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Natural gas pipeline company hits pause button

Canadian-headquartered Pembina has paused its plans for a proposed natural gas pipeline and export facility in Southern Oregon. Concept drawing from Pembina
Pembina has been unable to secure needed permits

The Canadian company proposing a 229-mile underground natural gas pipeline and export facility in Southern Oregon notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this week it is pausing the project.

Canadian-headquartered Pembina has been unable to secure key state permits to carry out the project. The company wants to build the first natural gas export facility on the West Coast of the United States and ship Canadian and American gas to Asian markets.

Opponents of the project said Pembina’s pause on the project is exciting news.

“This is yet another piece of evidence that Jordan Cove LNG and the Pacific Connector Pipeline are on their way out, and we hope that they definitively cancel the project altogether so that our communities no longer live under the ongoing threat of this harmful project,” said Allie Rosenbluth, campaigns director for Rogue Climate.

Jordan Cove refers to the export project, and LNG is short for liquified natural gas.

Last week, Pembina asked FERC to withdraw consultation requests with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service so as not to waste those agencies’ resources. Pembina said it will inform FERC if the project resumes and restart the consultation process.

Pembina previously told an appeals court it is pausing the project. In March the company reported a $1.6 billion downgrade on the estimated financial value of the project, saying it "can sadly no longer predict with certainty“ when the project could be built.

The pipeline would cross through Klamath, Jackson, Douglas and Coos counties to reach an export facility north of Coos Bay.

Pembina has argued the $10 billion project would create jobs and pump money into Oregon’s economy. The company claims shipping more natural gas to Asia would reduce reliance on coal, which produces more greenhouse gas emissions than natural gas. The company says it has secured agreements to use land from property owners along the majority of the route.

Opponents say landowners who don’t want the pipeline crossing their property could face eminent domain. Opponents say building the pipeline and export facility would damage soil, forests, rivers and ocean habitat. They argue the project would increase global reliance on fossil fuels.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.