Local activists and citizens met on Thursday, March 12 to discuss the Oregon LNG and Oregon Pipeline projects.
The meeting was organized and moderated by Steve Calhoun, along with his son Michael, to raise awareness within the community about the projects and included several guest speakers. The discussion focused on ways to organize and oppose the projects and on making sure locals understand that they have a voice in whether they are constructed or not.
The Oregon LNG and Oregon Pipeline projects propose to transport fracked natural gas from Canada across Washington and Oregon in a high pressure, thirty-six inch pipeline, to a terminal in Warrenton, OR where it would be converted to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and exported to overseas markets. The pipeline travels across Columbia County through mostly private timberland and crosses Rock Creek about five miles above the intake to the City of Vernonia’s water plant.
Some of the most pertinent concerns about the projects include water quality degradation and damage to critical salmon habitat, and public safety and the risk to residents in the event of an accident.
Among the guest speakers was Dan Serres, Conservation Director at Columbia Riverkeeper, who has been opposing LNG projects in Oregon for ten years. Serres provided an overview of what he called “one of the most controversial projects in all of Oregon,” and told the audience that the one way to stop the projects was to stop the terminal in Warrenton. “Without the terminal there is no pipeline,” said Serres. He also pointed out that both State and Federal regulatory agencies need to approve the projects before it can move forward. Serres explained that FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) will say yes to this so it is important for local citizens to be heard by state agencies and legislators. Serres encouraged locals to organize together to oppose the project.
Maggie Peyton, Executive Director of the Upper Nehalem Watershed Council (UNWC), told the audience that her organization has been working to restore salmon habitat in the region for twenty-six years and that she sees no real benefit for the local population from the projects. In addition to her concerns about water quality in the rivers, streams and wetlands the pipeline would cross and its impact on local salmon populations, Peyton also expressed reservations about the continued dependence on fossil fuels, the ability of local emergency responders to handle accidents or natural disasters, and the effects on water quality from deforestation in the region. She said she is also highly concerned about the potential damage from a predicted large subduction zone earthquake. Read More