The Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) last Friday dismissed a challenge to one of the local permits issued for the development of the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) project and related interstate-connecting pipeline. The appeal dealt with one of three Coos County permits issued to the LNG project — this one being for development of the marine docking facilities.

Opponents of the LNG project who made the appeal can still take their case to the Oregon Appeals Court, but project backers told NGI Monday they were unsure whether that would happen. An earlier LUBA remand of another county permit for development of the LNG terminal site has been appealed to the appellate court by the opponents (see Daily GPI, July 21).

In the meantime, Jordan Cove backers cannot move forward to correct the county permit deficiencies for the site until the appeals court takes action, which should be by the end of the year, according to Bob Braddock, project manager for Jordan Cove Energy, a limited partnership between an affiliate of Alberta-based Fort Chicago Energy Partners LP and Energy Projects Development LLC.

Separately, Braddock said the company expects the federal draft environmental impact statement from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff to be released before the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

The marine docking facilities land-use permit was challenged, but from LUBA’s standpoint now the appeal process is closed and the county’s position was upheld, Braddock said. “That’s good news, but the opponents could appeal LUBA’s decision up to the Oregon Appeals Court. We don’t think they will, but you never know.”

LUBA’s earlier remand of the site land-use permit cited problems in the permitting process by Coos County for failing to take into account some “archaeological and environmental concerns.” Board members disagreed with LNG project opponents on several issues, but they agreed that the county needed to review its conclusions, including whether there are wetlands involved in the area proposed for the terminal. Braddock said LUBA upheld four parts of the permit, but sent back three other areas for revision.

At that time an attorney for the principal opposition group challenging the county permit, Southern Oregon Pipeline Information Project, said if Coos County attempts to correct the permit, it will take a lot more time and work. As it stands, the county permit would not allow the project proponents to resolve disputes with local Native American tribes regarding archaeological sites, the critics said, and LUBA agreed with them.

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