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Thursday, December 5, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Pipeline protesters at governor’s office arrested, released

Demonstrators against a proposed liquid-natural gas pipeline and export terminal in Oregon sit in Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in the governor’s office in the Oregon State Capitol  to demand Democratic Gov. Kate Brown stand against the proposal. (Andrew Selsky / Associated Press)
Demonstrators against a proposed liquid-natural gas pipeline and export terminal in Oregon sit in Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in the governor’s office in the Oregon State Capitol to demand Democratic Gov. Kate Brown stand against the proposal. (Andrew Selsky / Associated Press)
By Andrew Selsky Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. – Authorities have released 21 people protesting a planned liquefied natural gas pipeline who were arrested Thursday night during a sit-in at the governor’s office in the Oregon State Capitol.

The demonstrators opposed to the pipeline and a marine export terminal in Oregon demanded that Gov. Kate Brown publicly oppose the project, which she refused to do.

Southern Oregon Rising Tide, which organized the protest, said the 21 arrested by Oregon State Police spent the night in jail and were out by 5 a.m. Friday. In a statement the Oregon State Police said the 21 were arrested on trespassing charges after being asked to leave.

The proposed marine terminal, in Coos Bay, would allow export of American liquid natural gas to Asia, and would have a 230-mile feeder pipeline from an interstate gas hub in southern Oregon’s Klamath County.

A federal agency has issued a final environmental impact statement on the controversial proposal to build the pipeline and it concluded that there would be no significant impact on the state’s waters, wildlife and minimal risk of a pipeline accident.

The lengthy report was issued earlier this month by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. On Thursday protesters flooded into the Oregon State Capitol and staged a sit-in at the governor’s office before police arrested 21 of them for trespassing. The protesters, who demanded Brown take a public stand against the pipeline, were jailed overnight and released early Friday.

Brown, a Democrat, refused to oppose the project that the protesters say will encourage further use of fossil fuels that leads to global warming, and risk spoiling the land and ocean with spills.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s final impact statement said it believes the Canadian company behind the Jordan Cove Project, Pembina Pipeline Corporation, will manage risks. Pembina Pipeline Corporation says the project will bring investments, property tax revenue and jobs.

The proposed marine terminal, in Coos Bay, Oregon, would allow export of American liquid natural gas to Asia, and would have a 230-mile feeder pipeline from an interstate gas hub in southern Oregon’s Klamath County.

The federal agency said that before construction, Jordan Cove should file spill containment system drawings showing containment for all hazardous fluids including all liquids handled above their flashpoint.

Over 600 species of terrestrial and aquatic wildlife live in the project area. Constructing and operating the project would temporarily and permanently affect these species, including amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish, and mammals, the impact statement said.

“Displacement, and impacts on other behaviors as well as the loss of habitat would increase the rates of stress, injury, and mortality experienced by wildlife,” the report said. But mitigation projects proposed by the Jordan Cove and required by the Forest Service means the project would not significantly impact wildlife and aquatic resources, the agency said.

Jared Margolis, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said the group is concerned about what it called a lack of adequate analysis on several aspects of the project.

“Jordan Cove would be a disaster for local streams and rivers that people and wildlife rely on, but regulators appear willing to ignore these impacts to bring dirty fracked gas to market,” Margolis said.

In a statement, the company said the final environmental impact statement “represents a significant step forward for this investment in Oregon.”

The impact statement represents the final step in the federal environmental review process before an order is issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approving the project, expected in February 2020, Jordan Cove said.

People opposed to the project have vowed to keep up protests, and recalled the demonstrations against a pipeline in North Dakota.

The project is still undergoing permitting processes by the state. But in August, the Trump Administration in proposed streamlining approval of gas pipelines and other energy projects by limiting states’ certification authorities under the Clean Water Act.

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