Thirteen years of fighting to stop the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline

October 27, 2017

Thirteen years! This week is the 13th anniversary of the brutal fracked-gas export scheme assaulting the families, farms, ranches, woodlands, public lands, rivers, watersheds, mountains, estuaries, and coast of Southern Oregon.

Thirteen years. Thirteen years of fighting to stop the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline from slashing a three-foot diameter explosive methane-filled pipeline, 230 miles from the Klamath River basin to Coos Bay. It would rip a clear-cut the size of an Interstate Highway through back yards and national forests; through five rivers and more than 400 streams and wetlands; through our public lands and the fragile homes of dozens of endangered and threatened species; through Indigenous burial grounds and historic and prehistoric archaeological artifacts.

Thirteen years. Thirteen years of exposing the greed and insanity of the Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas Export Terminal plan to build on a sand spit right on the fracture line of the largest and most dangerous earthquake and tsunami zone in North America, on the edge of Coos Bay. They are aiming to run massive LNG tankers filled with explosive Canadian methane to Asia – tankers officially classified as “terrorism magnets,” so dangerous that the entire Port must be shut down by the Coast Guard when these monster ships move, disrupting recreational boating, commercial shipping and fisheries, and tourism — and costing jobs.

Thirteen years. Thirteen years of Canadian energy speculators exploiting the Cheney loopholes for fracked-gas pollution, now scheming with the Trump Regime take-over of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to shove eminent domain down the throats of hundreds of Landowners along the pipeline route.

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This has gone on too long. The good news is that together, we can stop it! No matter where you live in Oregon, you can easily link up with neighbors and activists to bring this insanity to a halt. The Sierra Club has developed strong plans, solid legal and economic analysis, and tight alliances with like-minded organizations to stop Pacific Connector and Jordan Cove.

Together, we will stop these pig-headed greedy speculators and work for healthy sustainable change in our society.

Thanks so much!

Ted Gelichman
Policy Advisor, Oregon beyond Gas and Oil Campaign
ted.gleichman@oregon.sierraclub.org


Fighting Fracked Gas, 334 Miles Away

September 19, 2017

By Ted Gleichman, Beyond Gas & Oil Team

Can Portland leadership help stop the largest, most dangerous, and most devastating fossil fuel scheme in state history?  

We are in “round three” of trying to stop Canadian energy speculator Veresen, Inc., from slashing a clearcut through 235 miles of public forest land, farms, ranches, homes, and communities for an explosive fracked-gas pipeline, Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline.  This 36-inch diameter monstrosity would carry Canadian fracked gas from the interstate gas pipeline hub near Malin to Coos Bay, on the coast.  (The Malin pipeline hub is 334 miles from the Oregon Chapter office in Portland.)

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Today’s organic harvest by an “Affected Landowner.”  Their land includes a sustainably-harvested woodlot that Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline would tear through.  Photo: Ted Gleichman

In Coos Bay, Veresen plans a massive industrial terminal to export this Canadian gas to Asia as LNG (liquefied natural gas): the Jordan Cove Energy Project.  Pacific Connector/Jordan Cove (PC/JC) would become the largest greenhouse gas polluter in Oregon.  Oregonians have been fighting to stop this for almost 13 years now.

This scheme is the Trump Regime’s top energy priority now, after Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline.  So how can we who live in Portland make a difference?

Easy! … and hard: basic grassroots organizing.  Here’s the deal: Two-thirds of the Democrats in the Oregon Legislature live in the Portland Metro area.  They need to be part of this fight, and you can help!

Oregon Chapter and Columbia Network are key leaders in developing a new multi-organization action team, Stop Fracked Gas/PDX.  We are asking Sierra Club Members and supporters to join us in educating and persuading our State Representatives and Senators on how they can make a difference.  Down the road, we expect to work with other stakeholders as well.

To join in, please email me for the simple details for the next step.

Portland Democrats must not support the Trump fossil fuels agenda !!!

Thank you!  Email: ted.gleichman@oregon.sierraclub.org

 

 


Keep the Frack Out! Big Win at the Oregon Public Utility Commission

August 17, 2017

We set a record with the length of the meeting on Tuesday, August 8th . One of the PUC staffers said around 2 pm she had worked here for 40 years and this was the longest! And we didn’t wrap up until 3.40!

Everyone was so patient…Thank you so much to everyone who came out! 25-30 of us showed up in red!
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The PUC essentially said NO, in every way that they could, to the 2 new fracked gas plants in Portland General Electric’s (PGE’s) energy plan (Integrated Resource Plan or IRP).

WAHOO!, we have these fracked gas plants nailed into that coffin!!

We still need for PGE to withdraw their permits for the Carty 1 and 2 gas plants at the DEQ and EFSC, but this is definitely an important win to celebrate, while at the same time continuing to hold PGE’s feet to the fire to make sure that they withdraw their permits, and that they don’t sneak gas purchase contracts into their energy plan.

We can use your help to spread the word in social media, and say:

“We stopped @PortlandGeneral’s #frackedgas plants. Time for #cleanenergy!”

Here are some photos and a news article you can use:
Carty 1 Gas Plant  See also the Article in the Eastern Oregonean :
http://www.eastoregonian.com/eo/local-news/20170808/regulators-deny-gas-plant-expansion
Activists in the steps of the PUC
Why PGE Flash Mob

This is a big win!

Stopping these fracked gas power plants continues the fight for 100% clean energy. It’s also a win for communities all over, from communities at the fracked gas drill sites, along pipelines, and in front-line communities of the climate crisis.

Thank you for clearing the pathway to 100% clean energy for all! 

Let’s celebrate this victory!


Last hearing to oppose Tesoro Savage Oil — August 22 in Vancouver!

August 15, 2017

After years of fighting, a final decision on the Tesoro Savage Oil terminal will be made in the coming months. The final hearing is August 22 — will you be there?

Community outreach against Tesoro Savage

If approved, the Tesoro Savage Crude Oil export terminal will handle up to 360,000 barrels of oil per day, and bring 4 more explosive oil trains per day through the Columbia River Gorge. We can’t allow this to happen!

The Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) is holding this last hearing on August 22 in Vancouver, before giving their recommendation to Governor Inslee, who has the final say on the project. We must come together to stop the largest oil terminal in North America from coming to our region.

Join us on August 22 to show Governor Inslee and EFSEC we support clean air, clean water and clean communities — not oil trains! RSVP today!

Event Details:

WHAT: Final Hearing on Tesoro Savage

WHEN: Tuesday, August 22: Rally at 12:00, Hearing from 1:00-9:00 PM 

WHERE: Clark College Columbia Technical Centre
18700 SE Mill Plain Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98683 (map)
(Note – this is a different location than the last hearing)

RSVP here!

Questions? Contact Cecile at Cecile.gernez@sierraclub.org

Join us for a noon rally in a show of strong, public opposition to the Tesoro Savage terminal. Then join the EFSEC hearing, where you will have a chance to make a public comment, and put your concerns about the project into the official record, before EFSEC makes their final recommendation.  A fact-sheet and some talking points will be emailed to you once you RSVP to help you prepare.

We need you to show up at the last public hearing to stop North America’s largest crude oil export terminal from being built in our backyard.  This is last hearing EFSEC will hold before giving their final recommendation to Governor Inslee, the last step before he makes the final decision on Tesoro Savage. 

We’ve been fighting this project for over 5 years, and it’s all led up to these final moments. Let’s show up, pack the hearing room and shut this down! Remember to wear red!

Cecile Gernez, Sierra Club
Conservation Organizer, Sierra Club Washington State Chapter

P.S. We must bring everybody together to stop this terrible project, once and for all.  Share this critical event with your friends and family today!


Mosier Derailment Anniversary Observance and Rally

June 12, 2017

When oil trains derail, they explode. We saw this happen last year in Mosier, Oregon, dangerously close to the community school. Children had to be evacuated and families remained separated without any way of contacting each other for hours. On the first anniversary of this catastrophe, June 3rd, over 250 community members from across the region gathered to call for an end to reckless oil trains on the one-year anniversary of the dangerous oil train disaster in Mosier, Oregon. Tribal leaders, elected officials, and community members gathered at the Mosier Community School to send a clear message of support for Mosier.

All were united in their resolution to stop the flow of bomb trains to transport explosive, toxic crude oil through our communities.

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Tribal hip hop artists Kunu Dittmer and Fish Martinez shared their music at the rally. Their music resonated with the audience. Photo Credit: Gregory Monahan

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Photo Credit: Gregory Monahan

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Photo Credit: Kyle Ramey

Chairman of the Yakima Nation, JoDe Goudy, shown above and to the right, gave a highly evocative speech expressing empathy with the residents of Mosier telling them that they were collateral damage of a corporate business decision. He reminded us that tribal people are very familiar with the feeling that their lives and culture don’t matter and that we were all standing on tribal lands taken using “the doctrine of discovery” established by Papal Bull in 1493.

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Kyle Ramey

Following the rally, participants marched to the sight of the derailment and down to the banks of the Columbia River where oil from the conflagration enter the river.

If you want to work to halt toxic dirty fuel trains through our communities contact:

Cecile Gernez, Conservation Organizer, Sierra Club Washington State Chapter, cecile.gernez@sierraclub.org


Coal to Clean, NOT Coal to Gas

June 12, 2017

Early this year, the Oregon Chapter’s Beyond Gas and Oil Campaign and the Beyond Coal Oregon Campaign recognized that they both wanted the same thing:

  • In general to stop the spread of natural gas usage
  • In particular, to block PGE’s plan to go From Coal to Gas instead of Coal to Clean
  • We also recognized that this was an opportunity to push FOR what we WANT, A Clean Energy Future,  as well as AGAINST what we DON”T WANT, A  Dirty Fossil Fuel Future.
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Laura Stevens, Sierra Club Beyond Coal, Organizer speaks at the rally before the May 15th hearing held in Portland by the Public Utility Commission (PUC). Banner made by volunteer members of the Oregon Chapter’s Clean Energy Task Force. Photo Credit: Colin McLean

The Beyond Coal Campaign has spent  years of setting expectations of replacing the Boardman coal plant with clean energy, including in our work together with allies to pass the historic Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Act last year. Portland General Electric (PGE) instead proposed to replace the retiring Boardman coal plant with a total of 1300 MW of fracked gas. Back in November they filed a very flawed Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) that tipped the scales entirely towards more self-built gas resources to replace Boardman – for a total of 3 units at the Carty Generating Station right next to the Boardman Coal Plant. In a parallel process they also began to pursue all the required permits for the two new units including requests to increase their emissions limits at the first existing unit.

Adopting the latest strategy for developing effective campaigns, the Sierra Club recruited a strong network of groups to work on developing a shared strategy to significantly increase the public pressure on the company and the agencies in charge of the various approval processes. Over 15 different local groups came together to form the Carty Gas Working Group and began meeting weekly. It turned out that we had a very compelling ask: Do you want a Clean Energy Future?

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Students lead the way to a Fossil Fuel Free Energy Future, after the rally, activists marched to the PUC public hearing from the nearby park. Photo Credit: Colin McClean

In March we submitted a record 7,000 comments to the Energy Facilities Siting Council (EFSC) opposing the permits required to expand the Carty gas plant. On May 15th we broke another record submitting 10,000 public comments to the PUC directing them to reject any plans for new fossil fuel infrastructure and to do what they could to facilitate a faster transition to 100% clean and renewable energy.

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Volunteers from the broad coalition of groups who helped gather of 17,000 comments (7,000 to EFSEC and 10,000 to the PUC pose with the boxes that were presented to the PUC at the May 15th public hearing. Each box represents 1,000 comments. Photo Credit: Colin McClean

In March we submitted a record 7,000 comments to the Energy Facilities Siting Council (EFSC) opposing the permits required to expand the Carty gas plant. On May 15th we broke another record submitting 10,000 public comments to the PUC directing them to reject any plans for new fossil fuel infrastructure and to do what they could to facilitate a faster transition to 100% clean and renewable energy.

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Volunteers deliver comment cards to the PUC while students deliver testimony reminding  the commissioners that they will inherit the future created by the decisions made in the present. Photo Credit: Gregory Monahan

The Sierra Club is also an intervener in PGE’s  IRP docket at the PUC and on May31st, we submitted our final technical comments making the strong case that

  • the company has not justified any long term capital investments and
  • they did not adequately assess the risks associated with building new fossil infrastructure or
  • the many alternate options on the market including deeper energy efficiency savings as well as other short term market contracts that help satisfy the near term need.

The Sierra Club’s final recommendations concluded that “ratepayers may be better served with a short-term contract now so that they can pursue lower cost options in the mid to long term. A long-term resource decision made now to fulfill a 2021 capacity need could foreclose future, lower cost options—such as wind near the Colstrip site.”

The staff at the PUC also submitted their final reply comments into the docket and they were scathing in their critique of the company’s process as well as their conclusions. The commission staff ultimately determined “we cannot conclude anything other than that key parts of the plan do not fully consider or adequately plan for the significant changes that are expected in the electricity industry over the next five to ten years” and “staff recommends the Commission not acknowledge PGE’s Action Plan item to issue an RFP for dispatchable capacity between 375 – 550 MW.” While this is great progress the staff did leave open the possibility for the need for dispatchable capacity in the near future as well as an IRP Update which may include one or both of the gas units or may instead include purchasing an existing gas plant to serve Oregon.

PGE also submitted letters to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and to the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) asking them to suspend any further process to approve their pending permits for expanding the Carty Generating Station. These suspensions are not equivalent to permanently withdrawing their intentions to move forward with these plants and the permit processes can be restarted at any time. Some consider this move a calculated public relations strategy attempting to derail the momentum and enthusiasm for our campaign days before our much anticipated public hearing. If that was the intention it was not successful.

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Over 100 members of the public lined up to speak to a packed hearing chamber in the PUC public hearing on May 15th. Photo Credit: Colin McClean.

On Monday May 15th, the PUC held a special public meeting in Portland at our request to give ratepayers a needed voice in these often very wonky proceedings. PGE and the standard array of stakeholders who are interveners in the docket were asked not to testify. This was an opportunity for PGE and the PUC to hear directly from ratepayers and the community at large. Together with our allies from the Carty Gas Campaign working group and our incredible teams of comment card collectors and phone-bank recruitment volunteers we held a rally before the hearing and then packed the hearing room with 260 people. 105 people had the opportunity to testify in near unanimous support for rejecting plans for any new gas serving PGE ratepayers as well as showing deep support for a full transition to 100% clean and renewable energy.  Messengers at the hearing included renewable industry groups and developers, a Building Trades rank and file member, high school student climate activists, the Mayor of Milwaukie, a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Chair of the Global Warming Commission of Oregon, a Unitarian Minister, a Zen Teacher, and many long time PGE ratepayers.


The fight to stop these gas plants is not over and we have a few more key decision points to manage in the PUC process, including the reply comments from PGE due in June and a final public hearing at the commission in early August. The commission will issue its final order on August 31. Our campaign hopes to see a positive resolution to the question of expanding Carty in that order and then we turn our sights to supporting all the other ways we can leverage the replacement of Boardman with clean and renewable energy.

An outgrowth of this campaign was the passage of 100% Renewable Energy Resolutions by Portland and Multnomah County which you can read about in a companion blog post.

This blog post was written by: Amy Hojnowski, Senior Campaign Representative, Beyond Coal Campaign, Sierra Club and Gregory Monahan, Chair, Beyond Gas & Oil Team, Oregon Sierra Club.

If you want to be a part of creating An Energy System Free From Fossil Fuels Closely coupled with: A Just Equitable Transition Where All Members of Society Have Their Voices Represented and Can Thrive Contact one of the following people:

Nakisha Nathan, Climate Justice Organizer, nakisha.nathan@sierraclub.org
Laura Stevens, Beyond Coal Organizer, laura.stevens@sierraclub.org
Gregory Monahan, Chair, Beyond Gas & Oil Team, gregory,monahan@oregon,sierraclub.org

See below a compilation of the best of news clips from the campaign as well as rally and public hearing photos. For archived livestream video of the hearing with testimony see here and for archived livestream video of the rally see here.

The Oregonian – Opinion: PGE faces critical choice on Boardman gas-plant

Portland Business Journal – Sierra Club: PGE ‘backsliding’ on renewables commitment

East Oregonian – Tribal members petition against Carty expansion

Portland Business Journal – PGE gas opponents hit state siting council with deluge of comments

Oregon Public Broadcasting – Climate Activists Tell PGE: Don’t Even Think About New Natural Gas Plants

Portland Business Journal  –Protest of Portland General Electric’s resource plan takes a fracking twist

Portland Tribune – PGE may opt against natural gas plants to replace coal plant in Eastern Oregon

AP – Portland Utility Suspends Effort on New Natural Gas Plants

Portland Business Journal  – Analysis: How an assault on natural gas upended PGE’s power plan

East Oregonian – Backlash against Carty gas plant in Boardman continues

The Oregonian – Ratepayers and activists insist PGE reject natural gas


Update on Proposed Kalama Methanol Refinery

June 11, 2017

The proposed Kalama Methanol Refinery has received approval for their Shoreline Substantial Development Permit from the Washington State Department of Ecology. This comes after environmental and social justice groups flooded Ecology with over 19.000 comments opposed to the refinery.

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If built, this would be the largest methanol refinery in the world! It would refine fracked gas into methanol in Kalama, WA, and ship it to China to make plastics. This single project would consume more fracked gas than any sector of Washington’s economy. It would require new gas pipeline infrastructure, likely down the I-5 corridor in Washington bringing fracked gas down from Canada. Gas infrastructure carries a big risk of explosions.

The production, refinement and transportation of fracked (so called “natural”) gas leaks methane, a greenhouse gas over 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This means that the climate impact of this project is HUGE.

We need Governor Inslee to come out against this project, and realize that natural gas is no bridge fuel to a clean energy future; instead it is a gang plank to a dirty fossil fuel future.

Governor Inslee recently championed a coalition of governors committed to climate action. Approval of this methanol refinery runs counter to his and Washington State’s climate commitments. His commitments to our climate will mean nothing unless he stands up against this refinery! Click here to send an email to Governor Inslee Urging him to come out against the proposed Kalama Refinery. 

The Sierra Club and other public interest organizations intend to appeal the Shoreline permit, and the project’s dreadfully inadequate Environmental Impact Statement, to the Washington Shorelines Hearings Board.

The same company, Northwest Innovation Works, that is trying to build this plant in Kalama has plans to build an identical plant across the Columbia at Port Westward in Clatskanie, OR. One more reason to stop this project from being built.

If you want to work to stop this dirty, dangerous project contact Cecile Gernez, Conservation Organizer, Sierra Club Washington State Chapter                               email: cecile.gernez@sierraclub.org