May 26, 2011
Dear Governor Kitzhaber
The proposed Jordan Cove LNG terminal and gas pipeline is a large scale industrial enterprise that is a major impact to Southern Oregon. While as a Realtor, I generally favor development, I also believe this proposal needs careful and thoughtful evaluation before committing one of the most pristine areas in the United States to long term and far reaching industrial development. We are getting the bum’s rush instead of careful and thoughtful evaluation.
As we currently know it, this proposal has harsh negative impacts on landowners along the path of the pipeline. If their property is for sale they need to disclose the fact there is a government study in progress. This does real harm to the value of this property right now before a single permit is granted. As I understand it FERC granted the proposal with over 130 conditions none of which has been met. They do not have one single approval. The applicant has had an evolving story from the start leaving private citizens between a rock and a hard place. The applicant and the agencies are all well paid but citizen landowners are fighting this out of their own pockets. Many of the landowners who have internet access are in a dial up system that is extremely slow and the FERC website is a real burden to honest input. You can find web sites run by junior high students that are easier to access and use than what has been delivered by this federal agency.
Meanwhile, it is becoming more apparent that the Ruby pipeline will bring natural gas from the Rockies to Malin Oregon, where it will intersect with the pipeline from Coos Bay. With the price of gas climbing in the Far East it does not take much imagination to see that this terminal is for the export of LNG. Now we have reports one of which is attached that the Jordan Cove Terminal is for EXPORT of domestic LNG. In March of 2012, the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay (OIPCB) will release an EIS covering the dredging required for the colossal post-Panamax sized LNG tankers to enter Coos Bay. This I believe was the plan and intent from the beginning. The OIPCB and the Jordan Cove developers were dissembling from the beginning in order to take a right of way by eminent domain from landowners in the path of this development. Many of these people voted for you (and John Kroger) thinking that we would get a fair shake in the matter. So far it does not look good. The fact that your personal assistant, Steve Marks’ was on the payroll of the OIPCB to the tune of $7,500 per month is cause for deep distrust of the Governor’s office objectivity in the matter. Rather than embarrass you in the media, I am writing this letter
Let me suggest some better ways to get this done. Authorize the Wave Lab at OSU to do extensive modeling of what will happen when the projected earthquake and tsunami hits the Oregon Coast. There have been studies by Jordan Cove that minimize this threat and have never been reviewed by peers. If jobs are to be found at the coast is will be to harden public facilities and infrastructure in preparation for real threat. We need real scientific evidence that this terminal will be able to withstand what is predicted by state agencies to be an historic earthquake. Veto HB 2700 which gives applicants the right to do the surveys needs for cut and fill permits without land owner approval. This is an outrage and insult and the state does not have the resources needed to enforce this law out in the hills. Make the applicants tell the whole story. If this is for export, fine, let’s plan for it, and demand royalties to the state, affected counties, municipal agencies and above all, the landowners. This would dramatically change rural attitudes about this project. These companies intend to reap billions from crossing Oregon. Let them give us 15 or 20 percent. Let them honestly address and pay for mitigation of the salmon runs. As a member of the Partnership for the Umpqua Rivers (PUR) the watershed council you set up down here to restore salmon and steelhead runs, we have had a presentation from Williams Pipeline about what the pipeline project would entail but not one word of how they would mitigate impacts on the salmon runs beyond promises that they will take care of it. The time to make the deal is before they get approval as a condition not afterward when they take their money and leave. Who then would be left to pay for mitigation? The taxpayers and timber industry, that is who.
Post Panamax vessels entering Coos Bay is a major development in export shipping. There is a huge amount of infrastructure to consider and pay for. If this is to be done, do it properly not with razzle-dazzle stories and shifting documentation. This is not only unjust and insulting to citizens and landowners but leads to poorly thought out projects hidden from criticism. It is an insult to the Oregon tradition of land use planning. The Port of Coos bay is not up to the task. I would suggest that at least 2 or 3 members of the port commission be elected by the public rather than only your appointments. You would have much greater legitimacy and decisions in Coos Bay would be much better. Right now we feel betrayed and the Port is treading the line of criminal misconduct.
This entire effort is a giant diversion from what we would really like to talk about, collaborative forestry and economic revitalization of Coos and Douglas counties. If you are interested I will send you a copy of a paper I wrote, Value Added Logging as some ideas in this matter. The workers in both counties are suffering terribly. It is heartbreaking to see how the cool towns of Coos Bay and North Bend are falling apart. The existing economic development apparatus, CCD is a grim failure. We need some fresh thinking but all we get is a choice between starvation and industrial developments such as the Jordan Cove proposal. We are looking at making these issues in the next election, including yours in 2014. Give us a fair shake, demand that this proposal go back and start out by telling the truth and paying royalties or do not be surprised when we take this to court. Sooner or later we will find a reporter who will make this national news and they will come to you for explanations, what will you say then? Think about this now. Go to Mgx.com for some insight.
Submitted with respect to a friend by a friend,
Richard M. Chasm
c.c. Pres. Barack Obama
Sen. Ron Wyden
Sen. Jeff Merkley
Rep. Peter DeFazio