For more than 10 years, gas companies have been pushing plans for huge Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals on the Columbia River and Coos Bay, and Oregonians have stood firm to protect our farms, forests and rivers. Today, hundreds of Oregonians including farmers, ranchers, business owners and conservationists are working to send a clear message to Oregon’s new Governor that the time has come for Oregon to reject fracked gas export terminals.
LNG is super-cooled methane gas that requires massive amounts of energy and fresh water to produce. Energy companies have been working for ten years on two proposals for large gas pipelines and LNG terminals in Oregon, and the companies now intend to use the proposed terminals to sell fracked gas to overseas markets.
In May, a groundswell of opposition across Oregon inspired a statewide rally encouraging Governor Kate Brown to stand with Oregonians against proposed LNG projects. Community activists from across the state organized more than 600 people from 10 counties in Oregon and Washington to rally on the capitol steps in Salem and march to the Department of State Lands. The Protect Our Home Rally included speeches from tribal leaders, impacted landowners and a keynote speech from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., president of Waterkeeper Alliance.
“Oregon is viewed as a leader in combating climate change, yet the fossil fuel industry is pushing to make Oregon a trafficker of fracked gas to the entire world through these LNG export proposals,” said Kennedy. “Oregon should stand firm in protecting iconic salmon-bearing rivers like the Rogue and Columbia, and in the process reaffirm its goal of reducing climate pollution by rejecting LNG export terminals and pipelines.”
Oregon faces two LNG export proposals—The Jordan Cove project in Southern Oregon and the Oregon LNG project near Astoria-coupled with associated proposals to construct hundreds of miles of new natural gas pipelines throughout Oregon and Washington. The Jordan Cove project would quickly become the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the entire state of Oregon. Opposition to the LNG projects has created unusual alliances, inspiring rural landowners near proposed pipelines to join forces with conservationists and climate activists.
“As a proud conservative Oregonian, I oppose the pipelines for LNG exports because it would destroy valuable farmland and forestland,” said rancher Bill Gow of Douglas County, Oregon. “There’s no way these companies are going to put a big scar through the middle of my ranch.” Like Gow, hundreds of Oregon and Washington families may have their land condemned to install a pipeline to export gas to overseas markets.
The statewide No LNG Exports coalition is calling on Oregon decision-makers to use the state’s power to protect Oregon from LNG projects while supporting clean energy, healthy rivers and forests, private property rights, safe communities and a stable climate.
Don West, Manager of the Cannery Pier Hotel in Astoria and owner of the Astoria Crest Motel, plans to call on Gov. Brown to take a firm stand against LNG exports. “The future of our community and our business—a future that creates jobs by drawing people to iconic, salmon-bearing rivers like the Columbia—depends on the State of Oregon rejecting LNG exports,” West states. “I’m inspired to be one of many voices from all walks of life joining this common call for Gov. Brown and state leaders to protect our home.”
“The Jordan Cove LNG terminal poses an unacceptable safety risk to our community,” said North Bend resident Jody McCaffree. “We are also concerned about the impacts this project would have to existing jobs in the timber, fishing, crabbing, clamming, oyster, tourism and recreation industries in Coos Bay area.”
Both LNG project proposals require permit approval from a litany of federal and state agencies before moving forward. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is expected to issue its final permitting decision on the project by January. Oregonians are asking Governor Kate Brown to use her power to challenge FERC’s likely approval of the project as Governor Kulongoski did in 2008.
“We are looking to our Governor to protect the interests of Oregonians and make our state a leader in addressing climate change by steering Oregon away from exporting climate-changing fossil fuels like LNG” says No LNG Exports campaign organizer Sarah Westover. “Money invested in green energy provides 17 times as many jobs as the same amount invested in fossil fuels. Our country should be moving toward sustainable renewables, not taking a step backwards with new fossil fuel export infrastructure.”
For more information and updates on the progress of Oregon’s No LNG Exports’ campaign, please visit www.nolngexports.org.