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Jordan Cove LNG Ship Channel Assessed by Feds

The U.S. Army Corp.s of Engineers (USACE) is reviewing plans for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal along the south-central coast of Oregon in Coos Bay.

Jordan Cove LNG backers and USACE recently agreed on a funding mechanism for underwriting the federal agency's work reviewing the potential effects on Coos Bay from export shipments.

The permitting movement is viewed favorably by the project backers after last month's delay until June by FERC for completing the project's draft environmental impact statement (see Daily GPIFeb. 9).

The shipping channel at the international port in Coos Bay is regulated by the federal government. "This work is both totally anticipated and viewed as very positive," said Bob Braddock, Jordan Cove project manager.

The USACE Portland District said it is seeking public comments on its plan to accept the funds from the Coos Bay international port, which in turn collects the money from the applicants seeking to develop the export facilities.

USACE will ultimately review the Jordan Cove project's request to construct a marine slip at the proposed LNG terminal on the bay side of the north spit of Coos Bay, along with an access channel from the federal channel to the LNG loading terminal. Known as a Section 408 review, the federal agency is supposed to determine if any current or upcoming USACE-authorized civil works projects might be affected by the proposed marine slip and access channel.

"The 408 process is one of those necessary steps that tends to be overlooked, but it is a necessary step in securing the USACE permit required to construct the Jordan Cove slip and access channel," Braddock said, adding that it is sometimes hard to "get the USACE's attention" to get the work done. "A multi-step process and the funding agreement is usually what holds up moving things along."

Part of the requirements for USACE to seek public comments on the plan for moving ahead stems from the need for the Army Department, of which the Corps is part, to ensure that third-party funding does not impact the impartiality of the eventual assessment by USACE.

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