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Pembina letter to Brown more of the same

The Canadian company behind a proposed natural gas pipeline and export facility in Oregon is touting what company officials say would be an economic windfall for the state. The message is aimed at Gov. Kate Brown, who has remained neutral in the debate over Pembina Pipeline Corp.’s Jordan Cove project.

Any tax benefits from the massive project would be dependent on federal approval — still pending — and the potential seizure of private property easements from landowners to allow the pipeline to cross their land. Opponents, including the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, have raised environmental and safety concerns in addition to the property rights question.

Pembina wants to build a 229-mile pipeline to deliver natural gas to an export facility in Coos Bay, where the gas would be liquefied and shipped to markets in Asia. The pipeline would cross portions of Klamath, Jackson, Douglas and Coos counties.

In a letter to Brown, the company says the project would mean $48 million annually in corporate taxes to the state of Oregon. The letter emphasizes that the figure represents 5% of the proceeds from the corporate tax bill passed by the 2019 Oregon Legislature — a controversial measure backed by Brown that is designed to raise $1 billion for schools.

The letter says calculations by tax experts employed by Pembina indicate the $48 million figure is “roughly equal to the amount that all manufacturers in the state of Oregon pay annually.”

That sounds impressive, and it is — except that the Jordan Cove project wouldn’t exactly “manufacture” anything. It would pipe natural gas from outside the state across four Oregon counties, compress it and export it to foreign markets at a profit to Pembina. After the construction phase of the project was complete, Jordan Cove would employ just over 200 people, most of them in Coos Bay.

That’s not the kind of “manufacturing” that employs hundreds of workers who make something of value to consumers in Oregon or anywhere else in the United States.

Dangling tax dollar signs in front of Oregon leaders doesn’t change the fact that the primary beneficiary of this project is Pembina.