By unanimous voice vote at the February Josephine County Democrats Central Committee meeting, the members of the Central Committee approved a motion to write Governor Kate Brown and request that she oppose the Jordan Cove Export Terminal in Coos Bay and the 229-mile long Pacific Connector Pipeline running from Malin, a little town on the California border southeast of Klamath Falls, to the Jordan Cove terminal. A Canadian company, Pembina Pipeline Corporation, wants to build the Jordan Cove terminal and the liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline to transport fracked gas originating from Canada and our Rocky Mountain states across southern Oregon in order to sell it to Asian countries.
It’s true that this project will provide, on average, about 1400 temporary construction jobs while the terminal and pipeline are being built. However, about 50% of these workers will come from out of state. Upon completion of construction, the project will provide about 150 permanent jobs.
Balance that against the fact that this pipeline will result in a 95-foot wide clear-cut through our forests and more than 400 stream and river crossings. The eyesore this creates in our beautiful state is just scratching the surface. The clear-cut would fragment and degrade habitat for endangered species and would increase erosion. The proposed pipeline would cross bodies of water in the Coos, Coquille, Umpqua, Rogue, and Klamath watersheds. These crossings would require extensive riparian clearing that would reduce shade, increasing water temperatures in streams that already violate temperature standards for salmon and other cold-water fish. Construction of the pipeline would cause increased sedimentation in streams and rivers, which impacts fish and their habitat. Many of the streams and rivers that the pipeline would cross are home to native salmon that are in many cases already facing extinction. The amount of material that would be dredged out of the Coos Bay estuary and removed from streams is over 6 million cubic yards and would fill the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena nearly 15 times!
The pipeline will affect existing farms and fishing businesses as it disturbs waterways, damaging sensitive salmon and steelhead habitat. Horizontal directional drilling would occur under the Klamath, Rogue, Umpqua, and Coquille Rivers, threatening these waterways with potential pipeline drilling accidents. Job loss will also occur in fisheries, oyster farms, tourism, and more in the Coos Bay area due to the degradation of habitat and natural resources that these jobs depend upon.
Drinking water downstream from waterway crossings would be at risk from accidents, erosion, and spills both during and after construction.
Cultural resources, traditional tribal territories, and burial grounds are threatened by both the pipeline route and the export facility. The Karuk, Yurok, and Klamath Tribes have all passed resolutions opposing the pipeline.
Liquefied natural gas is predominately methane. It is liquefied at an extremely low temperature to reduce its volume then pushed through a pipeline under high pressure. When it escapes the pipeline it reverts back to gas. Methane is extremely flammable and it is explosive. What could possibly go wrong?
We are seeing more and more that fossil fuel transmission pipelines are not safe. Over the last two years, the Williams Company has had four gas infrastructure explosions in the US, injuring workers and evacuating towns. For natural gas pipeline accidents alone, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a United States Department of Transportation agency, has collected data on more than 3,200 accidents deemed serious or significant over 30 year period between 1987 and 2018.
A “significant incident” results in any of the following consequences:
- fatality or injury requiring in-patient hospitalization
- $50,000 or more in total costs, measured in 1984 dollars
- liquid releases of five or more barrels (42 US gal/barrel)
- releases resulting in an unintentional fire or explosion
Much of the Pacific Connector Pipeline is proposed to travel through rural areas that are prone to summer wildfires where the pipeline would have much lower safety standards than in more populated areas. The Jordan Cove terminal would be built in a region vulnerable to earth quakes and tsunamis located near the population centers of North Bend and Coos Bay.
How will this project impact our climate? The Jordan Cove terminal and the Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline would become the largest source of climate pollution in the state by 2020, when the Boardman coal plant closes. A new study finds that this project would emit over 37 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution, 15 times that of the Boardman coal plant, or the equivalent of 7.9 million cars on the road. Moving forward with this project would make it increasingly unlikely that Oregon can reach its climate goals and the targets of the Paris Climate Accords, which Governor Kate Brown committed to in 2017. Oregon’s commitment to climate leadership would be undermined by hosting a facility that supports unsustainable global emissions and undermines climate action in other regions.
704 landowners are directly affected by this project as they are on or adjacent to the proposed facilities and routes. According to Pembina, 62% of them have worked out agreements for the use of the land for the pipeline and/or facilities. That leaves 38% who have not, which means their land could be taken through the process of eminent domain. That’s about 268 unhappy landowners that would have to give up their land for a project that would only marginally benefit our state…at great risk to our state.
Consequently, on March 21, 2019, the Josephine County Democrats sent the following letter to Governor Kate Brown – NoLNGLetter_GovBrown3-21-19
For additional information on the Jordan Cove Export Terminal and the Pacific Connector Pipeline go to https://www.nolngexports.org/faq/