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Pipeline questions and answers

Developers say pipeline will produce economic windfalls

By ALEX POWERS, Herald and News 6/29/12

Developers say the proposed $1.8-billion, 36-inch Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline would bring millions of dollars in taxes, as well as jobs and other economic windfalls to the state.

But those opposed say the pipeline will affect endangered species, natural resources and land owners along its route from Klamath County to Coos Bay, where backers hope to install a $4.5-billion liquefied natural gas terminal to export Canadian gas to Asian customers.

At a company-hosted open house meeting on Wednesday, Williams Companies officials led a round of questions and answers with a crowd of about 30.

The pipeline

Developers want to install 230 miles of pressurized natural gas pipeline from Malin to the coast. Chris Bias, a project manager for the Pacific Connector, explained the route of the pipe and the company’s interest in Malin — a series of northsouth gas lines interchanging at the southern Klamath County town.

“Most people probably don’t know about it, but if you’re in … the business, it’s kind of a special place,” he said.

Bias delivered a rundown of the purported benefits.

Approximately 1,800 workers would work on the construction, and the pipeline would generate $11 million in state taxes, 100 jobs operating the pipeline, with another 404 indirect jobs and 182 created elsewhere because of the pipe, he said.

The pipeline would produce an additional estimated $687,500 in Klamath County property taxes, said Williams spokeswoman Michele Swaner on Thursday.

“That’s money that could be used for schools or law enforcement,” she said.

Environmental concerns

Cara Cruickshank, a Talent resident and Applegate Partnership & Watershed representative, aired a list of concerns, including water crossings and salmon habitat, the possibility of land seizures under eminent domain and the pipeline’s customer Jordan Cove, a controversial terminal proposed near Coos Bay, which seeks to serve Canadian gas producers.

“With all these concerns … I want to know how you can justify the pipeline,” she said.

Bias responded that FERC will have final say on the project, weighing benefits and impacts from the pipeline during its licensing process.

Klamath Tribes Culture and Heritage Director Perry Chocktoot countered that the FERC process is not about balance, but biased by federal energy policy.

“It’s not looking at it on a right or wrong basis, it’s guided by like ‘90s Bush energy policies,” he said.



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About the Pacific Connector gas pipeline
The Pacific Connector would link natural gas pipelines in Malin and the Umpqua Valley to the proposed $4.5-billion Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export terminal on Coos Bay, near the town of the same name.


Williams Companies and its partner Veresen, a Calgary, Alberta-based energy infrastructure company, already had been through the FERC permitting process after Jordan Cove filed in 2006 to import natural gas at Coos Bay.


The filing triggered a bitter and protracted public hearing process, with proponents touting economic boons while opponents contested the application over concerns about the environment, safety and land ownership.


Company spokeswoman Michele Swaner said Williams’ Pacific Connector likely will follow the same route from Malin to Coos Bay proposed several years ago.


However, new pump stations will be required on the pressurized, 36-inch pipe, and the pipe will send natural gas from Malin to the coast where it would be liquefied, rather than transporting the gas inland.


Williams began its application process this month for new federal permits.


Williams hopes to begin construction in 2015, with both the Pacific Connector and Jordan Cove aiming for a 2017 completion date.


— Alex Powers




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