By Bill Bradbury For The Register-Guard
All Oregonians will be affected by an upcoming decision by a state agency overseen by Gov. Kate Brown, State Treasurer Ted Wheeler and Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins.
At stake is whether a Canadian corporation will be allowed to jeopardize our waterways, salmon populations, and existing jobs that depend on fisheries and tourism.
The Department of State Lands (DSL) is overseen by the three top elected officials in Oregon. Under Oregon’s Constitution, this board’s mission is to manage our lands “with the object of obtaining the greatest benefit for the people of this state, consistent with the conservation of this resource under sound techniques of land management.”
The Jordan Cove export terminal and Pacific Connector pipeline do not meet that standard. Even the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which normally rubber-stamps projects like this, denied federal permits in March, ruling that “the proposed Jordan Cove LNG terminal can provide no benefit to the public to counterbalance any of the impacts which would be associated with its construction.” FERC also found that “the record does not support a finding that the public benefits of the Pacific Connector Pipeline outweigh the adverse effects on landowners.”
Nonetheless, Williams Partners, the pipeline company, is appealing FERC’s decision and continuing to pursue required state permits.
In February, May and now June, the company has asked for an extension of time from the DSL because it has been unable to demonstrate that the project would meet state laws protecting waterways and wetlands. As the deadline continues to be pushed down the line, Williams still has not provided that information, and by law its permit application ought to be denied.
It is worth noting that Williams was recently denied a water quality permit by New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation for a 124-mile pipeline that would have impacted more than 250 waterways. The New York state agency found that Williams “failed to provide sufficient information to demonstrate compliance with New York state water quality standards.”
Of course, pollution of our waterways is not the only impact of the proposed Pacific Connector pipeline and Jordan Cove LNG export project. It would also create the largest source of climate-changing carbon emissions in the state, trample the rights of landowners through the use of eminent domain to benefit a private corporation, and ultimately drive up energy prices.
To protect all of us, Brown, Wheeler, and Atkins should ensure that the agency they oversee denies this permit once and for all.
Bill Bradbury was Oregon secretary of state from 1999 to 2009.
Here’s a link to this article, originally published 7/2/2016 in the Register Guard