Huge Natural Gas Pipeline Proposal in Oregon
A 250-mile natural gas pipeline has been proposed to connect the LNG (liquefied natural gas) proposal in Coos Bay to the Williams pipeline in Roseburg, and then further to the pipeline near Malin, OR (near Klamath Falls). The proposal to import LNG and pipe the gas inland will undoubtedly have major economic, public safety, and environmental impacts while deepening the region's addiction to foreign fossil fuels.
By way of context, the Port of Coos Bay has been negotiating a purchase of Weyerhaeuser land on the North Spit of Coos Bay (right across from the town of North Bend) for the purpose of leasing part of the property to the Jordan Cove Energy Project. The Jordan Cove proposal involved the importation of massive amounts of natural gas from abroad in the form of LNG, or liquefied natural gas. Until now, it has been unclear how the proposal would deliver the gas to its markets inland (and South), so today's announcement clarifies the full scope of this massive energy infrastructure project.
LNG has major safety, security, economic, and environmental implications for the communities that import it and particularly for the communities that export it. In accepting LNG development, Oregon natural gas consumers will both diminish the quality and safety of life in Oregon's Bay Area and support a global energy economy that is unsustainable and exploitative abroad. For instance, if the Coos Bay LNG project imports gas from Russia's East Coast or from Indonesia (two very possible trading partners), it will be receiving gas that is likely being extracted to the detriment of local peoples' safety, economy, and way of life. LNG development in Aceh and Papua have been the subject of human rights inquiries and concerns, and these are just two examples of why LNG is problematic on the supply end.
The receiving end of the LNG picture has been the subject of intense organizing along the Columbia River, where groups such as Columbia Riverkeeper and Columbia Rivervision are fighting 4 LNG proposals on the grounds that it is a poor choice for the Lower Columbia's public safety, economy, and quality of life. Coos County locals are just beginning to organize intensively, with several local citizens and groups taking interest. Many Oregonians argue against LNG out of concern for the upstream impacts, as well as the local public safety and environmental implications. Others are focused more narrowly on preserving the quality of life in their towns and counties. One thing is certain; the experience of being overrun by energy developments is one that is replicated in a more pernicious form worldwide, and accepting LNG development in Coos Bay or the Lower Columbia exacerbates the situation by linking the Western U.S. market to the global natural gas market.
The pipeline is an essential piece of the Coos Bay LNG proposal, and it appears that extensive negotiations have been going on for some time regarding this proposal. Peter DeFazio has stated his support for the LNG scheme, and the Coos Port Commission appointed by Ted Kulongoski appears to be in favor, also.
These individuals, DeFazio and Kulongoski, should immediately be targeted for letters and phone calls of concern about the pipeline and the LNG proposal in Coos Bay. The proposal is bad for the environment; it is bad for the safety and security of Oregonians; it exacerbates our dependence on foreign fossil fuels at a time when the Democratic Party is at least mumbling about energy alternatives and reducing foreign fossil fuel dependence; and finally, it links Oregon's market to a global energy economy that lacks human rights and environmental safeguards for many communities that happen to reside near natural gas fields. This issue is not necessarily a "right" or "left" issue, with many "red" Oregonians fighting their local proposals.
Write or call and let them know you hold them responsible for allowing the State of Oregon to fund the Weyerhaeuser land purchase, a deal that has enabled the proposal of this enormous pipeline and threatens to create many of the sorts of problems described above.
160 State Capitol
900 Court Street
Salem, OR 97301-4047
Rep. Peter DeFazio
151 West 7th, Suite 400
Eugene, OR. 97401
Eugene phone: 541-465-6732
Coos Bay phone: 541-269-2609
For more information about the Coos Bay situation and other LNG proposals, check out:
If you have more specific concerns or questions, contact Dan Serres at 541-251-3569. There will be an informational forum in North Bend on February 27th, also, that will deal with the Jordan Cove proposal and with the new pipeline.
Here is the Press Release from the pipeline companies:
Williams, Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Fort Chicago Energy Partners L.P.
Propose Major New Gas Transmission Pipeline Project
SALT LAKE CITY - Williams' (NYSE:WMB) Northwest Pipeline, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
(NYSE:PCG) and Fort Chicago Energy Partners L.P. have agreed to jointly pursue the development of a major new gas transmission pipeline that would increase natural gas supplies for the West Coast of the United States. The three participants will hold equal interests in the pipeline project.
The proposed Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, a 250-mile natural gas transmission line, together with the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas terminal in Coos Bay, Ore., being developed by Fort Chicago, are designed to bring new diverse worldwide natural gas supply sources to West Coast markets.
Scheduled for completion in 2010, the project would provide competitive and reliable alternatives to existing supplies from Canadian, Southwest and Rocky Mountain sources, which are increasingly being pursued to supply eastern U.S. markets.
The Pacific Connector would link the proposed Jordan Cove LNG terminal to Williams' Northwest Pipeline system near Roseburg, Ore., and the Tuscarora and PG&E gas transmission systems, both near Malin, Ore.
The project's Oregon location enhances supply options for consumers in Oregon, Washington and throughout the Pacific Northwest. As proposed, the pipeline would be capable of delivering 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to the Pacific Northwest and beyond - including California and northern Nevada - through various interconnects with the pipelines previously mentioned.
Today, virtually all of the supplies serving the Pacific Northwest and northern California originate in the Rocky Mountains or in Canada.
The group immediately will begin seeking regulatory approvals and market commitments for the Pacific Connector and plans to begin environmental assessments along the proposed route in March. The group is targeting a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission application filing for the pipeline by January 2007.
"Providing access to diverse, abundant natural gas supplies continues to be a major focus at Williams," said Phil Wright, senior vice president of Williams' gas pipeline business. "The Pacific Connector is designed to give customers access to LNG supplies, further enhancing the superior supply flexibility offered by our own Northwest system."
"The Pacific Connector is an example of the innovative options PG&E is pursuing to bring much needed supplies to the region," said Bob Howard, PG&E's vice president of gas transmission and distribution.
"Through joining forces with other utilities in the region, we hope to bring additional cost-effective supply sources that would significantly benefit our gas and electric end use customers."
Stephen White, president and CEO of Fort Chicago, commented: "We are extremely pleased to have these pre-eminent energy companies join us in this natural gas transportation project. Their participation should ensure optimal pipeline and market interconnectivity, and their collective strengths help to form a foundational bridge between the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and the substantial markets located throughout the Pacific Northwest, California and elsewhere in the western U.S."
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