Would the Jordan Cove LNG project be the biggest carbon emitter in the state?

    An artist's rendering shows the proposed Jordan Cove LNG terminal near Coos Bay. [Jordan Cove image]

    The Jordan Cove fracked gas export terminal and Pacific Connector pipeline would be a climate disaster for Oregon. New research documents why we all should be concerned about the proposed facility by a Canadian company, Pembina.

    We have known for a long time that the proposed project would build a 229-mile pipeline over private and public land. It will dig through nearly 400 waterways and tunnel under five major rivers. Many of these waterways are home to salmon and steelhead. Plus, the terminal will require extensive dredging in Coos Bay, which would harm oyster businesses and recreational crabbing and fishing.

    Now there’s new evidence that this project would be a climate disaster.

    A new report by researchers at Oil Change International details the climate impacts that the Jordan Cove energy project would impose on all of us. The findings are dire. The analysis shows that the project would be responsible for annual greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to more than 15 times those produced by Oregon’s only coal power plant in Boardman.

    Oil Change International’s report puts to rest any claims that exported liquefied fracked gas (LNG) would be a climate winner. It shows that this LNG would not be replacing coal plants elsewhere, but rather crowding out cleaner renewable energy in markets abroad. It makes plain that exported LNG results in as many emissions as coal power plants, and thus brings no benefit to our struggling climate, while imposing serious costs and risks to Oregon landowners and communities.

    We saw the impacts of our reliance on fossil fuel in stark relief this summer with the Chetco Bar and other fires around the state. While fire is a natural process in our region, human-caused climate change has dramatically increased the frequency and intensity of these fires. We all suffered from the smoke that spread across our state last summer.

    The oil, coal and gas industries may have increasing influence in Washington, D.C., but we in Oregon have an opportunity to do what we can to protect our families and communities. Gov. Kate Brown has vowed strong action to slow the impacts of climate change. Oregon’s state agencies have the authority to stop this project. Governor Brown should use her leadership to ensure they do.

    I am glad the Boardman coal plant will close in 2020. The pollution it emits puts our communities and climate in peril. But allowing the Jordan Cove energy project to move forward will massively undermine the climate gains from the Boardman closure. There’s simply no case to be made to allow the building of a new project that would be responsible for 15 times more greenhouse gas emissions. Jordan Cove and the Pacific Connector should be stopped, once and for all.

    — Bill Bradbury is a former Oregon Secretary of State, a resident of Coos County and Climate Reality Project leader.

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