The only outside force trying to dictate terms in Coos County is Jordan Cove and FERC.
The Coos Commons Protection Council has a Plan B. We are gaining momentum as more of our County citizens are given an opportunity to put a voice to their opposition to the Jordan Cove LNG Terminal and pipeline project. We will continue collecting signatures until ‘The Coos County Sustainable Energy Future Ordinance” qualifies for the November ballot.
Make no mistake, this ordinance is not just about Jordan Cove. It addresses the much larger issue of sustainability in Coos County’s energy future. What does that mean? It means that it is time for us to invest in projects that are community controlled and distributes the power and profits throughout our community. Across the United States, communities are investing in their capacity to move the work and advance policies and funding that prioritizes efficiency and renewable projects. Municipal utilities, community-based co-ops, universities and other nonprofit institutions in both rural and urban settings are executing wind, solar, geothermal and biomass decentralized community owned developments. These communities are embracing solutions that protect their health and environment while creating economic prosperity.
Is this really out of the realm of possibilities for Coos County? Is it too much to ask our community to invest in community controlled on-site renewable generation? Rather than look to a foreign corporation to bring us our salvation, can we not develop alternatives that, not only protect our health and environment but puts us in charge of our economy? Instead of relying on fracked LNG and a facility that will make Coos County the number one carbon polluter in Oregon, can’t we develop the North Spit with wind and solar generation? Locally controlled renewable energy could meet the needs of the community, protect local air quality, be sold to the grid for a profit, create local jobs, and build economic stability. Our union workers and local trades people could be trained build energy generation that benefits us all.
The ordinance also prescribes the rights of natural communities and ecosystems to thrive. Communities began recognizing the need to advocate for the rights of nature in 2006. Since then, more than two dozen communities in the U.S. have adopted local laws that recognize the rights of nature. In November of 2010, the City of Pittsburgh in western Pennsylvania became the first major municipality in the United States to recognize rights for nature. In 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to recognize rights for nature in its constitution.
While this is a hard concept for many to grasp, it is important to understand that laws recognizing the rights of nature empower communities to reject governmental actions which permit unwanted and damaging development to occur – by enabling communities to assert the rights of those ecosystems that would otherwise be destroyed. Laws recognizing rights for nature begin with a different premise – that ecosystems and natural communities have the right to exist and flourish, and people, communities and governments have the authority to defend those rights on behalf of those ecosystems and communities. Our ecosystem is comprised of the Port of Charleston, the bay, the rivers and streams that feed into the bay, the forests, farmland and communities within our watershed. By acknowledging the rights of natural communities to thrive, we are protecting those habitats and, by extension, the many jobs which it sustains; those in the fishing and oyster industries, farming and forestry. A conservative estimate of the jobs that will be sacrificed in these industries to Jordan Cove and the pipeline are well over 200.
This ordinance was written and is supported by residents of Coos County. The only outside force trying to dictate terms in Coos County is Jordan Cove and FERC. We drafted this ordinance because we believe there are alternatives that can be found here in Coos Bay. John Sweet recently said that there is no plan b; if Jordan Cove isn’t built or if some other outside corporation does not ride in on their white horse, Coos County will wither and die. Those of us committed to this ordinance believe that our community can bring our collective strengths to the table and develop a sustainable economic plan that will enable Coos County to thrive. We have not thrown in the towel to the corporate gods.
Lastly, this ordinance makes the citizens of Coos County the decision makers. We believe that everyone in the county should have the opportunity to say yea or nay. If you support the ordinance, vote yes; if you disagree, vote no. But let’s not deny our fellow citizens their right to have a voice in this process. By asserting our community rights, we are establishing our right to make the critical decisions that affect our community. These rights are established in the Oregon Constitution and US Bill of Rights. Join us at facebook.com/cooscommons. It’s your decision.