823-3216
- Salem Office - 4026 Fairview Industrial Drive SE, Salem, OR 97302
- Phone Number: 503-378-8240; Toll free in Oregon: 800-349-7677
The applicant has placed documents in public libraries at the following locations:
- Coos Bay Public Library (Coos County) - 525 Anderson Ave. CB, OR 97420
- Sutherlin Library (Douglas County) – 210 E Centrall Street, Sutherlin, OR 97479
- Winston Library (Douglas County) – 440 SE Grape Ave, Winston, OR 97496
- Jackson County Library Service (Jackson County) – 205 South Central Ave, Medford, OR 97507
- Klamath County Library Service (Klamath County) – 126 South Third Street, Klamath Falls, OR 97601
Soil and groundwater samples are being collected on the North Spit of Coos Bay to determine the extent of historical contamination. The site, where Jordan Cove plans to build its safety center and office building, is a former Weyerhaeuser Corporation Mill Site referred to as the South Dunes site. Jordan Cove plans to use the information to help them determine whether additional cleanup is needed before the site is developed.
Approximately 94 borings will be drilled to collect soil and groundwater samples. The field work began on Jan. 29, 2018 and is expected to take about three weeks. The report with the sample results will be completed by late spring.
Soil and groundwater samples may be analyzed for diesel and gasoline, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls and metals.
A number of environmental studies have already taken place at the site. In 2006, DEQ issued a conditional no further action determination to restrict future use of the site to industrial uses. The site is listed in DEQ’s Environmental Contamination Site Investigation database under the Site Identification No. 1083.
A copy of the South Dunes Site Investigation Work Plan and Site-Specific Safety Plan is in the Documents section below. DEQ is awaiting the report on the sample results for the soil and groundwater investigation.
Jordan Cove submitted a Joint Permit Application to the U.S. Corps of Engineers, and DEQ that describes potential environmental impacts associated with the project including dredging, filling in wetlands, excavating, drilling and stabilizing soil to prevent ground movement during earthquakes, and managing post construction stormwater runoff.
The Corps and DEQ will hold a 60-day public comment period on the application once the Corps deems the application complete.
More information on DEQ’s role in the removal/fill process, known officially as a 401 Water Quality Certification, is in the permits section below.
DEQ has received air contaminant discharge permit applications for the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas facility on the North Spit in Coos County, and for the Pacific Connector compressor station near Malin in Klamath County.