Rather than restrict our efforts to stopping a harmful project to just battling the regulatory agencies, local citizens formed the Coos Commons Protection Council filed an initiative to pass an ordinance and establish a countywide bill of rights that asserts our right to local self-government.
As important as it is to put comments into the public record FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), according to one source, has never denied a permit for oil and gas infrastructure unless the developer has first withdrawn the application. In recent weeks, FERC approved construction of a high-volume, high pressure natural gas pipeline that will pass within 2,500 feet of a nuclear power plant just a few miles north of New York City. One expert warned that siting the Spectra Energy pipeline in such close proximity to the Indian Point nuclear power plant could endanger tens of millions of lives yet FERC also determined that no emergency response plan is necessary.
These are just current examples of why it is so important to work not just within but also outside of the regulatory box. Our local, state and federal regulators are not in the business of denying permits. Instead, they are in the business of granting permits with conditions even though they have no resources to enforce those conditions or interest in policing the operator.
Rather than restrict our efforts to stopping a harmful project to just battling the regulatory agencies, local citizens formed the Coos Commons Protection Council and utilizing Oregon’s citizen initiative process filed an initiative to pass an ordinance and establish a countywide bill of rights that asserts our right to local self-government this November. The Coos County Right to a Sustainable Energy Future Ordinance prohibits the construction of non-sustainable energy systems like the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline. The ordinance will make it unlawful to use eminent domain to acquire land for non-sustainable energy systems.
This is our community and our decision! Your participation is important!
Join us for our 2nd Community Rights Presentation and Q&A
Speaker is Kai Huschke of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 beginning at 6:30PM
Owen Bldg, Coquille, Oregon
Coos County Sustainable Energy Future Ordinance
“A Community Bill of Rights for a Sustainable Energy Future”
What the Ordinance will do.
The ordinance will secure the right of the people of Coos County to be the decision makers about its energy future, not corporations. The ordinance will protect the rights of people and ecosystems in Coos County from non-sustainable energy projects, including current corporate and government attempts to push through the pipeline and Jordan Cove LNG export terminal. It would not only prohibited the siting of such projects but also the use of eminent domain – the taking of private property – on behalf of oil and gas corporations.
What the Ordinance will NOT do.
The Ordinance will not affect the transportation of fossil fuels intended for residential, commercial, or industrial use for on-site power, heat consumption and vehicle refueling. The Ordinance does not establish a home-rule charter.
Where does the Ordinance get its authority?
Its central authority is derived from the inherent and inalienable right of the people of Coos County to local, community self-government. It is a well-accepted, fundamental principle that all political power is inherent in the people, is exercised by them for their benefit, and is subject to their control. This right is secured by the American Declaration of Independence, the Oregon constitution, and the United States Constitution. Because the right is inherent and inalienable, no government can define, diminish, or otherwise control it. Therefore, the assertion of the rights, prohibitions, and enforcement provisions in the Coos County Sustainable Energy Future ordinance come from our right exercising such decision making power.
Why do we need this Ordinance?
Coos County has experienced substantial population loss in recent decades due to ill-advised and non-sustainable development policies. In addition we have experienced firsthand the harmful effects of unchecked resource extraction and recognize that investments in non-sustainable energy systems like the LNG pipeline and export terminal will damage Coos County.
We also recognize the importance of healthy and thriving natural communities and ecosystems and that non-sustainable energy system projects would threaten those natural systems.
We must also confront the truth that our current system of municipal governance fails to recognize the self-governing authority of the people of Coos County because corporations may assert their “rights” to override our laws. Our local government also operates on the assumption that corporate rights trump those of the people, can be preempted by state or federal legislators and agencies, and are banned from adopting laws, which have not been authorized by the state.
This means that our current municipal system of governance is illegitimate and that we are adopting this Ordinance to create a new system of municipal governance which recognizes our self-governing authority and which secures and protects our rights to a sustainable energy future.