A long-planned, controversial Southern Oregon fracked gas pipeline project was dealt a major setback on Monday, spurring celebration from the many groups who oppose it. One group of Oregonians who are particularly relieved: The Native American community living on the land the pipeline's slated to plow through.

As OPB reported Monday, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) denied a key permit for the proposed Jordan Cove LNG (liquified natural gas) project, which would include a 230-mile pipeline that would cut right through Coos Bay. That pipeline, which would transport fracked gas from Canada, would also run under tribal land belonging to the Klamath Tribes. The Klamath Tribes are among the coalition of environmental groups that oppose the project.

“The more I learned about the project, the more I realized that the risk and the potential impacts really doesn’t outweigh any potential local benefits,” Don Gentry, chair of the Klamath Tribes council, told the Mercury. “We’re not only concerned about here locally and regionally, but just the continued support of the fossil fuel industry. We need to find something more sustainable.”

Different versions of the Jordan Cove project have been in the works for about 15 years, according to Gentry. Klamath Tribes have opposed the project since before Gentry joined its council in 2010, on the grounds that a major pipeline project could have a serious negative environmental impact on its tribal territories. Gentry said he can already see climate change’s effects on Klamath tribal land in the form of increased wildfires and a declining fish population, and that he doesn’t want to allow a local project to worsen Oregon’s environmental footprint.

This pipeline project would potentially be the state’s top carbon polluter if constructed, and DEQ denied a permit on the grounds that there is no “reasonable assurance that the construction and authorization of the project will comply with applicable Oregon water quality standards,” according to a statement from the department.

Klamath Tribes have submitted public comment critical of the pipeline, and also taken up a high-profile role in opposing it: Last year, Gentry co-authored a New York Times opinion piece that referred to the Jordan Cove project as “the next Standing Rock”:

“If the pipeline gets built, the initial construction jobs will disappear as soon as it is done. As far as the Klamath people are concerned, this pipeline is a bad idea even if the price of gas were predicted to skyrocket. The Klamath people oppose this project because it puts at risk their watersheds, forests, bays, culture, spiritual places, homes, climate and future.”

In addition to having strong concerns about the project’s environmental impact, Klamath Tribes also chose to publicly oppose the project because it could potentially upset unmarked ancient burial sites. Gentry said he’s seen other construction projects in the area accidentally uncover old buried bodies.

“We look at this as an area where our human remains and other cultural resources are at risk,” he said. “You wouldn’t want somebody to go through an area where there’s a cemetery with unmarked graves.”

Though those who oppose the Jordan Cove LNG pipeline see Monday’s news as a potentially devastating blow for the project, it technically isn’t dead yet. Pembina, the Canadian company proposing the pipeline, could reapply for the permit DEQ recently denied it—but this permit is just one step of a long authorization process. Gentry hopes Pembina might cut its losses and abandon the plan.

“They’ve done a lot for public relations,” he said. “They had these glossy direct mail-outs that arrived in my mailbox. … They’ve spent and invested a lot of money into this, so I’m not sure how far their resources go, or their interest.”

Pembina employees have reached out to Gentry in the past, hoping to mitigate the Klamath Tribes’ worries about the pipeline. Gentry said they even offered financial help to cover “tribal needs," presumably in exchange for their support. But Gentry and the rest of the tribal council wasn’t interested in compromising.

“Oregon is pretty progressive, we’re trying to reduce greenhouse gasses … supporting a project like this is going in the wrong direction,” he said. “We didn’t believe the benefit of even engaging with those discussions.”