BEND — Betsy Spomer, president and CEO of Jordan Cove LNG, asked delegates to the OSBCTC convention to help her lobby Oregon’s Congressional delegation to support the proposed $6 billion private investment in Coos Bay.
“There is essentially silence from the federal (Congressional) delegation from Oregon,” Spomer said, noting that only U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader has publicly supported the project.
“We need your help to get these guys off the fence,” she emphasized. “… And I think the number one person we need is Sen. (Ron) Wyden.”
Veresen, a Calgary, Alberta, British Columbia-based company, wants to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal and supporting power plant and pipeline (Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline) on the North Spit in Coos Bay. It will be built with private funding under a project labor agreement (PLA) with the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council and the Northwest National Construction Alliance, which consists of the Carpenters Union and Operating Engineers Local 701. Construction is anticipated to span 42 months, with an average workforce of 900, and a peak workforce of approximately 2,100.
Spomer says the project has support from the community, unions, the county, and other local institutions.
But in March, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied Jordan Cove LNG’s applications to build and operate the terminal and the pipeline. The company has filed for a rehearing. Spomer expects a decision on that will come no later than October.
Spomer told delegates the biggest weakness in their case is lack of Congressional support.
“I think that’s what it’s going to take if we’re going to turn this thing around,” she said.
Speaking at the convention the following day, Sen. Wyden said he did what he promised he would do—and that was to let the process play itself out.
“On the export question, I know passions run really strong on this,” Wyden said. “Both sides are weighing in with everything they’ve got. We’ve got strong supporters, strong opponents—it spreads all across the political spectrum.”
Wyden told delegates that when he was chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Secretary of Energy was planning to go on hiatus for a couple of years after having initiated a number of energy projects in other states.
“I said you’re not going to do that to the people of Oregon,” Wyden recounted. “You’re not going to cut off the opportunity for us to really make the case—both pro and con.”
Wyden said he lobbied appointees to the Energy Department, asking them to give Oregon the chance to make it’s case — and to not cut off the application process.
“I pinned every one of them down,” he said.
Wyden’s request was granted.
“I have told both sides, that I will work with you every step of the way—it’s now in the FERC process,” he said.