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John Kitzhaber

Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline Approved Grab Land, Cut through Southern Oregon

Staff Report - Earth First! Newswire, November 17, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The State of Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals has confirmed Douglas County’s decision to allow the Williams Company to construct the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline through the Umpqua Valley.

The pipeline running from Klamath Falls to Coos Bay, Oregon, would cross the Fremont-Winema National Forest, which contains 549,800 acres of old-growth forest (more than half of its territory), and is home to the threatened bull trout along with some 300 other species of wildlife.

The pipeline would also cut through the Umpqua Valley, Rogue River, and the Upper Klamath Lake drainage—400 bodies of water in total.

This placement is especially controversial for those who remember the Bellingham disaster of 1999, when the Olympic natural gas pipeline exploded, setting Whatcom Creek on fire and killing three.

Just this April, 1,000 workers and residents of Plymouth, Washington, were evacuated after an explosion at a gas storage facility injured four. A matter of days after the explosion in Plymouth, 200 people protested the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline at Shady Grove, which is poised to seize the land of 300 people through immanent domain.

Opponents have also pointed out, for instance at a protest in Medfort in 2011, that free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership will facilitate further landgrabs for infrastructure.

The Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline also cite the fact that it will be transporting gas from fracked wells in Idaho, exploiting people’s land for corporate profits, and making it even less popular of a move for the embattled greenwasher Governor John Kitzhaber.

This pipeline would comprise only one of several efforts to run fossil fuel infrastructure through Oregon under Kitzhaber’s watch, including incendiary oil trains, polluting coal trains, and tar sands megaloads.

While he was given a chance to speak during the Peoples Climate March in Portland, activists with Rising Tide unfurled a banner over a bridge behind him stating “Coal, Oil, Gas, None Shall Pass!” and demonstrators disrupted his performance with the same chant.

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