The $10 billion Jordan Cove project, which would be the first liquefied natural gas export terminal on the U.S. West Coast in the lower 48 states, was approved by federal regulators even as it faces intense local opposition.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission cleared Pembina Pipeline Corp.’s plan to construct a terminal in Oregon. The project would also include a 229-mile (369-kilometer) pipeline. But the proposal still needs a series of approvals from Oregon, which previously denied a water certificate and other permits.
The Trump administration has pushed gas exports as a means of promoting American energy to foreign allies, and FERC has given the go-ahead to about a dozen projects over the past year. The Oregon terminal would be in a prime location to ship LNG to Asia, the biggest consuming region. While tariffs have effectively halted U.S. cargoes to China, the phase-one trade agreement has raised hopes that the duties will ultimately be lifted. But the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has hammered global gas demand, threatening to derail U.S. LNG export projects.
Most of the project’s environmental impacts can be reduced with certain measures, FERC staff said in November. That hasn’t appeased environmental groups, which have campaigned for the proposed terminal to be scrapped. Earlier this year, Pembina withdrew an application for a removal-fill permit after Oregon denied its request for an extension on the decision.