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LNG opposition is overwhelming

You and I have lately been receiving large glossy folding mailers from Pembina extolling the merits of the Jordan Cove methane gas project. You have also probably heard the pleasant voice on the radio telling us how wonderful this project will be for Oregon. Pembina — a Canadian company that is not my neighbor — spends $1 million to $2 million a month on ads trying to convince Southern Oregon that we want this pipe. How is that working?

On Tuesday evening I attended a Department of State Lands public input hearing on the remove and fill permits for the Jordan Cove / Pacific Connector Pipeline project. It took 2 minutes and 26 seconds to walk at a usual pace from the front of the line — I know because I took a video on my phone — to the back. The estimate of the crowd was nearly 1,500 people. This is a larger crowd by far than I have seen at any of the hearings that I have attended over the past several years. The clear and possibly overwhelming majority of attendees wore red as an indication of their opposition or had No LNG hats on. In the auditorium again, the majority clearly opposed the pipeline.

This is consistent with recent polling done by Policy Interactive, an Oregon firm that is a nonpartisan, interdisciplinary team of researchers working to understand general public opinions. Please visit: https://www.policyinteractive.org/jordan-cove-lng/. https://www.policyinteractive.org/public/JordanCoveFacilityProposalOpinionSurvey2.14.18.pdf

This is the largest publicly available survey of ordinary Oregonian’s views of this project — which is interesting, because why hasn’t the Oregon government asked its voters whether they want this pipeline? If they had to pick “oppose” or “support”, 69 percent of respondents opposed the project. 31 percent supported the project.

The main factors that argue against the DSL approving the permits are:

1. The majority of the Oregon public doesn’t want it, which seems like enough by itself.

2. Contrary to Pembina’s claims, this project is likely to damage our economy rather than add value. It will create additional methane and CO2 pollution, and this will accelerate climate change. Given the much greater heat-trapping effects of methane, a leak from the well to the burner of more than about 3 percent means methane is as bad as coal for the atmosphere. Estimates of lifecycle leaks are about 6 percent.

Climate change and in particular the fires and smoke that are escalated from routine to devastating by longer, drier summers are already causing significant economic damage to us and worse is no doubt on its way.

3. This is a Canadian company that will be using eminent domain to take Oregonians’ land against their will so it can sell mostly Canadian gas to Asia for Canadian profits.

About seven years ago I joined many other people who were working hard to stop this pipeline, some of them for the past 13 years. Back then I felt that I was one of the lonely few. But on Tuesday night I heard from Trump-voting cattle ranchers, tribal members, tie-dyed longhairs and former executives of pipeline companies, all of whom are united in their fight against this bad project. Tuesday night I would estimate I had about 1,450 friends.

Julian Bell is a member of the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission and Hair on Fire Oregon, a climate change activist organization.