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The proposed 223-mile pipeline would run from Coos Bay to the California border.

California investors have joined with energy speculators to propose a massive Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) import terminal just north of Coos Bay and a pipeline running across southwest Oregon to the California border. A high-pressure LNG pipeline would stretch 223 miles across private land as well as the Rogue River-Siskiyou and Fremont-Winema National Forests and four BLM Districts.

LNG is natural gas that has been cooled to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit and condensed to 600 times its normal volume. The Pacific Connector pipeline would likely consist of a 3-foot diameter pipe, and its installation would have dramatic impacts on forests, fish and wildlife, including clearing a swath of forest 100 feet or more in width along its route.   

PG&E, Williams Pipeline, and Fort Chicago (Canada) recently initiated the siting process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Although energy speculators are eyeing Oregon for five LNG import terminals, nearly all of the imported gas is expected to go to California where the demand is greatest.  Because of staunch environmental and public safety opposition in California, LNG developers have been run out of communities where LNG terminals have been proposed.  These companies are now attempting to locate facilities in Oregon.

The pipeline would cross salmon and steelhead streams, including the Coos, Coquille, Rogue, South Umpqua and Klamath rivers.  Pipeline installation would involve removing forest, building service roads, and high-impact drilling under streams, which frequently results in large quantities of drilling mud polluting the affected streams.  Additionally, because of the large diameter of the pipeline, many streams would likely be crossed by large-scale trenching, placing bulldozers and other equipment in some of the most sensitive salmon spawning streams in the Northwest.

The BLM issued a decision allowing the energy companies to stake out the proposed route on the ground, cut trees and use disruptive equipment within habitat for imperiled species such as spotted owls, bald eagles, marbled murrelets and pacific fishers. Allowing the BLM and energy companies to invest millions of dollars in surveys on the companies’ preferred route effectively limits the scope of the proposal as well as the choice of reasonable alternatives in the pending Environmental Impact Statement.

The lion's share of energy would go to California while rural Oregon would suffer any ill effects of such a pipeline.

The Pacific Connector will also require the use of eminent domain on local private lands, and many owners have already vowed to refuse access or easements over their lands for a California-driven project. Concerned Oregonians are organizing in opposition to the Pacific Connector in the coming months by participating in federal hearings, supporting affected landowners, and educating others about the negative impacts of the project.   When Oregon’s natural gas demand does not justify this huge pipeline, the Pacific Connector is an extreme and unnecessary alteration of Oregon’s landscape.

The natural gas industry has long touted natural gas as a “clean fuel.” Yet when the realities behind the extraction, transmission and combustion of natural gas are considered it becomes clear that natural gas is anything but clean. Increasing our reliance on natural gas is simply continuing U.S. reliance on foreign fossil fuels.  Plans for natural gas pipelines are not just threatening southwest Oregon, but pipelines stretching thousands of miles are also being planned through Canadian forests and wetlands.  Although burning natural gas is preferable from an emissions perspective, natural gas still has significant carbon emissions and also releases high-impact air toxins such as formaldehyde.

Stay tuned - the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will be accepting public comments on this project once they release an Environmental Impact Statement in 2008. Current concerns include:

* Renewable Energy Sources - ask FERC to consider an alternative that would increase our use of renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind or waves. The government can play a big role in fostering research and tax incentives to help eliminate the need to increase  foreign imports of natural gas.

* Conservation - the U.S. is home to 5% of the world's population, yet consumes 26% of the world's energy. Conservation would eliminate the need to increase our dependence on foreign fossil fuels, as well as save Americans money. Ask FERC to consider an alternative that  encourages and legislates sensible conservation.

* Not in our Backyard - ask FERC to consider an alternative that puts the LNG terminal in California instead of Coos Bay. Though this alternative does not reduce our dependence on foreign fossil fuels, it does eliminate the need for the 230-mile pipeline through Oregon  to bring gas to California.

The pipeline is proposed to go under 5 major rivers, the Coos, Coquille, South Umpqua (twice), Rogue and Klamath.  The proposed pipeline will clearcut a 100' wide path through some of the most remote and beautiful lands in southern Oregon.

Click here to read an article called "Living on the Pipeline" by Phoenix, Oregon residents Glenn Archambault and Terri Magruder

Contact Governor Kulongoski and urge him not to approve any water rights or other permits for the Coos Bay LNG project and to ask his Port Commission in Coos Bay to find safer, environmentally sound, and more equitable means of promoting economic development! 

Governor Kulongoski: 160 State Capitol, 900 Court Street, Salem, OR 97301
PHONE: Governor’s Message Line 503.378.4582;  FAX 503.378.6827

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has," Margret Mead.