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NOAA finds new LNG pipeline in Oregon will not endanger protected species

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Fisheries department has ruled that the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline in Oregon, US does not jeopardise protected species or adversely change their habitat.

NOAA Fisheries issued the final biological opinion on construction and operation of the Jordan Cove terminal in Coos Bay, Oregon, and the associated 229-mile Pacific Connector LNG pipeline.

“NOAA’s opinion on Jordan Cove will pave the way for more American jobs and vastly expanded exports of domestically sourced liquefied natural gas to prized Asian markets,” said secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross. “The speed of this decision was only made possible by recent reforms to the infrastructure permitting process, while still allowing the relevant authorities ample time to determine that no species or critical habitat would be jeopardised.”

The pipeline will connect the Jordan Cove terminal to other major pipelines in the West, linking it to gas supplies across the US and Canada. The terminal in Coos Bay is expected to be capable of liquefying up to 1.04 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day for export to global markets.

The biological opinion considered the effects of construction and operation of the terminal and pipeline on 17 species listed under the Endangered Species Act and their critical habitats. The affected species include whales, sea turtles, salmon and other fish species.

NOAA Fisheries determined that impacts on the species and their habitat would take place only in the short-term or on small scales, and would be dispersed across approximately 250 miles.

Jordan Cove operator Pembina Pipeline committed to best management practices that would reduce effects on listed species, and proposed mitigation measures that will benefit species in the long-term.

These measures include restoration of at least 72 acres of tidelands and 2.7 acres of freshwater floodplain that provide habitat for protected salmon and other species. Pembina has also agreed to establish at least 2.7 acres of eelgrass habitat.

Additional measures would restore and improve freshwater habitat at 60 sites along the pipeline route, including placement of large wood in streams, riparian vegetation planting and fencing, fish passage improvement, and road improvements that will reduce delivery of fine sediment to streams.