Another Fracking Pipeline: Why We Should Care
On a brisk January evening in Salem, Oregon, hundreds of people came together in solidarity in front of the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs building to demand that the Jordan Cove Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Export Terminal and the Pacific Connector Pipeline not get built. The 229 mile controversial pipeline is being pushed forward by the Pembina Pipeline Corporation in spite of huge opposition by landowners, community members and environmental groups.
The rally was hosted by multiple Oregon organizations, including Rogue Climate, Cascadia Wildlands Oregon Chapter, Opal Environmental Justice Oregon, and a dozen other groups. The rally featured a number of passionate speakers from the public and private sectors and was followed by a public hearing where hundreds of people were in line to speak up against the pipeline, all of whom waited in line for hours to have their voices heard.
Along with the many impassioned and inspiring speeches that day, Klamath Tribe member Rowena Jackson read a moving poem and fellow Klamath Tribe member and Portland State University adjunct professor Ka’ila Farrell-Smith gave a moving speech to the mesmerized crowd. Smith is also co-founder of Signal Fire, an organization that puts artists directly in touch with the wild natural lands that remain and teaches in PSU’s Indigenous Nations Studies Program. Farrell-Smiths words were strong and clear. Toward the end of her speech, she said, “From our northern borders to our southern borders I stand united with my brothers and sisters who are fighting LNG pipelines. Up in Canada, we stand in solidarity with them! They are being arrested, in the snow, right now! We can’t have that anymore. We need to stop this now! From our southern borders the children are being stolen and put into concentration camps. We can’t have this happening any longer, I see a sign, it says ‘Neo-colonialism Sucks.’ IT DOES! So we are here today in solidarity with all our brothers and sisters from all across the Americas. The Eagle and the Condor Unite!” She closed her speech with a moving woman’s warrior’s song.
A hoarse-voiced, Senator James Manning gave a moving declaration. He said, “We have to stop it now!…I will fight it, I will fight it, I will fight it! And I need you to fight it!” Jacob Lebel, a 21-year old Roseburg, Oregon farmer and plaintiff in the Juliana v. United States climate trial, shared his earnest concern about the project. The proposed pipeline, he said, would come within one mile of his family’s farmland in Southern Oregon. His words struck a chord with the crowd when he said, “This project will transport and burn 78 million tons of LNG a year, this is mostly methane, this is 84 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. The stated mission of the Department of State Lands, where we are at today here tonight, the stated mission that I read off their website, is to ensure a legacy for Oregonians in our public school through sound stewardship of land, water, and water resources. To permit this project, which would transport natural gas and promote its exploitation and burning for the next 50 years flies in the face of the stated mission of this department agency. I wish this agency would recognize that and listen to its best science…”
“I also wish that my federal government would recognize that it is unconstitutional and against the very foundational values of our country to permit new projects, like Jordan Cove, that threaten the life, liberty, property and future of young people and future generations.”
Newly elected state senator Jeff Golden, who represents district 3 in the Rogue Valley, Medford and Ashland, spoke as well. He was frank with his assessment of the future of this project when he said, “This pipeline is not going to get built!”
The Methane monster was in attendance as well, along with a mighty fine likeness of Governor Kate Brown in the form of a giant paper mache head. The paper mache-headed Governor Brown slayed the Methane Monster to everyone’s delight. The real Governor Brown was not there. Governor Kate Brown has yet to publicly declare opposition to this pipeline, so people are encouraged to reach out and ask that she commit to stopping this project.
Here are some of the facts about the proposed project from www.nolngexports.org:
- The 229-mile pipeline would across private and public lands, which would create, among other things, a 95-foot wide clear-cut through southwest Oregon forests, farms and rivers.
- 1.2 billion cubic feet of hydraulic fractured fracked liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year would be traveling from the Rocky Mountains to Coos Bay, which would then be shipped overseas.
- The facility is to be built in a tsunami hazard zone and would affect 16,000 people in the case of an accident.
- 485 waterways would be crossed by the pipeline, harming salmon, negatively impacting hundreds of landowners and encroaching on tribal territories and burial grounds.
- Approximately 700 private landowners will be impacted and threatened by eminent domain if they do not settle for a small, one-time payment for permanent use of their land.
- Exporting our natural gas would raise prices for consumers here at home by 36-54%.
- Nearly 1,800 temporary residents from outside local communities would descend on coastal and pipeline route towns during the construction phase.
- Corporate CEO’s promise that dozens of jobs will remain after construction, but history has proven that such promises are rarely kept.
- Renewable energy development creates far more jobs than natural gas.
- LNG is highly explosive. Above ground portions of the pipeline would be located in wildfire-prone areas of southern Oregon.
- The export terminal and increased fracking would make climate change worse. The terminal would soon become one of the largest greenhouse gas emitter in Oregon.
These are among many of the organizations who supported the rally and oppose the pipeline: Rogue Climate, Cascadia Wildlands Oregon Chapter, Opal Environmental Justice Oregon, 350PDX, 350 Salem, OR, 350 Eugene, Portland Rising Tide, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Our Children’s Trust, Rogue River Keepers, Stop Fracked Gas PDX, Portland Democratic Socialists of America, No LNG Exports, and Oregon Just Transition Alliance. If you are interested to learn more, please do go to www.nolngexports.org, and to hear a first hand account of the rally and learn even more effects of what this proposed project would do, you can listen to episode #18 of the Podcast,
PCC, Sustain Me! Which can be found on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, or even right on The Bridge website.
People can submit comments in opposition to this project until February 3rd, at www.nolngexports.org/write-comments.