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FERC approves LNG terminal, governor to appeal

By Jeff Bernard
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GRANTS PASS, Ore.—Federal regulators approved construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal on Coos Bay on Thursday, and the governor and conservationists said they would try to reverse the decision and were ready to go to federal court if necessary.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted 3-1 in Washington, D.C., to approve the Jordan Cove project.

Ships would deliver the super-cooled gas to a terminal to be built on the North Spit of Coos Bay. The gas would be distributed through a new 230-mile pipeline, also approved by the council, that would cross the bay and hundreds of rivers and creeks to connect with existing networks serving Oregon, Northern California and northern Nevada.

"The bottom line is there are a lot of environmental impacts to this," said Leslie Adams of Rogue Riverkeeper, a conservation group. "There is no demonstrated need to import fossil fuels when domestic reserves have been discovered and are a lot cheaper than importing this from foreign countries."

Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Attorney General John Kroger said they would formally ask the commission to reconsider, and appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals if necessary, as they have already done with another LNG terminal approved by FERC at Bradwood Landing on the lower Columbia River.

"Today's decision by FERC does not address Oregon's very real concerns about the environmental impact of the pipeline," Kulongoski said in a statement. "The
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information guiding this decision is woefully inadequate to license a project with such profound potential impacts on the lives of Oregonians."

Jordan Cove Energy Project, LP, still must buy the terminal site and secure some state and federal permits. The group's Web site says the terminal will employ 60 people, and construction of the pipeline will employ about 450 people over more than three years.