Action and Information for Oregon Legislative Session 2018

For several years a coalition of  Oregon Climate Activists has been promoting comprehensive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction legislation in the Oregon State Legislature. Efforts continue into 2018.

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Jordan Cove Terminal/Pacific Connector Pipeline

Updates

Department of State Lands issues extension

The Department of State Lands, the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline LP, and Jordan Cove LNG, LLC have agreed to a nine-month extension of the removal-fill permit decision deadline for the following applications: 54484-RF (pipeline) and 54908-RF (Jordan Cove facility).  The November 10, 2016 deadline for the permit decisions has been extended to August 7, 2017.

The Jordan Cove project proponent, Veresen, requested an additional four months to complete an analysis of alternative designs for the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline crossing at Haynes Inlet in Coos County.

The pipeline design, as proposed in permit application 54484-RF, would result in fill occurring in a portion of the Haynes Inlet estuary. Oregon law (ORS 196.8925) and administrative rule (OAR 141-085-0565(6)) require that removal-fill permits in estuaries must be for projects that are “for a public use” and that “outweigh harm to navigation, fisheries and recreation.”

In agreeing to the four-month extension, the Department of State Lands proposed an additional five months for reviewing the new application materials (30 days); conducting an additional public comment period (30 days); time to review public comments (30 days); a 30-day contingency; and 30 days to finalize a decision.

For additional information, please contact:

Eric Metz, planning and policy manager (eric.metz@state.or.us)

Julie Curtis, public information manager (julie.curtis@state.or.us)

Bob Lobdell, aquatic resource coordinator (bob.lobdell@state.or.us)

Jordan Cove/Pacific Connector (JC/PC) Summary (September 2016) by Tamsin Taylor and Donna Swanson

  1. Although natural gas, methane, does not have the visible black pollution of coal its escaping greenhouse gases impact climate at a far greater rate. It appears that no provisions have been made to measure escaping gas along the entire pressurized Pacific Connector pipeline. If built, the $7.5 billion Jordan Cove facility and its pipeline would be Oregon’s largest greenhouse gas producer.
  2. Although first proposed and denied as an import pipeline, the JC/PC is now proposed as an export gas pipeline with dubious to no contracts.
  3. The economics of energy pricing in Asian markets mean that the costs of fracking, building, piping, compressing/liquefying, loading, and shipping the liquefied gas product makes no financial sense now or in the foreseeable future.
  4. Using eminent domain to build the pipeline through more than 95% resistant private landowners’ property for a Canadian company, Veresen, cannot be justified as a public benefit.
  5. Coos Bay is not a deepwater port. The Sierra Club’s lawsuit addresses the extensive damage dredging would do to existing local businesses, such as massive water and energy use and potentially raising the price of domestic gas.
  6. Coos Bay is seismically active in addition to its location in the path of the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunamis. Putting a facility that compresses explosive natural gas to 1/600th of its volume in this location threatens human lives extending far beyond Coos Bay in every direction.
  7. The Williams Companies, Inc., the semi-domestic partial partner for construction, does not have a good safety record.
  8. In response to concerns over the possibility/probability of catastrophic events that have come to light with increasing reports of oil and gas explosions, the issue of jobs has been touted. However, only about 100 permanent jobs would result. Even the temporary construction jobs in all probability would not be local jobs.
  9. Local property taxes have also been cited as a reason to construct the JC/PC. However, Veresen has worked out a local educational fund in lieu of taxes.
  10. The proposed Coos Bay location is under two active runways for a nearby regional airport.
  11. Even if no methane ever flows through the pipeline, constructing it would cause permanent damage to the almost 400 waterways in its path; including the Rogue, Umpqua, Coquille, and Klamath rivers. In addition, the clearing of, at least, a 90‘ right of way through southern Oregon’s treasured public forested lands, wetlands, and 700 private parcels would damage our flourishing tourism, fishing, oyster, ranching, forestry, tribal interests and related businesses.
  12. The new rapidly emerging economy in the form of wind and solar has recently become competitive with the declining fossil fuel economy. IBEW, for example, has developed a program of solar internships that could be appropriate for southern Oregon.
  13. The two Oregon senators advertised their votes against Keystone. Senator Merkley says “keep it in the ground”. Governor Brown’s background includes a certificate in environmental law. Their unwillingness to end this and similar pipeline proposals is not consistent with their stated positions. Southern Oregon should not become another sacrifice area because it is less politically powerful than northern Oregon, California, or Washington. Nor should it be seen as the weak link for the promotion of Veresen’s overseas ventures. The loss of Senator Bates and Representative Buckley from Oregon state politics, both clearly opposed to the pipeline, puts more pressure on the governor and senators to protect southern Oregon while exploring and promoting jobs in the new economy.
  14. FERC, in a highly unusual but wise decision, stopped the JC/PC project but only temporarily. What is needed is political wisdom from Oregon’s leaders, with an understanding from the building trades, to end this and similar projects for the foreseeable future so energy developers invest in planning for the new economy, not the antiquated fossil fuel economy.

June 29 Update From Apple (Apollonia Goeckner)

Tell Governor Brown No LNG in Medford on July 7th 

Governor Brown is coming to Medford on Thursday July 7th for a campaign fundraiser at the RoxyAnn Winery. We will be taking this opportunity to show her that southern Oregonians oppose the Jordan Cove project and that we are counting on her to Stand Up for Oregon and her constituents by opposing the project.
Thursday July 7th at 5:00 PM
 We will meet at the intersection of Hillcrest road and North Phoenix road with signs and banners to show her and her supporters that the Jordan Cove Project is a big issue in southern Oregon and we don’t want it here. Wear red or your No LNG attire. Come on out and join the fun!

Paddlers Not Pipelines!

Join the Stand Up Campaign on the river onSunday July 17 th to float the section of the Rogue that is threatened by the Pacific Connector Pipeline. We will float roughly 8 miles from Casey Park to Shady Cove talking about the proposed gas export pipeline to Coos Bay and how it would impact the Rogue, its tributaries and our community.


Sunday July 17th – Topic: Pacific Connector Pipeline Proposal
12PM – 3PM
 Knowledgeable, experienced staff from Rogue Riverkeeper will guide two boats and space in those is limited to 12 people. We invite those who have their own rafts, kayaks, driftboats, Stand Up Paddle Board’s etc, to come out and float with us as well. This section of river is mild but with fun, class I-II whitewater (splashy but not difficult). Shuttles for personal rafts/driftboats must be arranged separately or contact Rogue Riverkeeper to see about coordinating.
There is a $10 suggested donation for current Rogue Riverkeeper members or $35 suggested membership price for non-members. Bring a water bottle, snacks/lunch, sunscreen, a hat, clothes that can get wet and footwear that will stay on your feet. Please do not bring alcohol. Everyone is required to use a personal floatation device. Riverkeeper will provide PFDs for people in guided boats.
 
Space is limited to 12 people but we encourage others to come along with their own craft. Reservations are required. Call or email Robyn to RSVP, 541-488- 9831, robyn@rogueriverkeeper.

June 2

Jackson County Commissioners Support FERC’s Denial

Thanks to grassroots organizing involving thousands of Southern Oregonians, the Jackson County Commissioners submitted a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in support of theMarch 11th denial of Jordan Cove and the Pacific Connector Pipeline. According to the letter “Jackson County opposed the above applications and believes upholding the denial is in the public’s interest.”

Background Information

Natural gas is NOT ‘the clean fossil fuel.’  While burning natural gas emits less carbon dioxide than burning oil and coal, it does emit carbon dioxide.  Furthermore, methane is far worse as a warming agent than carbon dioxide – and from source to sink methane escapes; it’s called fugitive emissions.  Additionally, natural gas is often extracted through hydraulic fracturing (fracking).  Thanks to the ‘Halliburton Loophole’ introduced into the 2005 Energy Plan by Dick Cheney, fracking companies are exempt from environmental regulations – thus are permitted to insert carcinogenic chemicals into the ground in their extraction process.

Gas companies have been working for years on a massive fossil fuel infrastructure plan called Jordan Cove to export fracked gas from Canada and the Rockies through southern Oregon and onto ships bound for Asia from Coos Bay. This plan would involve construction of a new 230-mile 36-inch Pacific Connector pipeline and permanent 95-foot wide clearcut through southwest Oregon’s forests, farms and salmon filled rivers. – See more

 Other groups working to stop this project

Permits

  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) [Submitted Comments ]
  • State Lands [Submitted Comments]

Information from other groups

The LNG Export Project: Two Companies Profit, The Rest of Us Lose

Out-of-state energy speculators want to put a pipeline across public and private lands in Jackson County and many other communities to transport 1.2 billion cubic feet of fracked natural gas per year from the Rockies to Coos Bay, where it would be shipped overseas from a giant new terminal. These companies would make massive profits, while the rest of us would pay the price.

 Huge backward step on climate

In the process of liquefying and transporting the gas, the terminal would become the largest emitter of carbon-filled greenhouse gases in Oregon, according to the Oregonian. Businesses, elected officials, and community residents in the Rogue Valley have been working together to speed our transition to cleaner energy like solar and greater energy efficiency. This project threatens all the progress we are making.

Higher energy prices

Exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) “puts pressure on prices and that wouldn’t be good for consumers,” according to Avista senior v.p. Jason Thackston.

Threats to existing jobs and businesses

The pipeline will affect farms and fishing businesses as it disturbs more than 400 waterways and brings added damage to salmon and steelhead habitat. Tourism will drop as coastal communities become less attractive.

Major local impacts, few jobs

More than 1,000 temporary residents from outside our local communities will descend on coastal towns during the construction phase. A recent federal report described how energy boom-bust towns experience increases in crime, drug dealing, alcohol abuse, and prostitution. Corporate CEOs promise that dozens of jobs will remain after construction, but history has proven that such promises are rarely kept.

Trampling on farmer and landowner rights

Landowners are being told that if they don’t accept a small one-time payment for permanent use of their land for the pipeline, the government will use the power of eminent domain to force them to anyway. “When did we decide a big enough corporate interest becomes a public project given eminent domain?” asks conservative radio host Bill Meyer.

Serious safety risk

LNG is highly explosive. The Williams Co., the key corporate driver of the project, has already had four explosions at other facilities or pipelines, injuring workers and endangering communities. The terminal will be in a region vulnerable to tsunamis, while the pipeline adds to our wildfire risks.

 Junk “science”

A supposed “environmental impact statement” by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was labeled “incoherent” by the Oregonian, especially since it deliberately left out the climate impact of fracking, transporting, and liquefying the gas!