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Douglas County court nullifies key Jordan Cove Energy Project permit

January 24, 2019

A Douglas County judge nullified a key Jordan Cove Energy Project natural gas pipeline permit Wednesday, raising questions about the future of the project.

Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Johnson reversed the county’s prior decisions to extend a conditional use permit for the pipeline to be built on a 7-mile stretch of county forestland, according to Stacy McLaughlin, a local landowner and chief petitioner on the lawsuit.

Johnson said former Douglas County Planning Director Keith Cubic and the Board of Commissioners violated county law by issuing an extension on Dec. 20, 2016 — and again on Dec. 8, 2017 — after the permit expired on Dec. 10, 2016, McLaughlin said.

The permit was initially approved by the county on Dec. 10, 2009. County law requires construction to begin within two years of permit approval. The county granted seven one-year extensions to the permit after the construction failed to begin.

County commissioners Tim Freeman and Chris Boice could not be reached for comment.

“At this point there’s no pipeline,” McLaughlin said. “If there’s no pipeline, there’s no Jordan Cove export terminal. It’s huge.”

Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, LP — the permit holder for the project — has the option to appeal the decision or apply for a new permit.

Story will be updated. Look for more in Thursday’s News-Review.