Feds Attempt to Overide Local Opposition to LNG Pipeline
Despite overwhelming public opposition in Jackson County Oregon to the proposed LNG pipeline beginning in Coos Bay, OR and reaching Malin (near Klamath Falls, OR), the federal government continues to pressure local residents into accepting an pipline through their backyards..
Recent vote in Jackson County Commissioners against LNG pipeline;
Commissioners raise pipeline doubts
Smith: 'This thing's going to come through whether we like it or not'
By Damian Mann
July 17, 2008
Jackson County commissioners officially opposed a proposed natural gas pipeline Wednesday, winning applause from critics of the project who have concerns about its environmental consequences, increased reliance on foreign fuel sources, and government's ability to seize private land to build it.
Despite those concerns, commissioners and about 30 members of the public said the federal government would ultimately force on them the 230-mile, 36-inch diameter pipeline, which would connect a new natural gas terminal in Coos Bay with an existing pipeline at Malin, in Klamath County.
"Almost certainly they will build this pipeline," warned Talent resident Glenn Archambault during the public hearing.
The commissioners approved a resolution asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to halt any further action on the project until an environmental and economic assessment is completed.
Commissioners C.W. Smith and Dave Gilmour voted in favor of the resolution, while Commissioner Jack Walker opposed it, even though he had reservations about the possible seizure of rights-of-way from property owners.
Smith said the commissioners' opinion will probably carry very little weight with a federal agency that has tremendous power to push through such projects.
"This thing's going to come through whether we like it or not," he said.
However, he hopes the resolution will give the federal government some food for thought.
"We want FERC to stop, look, listen and give us an answer," he said.
Smith, like many audience members, fears the pipeline will make the U.S. more dependent on foreign fuel at a time when gasoline prices are at all time highs and when natural gas prices are expected to rise, too.
Gilmour said, "There is no question that energy is a national security issue."
He said a report prepared by the governor's office predicted the price of natural gas could actually rise if the pipeline were built because the market would become more influenced by global fluctuations of supply and demand.
Gilmour objected to the project for other conditions, including its potential to harm fish habitat in the Rogue River, increasing Oregon's carbon footprint by importing foreign gas and worries about cleaning up the project if it got stalled because of economic problems.
Gilmour said FERC doesn't require bonding of contractors, which could mean taxpayers might have to pick up the pieces if the project weren't completed.
"Who cleans up the mess?" he said.
Walker said he disagreed with everything Gilmour said, though he did agree with concerns about eminent domain. He said many of the people who don't want the project to go through are pushing for cleaner energy or hydrogen cars, both of which could increase natural gas usage.
Despite his objections, Walker said, "I think we need to do a proper environmental assessment."
The pipeline is part of a proposal that would include a terminal at Jordan Cove in Coos Bay, where ships carrying liquefied natural gas would unload their cargo. The liquid gas would be turned into a pressurized gas to be pumped to Malin, where it would connect to a major existing pipeline.
The owners would be Williams Pacific Connector Gas Operator LLC, the Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. and Fort Chicago Energy Partners LP. The cost has been estimated at $700 million to $850 million, and work could begin as soon as 2009.
Dan Lattin, project manager for Williams, the company that would actually build the pipeline, objected to many points in the resolution.
"We ask that the part about being a detriment to private landowners be stricken," he said.
Lattin said as much as 80 percent of the natural gas in the Pacific Northwest now comes from foreign sources, principally Canada.
He said the commissioners' resolution is premature since FERC will prepare a draft environmental study later this summer that will address environmental and economic concerns.
Many residents voiced other concerns about the project, including a pumping station designed to keep the gas flowing.
Butte Falls resident Scott Vasak said the compression station would be very close to his property.
"They will have very large engines and create a lot of noise and create a lot of exhaust," he said.
Ashland resident Nick Garcia, who owns property on Old Ferry Road in the Shady Cove area, doesn't understand why a pipeline is being put through Oregon when most of the gas won't even be used by local residents.
"If this pipeline is so necessary, why doesn't the state of California want it," he said.
Marcella Laudani, who lives on Old Ferry Road, said the pipeline work would require doubling the width of her country lane and creating turnouts for the equipment.
"The more information regarding the project, the more overwhelming it becomes," said Laudani.
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476 or dmann [at] mailtribune.com.
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For Immediate Release: July 17, 2008
For More Information: 866-211-7335
JACKSON COUNTY COMMISSION SAYS 'HOLD UP' ON LNG PIPELINE
"Medford—The Jackson County Commission voted yesterday in favor of a resolution
asking the federal government to halt work on the proposed Jordan Cove LNG terminal
and California pipeline.
The Commission took the vote after listening to public testimony overwhelmingly
opposed to the LNG project and pipeline.
Citing eminent domain that would be required across private property in Jackson
County to build the 231-mile pipeline, and the potential harm to the tourism based
economy in northeastern Jackson County due to the pipeline crossing the Rogue River
and habitat spawning streams, the resolution passed on a 2-1 vote.
Prior to the vote, Commissioner C.W. Smith asked, "Why go to the expense and trouble
of developing a multi-million dollar facility that is dependent on a foreign energy
"I don't believe they've done their homework," Smith said of the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission, echoing calls from Governor Ted Kulongoski and Oregon's
Congressional delegation to conduct further studies on Oregon's need for importing
Commissioner Dave Gilmour joined Smith in supporting the resolution, worried that
importing more foreign sources of fuel (like LNG) might actually increase the cost
of natural gas.
Even Commissioner Jack Walker, who opposed the resolution, expressed concern about
"eminent domain and not paying landowners an adequate price for the huge swaths of
land that the pipeline would require."
The Jackson County Commission vote follows a similar resolution passed by the
Douglas County Commission, opposing the Jordan Cove LNG Terminal and California
pipeline earlier this year."
The text of the resolution can be read at;
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