Rally for Oregon Values at NW Natural Shareholder Meeting
Residents of the Pacific Northwest oppose NW Natural's Palomar pipeline in an effort to protect Oregon values: clean water, protected salmon runs, healthy forests, family farms and a clean energy future. NW Natural, in partnership with TransCanada Gas Transmission, is proposing the Palomar pipeline, a 217-mile natural gas pipeline that would connect to a Liquefied Natural Gas terminal on the Columbia River to the California-bound pre-existing GTN pipeline. With the LNG Palomar pipeline, NW Natural threatens hundreds of landowners in the Willamette Valley with eminent domain, while bringing heavy construction to cross 300 rivers and streams, and a 47-mile long clear-cut through Mt. Hood National Forest. A broad coalition of NW Natural ratepayers, shareholders, environmentalists, fishermen, foresters, and farmers are demanding that the company cancel the unnecessary and unethical pipeline plan.
What: Hundreds of Oregonians and Washingtonians protest at the 3rd Annual Rally to Stop the Palomar Pipeline at the NW Natural Shareholder Meeting.
When: May 27 1-4pm. Political speakers and media invited at 2:30pm.
Where: Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE MLK BLVD Portland, Or
A diverse grassroots coalition of Oregonians and Washingtonians are gearing up for the largest No LNG event of the year at the 3rd annual Rally at the NW Natural Shareholder Meeting. Following the recent victory over the now defunct Bradwood Landing LNG terminal, the geographically and politically diverse coalition working to protect Oregon from foreign fossil fuel development is turning its focus toward NW Natural's unethical and unnecessary Palomar Pipeline. The movement, composed of families of fishers, farmers, foresters, environmentalists, property rights advocates, and NW Natural ratepayers, is calling on the company to completely cancel the Palomar pipeline proposal.
Carolyn & Martin Evans are NW Natural customers and shareholders. Carolyn says she will be attending the Rally for her family, "Our daughter and all children deserve the same Oregon that we have known: healthy local food, clean water, wild places to explore, and a vibrant diverse economy where people do business with their neighbors. Palomar threatens all of that for the same kind of Enron-style speculation that got us into this recession. It's time to cancel the pipeline and invest in real energy solutions."
Carolyn's one-year-old daughter Ursula is a seventh generation Oregonian. Their family will be standing in solidarity beside farmers from Yamill and Washington County and Columbia River fishing families in defense of the region they love.
In the years that NW Natural has pushed the Palomar pipeline, landowners along the pipeline route have had their lives put on hold. They've suffered from threats by the company to use eminent domain, illegal trespassing, and the uncertainty of what will happen to their land and livelihood if the pipeline were constructed.
Steve Wick's community in the Willamette Valley will be attending the rally. "My life and the life of my neighbors in Yamhill County have been put on hold by the LNG pipelines. One of my neighbors does not know how much of his hazelnut orchard he is going to loose, and the other fears for the loss of the major portion of his vineyard," said Wick. "I can't plant, or use the majority of my property because the pipeline would take out a 150' construction strip through the middle, from one end to the other. And the permanent 50 foot right-of-way, which would restrict the planting of trees or deep-rooted crops, will mean a loss of over 1 million dollars each year in just the 23 miles that the LNG pipelines are planned to bi-sect Yamhill County. The LNG pipelines will mean a net loss to the people of Yamhill County, and the state of Oregon."
"We are calling on NW Natural to officially drop the Palomar Pipeline. For too long the rural families of Oregon have put their lives on hold for an LNG pipeline. To prolong the fear, frustration and concern the landowners have for the future of their land and their livelihoods for any unnecessary pipeline is both cruel and unethical," said Monica Vaughan, director of the Hey NW Natural campaign, a campaign to link farmers with NW Natural customers to hold the NW Natural corporation accountable for these abuses.
In the drive to develop the Palomar pipeline, NW Natural had signed contracts with Bradwood Landing LNG, dedicating the capacity of Palomar to transporting imported Liquefied Natural Gas to a pre-existing California-bound pipeline. Now that Bradwood Landing LNG has suspended development, and the project's parent company has filed for bankruptcy, the future of the Palomar Pipeline is unclear. While there are a few different ways NW Natural may attempt to move forward with the project, none are proven to be needed, and the destruction caused by the development is not a fair trade in the eyes of Oregonians.
"Whether NW Natural tries to extend Palomar to the proposed Oregon LNG import terminal, develop contracts with potential new investors at Bradwood, or continue plans to build a pipeline through hundreds of families' private property and Mt. Hood National Forest without a contract to fill the line, there will be strong opposition. We will be here with a range of voices and a history of justified victory," said Vaughan.
The strong opposition base to Palomar in Oregon sees the pipeline plan as not only bad for the people of Oregon, but also as bad business for investors and the public image of NW Natural.
"The Palomar Pipeline exposes NW Natural's investors and ratepayers to the unacceptable risks and volatility of foreign markets to deliver gas that Oregon doesn't need. Oregon has walked the talk on conservation and gas consumption is declining. At the same time, Palomar would undermine the agricultural and wilderness heritage that we have spent generations building, and which is a bedrock of our economy," said Martin Evans of Portland. "NW Natural's management has ignored the law, ignored property rights, and ignored concerns of the shareholders that own the company."
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