Colorado and Oregon - Jordan Cove

State: Colorado, Oregon
Region: Colorado and Oregon

While separated by some 1,000 miles, rural communities in Western Colorado and Southern Oregon find themselves facing down the same industry. The proposed Jordan Cove Energy Project in southwest Oregon would provide an outlet to overseas markets for natural gas extracted in western Colorado and the Mountain West.

The Jordan Cove Project, owned by a Canadian fossil fuel company called Pembina, would see the construction of a new liquefaction and export facility in Coos Bay Oregon, as well as a new pipeline (the Pacific Connector Pipeline) to connect the export terminal to existing pipeline networks, allowing gas from western Colorado to be exported to the Pacific Rim.

Fossil fuel and pipeline boosters in western Colorado are among those pushing LNG export (liquefied natural gas) in their latest scheme to turn declining natural gas markets back into the black. The Jordan Cove project was first proposed as an import project in 2004, but was flipped for export following the US fracking boom in the following years. It was denied a federal permit in 2016, but Pembina has reapplied and the project is now being championed by the new Trump Administration.

The process by which natural gas is extracted, transported, and liquefied for export is dirty and damaging to the climate, to communities, and to the environment, every step of the way. Upstream in Colorado, massive fracking  operations and ever-expanding drilling fields are needed to keep the pipelines full, threatening front-line communities, farms, public lands, clean water, and human health. Downstream in Oregon, ancient forests will be clearcut and farmlands dug up, while sacred tribal sites and cultural resources will be bulldozed and resistant property owners could have their land seized by eminent domain for the profit of a foreign fossil fuel corporation. At the liquefaction & export facility on the coast the impacts continue to pile up: to fisheries, the local economy, and to the community.

While the direct impacts of the final burning of the gas for electricity would be faraway overseas, when it comes to climate pollution “we all live downstream,” and a new report on the lifecycle climate pollution of Jordan Cove makes clear that this project is incompatible with efforts to reduce climate emissions. As the reckoning comes due on climate it is beyond reckless to continue expanding fossil fuel infrastructure and development anywhere.

Both in Colorado and Oregon, the rural communities are on the frontlines of the impacts from natural gas extraction and export. While in many cases the specific threats and dangers facing communities look different upstream and downstream, much of the story is the same. Rural communities, long dependent on extraction-based economies, are resisting the push to sacrifice their water, public lands, and climate for the profit of big polluting industry.