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|Articles - March 2014|
|Tuesday, February 25, 2014|
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The big, fossil fuel-based project has created controversy. The main source of local opposition is Citizens Against LNG. Among their concerns: The facility will take up a large amount of space adjacent to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Should it be abandoned, it will leave behind a sizeable eyesore in an area important to tourism. The plant will be in a flood and tsunami zone and near an airport, raising safety concerns. Transport tankers require a large security perimeter around them, which may affect recreational and commercial fishing. There is evidence that exporting natural gas will raise prices for American consumers.
In addition to concerns about the LNG plant, the pipeline will cut across land belonging to farmers and ranchers, something many private land owners oppose. It will cross five rivers and hundreds of small streams, disturbing salmon habitats. Approximately 5,000 people from the four counties affected by the pipeline have signed a petition opposing it.
Jody McCaffree, Citizens Against LNG’s volunteer executive director, prefers the community focus on existing industries, such as the region’s farms and dairies, or renewable energy projects. “We could build wind turbines or do other things that aren’t as destructive to the environment and the bay.”
A Seattle company is exploring an offshore wind farm in the area; however, it’s hard to blame officials for jumping at the opportunities presented by Jordan Cove. Besides jobs, the facility and pipeline are expected to bring millions of dollars in taxes and other revenue.
Jordan Cove’s only remaining hurdle is obtaining permits from regulatory agencies — no small feat, Hinrichs acknowledges. Still, if the project can stay on schedule, expect building on the LNG facility to begin in 2015, with pipeline construction starting a year later.
Port of Coos Bay Facts: Built in 1912. During peak years, the port saw 300 vessel calls a year. Now the number is closer to 60. If the Jordan Cove project goes forward, vessel calls are expected to reach 180 annually.
“I didn’t start out to oppose this project. But the more I studied it, I thought, ‘Why would we do this?’ We’re not against jobs. We want the jobs of the future. If we’re going to dig up our natural habitat, it should be for something that’s going to be here 20 years from now. You’re not going to get that with fossil fuel infrastructure.” —Jody McCaffree, Citizens Against LNG
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