Jordan Cove LNG

With Prospects Souring for Oregon Gas Terminal, an Obscure Group Raises Pressure for State Approval

Read time: 11 mins
WSTN's "open letter to Gov. Brown" ad in The Oregonian

On May 24, a full-page ad appeared in The Oregonian, Oregon’s largest newspaper. The “open letter,” addressed to Gov. Kate Brown, asked her to support Jordan Cove LNG, a controversial coastal liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal. Between the “COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic fallout,” the project would be crucial to restoring the state’s economy, the letter argued. “We’re going to need as many jobs as we can get, and very soon.”

We ask you to listen because Jordan Cove is about Oregon, but it is also about much more,” the letter said, a statement that certainly seems to describe the entity that bought the ad, the Western States and Tribal Nations Natural Gas Initiative, or WSTN. Despite its sole focus on exporting natural gas through the West Coast, the group is virtually unknown in Oregon.

As Coronavirus Worsened, Trump Admin Pushed Offshore Drilling and Gas Exports

Read time: 6 mins

With major cities and states issuing stay-at-home orders as coronavirus cases have swept throughout the United States, the Trump Administration opened the floodgates for more offshore drilling and issued a permit for a long contested gas export project.

On March 18, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held a lease sale for 397,285 acres of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico that attracted bids by companies such as BP, Chevron, Shell, Total, BHP Billiton and a slew of smaller independent drillers. A day later, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) handed a permit to the long-embattled Jordan Cove LNG export facility, located in Coos Bay, Oregon.

Jordan Cove Backers Double Down on Efforts to Push Project Following Federal Permit Delay

Read time: 6 mins
Aerial view of Coos Bay, Oregon

Last Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) took the highly unusual step of declining to move forward on permits for the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export terminal in Coos County, Oregon. If built, the $10 billion Jordan Cove project would become the largest source of global warming pollution in the state.

FERC commissioners voted 2 to 1 to postpone a decision on federal approvals for the project after a string of permit denials from the state of Oregon. Commissioner Bernard McNamee said he needed an additional week to review the latest denial, issued by the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) one day prior to FERC’s vote.

Newly Revealed Emails Highlight Coziness and Favors Between Local Officials, Jordan Cove LNG Backers

Read time: 14 mins
Coos County Commissioner Melissa Cribbins testifies before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Emails exchanged between an Oregon county commissioner and Pembina, the parent company of the proposed $10 billion fossil fuel export terminal Jordan Cove, raise ethics issues and may create openings for legal challenges to key permits for the controversial Jordan Cove project.

The emails, obtained via an open records request by the Energy and Policy Institute and shared with DeSmog, appear to show contacts between Pembina officials and Coos County commissioners — communications that were not disclosed during public hearings. Oregon law generally requires communications with commissioners about a pending permit to be disclosed publicly, so that those from the other side can respond.

Oregon Again a Battlefield for Fracked Gas Pipeline and Jordan Cove LNG Terminal

Read time: 5 mins
Youth Against Fracked Gas march against Jordan Cove LNG and pipeline

When the incumbent Democratic Governor Kate Brown defeated Republican Knute Buehler in a contentious race for Oregon’s governorship, many in the state’s climate movement let out a momentary sigh of relief. Brown had promised to “lead on climate” while Buehler had pledged his support for new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Now, residents are working to hold Governor Brown to task over what they see as the most pressing climate issue facing the state: the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal and its Pacific Connector Gas pipeline. Backed by the Canadian company Pembina Pipeline Corporation, the project would transport natural gas extracted via hydraulic fracturing (fracking) from Colorado to Oregon’s coast, where it would be super-cooled into liquid form and loaded on ships to international markets.

All the Battles Being Waged Against Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Are Following a Single Strategy

Read time: 6 mins
Virginia Delegate Chris Hurst, a Democrat, at a Mountain Valley pipeline protest before he took office.
By Luis Hestres, The University of Texas at San Antonio

The activists holding a growing number of protests against oil pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure projects from coast to coast are winning some courtroom victories.

For example, a federal appeals court recently struck down two key decisions allowing a natural gas pipeline to cut through Virginia’s Jefferson National Forest, just days before a three-judge panel nixed two permits for another pipeline intended to transport natural gas in Virginia because it would compromise efforts to protect endangered wildlife. At the same time, Oregon’s Supreme Court declined to revisit a lower court ruling that let Portland’s prohibition of big fossil fuel export projects stand.

Just like when activists refuse to leave their treetop perches to stop oil companies from axing an old-growth forest or when they lock their bodies to bulldozers to prevent the machine from making way for a new coal mine, these legal challenges are part of a coordinated strategy I have studied for years while researching the movement to slow down and address climate change.

FERC Commissioner Rob Powelson Spent Much of His First Months in Office Meeting With the Fossil Fuel Industry

Read time: 6 mins
Rob Powelson

In his first few months at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), commissioner Rob Powelson scheduled the great majority of his meetings with fossil fuel energy companies and utilities, his work calendar shows. The calendar, obtained by DeSmog through an open records request, can be viewed below.

Nominated to FERC by President Trump, Powelson began serving on the commission last August. He previously served on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Jordan Cove LNG Backers Spend Huge Money to Sway Tiny Oregon County Election

Read time: 5 mins
No LNG signs, opposing Jordan Cove LNG project

Two weeks ahead of an Oregon county special election, backers of the multi-billion dollar Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project are spending an additional $236,500 to prevent that vote from halting the proposed fossil fuel project.

That’s on top of the $359,000 the LNG project’s proponents had previously spent in an attempt to defeat the ballot measure, 6-162, in Coos County, Oregon, which reportedly has roughly 41,000 registered voters. 

Oregon County Faces Gas Industry Funding, Lobbyists in Battle to Halt Jordan Cove LNG Project

Read time: 7 mins
Rally against Jordan Cove LNG in Oregon in 2016

Scattered throughout Coos County, situated on Oregon’s southern coast, are signs reading “Save Coos Jobs, Vote No on County Measure 6-162.” The signs were put there by Save Coos Jobs, a political action committee (PAC) with more than $358,500 in funding from Canadian-based energy company Veresen’s Jordan Cove Energy Project and other natural gas interests. 

Measure 6-162 will go to vote in a May 16 special election. If passed, it would block what could become Oregon’s top greenhouse gas emitter: Canadian energy company Veresen’s proposed multi-billion dollar Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export facility and its associated 232 mile Pacific Connector gas pipeline.

"Our Energy Moment": The Blue Engine Behind Fracked Gas Exports PR Blitz

Read time: 6 mins

Behind nearly every major corporate policy push there's an accompanying well-coordinated public relations and propaganda campaign. As it turns out, the oil and gas industry's push to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) plays the same game.

And so on February 5, “Our Energy Moment” was born. The PR blitz is described in a press release announcing the launch as a “new coalition dedicated to raising awareness and celebrating the many benefits of expanded markets for liquefied natural gas.”

Its member list includes industry heavy hitters such as Cheniere Energy, Sempra Energy, Louisiana Oil and Gas Association and Freeport LNG.

Since its launch, “Our Energy Moment” has disseminated press releases about the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) conditional approval of Jordan Cove LNG export facility in Coos Bay, Oregon and its conditional approval of Cameron LNG export facility in Hackberry, Louisiana.  

So the industry is funding a PR campaign clearly in its self interest. But so what? You have to read all the way to the bottom of the press releases to find what's perhaps the most interesting tidbit. 

At the very bottom of “Our Energy Moment's” releases, a contact person named Tiffany Edwards is listed with an email address ending in @blueenginemedia.com. If you visit blueenginemedia.com you'll find the website for PR and advertising firm Blue Engine Message & Media

Further, a domain name search for ourenergymoment.org reveals the website was registered by another PR and web development firm called Liberty Concepts by its founder and president Jonathan Karush. Karush registered the site on May 8, 2013, a full ten months before the campaign's official launch date. 

Who are these firms and why do they matter? That's where the fun begins.

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