Medford third stop on federal hearing for LNG project and pipeline

MEDFORD, Ore.– Day three of hearings for the controversial Jordan Cove LNG project and pipeline happened today in Medford. The first two meetings took place in Coos and Douglas County.

On Wednesday, Jackson County residents got their chance to share their thoughts on the project. It seems, though, everyone has an opinion on the natural gas project and pipeline. After all, it’s been in the works for more than a decade.

But now local residents are finally getting a chance to speak to federal regulators. As part of a four-day hearing, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission heard from Jackson County residents.

“Fossil fuels we don’t need,” said Marilyn Stewart, 65, an opponent of the pipeline. “So California said no. Washington said no. Oregon is saying no.”

“People call these temporary jobs,” said Lou Christian, 61, a representative of the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 290 – a trade group that would have some 4,500 members potentially working on this pipeline. “They’re our way of life. Our life is built in construction going from job to job.”

Supporters for the pipeline argue that this project will bring millions in tax dollars to southern Oregon and will be done in an environmentally friendly way. Opponents say the money isn’t worth it and damages to the environment can’t be avoided.

In march, FERC released a draft environmental impact statement showing the project would release 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. Pembina, the Canadian company behind the project, says it’s still better than coal which is what the liquefied natural gas would replace in China – the country importing the natural gas.

Pembina also says 82 percent of affected landowners have signed on for the pipeline.

“There’s pipelines all over the place in this country and for some reason, we act like this one is special,” said Tom Terbeck, a landowner in the Butte Falls area who signed off on the pipeline.

But some are still holding out.

“It’s not about not in my backyard,” said Deb Evans, a Jackson County resident who owns land in Klamath County on the pipeline’s path. “I don’t want the project. I’m not interested in anybody having it in their backyard.”

While both sides continue to voice their opinion, it’s left to FERC, which will make a final decision on whether this project goes through. Until then, statements from the community are what could sway the outcome.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says it will take down every comment it can until the July 5 deadline. The final hearing will be at the Fairgrounds Events Center in Klamath Falls from 1 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 27.

You can also submit your comments online here.

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