The Jordan Cove Fracked Gas Pipeline Proposal: One Company Profits, The Rest of Us Lose

Out-of-state energy speculators want to build the Pacific Connector pipeline across public and private lands in southern Oregon to transport up to 1.6 billion cubic feet of fracked gas per year from Canada and the Rockies to Coos Bay, where it would be processed to liquefied natural gas (LNG) and shipped overseas from a giant new terminal. Pembina, a giant Canadian energy company would make massive profits, while the rest of us would pay the price. 

Trampling on farmer and landowner rights. If landowners along the pipeline route don’t accept a small, one-time payment for permanent use of their land for the pipeline, the government will grant Pembina the power of eminent domain to force them to anyway. After 13 years, Pembina still has less than 40% of contracts with landowners.   

Threats to traditional tribal territories. Cultural resources, traditional tribal territories and burial grounds are threatened by both the the pipeline route and the export facility. The Karuk, Yurok, and Klamath Tribes have openly opposed the fracked gas project.

Huge backward step on climate. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, exporting natural gas from the US to Asia could end up being worse from a greenhouse gas perspective than if China simply built a new power plant and burned its own coal supplies. The terminal would also become one of the largest sources of climate pollution in the state, amounting to up to 15 times the last remaining coal plant in the state of Oregon. Fracking wells that would supply this project have been documented to leak substantial amounts of methane – a powerful greenhouse gas that can make fracked gas projects much worse than coal in a 20-year timeframe. 

Serious safety risk. LNG facilities and natural gas pipelines are highly explosive. For example, in 2014, the Plymouth LNG facility in Washington exploded, injuring workers and forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate their homes. The Jordan Cove terminal would be built in a region vulnerable to tsunamis, while the pipeline, full of high-pressure gas, would pass through an area with a high risk of wild fires.

Higher energy prices.  Exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) “puts pressure on prices and that wouldn't be good for consumers,” according to Avista Senior V.P. Jason Thackston in 2014.

Threats to existing jobs and businesses. The pipeline will affect farms and fishing businesses as it disturbs more than 400 waterways and damages salmon and steelhead habitat.  “Horizontal Directional Drilling” would happen under the Klamath, Rogue, Umpqua, and Coquille Rivers, threatening our rivers with pipeline drilling accidents called “frack outs”. This drilling technique has led to major spills and water contamination in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Major local impacts, few jobs. More than 1,000 temporary residents from outside our communities will descend on the region during the construction phase. Corporate CEOs promise that dozens of jobs will remain after construction, but history has proven that such promises are rarely kept.

Junk science. An environmental impact statement by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on the last proposal (2015) was labeled “incoherent” by the Oregonian, especially since it left out the climate impact of fracking, transporting, and liquefying the gas. The environmental review is nowhere near complete, with impacts to water quality, wetlands, and endangered species never having been fully analyzed by state and federal agencies, in part due to the company’s refusal to provide key information on time.

Clean energy development creates far more jobs than fracked gas.  Each dollar invested in clean energy creates two to seven times as many jobs as spending that dollar on fossil fuels. Businesses, elected officials, and community residents in the Rogue Valley have been working together to speed our transition to cleaner energy like solar and to greater energy efficiency. This project threatens all the progress we are making.