Northern California & Southern Oregon Tribes Protest the Jordan Cove LNG Pipeline

Protesters outside the Medford, Oregon library. Photo credits to Erik Rydberg.

Published April 9, 2017
KLAMATH FALLS, OREGON – Plans are currently under way for yet another controversial pipeline project. This one  is on the West coast. The Jordan Cove Project is a 230-mile liquified natural gas pipeline designed to run through and cross under 400 streams and waterways including under the Klamath River, the Rogue River, and under Coos Bay. This would be the first fracked gas export terminal located on the west coast. Jordan Cove LNG (liquid natural gas) is in the first stages of seeking approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency responsible for the approval of all natural gas pipelines and export terminals in the United States.

Protesters in Oregon

From March 21st to March 24th, approximately 200-400 people gathered at a library in Medford, Oregon in opposition to the Jordan Cove Project. The opposition was led by members of the Yurok, Hoopa, Karuk, Modoc, and Klamath Tribes of northern California and southern Oregon.
The Jordan Cove Project is required by FERC to hold open houses with the public to take comments and concerns from citizens in the path of the pipeline and those who live and fish along the Klamath River, Rogue River, and Coos Bay, Oregon. Tribal members argued that the 230-mile pipeline would run through traditional tribal lands and burial sites. Northern California and southern Oregon tribes are concerned over danger to their water resources.

Chairman Donald Gentry/Dici Gyank (Lives Good) of the Klamath tribe.

After giving a speech thanking the hundreds of water protectors for supporting the Klamath tribe and standing in solidarity with them, Chairman Donald Gentry/Dici Gyank (Lives Good) of the Klamath tribe said, ” We (Klamath tribe) have written a letter to Jordan Cove LNG and consulted our local politicians. LNG is an unacceptable risk to our cultural sites, our burial sites, and our rivers. We are concerned with sustainability. We’re seeing the impacts now, to our plants, our fish and with fracking earthquakes. Our native people have put up with a lot. Our environment and resources have suffered for other people’s benefit. It’s now time to stand up and say enough. It’s time to stand globally. We need to support and stand with other tribes, to work together. We need to walk the halls of congress.”

Patty and Thomas Joseph II tribal members of the Hoopa Nation, and organizers of the California Kitchen and Hoopa camp at Standing Rock

Patty and Thomas Joseph II, tribal members of the Hoopa Nation were present at the Jordan Cove Open House in Klamath Falls, Oregon.  The couple were involved with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. They built the California Kitchen at Standing Rock in August, 2016, feeding thousands of people over the course of several months.
Thomas said: “We live on 10,000 year-old ancestral land along the Trinity River, which is a tributary of the Klamath River. What affects the Klamath affects us.” Patty explained that, “the majority of the 200 permanent jobs aren’t going to be given to the people of Oregon and they plan to use Russian steel, not American steel for the pipes. The fracked gas is being sent to Japan so it’s not even for American use, and the company building the pipeline is from Canada.”
The Canadian company, Veresen (parent company of Jordan Cove LNG) will make the majority of profit in partnership with fracking companies based out of Texas. Only 400-800 jobs out of the potential 3,500 temporary jobs are required to be given to citizens of Oregon.

Aerial photo of the Freeport Texas Liquid Gas Export Terminal. This is what is proposed for Coos Bay, Oregon.

“LNG is one of many black snakes (pipelines). It’s a 7.4 billion dollar project, so it’s twice the size of the DAPL (Dakota Access) pipeline. It’s the King Snake. The death of LNG is the death of all the black snakes in Wisconsin, Utah, Colorado, Washington, California, and Canada. We don’t even have the option of divesting from the pipeline like we did at Standing Rock. All of the banks involved with Jordan Cove LNG are based in Canada, so we are relying on Canadians and investors outside of Northern California and Southern Oregon to divest for us,” said Thomas Joseph.

Seventh Generation Fund at gathering in Southern Oregon.

The proposed pipeline is scheduled to run through 300 landowners in Oregon. If the landowners deny the offers of money from Jordan Cove LNG to sell their land to them, the company plans to use eminent domain to seize their property. In addition, 80 miles of old growth forest would have to be clear cut to make way for the pipeline. Fify feet on both sides of the pipeline needs to be cleared in order to ensure that a wildfire won’t heat up the pipes. The route oil tankers would be taking to cross the ocean from Japan are frequent migration routes of up to seven species of endangered whales, including the grey whale. The estimated number of tankers traveling would be up to two tankers per week. Sensitive oyster beds line the floor of Coos Bay, and if the pipeline under Coos Bay exploded, these beds would be destroyed. Tanker loading and unloading would also interfere with local fishing boat travel. It takes up to three days to dock, fill up, and exit the bay. Coos Bay is also located directly over an active earthquake fault line.

The Jordan Cove Project LNG has already been denied twice in 2016. Now a new administration in Washington, D.C. is committed to pushing through all fossil fuel infrastructure. Currently there is only one operational fracked gas export terminal in existence, and it is in Freeport, Texas. The Freeport Liquified Petroleum Gas export terminal has an export capacity of 4.4 million barrels per month. There are 4 more fracked gas terminals under construction in the U.S., three in Texas, and one in Massachusetts.

Erik Rydberg (Hoopa tribal member, and active member of Green Party Northern California) with Jene McCovey at protest in southern Oregon.

The Trump administration named Public Utility Commissioner Robert Powelson as a considered appointee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Powell recently called American citizens and Native Americans who protest fossil fuel interests as …”engaged in a “jihad” to keep natural gas from reaching new markets.”  He is comparing American citizens and Native Americans who defend water rights and treaty rights to terrorist “jihadists”. It is time for all Americans to unite and show politicians that if they continue to take money from corporate interests that put profit over the well being of Native Americans and American citizens, we will vote them out of office, and we will divest from banks and fossil fuel companies that donate to their campaigns.
Join the boycott of the Jordan Cove LNG project
Go to FERC’s website and comment on Jordan Cove LNG. Sign the petition by Klamath River Keepers to block the pipeline under the Klamath River. Please register to comment on FERC’s wesite. This comment process is extremely important to stopping this project. The numbers of those who comment do make a difference to the FERC decision:  https://ferconline.ferc.gov/eRegistration.aspx
Jordan Cove LNG’s docket numbers are: CP13-483-000 and CP13-492-000.  Look them up and select the docket numbers individually in the ecomments section.
Please sign the Klamath River Keepers Petition:  http://www.klamathriver.org/new-petition-to-block-klamath-pipeline/
Erik Rydberg (Hoopa tribe) contributed to this story.

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  1. Rachel 8 months ago