Morris Saltekoff of Sams Valley voiced concerns about a proposed natural gas pipeline through the Upper Rogue area during a question-and-answer meeting in Shady Cove on Wednesday night. The pipeline is part of a liquefied natural gas terminal project in Coos Bay.

LNG pipeline raises doubts

SHADY COVE — More than 50 Upper Rogue residents brought lots of questions and some controlled anger to a town hall meeting Wednesday held by representatives of two companies proposing a liquefied natural gas terminal in Coos Bay and a pipeline that would pass through the Upper Rogue region on its way to Malin.

Jordan Cove Energy Project and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline are seeking approval for the project from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which released its draft environmental impact statement on the project Aug. 29. The commission is accepting public comment until Dec. 4, with release of a final statement expected early next year.

After a brief presentation by the companies, the meeting was opened to questions.

A resident asked who would compensate property owners if their property values went down.

When Rodney Gregory of Williams Pipeline answered that an independent study was made and "pipelines don't cause depreciation of land values," there was laughter and a few mumbles of disbelief.

"This is our quality of life. This is where we live," said resident, Marcie Laudani. "We're growing — with our children. We're going to stay here and retire here. This is our life. There is no compensation for our quality of life."

Laudani said her property will be crossed by the pipeline and she has opposed it for nearly two years.

She said she also was concerned with safety and didn't think problems with the pipeline would be discovered in time to prevent risk to the public.

"Apparently your best available technology for detection just isn't good enough," she said, "and you want to continue to put people in harm's way. We're going to continue to fight this."

One resident wanted to know if the natural gas in the pipeline will not be odorized in Oregon, but will be odorized when it enters California.

"That's correct," said Dan Lattin, project manager for Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline.

"If this pipeline goes through and there's an accident," said Gary Hughes, "our first response team would be Fire District 4. Have you people planned any money to help support local fire districts and first responders?"

"Not at this time," said Lattin, "but before we go into operation we have to have an emergency response plan in place. And once in operation, we work with local jurisdictions to provide training and assistance as necessary."

The Shady Cove meeting follows two question-and answer sessions held earlier this week in Coos Bay and Klamath Falls. Another is scheduled Friday in Canyonville.

If approved, the LNG terminal would be built by Jordan Cove Energy Project in partnership with Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, which would construct the 230-mile, 36-inch diameter pipeline across Southern Oregon.

Capable of transmitting a billion cubic feet of natural gas each day, the pipeline and terminal are estimated to cost up to $850 million. Construction of the terminal is scheduled for next year with the pipeline construction expected to begin in 2011. The entire project is planned for completion in 2012.

If the project is finished, ships carrying liquefied natural gas would unload at the Coos Bay terminal. There the liquid would be converted back to a pressurized gas and then pushed through the pipeline until it reaches two existing pipelines, near Malin, not far from the California state line.

Those pipelines are owned by Tuscarora Gas, which serves Nevada, and California's Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Along the way, the plan also calls for a connection to a Williams Pipeline system near Myrtle Creek and another to Avista's recently completed system near Shady Cove.

Ron Holthusen wanted to know about the delivery metering station that will be built along the pipeline a few miles north of Shady Cove.

"It's a fenced-in facility," said Lattin, "all enclosed and to the best of my knowledge with essentially no emissions of gas. It will be the tie-in connection with Avista."

A member of the audience said he had recently checked out a metering facility and the only sound it made was "like the hum from a fluorescent light."

In contrast to the raucous Shady Cove meeting last April, Wednesday's meeting was generally peaceful, and instead of shouting, only one question was asked and answered at a time.

"This is what we wanted all the time," said resident Betty Goodboe. "A question-and-answer meeting. We kept asking, but until tonight they just wouldn't give it to us."

Jordan Cove Energy Project and the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline are a coalition of companies formed from Fort Chicago Energy Partners, Energy Projects Development, Williams Pipeline and the PG&E Corporation, the parent company of California's Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Writer Bill Miller Lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at

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