Jordan Cove: 'The worst could be very catastrophic'

COOS BAY, Ore. -- With a project the size of Jordan Cove, not everyone is happy about the idea.

One of the biggest concerns is public safety.

If approved, Jordan Cove will export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, from the Jordan Cove LNG Terminal in Coos Bay.

Jordan Cove says they have measures in place to be used in the event of an emergency, but some wonder if they're enough.

Mary Geddry is one of those concerned citizens. "It's impossible in this circumstance to plan and prepare for the worst, and the worst could be very catastrophic," she said.

Earthquakes and tsunamis seem to be the biggest concern.

Project officials say they're required to build the facilities up 30% higher than the largest wave created by a magnitude 9 earthquake.

Michael Murphy from Coos County Emergency Management says the project designers have taken that into consideration. "Their tsunami inundation shows that it would be high enough, and there's no reason to doubt that data," Murphy said.

Barriers would surround the tanks that could hold all of the liquid in the event of a leak.

But Murphy says the liquid would dissipate into the air if it got out. "A concern for people as well? Breathing it in? No. It's not toxic," Murphy said. "It can displace oxygen in really high concentrations, but it's not toxic in and of itself."

Jordan Cove also plans to build a fire and safety complex, staffed with a full time emergency response team from local agencies.

But opponents say they don't think that's enough. "Who knows with a 9.0 how the landscape is going to change, there's no way to really anticipate that," said Geddry.

Jordan Cove is still waiting for approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an approval that only comes if safety and security is addressed.