DAILY SENTINEL 9-15-18 Opposition to Jordan Cove forming locally

Sep 15, 2018

Original article: https://www.gjsentinel.com/news/western_colorado/opposition-to-jordan-cove-forming-locally/article_3046bac6-b969-11e8-b1d7-10604b9ffe60.html

by Dennis Webb

Organized opposition is taking hold among local oil and gas activists to the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export project in Oregon, with those activists joining forces with project opponents in the Pacific Northwest.

Paonia resident Pete Kolbenschlag is playing a leading role in the creation of what's being called the "Jordan Cove: Rocky Mountains to Pacific Coast, Community Resistance from Extraction to Export" project.

"I think people feel like this is an opportunity to be part of the dialogue around (Jordan Cove) because a lot of the conversation in Colorado has been more about boosterism" in support of the Jordan Cove project, Kolbenschlag said.

The export project has considerable support in Colorado as a potential means of helping open up foreign markets to locally produced gas, meaning more local jobs and tax revenues.

What organized opposition to Jordan Cove has existed to date has been based more in Oregon, where opponents worry about impacts to things like fisheries in the Coos Bay area where the project would be located, and to landowners along a proposed pipeline route in Oregon.

The western Colorado opposition effort is being kicked off by what organizers are calling a Rally for the Valley today from 4 to 7 p.m. at Delicious Orchards Farm Market at 39126 Colorado Highway 133 outside Paonia.

Working with the nonprofit EcoFlight organization, activists, including visitors from Oregon, plan to fly along the Bull Mountain Pipeline route early Monday morning before attending the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission the same morning at the Garfield County sheriff annex building in Rifle. They plan to be there during a public comment period after the meeting starts at 9 a.m.

Kolbenschlag said an overflight of Garfield County oil and gas operations is planned at noon, and then participants will tour the Battlement Mesa area, where residents will share their experiences with oil and gas development in that area.

On Tuesday through Thursday, the activists will visit Oregon, ending with a stop at Coos Bay.

Kolbenschlag said oil and gas activists in western Colorado typically have been involved in individual battles, whether they involve federal oil and gas leasing in the North Fork Valley or drilling in Battlement Mesa. He said the project will help look at a bigger-picture story of what Jordan Cove would mean for both upstream communities where gas development would occur and downstream in Oregon where the pipeline and export terminal would be built.

He called the project "a grassroots response" to all the attention the Jordan Cove project has been receiving lately, at venues ranging from a local congressional field hearing to the recent Club 20 debates.

On Tuesay, high-level federal officials joined U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, both R-Colo.; a Jordan Cove representative; a Coos County, Oregon, county commissioner; and others including numerous area county commissioners in a Grand Junction meeting where they touted the benefits of the project.

Tipton said that while the Denver area and resort areas are doing well economically, elsewhere in the state "we've had families that continue to struggle," something Jordan Cove could help address.

Stuart Taylor, with Jordan Cove LNG, said after that meeting that he was encouraged to see the support for the project in Colorado.

“It's great to hear people talk about what the benefits of the project would be at the local level," Taylor said then.