What is it about Douglas Channel islands? Now a US agency has added a “Douglas Island”

US FERC Map of LNG terminals in North America
Map from the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission showing LNG export terminal projects in North America (FERC)

What is it about the islands in Douglas Channel? First, Enbridge gets in to a lot of hot water, so to speak, for erasing the islands in Douglas Channel in an animation promoting the Northern Gateway Pipeline.  See for example The Vancouver Sun on back on Aug. 16, 2012, when it picked up a story from the Times Colonist – Enbridge map sinks islands, angers critics.   The controversial video segment showed Douglas Channel wide open for navigation, rather than marked with about one thousand square kilometres of mountainous islands. Map of Douglas Channel Islands from Leadnow.ca This map, created by the Leadnow.ca and  Sumofus.org websites was widely used by the media to show the difference.  Enbridge later amended its video with a disclaimer that it is “broadly representational.” A video by Shortt and Epic Productions “This is Not An Enbridge animation” showing the beauty of northwestern BC quickly went viral.

As this was happening, the United States government Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a map that shows Liquified Natural Gas import and export terminals across North America, a map that adds an island to the Channel–“Douglas Island.”

In fact, the map manages to get a lot about Canadian LNG projects wrong. It locates the BC LNG project on the non-existent Douglas Island. The company’s name Douglas Channel Energy Partnership actually gives the proper location this way

 south of the Moon Bay Marina, within the District of Kitimat and the asserted traditional territory of the Haisla Nation. The site is approximately 10 km southwest of Kitimat and 7 km north of Bees Cove Indian Reserve 6 (Bish Cove)

The small cove where BCLNG will put its barges to create the LNG is often locally called North Cove.

The FERC map also misplaces the Shell LNG project, now known as LNGCanada, in Prince Rupert, even though Shell confirmed the Kitimat location on May 15, 2012. It also calls it Prince Rupert Island, although the town of Prince Rupert is actually located on Kaien Island.

The map does apparently get the KM LNG project somewhat correct, attributing it to Apache Canada, but leaving off Apache’s partners, Encana and EOG.

The map recently also appeared on the website of Oregon Public Broadcasting in an article Five Keys To The Pacific Northwest’s Natural Gas Export Debate by reporter Amelia Templeton, which outlines the growing controversy over the plans to export US LNG through Coos Bay, Oregon via the Jordan Cove Project.

It appears that in Oregon, the Coos Bay LNG project is becoming as controversial as the Northern Gateway project is in Canada.

The issues outlined by Templeton include the threat of expropriation (called “eminent domain” in the US and also a key issue in the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline on the plains).  There are arguments on jobs versus the environment, especially the perceived threat to wild rivers and salmon spawning grounds. Finally one issue that is lower on the agenda in northwestern BC but a big worry in Oregon, the potential for a devastating earthquake along the Cascadia fault.

During the NEB hearings on the KM LNG (Apache/EOG/Encana) project in June, 2011, many of the  “expert” witnesses urged that that first Kitimat project go ahead quickly because of perceived competition from Oregon.

Unlike in Oregon, LNG projects are generally perceived positively in the northwest and all three are going ahead, although not as quickly as originally planned due to market volatility among prime potential customers in Asia.


Oregon moves to block Jordan Cove LNG project

Energy LNG Politics

The state of Oregon has filed a motion with the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the American equivalent of the National Energy Board) to block, perhaps temporarily, the Jordan Cove Liquified Natural Gas project at Coos Bay,  Oregon. 

Experts at the June NEB hearings in Kitimat testified by the Jordan Cove could be Kitimat’s chief rival as an LNG terminal.

Like the plans for Kitimat in the early 2000s, the Jordan Cove facility was originally planned as an import terminal and the FERC eventually did issue a permit for the construction of the import terminal.

In the meantime, the natural gas market changed, with the growth in the hydraulic fracturing to retrieve gas from shale deposits. In September, the company involved, Jordan Cove LP applied to the Department  for authorization to export natural gas. At the time the company said it intended  to ask the Commission in early 2012  to amend its existing authorization to add export facilities.

On Dec. 2, 2011,  the Oregon Dept. Of  Justice filed a motion with the FERC to revoke the approval of the LNG terminal in Coos Bay and reopen the record so the state can submit evidence that a revised terminal proposal is not in the public interest.

Oregon wants the company to file  a new application, arguing that is  more appropriate than  amending of the import application.

The filing says:  “The facts demonstrate a change in core circumstances that goes to the very heart of the case. The heart of this case is whether the Jordan Cove LNG import terminal is in the public interest and the pipeline is required by public convenience and necessity….

Oregon wonders how the “additional imported natural gas supply”  would benefit the state and how that would outweigh  “the adverse impacts on private landowners and the environment.”

Oregon says that  “any benefit that may have existed when the import Project was proposed, no longer exists to offset the adverse impacts of the Project.”

The filing also argues that if the United States exports natural gas through Oregon that will increase domestic prices.  It also argues that there hasn’t been enough consideration about the  environmental impact of  the liquefaction facility.

“This is the right thing to do, to tell them we don’t accept this bait and switch with Jordan Cove,” said Dan Serres, an organizer with the conservation group Columbia Riverkeeper, told the Oregonian newspaper.

 Bob Braddock, project manager for Jordan Cove, told the Oregonian he wasn’t surprised by the filing,  claiming that Oregon Attorney General John Kroger has made no secret of his opposition to any LNG terminal since before he took office

 Braddock repeated arguments familiar to northwest BC from both the LNG and Enbridge Northern Gateway projects, saying the public interest in the pipeline and export terminal includes jobs, tax revenue and pipeline interconnections that would bring a better gas supply to southern Oregon.

 A few days earlier, on Nov. 22,  the  U.S. Fish and Wildlife filed a letter with the FERC, saying it was not being kept up to date about changes in plans by Jordan Cove for the LNG terminal and so could not fully assess the environmental impact.  The letter said the project’s mitigration plan had not been provided in sufficient detail and assurance about theit nature, location, effects and implementation.  The Fish and Wildlife Service also noted that the company had not addressed or supplied information on the impact the LNG project might have on the program to help the recovery of the Northern Spotted Owl population.   In fact, according to the Fish and Wildlife filing the plans were so inadequate that it wasn’t possible to begin formal consultations with company over environmental impacts.

Opponents of the project note that Oregon will probably have the final say on the project, since the terminal location is on state-owned land and the state must approve the leases.

Oregon motion to FERC to set aside order (pdf)

Fish and Wildlife Jordan Cove letter (pdf)

We’re not afraid of Kitimat, Oregon rivals say, as papers filed for LNG export terminal permit


The Jordan Cove Energy Project, often cited by energy industry experts as Kitimat’s chief west coast rival as a liquified natural gas export project,  sent a $50 filing fee to the United States Treasury on Friday,  thus notifying the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the company  is seeking to export liquified natural gas from its planned $3.5 billion terminal at Coos Bay, Oregon.

Although testimony at June’s National Energy Board hearings cited Coos Bay as a rival that could take LNG business away from Kitimat, the view from Oregon appears to be just the opposite.

545-jordancove.jpgJordan Cove project manager Robert Braddock told the industry newsletter, Platt’s Gas, that he is “not afraid of competition from the north, where Kitimat LNG is planning an export terminal in British Columbia. ‘We actually presume that Kitimat would be built,” Braddock said. “We assume that we would be built number two and we think there is plenty of room for two such facilities on the West Coast.’

Braddock also told Platt’s that Oregon is not a rival for BC or Alberta gas nor competition for LNG terminals in Louisiana and Maryland. “The principal difference is we have access to a different range of resources from both Canadian gas and US gas. But equally important is we would have certainly much closer access to the Asian markets,” he said.

The Oregonian newspaper reported that prospective customers in Asia for the Coos Bay project may be waiting to see what happens in Kitimat before signing on with Jordan Cove. Braddock told the Oregonian that the  company “is still testing the waters with potential customers, and won’t go ahead with the expensive and byzantine permitting process without firm commitments from terminal users.”

The pro forma initial application filed Friday informs the  US Department of Energy that company wants to export up natural gas to countries  that have a free trade agreements with the United States.  Similar to the National Energy Board hearings on KM LNG, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must now hold hearings on the export licence application.

In another similarity, a few years ago, the Kitimat  plans called for an LNG project to import gas. Jordan Cove received  approval in 2009 to build a terminal to import LNG and to build a 370 kilometre (280 mile) pipeline that would carry the gas to Malin, Oregon, on the California border.  

If the US Department of Energy approves the new application, the terminal would become an export, not an import, facility.

In another parallel with Kitimat, like the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project bitumen export proposal, the Coos Bay project has prompted stiff opposition for years. The Oregonian reports “landowners and environmentalists in the region mounted a fierce campaign to block three proposals to build LNG import terminals in Oregon, including the one in Coos Bay,” in the belief that the terminals and associated pipelines would harm forests, farms and salmon habitat.  The newspaper also says that local business groups and unions have supported the import projects, which would bring jobs and tax revenue.

An environmental lawyer, Susan Jane Brown, a staff attorney at the Western Environmental
Law Center, told Platt’s Gas she is still digesting the news, but that said the export
plan will likely rankle her clients, environmental organizations and
landowners. “It would be one thing to
import a good that would be used domestically. But exporting a
domestic product that they have long advocated that we need
domestically, it is a bait and switch,” she told Platt’s.

A powerful local politician, Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat  is skeptical of the idea of exporting LNG from the US and told the Oregonian: “I think it’s premature to conclude that the United States now has so much natural gas that it can afford to export it overseas…I think there ought to be a time-out on approving LNG exports until there is a better understanding of how much natural gas there is, whether it can be safely extracted, and what the impact on the U.S. economy would be from LNG exports.”

Sen. Wyden’s opposition is in stark contract with the various consultants and economists who testified at the Kitimat hearings in June which envisioned a totally integrated North American natural gas marketplace with pipes snaking all over the continent delivering the cheapest and most convenient gas to the nearest market.  Wyden’s remarks may be an indication that American politics could put the break on the ideal free market visions of the experts that were expressed before the NEB.

548-ruby logo.jpgSimilar to plans to take shale gas from the Horn River Formation in northeastern BC, Jordan Cove would tap into the Ruby Pipleline,  a  1,000 kilometre (680-mile), 42-inch diameter that would carry shale gas from the Rockies to a hub in Wyoming and then to Malin, Oregon to connect with the Jordan Cove pipeline there.

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