Saturday, December 10, 2016

Good News: FERC Upholds Denial of LNG & Pacific Crest Trail Association Protects Donomore Meadows!

The Rogue River and many other rivers and streams in southern Oregon are too precious to risk with contamination from LNG pipelines. FERC recently announced it would uphold its denial of the Jordan Cove LNG Pipeline proposed to cross over 400 rivers and streams. No LNG!

In the aftermath of the Trump election, those of us who care deeply about the environment need a little good news. Yesterday, we got a double dose of much-welcomed good news!

Good News!

FERC Upholds Denial of LNG Pipeline

Yesterday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced they will uphold their denial of the Pacific Connector LNG Pipeline. In March, FERC denied permits for the Pacific Connector LNG pipeline and Jordon Cove export terminal; however, the company appealed the decision and the project was left with an uncertain fate. Yesterday's announcement from FERC is very encouraging and sets a strong precedent for future pipeline proposals.

The Pacific Connector LNG pipeline and Jordon Cove export terminal is proposed to begin in Malin, Oregon in the Klamath Basin, east of the Cascade Mountains, and travel 232 miles to Coos Bay, Oregon. The pipeline would require a ninety-five foot clearcut. The three foot wide natural gas pipeline would cross 157 miles of private land, requiring the use of eminent domain. It would cross 400 streams, including the Rogue, Klamath, Umpqua, Coquille and Coos Rivers, and transport 1.2 billion cubic feet of fracked gas per day. The pipeline would also require a new 420 megawatt power plant used solely to facilitate the export of fracked Canadian gas shipped by massive tankers from the tsunami zone off the Oregon Coast on the North Spit of Coos Bay. The proposal is potentially disastrous to nearly everything in its path and has been strongly opposed by the citizens of Oregon for many years.   

Despite this very good news, we must keep in mind that Jordon Cove and Pacific Connector Pipeline will likely take this decision to the court of appeals, the US Secretary of Commerce, or simply refile the project at a later date. It's not over yet and we may have to keep working to stop this pipeline for a long time ahead.

The good news for the No LNG campaign follows on the heels of the good news for water protectors fighting the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, indigenous activists, water protectors at the camps, and allies from around the world are cautiously celebrating the news that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it will not approve an easement needed to permit the Dakota Access Pipeline to drill under Lake Oahe. The Army Corps said it would look for alternative routes for the $3.7 billion pipeline, possibly leading to a full environmental review through an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). 

Under the Trump administration we must stay vigilant for all environmental, social justice and climate change issues.

For now we celebrate these victories! 

More Good News!

The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) Protects Donomore Meadows!

A small portion of the expansive Donomore Meadows system as seen from the PCT. The area is the headwaters of Donomore Creek, a tributary of Elliott Creek.  
On the Siskiyou Crest, on the border of Oregon and California, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) runs through a large, high elevation meadow system called Donomore Meadows. The location of Donomore Meadows on the PCT allows thousands of hikers a year to experience the beauty and high habitat value of these meadows; however, up until now there have always been private property signs marring the wilderness experience. The good news: The PCTA has just announced it has bought the 160-acre Donomore Meadows property through its land protection program!

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has money budgeted to buy this parcel from the PCTA in the next fiscal year through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The agency has long identified Donomore Meadows as a critical acquisition, but the landowner was not willing to wait for the lengthy federal acquisition process to proceed. 

As a non-profit partner, the PCTA stepped in and acquired the property as an interim measure. It is expected that the land will be transferred to federal ownership and added to the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in the near future. 

Donomore Meadows provides critical habitat for many species that rely on high elevation meadows: from deer and elk, to black bear and cougar, to native bees and butterflies and other pollinators. The grassland and wildflowers of Donomore Meadows, the natural springs that feed Donomore Creek, as well as the surrounding forest, all add up to a wonderful place to walk through on the PCT, as well as a key place for land acquisition to add to the value of public land in the Klamath-Siskiyou. 

I am proud to say that in my region public land is expanding rather than being privatized and sold to the highest bidder as some propose. We need to keep working to acquire important parcels on the Siskiyou Crest for conservation interests, rewilding the incredible land bridge and expanding our public land base, one parcel at a time. 

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