Unless you happen to be a hermit it’s hard not to be aware of the overwhelming media advertising campaign conducted by the Pembina corporation extolling it’s Pacific Connector Pipeline and LNG terminal projects. However, is this aggrandizement really justified?
Their physical project consists of two parts; the pipeline and the export terminal. Pembina has entered into a partnership with four Coos County governmental bodies (Coos County, Port of Coos Bay, and the cities of Coos Bay and North Bend) called the Enterprise Zone Sponsors (EZ). Pembina will pay in lieu of property taxes an annual Community Service Fee (CSF) estimated at $460 million over a 20 year period.
The financial side to the project has two parts; those benefiting and those who won’t.
Pembina’s pipeline traverses approximately 229 miles through Coos, Douglas, Jackson and Klamath counties. However to my knowledge; while the other three counties share the burden of the pipeline, they’re excluded from the prosperity that Coos County receives via the CSF.
The four Oregon counties along with Curry and Josephine have shared a long historical bond arising from each other’s dependence on a common economic model; timber, mining, fishing, farming and ranching, tourism, etc.; as well as the vagaries of their respective economic cycles. However; that may have changed.
The Jackson County Commission is on record with the Division of State Lands opposing the pipeline, and a lawsuit in Douglas County resulted in the expiration of Pembina’s land use plan approval. Understandably; Coos County residents seem to favor the project by an approximate 60/40 margin.
For the overall project to proceed both the pipeline and export terminal must be approved; its opponents need only to defeat one of its parts; it doesn’t matter which.
Coos County proponents must garner approval for both parts; otherwise without the pipeline there is no export terminal; nor CSF funds.
To advance the project the EZ partners need to convince Pembina to adequately compensate pipeline property holders as previously delineated; remove any possible sanctioned use of eminent domain, and make overtures of partnership to the other three pipeline counties with all rights therein.
So does Pembina’s message of inclusion ring true, or are their actions really creating divisiveness among the Southern Oregon counties? At this juncture the answer may be moot.