Lands that would be impacted by the Pacific Connector Pipeline include national forests and land under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management. The clearcut swath would take out many old-growth trees and eliminate or fragment wildlife habitat. The pipeline would also cut across the Pacific Crest Trail, the popular National Scenic Hiking Trail that runs from Mexico to Canada.
Many people love to go to the national forests to recreate. Our public forests are also places where we protect wildlife. This pipeline will impact over 31 species that are so rare they are protected under the Endangered Species Act. For 230 miles you have a 100-foot-plus wide clearcut. It’s a huge fragmentation problem.
— Francis Eatherington
Public Lands Advocate
Tribal Ancestral Lands
The pipeline route crosses the ancestral lands of 11 federally recognized tribes. The Klamath, Yurok, Karuk, and Siletz Tribes have all declared strong opposition to the proposed project, and six tribes have filed as intervenors in the federal regulatory process. Many tribal members have expressed concern that the construction activity will disturb cultural resources, including human remains, and compromise the rivers and streams upon which they depend for physical and spiritual sustenance.
Doc Slyter plays the flute at a midden site on the shore of the Haynes Inlet, part of the Coos Bay Estuary. Layers of shells (below) are visible in the eroded bank.
Pipeline construction will impact rivers, streams, wetlands and other waterways at 485 individual locations. In Oregon, water is publicly owned, and the state is responsible for maintaining its many “beneficial uses.” Opponents worry that pipeline construction could compromise water quality by hastening erosion and raising water temperatures, and crabbers and anglers worry that the massive dredging required in the Coos Bay Estuary would compromise habitat.
The route also would go under the Klamath and Rogue Rivers, which since time immemorial have been and continue to be important sources of fish for Tribal members. As long as this proposal hangs over the river, the Klamath will stand in fierce, firm and unwavering opposition.
Tribal Chairman, KlamathTribes
The route crosses five major rivers—the Klamath, Rogue, South Umpqua, Coquille, and Coos—and under the Coos Bay Estuary at two locations. A technique called horizontal directional drilling has been proposed for most of these crossings, while a relatively new process called Direct Pipe technology has been proposed to cross under the South Umpqua River. These processes uses a drilling fluid, often wet bentonite clay, to fill the pilot hole. This fluid can breach the drill site—known as a "frac out"— allowing the fine clay to cloud the water and smother fish gills.