The besieged Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal proposed for Coos Bay, OR, faces yet another stumbling block.

The Oregon supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Paul Henson, wrote in a letter to FERC Tuesday that Jordan Cove needed additional information for a pipeline connector, the 15.2-mile-long Blue Ridge Variation. The alternative pipeline route is for the project’s Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline and included in the final environmental impact statement (EIS). 

The final EIS issued last December was backed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Blue Ridge alternative would reduce the impact on late-stage old growth forest, habitat for the marbled murrelet and northern spotted owl. In a letter earlier this month, FERC said the 2019 biological assessment for the pipeline contains the information necessary to reinitiate consultation required under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Henson said the information provided by FERC “is not adequate to identify and analyze the effects of the Blue Ridge Alternative route to listed species.” In addition, “the specific timing for reinitiation of consultation is contingent on additional action” by developer Pembina Pipeline Corp. and the Commission.

Jordan Cove would be capable of exporting up to 1.04 Bcf/d. The project as designed would include a pipeline gas conditioning facility, five liquefaction trains, two LNG storage tanks, a loading platform and transfer line, marine facilities and associated facilities.

The project has cleared a series of regulatory hurdles, but it has faced opposition since it was proposed by Veresen Inc., now part of Pembina. 

Jordan Cove would be the first gas export facility sited on the U.S. West Coast, where fossil fuel projects have faced staunch opposition. Oregon regulators have also denied other authorizations for the project, including a dredging permit and a water quality certification.

In early July the Department of Energy issued an export license. Earlier this year, FERC authorized the siting, construction and operation of the terminal. Given its location, the terminal could serve LNG buyers in Asia.

“There are few regions where it is more critical to advance energy security than in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Energy Secretary Secretary Dan Brouillette during a virtual signing of the export permit in July. He said countries that include India, Japan and South Korea are also dependent on Russia and the Middle East for gas imports. 

“If the United States can export LNG to the Asia-Pacific from our West Coast, we can help  those nations and others in the region reduce their reliance on countries that use energy as political leverage,” Brouilette said at the time.

The terminal needs to execute long-term supply contracts with global buyers, which have been increasingly difficult to secure in a market full of cheap gas. The developers of second wave LNG export facilities are also closely watching the battle to stop fossil fuel infrastructure elsewhere  in the United States, which could upend some of their projects if more pipelines are delayed or canceled.

Boston Consulting Group’s Alex Dewar, a senior manager for the Center for Energy Impact, recently told NGI that it has become “exceptionally challenging” to build fossil fuel infrastructure outside the Gulf Coast.