The Jordan Cove company released information to a Coos Bay newspaper showing high support for their proposed 230 mile liquefied natural gas pipeline, known as the Jordan Cove LNG project. However, opponents of the pipeline question these numbers, and claim the company is using intimidation tactics to force landowners into agreements.
Jordan Cove issued an exclusive release to the Coos Bay World on Friday, June 21 stating they had secured 82 percent of easements (permissions to run the pipeline underground) from property owners along the proposed pipeline route. The company had only secured around 20 percent of those easements in 2017.
However, Mountaintop Insights, a consulting firm in Myrtle Creek, issued a press release on Saturday contradicting the company’s numbers. Opponents of the pipeline, including longtime Jordan Cove opponent and Douglas County landowner Stacey McLaughlin, obtained information from the four County Clerk offices and determined that only 61 percent have signed easements and over 90 individual landowners still have not signed.
“[They are] again skewing public perception in advance of upcoming FERC meetings,” said McLaughlin, in reference to hearings being held this week by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
The release also contained allegations that Jordan Cove and its representatives of intimidated local landowners, including “coercive targeting of vulnerable and elderly landowners with threats of eminent domain.”
From the release: “A Coquille landowner who preferred not to be named for fear of retaliation by Pacific Connector said, ‘I just feel harassed by the company, one land agent even threatened to ensure that an above-ground block valve would be placed in my hay field if I didn’t sell the easement before their deadline. I still haven’t sold an easement and don’t plan on doing so.’”
The FERC hearings will be held to invite public comments from residents of Coos, Jackson, Douglas and Klamath counties, where the proposed pipeline and terminal would be built.
The company claims they would add a large sum to the tax base and would bring over ten thousand jobs in both construction and tourism-related industries to the southern coast. But many of these would be temporary or “spin-off” jobs. They estimate a few hundred to just over one thousand permanent positions would be created.
Those opposed to the pipeline argue that the immediate economic benefits should not overshadow the damage to public health and the environment. If built, the pipeline is estimated to be the state’s largest carbon polluter. Other concerns include the pipeline being built through hundreds of southern Oregon’s waterways, as well as the damage it may cause to culturally valuable tribal lands.
By Ian MacRonald