Steven Ryan’s letter (The World, April 19) skewers the League of Women Voters of Coos County for presenting “cherry-picked” information at the previous evening’s forum at the Egyptian Theatre on the safety and economics of the Jordan Cove Energy Project. As a participant, I thought the League offered reasoned, informed, and thoughtful commentary on a controversial project with long-term environmental consequences.
Ryan sidestepped my principal argument that distant corporate investors have often abused and exploited the landscape and communities in Coos County. In this case, Calgary-based Pembina Pipeline Corporation is bankrolling the Jordan Cove Project, and in their words, providing a clean-energy “supercharge, bringing more than a million dollars to our economy every time a ship arrives.” Paraphrasing Pembina’s web site, Ryan treats Jordan Cove as the Second Coming, a company that promises to deliver “clean energy” via a 229-mile natural gas pipeline across Oregon to Coos Bay where the gas will be safely and seamlessly converted to liquid form and shipped “to Tokyo with no hurricane risk.”
Corporations, and Pembina is no exception, are in the business of lining stockholder pockets, and downplaying the intrusive environmental effects of what could arguably be the most costly construction project in Oregon history. It is interesting to note that proposed LNG terminals have been rejected for a host of safety and environmental reasons on the infinitely larger Columbia River, while the Canadian corporation continues to push ahead with the project on the much smaller Coos Bay, with a population of approximately 30,000 people.
Coos County citizens have a long tradition of civic engagement, of people working together as caring stewards of a special place. Although its population has aged since the 1980s, the county is much more than the “retirement and tourist community” that Steven Ryan falsely accused me of promoting. The Bay Area needs economic development enterprises that are consistent with its natural treasures, the waterfronts on the lower and upper bay. Those initiatives should parallel ventures put forth by the Confederated Tribes, with proposals that enhance the area’s cultural diversity and attractiveness. Such projects would not pose a threat to the life and welfare of the Bay Area but rather, advance the local potential of truly livable communities.