Gas pipeline opponents protest

About 50 opponents of the proposed natural gas pipeline between Coos Bay and Malin protested today in Medford.

Protesters also focused efforts on stopping proposed "fast track" state legislation that would remove the existing statutory requirement that a pipeline company obtain landowner consent before applying for a state permit to alter the landowner's property.

The Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, first proposed six years ago, would run 234 miles from the proposed Jordan Cove liquid natural gas facility in Coos Bay, through Coos, Douglas, Jackson, and Klamath counties to a gas hub in Malin where gas would be distributed to the California market.

The pipeline is a project of PG&E Corp., Williams, and Canadian-based Fort Chicago.

But a diverse coalition of opponents to the project say it is unneeded, poses an environmental threat and runs roughshod over private property rights.

Those gathered on East Main Street this afternoon expressed concern over the proposed law that legislators will take up next month. Basically, the legislation would change the definition of "applicant" for removal-fill permits for construction of a highway, road, railway, communication line, power line or pipeline in Oregon. If passed, the bill would allow companies to apply for permits on landowners' property without the owner's knowledge or consent, they say.

"This proposed legislation is a direct assault on private property rights of all Oregonians," said Bob Barker, whose Shady Cove property would be affected.

"No individual or company should ever be given the right to apply for a permit to do work on a landowners' property without their knowledge or consent," he added. "I hope our legislators agree that it is wrong for a company to try to change a state law that protects the fundamental rights of property owners and kill this legislation."

He was joined by other property owners, including ranchers and farmers, whose properties would be impacted by the project.

— Paul Fattig

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