Jordan Cove / Pacific Connector: Welcome Back to the Wild Wild West!

By Ted Gleichman.  First of a Series.

Part One:
What in the Bloody Blue Blazes is Really Going On With the LNG Push?

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

Image: Public Domain,

As we fight the constant brutality of the fossil fuels industry, feeling stuck in perpetual whack-a-cockroach mode, we are confronted with the fact that there is no honor among cannibals.  These exploiters know full well that we are in the throes of climate breakdown, and yet they continue at breakneck speed into the apocalypse.

Fracked gas (and oil) exploitation and export are the second-largest 21st Century energy revolution on the planet — second only to renewables.  Here’s a simplified framing for what we face: Globally, there has never been more turmoil in the present and future of the political economy of energy than there is now.  Locally, the Jordan Cove Energy Project (JCEP) & Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline (PCGP) scheme exemplifies a couple of the reasons why this is happening — and shows how.

As to why:

First, the industry knows that the projects that will be stopped first are those that haven’t started yet.  As the momentum for “Keep It In the Ground” builds, human psychology and standard political operating procedures dictate that — except for traditional emergencies like explosions — shutting down existing fossil fuels infrastructure (FFI) will be hardest and happen last.  So they are getting as much new FFI under construction and putting it into service as fast as they can.  They see this as their best way to protect market share, cash flow, and stock value.

Second, they are cut-throats — not just to front-line communities and the global atmosphere, but to each other.  Again, they know the climate science and they know that stranded assets are coming (see: coal).  They also know that demand for their products will fall — so they need to be the fastest guns in this new Wild West at piling up cash now.

And part of the how:

The Jordan Cove & Pacific Connector (JC/PC) project set is a perfect example.  The last of three proposals for Oregon, and now the only one still alive on the US Lower-48 West Coast, JC/PC has fought with no scruples to market itself both as inherently good and as inevitable.

Both these claims are completely bogus, but the level of desperation within the LNG / fracked gas export industry is so high that this form of vulture capitalism fights dirty by its very nature.  This political / scientific pseudo-wizardry dovetails with the JC/PC efforts to game the federal, state, and local permitting processes to push the new agenda of the Trump regime down our throats here.

“Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain…” {The Wizard of Oz}

No Parking on the Yellow Brick Road-Wizard of Oz-Wikimedia

Photo: Smallbones-Own work, CC0,

Tomorrow, two subcommittees in the U.S. House of Representatives (motto: “The Best Gerrymandering Big Money Can Buy”) are holding relevant hearings.  The Energy Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy & Commerce hearing is “State of the Nation’s Energy Infrastructure.”  Fracked gas and LNG will be part of the package.  Simultaneously, the Energy & Mineral Resources Subcommittee of the Committee on Natural Resources hearing is “Liquefied Natural Gas & U.S. Geopolitics.”

Globally, we need to pay attention as the Republicans in the House work to drive the atmosphere into further paroxysms of overheating and weather distortion.  Simultaneously, locally, we have learned that JC/PC has fallen a bit behind on their plan to have all construction permits in place this year, and now is aiming to be able to begin construction in March 2019.

So this may be a good time to review where we are, around the planet and in Oregon, as part of keeping on keeping on in our struggle for political and energy sanity and the Just Transition.  My hope is that this little series of short blog posts, over the coming weeks, will be useful as we Davids take on (and ultimately defeat!) these Goliaths.

Part of what we will see is that it is crazy out there — and even crazier here in Oregon.  Fracking was invented in Texas, and the West Coast of North America is key to the prospects for Jordan Cove.  So welcome to the new era of the Wild Wild West.

Coming next:

Part Two:
Making Canada Great Again?  Where Would the PCGP Fracked Gas Come From?

Ted Gleichman serves as Policy Director for the Oregon Sierra Club Beyond Gas & Oil Priority Campaign, and is a member of the National Strategy Team for the Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign. 

One Response to Jordan Cove / Pacific Connector: Welcome Back to the Wild Wild West!

  1. An organization called Bold Alliance is facing the same thing in Appalachia that the people in Southern Oregon will face from the connector pipeline. Read below.
    Our federal lawsuit challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) abuse of eminent domain for private gain in the permitting of pipelines is moving forward. [1]
    Bold Alliance and the collective of more than 50 Appalachia region landowners potentially affected by proposed fracked gas pipelines have filed a motion requesting a federal court expedite the scheduling of oral arguments, so landowners’ voices can be heard and given due process.

    Bold’s lawsuit challenges problems in the FERC certificate program that impact all landowners near all pipelines that seek to utilize eminent domain authority to take property against landowners’ wishes. [2]
    Separate from our eminent domain lawsuit filed against FERC in federal court, Bold Alliance has also just filed motions with FERC requesting rehearings of the agency’s approvals of a “Notice to Proceed” for the proposed Mountain Valley (MVP) and Atlantic Coast (ACP) fracked gas pipelines. [3]
    Chip in to help cover legal costs for landowners’ federal lawsuit vs. FERC.
    Personally, my family — who owns a farm in the path of MVP — along with hundreds of other landowers in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina are still challenging eminent domain to protect our land from the MVP and ACP.
    The judge presiding over my family’s and nearly 300 other local cases in Virginia approved an extremely rushed and flawed appraisal process for our properties, and mandated that MVP post additional bonds before being given access to conduct initial tree-clearing for the pipeline, which has already begun in West Virginia and could possibly begin in Virginia this week. Our family and many other landowners are filing objections to MVP’s flawed appraisal process.
    Yesterday, we stood in federal court in Lynchburg, VA alongside dozens of landowners, friends and comrades along the proposed Atlantic Coast pipeline route, where U.S. District Judge Norman K Moon was hearing arguments on dozens of eminent domain land condemnation cases.
    Bold Appalachia Updates
    Baseline Water Testi

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