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Jordan Cove LNG project officially dead – now onward to renewables

Jordan_Cove_Art_DeniedThe Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an Order on December 9, 2016 that denied the Jordan Cove LNG Project a Rehearing of FERC’s March 11, 2016 Order that had denied the project a FERC Certificate.

The December 9, 2016 FERC Order upheld the earlier March 11th FERC Order that found the “Pacific Connector failed to demonstrate a need for the project sufficient to outweigh the potential harm to the economic interests of landowners whose property rights might be taken by exercise of the right of eminent domain.

The December FERC Order stated:

RIPPacific Connector failed to submit any evidence of need for natural gas transmission by their specific project. Further, at the time of the March 11 Order’s issuance, Pacific Connector had obtained easements for only 5 percent and 3 percent, respectively, of its necessary permanent and construction right of way, in the face of protests from landowners contending that the pipeline would have negative economic impacts to their interests, such as land devaluation, loss of tax revenue, and economic harm to business operations (e.g., oyster and timber harvesting and farming). The Certificate Policy Statement states that “a project built on speculation (whether or not it will be used by affiliated shippers) will usually require more justification than a project built for a specific new market when balanced against the impact on the affected interests.” Pacific Connector failed to justify its project…. (Emphasis added)

…The purpose of the Certificate Policy Statement is to establish criteria for determining whether there is a need for a proposed project and whether the proposed project will serve the public interest. This is essentially an economic test. Only when the benefits outweigh the adverse effects on economic interests will the Commission proceed to consider other interests, including environmental impacts. …

…Therefore, we affirm our finding in the March 11 Order that we will not condition the certificate because Pacific Connector would be able to proceed with eminent domain proceedings in what we find to be the absence of a demonstrated need for the pipeline.

The FERC Order also stated that they would not reopen the administrative record due to the fact that the Jordan Cove/Pacific Connector applicant had “failed to demonstrate the existence of “extraordinary circumstances” that overcome the need for finality.”

FERC policy provides that fairness to affected parties requires that at some point there be a final determination on an application except in “extraordinary circumstances.” Landowners have long complained that their properties have been held hostage for years by the possibility of the pipeline crossing their land through use of eminent domain.

FERC notes in their Order that:

“Pacific Connector had every opportunity to demonstrate market need. Nevertheless, it failed to do so over a three-and-a-half year long period, despite the issuance of four data requests by Commission staff seeking such information. As a result, we do not find that Pacific Connector’s request to reopen the record to file precedent agreements at this late date rises to the level of extraordinary circumstances that would overcome our need for finality in the administrative process. Pacific Connector’s request to reopen the record is denied.” (Emphasis added)

Citizens speak out

It was good to see that the FERC considered the negative impacts that the project would have on local landowners and businesses and the fact that the Pacific Connector had not demonstrated a need for the project that outweighed all those negative impacts. “Hopefully this is the final nail in the coffin and we can move on with our lives,” said Jody McCaffree of the Citizens Against LNG.  “This project was never appropriately sited, but FERC never even got into that.

The Jordan Cove LNG Export Terminal and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline have been strongly opposed for years by a grassroots coalition of Southern Oregonians.

Today’s action shows that when Oregonians organize and speak out we can win,” said Hannah Sohl, director of Rogue Climate, one of the organizations involved in a broad coalition opposing the LNG project. “This order puts the public interest over the special interests of large out-of-state corporations interested only in short-term profit at our expense. Our state should be focused on creating good-paying jobs in improving energy efficiency and the expanding clean energy industry, such as solar power, not on new fossil fuel projects that hurt us all. This should be the end of this LNG project but we will have to remain vigilant to ensure that is the case.

The LNG project would have trampled landowner rights, risked polluting more than 400 waterways, driven up energy prices, negatively impacted local and national businesses and created the largest source of climate pollution in the state.

When I received the news today, I was ecstatic to hear that this project is forever and finally denied,” said Stacey McLaughlin, an impacted landowner in Round Prairie. “This company has put us through this hell for more than a decade, and I feel like they have been less than forthcoming with their shareholders about the market conditions and trying to manufacture an economic reality that does not exist.”

Landowners for over 10 years have been under the threat of eminent domain, first from a proposal for an import project and then this export project,” said Shady Cove resident Bob Barker, who owns land that would have been crossed by the pipeline. “There’s been no documented public need or benefit. It’s Canadian gas exported for private gain.”

Special Thanks 

Special thanks are in order to FERC for fully considering the motions for leave to answer the requests for rehearing that were filed by: (1) Evans Schaaf Family LLC, Deborah Evans, Ronald Schaaf, Bob Barker, John Clarke, Oregon Women’s Land Trust, Stacey McLaughlin, and Craig McLaughlin (jointly) (referred to collectively as “Landowners”); (2) Dennis Henderson, as an individual and as trustee of the Henderson Revocable Inter-vivos Trust (Henderson);7 (3) Sierra Club; and (4) Jody McCaffree (all referred to collectively as “Parties”) in FERC’s Final Order (page 4).  These are the heros of the day as their tenacity and hard work really paid off and helped the FERC make the right decision!

Other articles about the FERC denial have been published in the Oregonian, the World in Coos Bay, the News Review in Roseburg, the Mail Tribune in Medford, Oregon Public Broadcasting(OPB), the Financial Post, and From the Styx in Colorado.

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ONWARD TO RENEWABLES

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The Future That We Want

Technology has finally advanced to the point that we can now see an energy future that is not dependent on outdated fossil fuel energy systems like the former Jordan Cove LNG Project.

On March 17th, 2016, Tony Seba’s Clean Disruption Keynote presentation at the Swedbank Nordic Energy Summit in Oslo, Norway, explained in detail, why a Clean Energy Disruption that is already underway will change completely the way we make and use energy.

This Clean Disruption is a technology disruption. Just like digital cameras disrupted film and the web disrupted publishing, Clean Disruption is inevitable and it will be swift.

According to Seba, the outcome of the Clean Disruption will be that by 2030:
• All new vehicles will be electric.
• All new vehicles will be autonomous (self-driving).
• Oil will be obsolete
• Coal, natural gas and nuclear will be obsolete
• 80+ per cent of parking spaces will be obsolete.
• Individual car ownership will be obsolete.
• All new energy will be provided by solar (and wind)

Clean Disruption – Why Current Energy & Transportation Systems will be Obsolete by 2030

– Oslo, March 2016

Battery Powered Homes

There’s a power revolution heading for our homes – a device that allows you to take power into your own hands. Its batteries, home batteries, and they’ve been called the holy grail of renewables – the key to the transition away from fossil fuels.  As the following video shows, in 5 years over 1 million Australian homes are expected to have battery energy systems.  If energy companies ignore them, they will watch their businesses crumbling in front of them.  New battery technology that is being developed in Australia may completely disrupt the current battery systems that are in use today.   .

ABCTVCatalyst Published on Feb 2, 2016

During a press event at Universal Studios in L.A., Elon Musk announced that Tesla will build and sell its own line of solar panels with integrated batteries. Coupled with the also unveiled PowerWall 2, it will allow residential homeowners to replace their entire roof with solar panels, making it much simpler for homes to be entirely powered by solar power.

Elon Musk unveils Solar Roof and the Powerwall 2 (2016.10.28)