The Oregon Department of State Lands recently hosted public hearings across Oregon to help Vicki Walker, director of DSL, decide whether or not to grant Jordan Cove LNG, the Canadian natural gas company, one of the many permits required for an underground natural gas pipeline. In Canyonville’s meeting at Seven Feathers Casino, on Jan. 9, over 300 concerned people packed the room.
DSL listened to passionate community input regarding Jordan Cove’s application for the Removal-Fill permit needed for the company’s proposed pipeline. Subsequently, the permit was denied on Jan. 23. According to an article from the News Review, Circuit court judge Kathleen Johnson reversed the county’s decision to grant extensions to the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline. Johnson nullified a key permit for the pipeline, voting in favor of pipeline oppositions.
At the Jan. 9 meeting, Jordan Cove officials, affected community members, indigenous tribe members, and a “No LNG Exports” protestor group came to make their voices be heard. The protesters were housed in the separate Birch room next to the Cedar room public hearing where Jordan Cove displayed booths and tables with promotional materials.
Walker, in an effort to better facilitate the hearing, banned any clapping and removed a tribal elder for a single clap in spite of the man’s explanation that he had failed to hear her restriction.
Prior to the meeting, tension between the protestors and the union workers could be heard in the crowd’s complaints. “We do not need to let these union workers put in a pipeline that will destroy our communities,” said Elisabeth Martinez, UCC alumni.
The Jordan Cove’s company website says, “The Jordan Cove Project will feature a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Coos County, Oregon, and a pipeline for the transportation of natural gas sourced from the United States and Canada.”Protestors are concerned that American land will be taken for this Canadian pipeline. The strongest emotional reactions related to eminent domain, (the right of government to seize private property for public use).
Union members at the public hearing claimed that the pipeline will create 6,000 temporary jobs and 200 permanent jobs to maintain the pipeline and export terminal. “I support the Jordan Cove Pipeline, I believe this project is good for Oregon’s economy. I respectfully ask the DSL to grant the permit so the project may move forward,” said John Hanner, union spokesman.
The JC 36-inch diameter pipeline is designed to transport natural gas approximately 229 miles to the LNG Terminal in Coos County, Oregon, with interconnections with the Ruby Pipeline and the Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) Pipeline near Malin.
Other strong reactions related to land stewardship. According to Oregon’s federal website, “The mission of the Department of State Lands is to ensure a legacy for Oregonians and their public schools through sound stewardship of lands, wetlands, waterways, unclaimed property, estates, and the Common School Fund.” The natural gas pipeline is proposed to cross over 400 waterways and wetlands in Southern Oregon to an export terminal in Coos Bay. If Jordan Cove had been granted the Removal-Fill permit, the Canadian pipelines would have crossed 400 Oregon waterways.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has the final say on whether or not the pipeline will be built, denied the project twice in 2016, stating that there was little evidence of a need for it.
“I hope I never tramp on somebody else’s rights just to get a job,” said Bill Gow, Roseburg Rancher and affected landowner.