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Community To Rally Against Proposed Southern Oregon Pipeline

Federal public hearing in Medford expected to be packed with locals concerned about rivers, climate, property rights, energy prices, and public safety

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 11, 2014

Contact:
Robyn Janssen, Rogue Riverkeeper 541-261-2661
Hannah Sohl, Rogue Climate 541-840-1065
Forrest English, Rogue Riverkeeper 541-261-2030

Community To Rally Against Proposed Southern Oregon Pipeline

Federal public hearing in Medford expected to be packed with locals concerned about rivers, climate, property rights, energy prices, and public safety

 

Medford, OR- Community members will rally outside of a public hearing held at Central Medford High School today to voice opposition to a proposed pipeline that would cut through southern Oregon to ship fracked gas overseas. Opponents of the pipeline are expected to turn up in droves to give public comments at the hearing held by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), expressing concerns about impacts of the project on forests and waterways, increased greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, property rights of southern Oregon landowners, energy prices, and public safety.

The Jordan Cove Project, proposed by a Canadian energy company called Veresen, would construct an export terminal and power plant on a sand spit in Coos Bay, as well as a 230-mile natural gas pipeline from Malin.  The project would pipe fracked gas from Canada and the Rockies through southern Oregon to the terminal on the coast, where the gas would be liquefied and shipped overseas for Asian markets. The pipeline would require a 95-foot wide clearcut through public and private property, using eminent domain laws to take away the property rights of nearly 300 Oregon landowners.

FERC’s recently released Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) fails to consider alternatives to the project, as required by law, and ignores the project’s impact on climate change. In liquefying and transporting the gas, the terminal could become the largest emitter of carbon-filled greenhouse gases in Oregon, despite industry’s claim that natural gas is a “clean bridge” to a renewable energy future. Recent studies have also highlighted the substantial undercounting of the impacts of methane leaks from fracking. This new research suggests that natural gas may no longer be considered cleaner than coal or oil.

"Many local businesses and community groups are working hard to combat climate change and create sustainable jobs in cleaner energy and energy efficiency,” said Hannah Sohl, Director of Rogue Climate. “That’s a much better path than a project that makes climate change worse and creates only a relative handful of permanent jobs.” Sohl pointed to a study showing that investment in solar power will produce 17 times more Oregon jobs than the same money spent on further development of natural gas. 

The pipeline would cross nearly 400 public waterways and impact existing Oregon jobs that rely on them. "Oregon has taken so many steps forward to restore essential salmon habitat throughout the Rogue watershed,“ said Robyn Janssen, Clean Water Campaigner with Rogue Riverkeeper. “This project would be a huge step backward for all of us and serves no purpose except to boost the profits of two huge out-of-state corporations.” 

Exporting natural gas “puts pressure on prices and that wouldn't be good for consumers,” Avista senior V.P. Jason Thackston recently told the Medford/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

The Williams Co., Veresen’s pipeline partner, has already had four explosions at other facilities or pipelines. The terminal would be vulnerable to tsunamis, while the pipeline adds to wildfire risks. 

With FERC being the first stop among many agencies that have the authority to evaluate and consider approval for this project, organizations including Rogue Riverkeeper, Rogue Climate, and Southern Oregon Climate Action Now will continue to organize education efforts and opposition to the pipeline.

 
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