Easements for the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline
Construction of the 229-mile pipeline would require clearing a 95-foot-wide temporary easement all along the route. Once completed, 30 feet of the 50-foot-wide permanent easements would have to be kept cleared of structures and trees for the life of the pipeline. In addition, Pembina would require many Temporary Extra Work Areas (TEWAs) to store equipment and materials during construction. While some of these TEWAs would be within the pipeline right-of-way, others would be outside of it and on public or privately owned land. The company would also need to build or improve roads to access the pipeline right-of-way and facilitate construction. Pembina must acquire easements and compensate landowners for all of these construction activities.
The Natural Gas Act
Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act requires that all new pipeline projects be granted a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and Section 3 requires that new LNG terminals must obtain approval through an Order Granting Authority from the Commission. If Pembina obtains a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, the company can exercise the right of eminent domain to acquire easements in cases where it cannot reach a voluntary agreement with the landowner. Pembina must still offer the landowner just compensation.
Not in the Public Interest
FERC denied the Pacific Connector Pipeline and Jordan Cove in 2016, ruling that the "public benefits" did not outweigh the negative impacts to landowners and communities. Veresen (the company which owned the project at that time) had only acquired a small fraction of the required easements from landowners, and it had no signed contracts for the natural gas. In September of 2017, Veresen filed a new application with FERC; shortly thereafter, Pembina Pipeline Corporation acquired Veresen. Since then, land agents have been aggressively pursuing private landowners for their easements.
Who Gets to Choose?
While some landowners have sold their easements, others have resisted the company's offers.
Landowners cite a variety of reasons for not wanting to sell. Many feel strongly about their Constitutional rights to life, liberty, and private property. Some are questioning the Constitutionality of using eminent domain for the Jordan Cove project, especially since the project is owned by a Canadian company and would likely transport mostly Canadian gas to foreign countries. They argue that the project does not meet the definition of "public use," and that it would set a precedent for the further erosion of private property rights.
Sediment-laden runoff breaks through a silt dam on the Coos Bay Pipeline route. Heavy rains typical of Southern Oregon winters are likely to hasten erosion along the Pacific Connector pipeline route, especially on steep slopes.
Many landowners along the proposed pipeline route have spent countless hours attending rallies, submitting comments, and educating themselves and others about the Jordan Cove project.
Many Reasons to Say No
Some feel the pipeline would devalue their land and permanently alter its inherent character. They are concerned about the intrusion, invasion of privacy, noise, and visual scarring the pipeline would bring. Many worry about negative impacts to land they care deeply about--land that has in some cases been in their families for generations, and that they would like to bequeath to their children and grandchildren.