A principal goal of environmental regulatory agencies is to grant permits that enable corporations to legally pollute our air, water and even to destroy whole ecosystems. So it comes as no surprise that the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found, in summary, that construction of the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and pipeline would have cumulative “temporary, long-term and permanent impacts”  to the environment, air quality, public safety, natural and cultural resources and more. These impacts will, according to the report, be rendered “less than significant” if staff recommendations and mitigation measures are followed.

This FEIS is essentially identical to a previously favorable FEIS for the Jordan Cove LNG project despite tens of thousands of public comments filed by project opponents. This unfortunately predictable outcome happens because our current system does not employ a zero-tolerance policy and has a liberal view of what constitutes damage or impact offering nary a word about climate change. The environmental regulatory system is designed to tolerate “legal” limits of toxins in our air, water, and soil as an unpleasant albeit necessary consequence of commerce.

This is also the same system that tolerates the surveillance of environmental activists because it is designed to protect the corporation in its pursuit of pollution by commerce over the environment, communities or even threatened landowners. No sheriff’s deputy will be standing in uniform to stop bulldozers from seizing American land via eminent domain to benefit the foreign shareholders of a Canadian company. The governor will not call out the National Guard to protect Oregon citizens from this foreign corporate invasion. Landowners are on their own.

It is neither acceptable nor is it necessary to poison the environment to engage in commerce. In fact, it is the antithesis of a sustainable and responsible economy. But to stop harmful unsustainable developments like Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline determined environmental activists must first acknowledge that working within an “environmental protection” system complicit with industry is activism’s failure not the system’s failure. Rather than pledging obedience to an unjust system, activists across the country and around the world must become civilly disobedient in the name of justice, true sustainability, climate and the environment.

In 2019 alone, Uganda, Bangladesh, Columbia and Sweden have introduced or recognized the right of nature, ecosystems and rivers to flourish, thrive and naturally evolve as a direct means of collapsing the regulatory destruction of the environment. The Yurok Tribe recognized legal rights of the Klamath River. Exeter and Nottingham, New Hampshire enacted laws securing the right to a “stable and healthy climate” and freedom from “chemical trespass.”

Even the National Lawyers Guild just this year amended the organization’s constitution to include the rights of nature, stating “human rights and the rights of ecosystems shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests….”

Stop cooperating with and legitimizing a corrupt system. Don’t be complicit with the regulatory degradation of nature that we depend upon for our very lives. Join the rights of nature movement and help change the system. Our planet depends on you. Cooscommons.org or email cooscommons@gmail.com