April 19, 2016 – “The Coos County Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Pipeline & Terminal Project: Not Quite as Dead as You Might Think!”

Paul Cienfuegos’ April 19th, 2016 Commentary on KBOO Evening News

(His weekly commentaries are broadcast every Tuesday evening. You can view or listen to them all at PaulCienfuegos.com, CommunityRightsPDX.org/podcast, or subscribe via ITunes.)

Greetings! You are listening to the weekly commentary by yours truly, Paul Cienfuegos.

Last May, I produced a KBOO Commentary that generated outrage from a few of my listeners. It was titled “Anti-LNG Rally in Salem Confuses the Public About Where Real Power Resides”, and in it I dared to make the claim that the strategies and tactics being used by the ‘No LNG Exports Coalition’ in their campaign to stop the proposed Jordan Cove LNG shipping terminal in the Coos Bay area, and the proposed Pacific Connector LNG pipeline across the southwest corner of Oregon, were not as effective as they needed to be if the goal was to stop these projects once and for all. I was accused of being “uninformed”, and of offering “sentiments based on misinformation and condescension”. I did nothing of the sort.

It continues to trouble me that it’s considered socially unacceptable for politically active people to critique the effectiveness of other politically active people’s campaigns. Our world is in crisis, and our activism needs to be as wise and focused and visionary and bold as it can possibly be. So yes, I do see it as my duty to critique activism that I believe could be a lot more effective. And in my opinion, it’s your duty too, dear listener. We’re all in this together. And time is short!

I am again discussing this year-old Commentary because just this past month the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (or FERC) denied the permit that would have allowed this ecologically catastrophic project to move forward, and Oregon’s anti-LNG activist groups declared it a great victory. But Mary Geddry, who has been a leader of the Coos Commons Protection Council – the local Community Rights group based in Coos Bay that has drafted the “Coos County Right to a Sustainable Energy Future Ordinance” which will likely be on the ballot this November – wrote an Op-Ed in her local Coos Bay newspaper – The World – that could be summed up in three words – Not So Fast! Here are some excerpts from Mary Geddry’s March 19th Op-Ed.

An affected landowner called to give me the good news. “Did you hear? FERC denied Jordan Cove,” she said. “It’s over.” … I was so shocked and excited. I instantly pulled up the just released order on my phone. My joy soon turned to disappointment. Make no mistake, this is a momentous moment and will have the effect of deterring both the terminal and pipeline for the foreseeable future. But it isn’t over. …

The FERC denial was made without prejudice, meaning both companies … can reapply. In fact, both have declared their intention to demand a rehearing. That, however, is not what is so disappointing. After all the thousands of hours spent abiding by the regulatory rules and the reams of paper representing thousands of substantive comments and expert testimony about the negative impacts upon waterways and forests and oysters and clams and birds and the very air we breathe, the denial came down to just one thing, the market. …

[T]he FERC denial order is far from a victory and little more than a respite. … [T]he single most effective strategy employed by Jordan Cove opponents was that more than 90% of landowners refused or failed to negotiate an easement. If the company comes up with a buyer, … or worse, partners with a bigger player that already has customers, then nothing short of a tsunami or a countywide bill of rights for a sustainable energy future will stop it. … Yes, some, inexplicably, are still determined to keep on participating in and validating the regulatory process, but many see the urgency and opportunity to enact new rules. …

Even more than an outright approval, FERC’s denial of Jordan Cove’s certificate of public convenience and necessity purely on market grounds is a virtual endorsement for the community rights movement because common sense and traditional activism clearly aren’t working. At the other end of the pipe, Colorado community rights activists are also pleased that Jordan Cove has been indefinitely delayed. As they vigorously fight hydraulic fracturing used to extract natural gas destined for Jordan Cove, Colorado, like Oregon, has a proposed state constitutional amendment that would affirm local decision making powers and prevent state preemption of local rights based ordinances.

I’ve been reading excerpts from the March 19th Op-Ed by Mary Geddry, a leader of the Coos Commons Protection Council – the local Community Rights group based in Coos Bay that has drafted the “Coos County Right to a Sustainable Energy Future Ordinance”, which they hope to place on the ballot in November. You can follow their work at CoosCommons.org. And Mary’s blogs can be read at Geddry.com.

You’ve been listening to the weekly commentary by yours truly, Paul Cienfuegos. You can hear future commentaries every Tuesday on the KBOO Evening News in Portland, Oregon, and on a growing number of other radio stations. I welcome your feedback.

You can subscribe to my weekly podcast via I-Tunes or at CommunityRightsPDX.org. You can sign up for my ‘Community Rights Updates’ at PaulCienfuegos.com. You can follow me on twitter at CienfuegosPaul. THANKS FOR LISTENING! And remember: WE are the people we’ve been WAITING for.

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