The December 13 AP story reporting trespassing charges would not be filed against pipeline protesters in Salem brought welcome news, but it has several errors about the Jordan Cove Energy Project they were protesting.
First, owned by Canadian corporation Pembina, the project would export mostly Canadian natural gas to Asia, not American gas.
Second, issuance of the Final Environmental Impact Statement in November does not ensure federal approval, as the article implies. Per the Certificate Policy Statement, guidance to the lead federal agency on such projects, the FEIS is only one factor they may consider. Another is whether a project is in the public interest.
Third, approval by that agency is not a foregone conclusion, as the article suggests. AP is correct that the Trump Administration is attempting by a rule change to prevent states and Tribes from stopping projects they find would degrade their water. But even if robust, bipartisan protest — including by Governor Brown — doesn’t stop this violation of states’ rights, Jordan Cove still doesn’t have a green light. To date, Pembina lacks most of 50 federal, state and local permits they need.
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And the 90-some private landowners who have refused to grant pipeline easements through their property may well turn to the courts to stop Pembina from seizing their land through eminent domain. Where is the “public use” required in Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution to seize Americans’ property when a foreign company seeks to take their property to export 100% of mostly foreign gas to foreign countries?