On July 5, the comment period for the draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and Pacific Connector pipeline ended.
For many, it was déjà vu all over again.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, hosted hearings in Coos, Douglas, Jackson, and Klamath counties toward the end of the comment period. These “public” hearings were a little different this time. Instead of a public forum, people were ushered into rooms where their comments were recorded by a stenographer. Although FERC claims they altered the process so that all who wished to speak would have a chance to do so, this change came with a cost.
FERC denied us the opportunity to bear witness to the verbal testimony of our fellow citizens. Hearing people speak in their own words with their own voices—whether we agree with them or not—is a powerful manifestation of the democratic process.
On the bright side, thousands of comments, both verbal and written, were submitted to FERC on the DEIS. You can view them yourself by visiting FERC’s eLibrary and searching for Dockets CP17-494-000 and CP17-495-000. Here is the link: https://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp
(Be warned: the eLibrary is often “down,” so keep trying, or download the comments you want to read and store them on your computer.)
The comments urging FERC to deny the project, which ranged from hand-written notes to multi-page typed letters with appendices, outlined a huge range of concerns:
· The use of eminent domain
· The risk of building an LNG facility in a tsunami zone
· Impacts to waterways, wetlands, and drinking water wells
· The risk of wildfires along the pipeline route
· Construction noise
· Visual scarring
· Invasion of privacy
· The impacts of dredging on habitat
· LNG vessel traffic
· The impacts of temporary housing on Coos County
· The safety of the temporary workforce
· Clear-cutting of old-growth trees in the right-of-way
· Property devalued by the pipeline
· The Project’s contribution to carbon emissions and climate change
· Safety, safety, safety
And the letters in support, which appear to be mostly form letters, many from states like Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah? What are they promoting?
Jobs. That’s it.
Deb Evans, an impacted landowner who owns timber property in Klamath County, and I wrote an Op-Ed that appeared in the Medford Mail Tribune on Sunday, July 20. You can read it here.
We felt it was important to acknowledge the efforts on the part of landowners, conservation groups, state agencies, fishermen, tribes, and elected officials in pushing back against this company, which has spent the last few years showering southern Oregon with money under the assumption that they can buy support.
It is our view that Pembina has underestimated Oregon, and misunderstood who we are and what we value.
Thanks to everyone who attended a hearing or submitted written comments to FERC. Together, we are holding Pembina’s feet to the fire.