Connected by an invisible pipeline

Oregon activists join with Colorado activists in Paonia on Sunday in opposition to Jordan Cove [Source: Pete Kolbenschlag’s FB page]

Busy week in the gas patch. Rifle was the site for two days of Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) meetings. Along with that excitement, three activists from Oregon who oppose the Jordan Cove Project toured the gas patch with a scheduled stop at the COGCC meeting for Monday morning comments.

COGCC meetings are mind numbing. The best part is always the public comments which begin shortly after 9:00 a.m. the first day. As is customary on the West Slope, a whole bunch of local oil & gas workers got paid to show up for public comments and tell the commissioners what great jobs they have and how they love their families and the environment, too. All of which misses the point that they work for companies that pollute everyone’s environment and poison the air and water. Those of us who have been sickened by exposure to oil & gas drilling toxins certainly do not hold the workers responsible. We feel nothing but compassion because we know they too will be sickened eventually.

Debate in local gas patch
Oil, gas panel meets with opponents of Jordan Cove

Several simmering local, state and interstate controversies involving oil and gas development were aired out Monday in western Garfield County as the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission met in Rifle and opponents of local drilling projects and the proposed Jordan Cove gas export terminal in Oregon visited the county’s gas patch …

Battlement Mesa residents were expecting a decision regarding Ursa’s Phase II development that puts the A Pad (24 wells) within 500 feet of seven homes, which would require a variance of state setback rules. The well pad will also be within 1,000 feet of 51 homes, and includes an injection well within 900 feet of Battlement’s water treatment facilities, and 1,000 feet of the Colorado River.

Leslie Robinson with the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance told the commission about some 300 proposed and developed wells within a two-mile radius of Battlement, a number she noted doesn’t include tank farms, pipelines and other support infrastructure.

“What are you trying to do to those people?” she asked the commission, adding that the agency doesn’t care about the cumulative effects of drilling in the area.

“Obviously you only care about the industry’s bottom line,” she said.

Dave Devanney, a member of Battlement Concerned Citizens, told commissioners the well pads already in existence have taken their toll.

“[There have been] odor problems, with incidences of respiratory and eye irritation, and unknown long term health impacts.”

“What can the citizens of Battlement Mesa do to try protect their quality of life?”

He then asked after a pause, “Any response?”

Oil and gas commissioners listened attentively but didn’t respond to comments offered Monday.

During COGCC Director Julie Murphy’s comments she explained that the hearing for Ursa’s A Pad permit application has been postponed till October due to a backlog of permits and staff shortage. Other permits were delayed as well.

A reprieve — of sorts — for Battlement Mesa.

Now let’s get to the fun part. During the comments this happened:

Francis Eatherington, who lives along the route proposed for a pipeline project in Oregon that would support the Jordan Cove plant, told the state commissioners not to expect extra gas produced in Colorado to get an eventual new outlet to Asian markets from the Jordan Cove project.

“You should know that we plan to stop that Jordan Cove project. It’s not going to happen, so you will not be able to export that gas as you’d hoped,” she said.

Her words were a breath of fresh air amid the fog of lies on the West Slope.

To learn more about the Jordan Cove Project, click here, then follow the additional links at the bottom of that post to learn even more about the proposed project.

The Jordan Cove Project is a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Coos Bay, Oregon. What connects Colorado with Oregon is the proposed Pacific Connector Pipeline, which was rejected by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in March 2016. This invisible pipeline is supposed to transport natural gas from the Piceance Basin (western CO) to the invisible Jordan Cove facility on the Oregon coast. But that’s a big fat lie. Pembina, the company behind Jordan Cove, is a Canadian company that already has access to existing pipelines to transport cheap Canadian gas to their proposed facility in Oregon. Many people think that a Canadian company spending billions on a project to sell Colorado gas smells kinda fishy.

As you might expect, folks along the 229-mile pipeline route are not too keen on having their property seized by eminent domain and a half-mile swath of good land desecrated by a dirty, dangerous pipeline.

But what may have pissed off some locals as well as Oregonians lately was the Jordan Cove love fest on September 11 in Grand Junction, where the likes of Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Scott Tipton were knee deep in Jordan Cove BS.

Geopolitical case for Jordan Cove

In response to the hype, a new coalition was quickly formed. According to Pete Kolbenschlag, it’s called the “Jordan Cove: Rocky Mountains to Pacific Coast, Community Resistance from Extraction to Export” project. They even have a GoFundMe page.

Opposition to Jordan Cove forming locally

The group from Oregon included Francis Eatherington, Alex Budd, and filmmaker Amy Schlotterback. They arrived in Paonia on Sunday, where they were hosted by Kolbenschlag and other activists as they toured drilling sites in the North Fork Valley.

On Monday they traveled to Garfield County where EcoFlight sponsored an early-morning group flyover of oil & gas wells in Garfield County.

Pete Kolbenschlag (L) and EcoFlight pilot Bruce Gordon (R) with activists [Source: Pete Kolbenschlag’s FB page]

After an appearance at the COGCC meeting in Rifle, the group met up with Dave Devanney for a tour of Battlement Mesa drilling sites, sponsored by Battlement Concerned Citizens.

On Tuesday the group headed back to Oregon, along with Pete Kolbenshclag and Bruce Gordon, EcoFlight founder and director. There they will visit sites along the proposed Pacific Connector Pipeline as well as impacted landowners. The Colorado to Oregon tour wraps up on September 20.

The adventure continues in Oregon:  Pipeline foes: ‘We’re all in the same fight’

For more information and updates visit their GoFundMe page:
Jordan Cove: Rocky Mountains to Pacific Coast, Community Resistance from Extraction to Export

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