The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will soon make a critical decision about whether to approve the Jordan Cove liquified natural gas (LNG) project and export facility in Coos Bay, Oregon. I’ve heard from several of my supporters wanting to learn more about the project and my position.
I do not support the Jordan Cove LNG terminal for the following reasons: the federal approval process is run by unelected political appointees, the project tramples on private property rights, and it will exacerbate the urgent and immediate threat of climate change.
I voted against and opposed the Bush-Cheney Energy Policy Act in Congress that gave FERC its power, paving the way for projects like Jordan Cove. Congress does not have a role in approving or denying this project – the sole authority lies with FERC, which is an independent bureaucracy managed by Trump political appointees at the agency.
I’ve taken numerous actions within my power and federal purview to diminish the negative impacts of this pipeline and support the rights of anti-pipeline protesters and sovereign tribal nations that oppose the project.
I was the first Member of Congress to introduce legislation to reverse the law and prevent FERC from using eminent domain to seize private property for energy projects. The U.S. Constitution limits the use of eminent domain to actions necessary for “public use.” A private, for-profit company should not be able to condemn private property in order to build a pipeline through someone’s backyard.
- I vehemently opposed the Bush-Cheney law that cut Congress and local authorities out of the process and warned against giving away congressional oversight of projects such as Jordan Cove. Unfortunately, the bill passed, giving sole authority to presidential political appointees at FERC whose key interest is greenlighting energy projects.
- I have worked directly with property owners and sovereign tribes impacted by the Jordan Cove pipeline to ensure that they’re supported and treated fairly.
- I was outraged that the Department of Justice conducted surveillance of peaceful anti-pipeline protesters and sovereign tribal nations opposing the project. I sent Attorney General Barr a letter demanding the legal justification of the surveillance and a full accounting of the current status of operations. All stakeholders impacted by this potential project have the First Amendment right to voice their support, their concern, or their opposition to this project without fear of intimidation or coercion by any group or government, and they have my strong support.
- I have demanded multiple extensions of the public comment period on the project so Oregonians could have time to review the numerous environmental studies.
- I sent a letter to oversight officials at the Department of the Interior demanding answers about the obvious conflict of interest of Interior Secretary, David Bernhardt, whose former employer represented the Jordan Cove Energy Project and who promoted the project from his position as Interior Secretary. This highly questionable activity violates federal ethics policies and President Trump’s so-called “Drain the Swamp” Executive Order and ethics recusal.
- I cosponsored the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act that would force the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing and eliminate exemptions from the Safe Drinking Act Water being used by fossil fuel companies.
- I’m also a cosponsor of legislation that would require oil and gas companies to report the impact their fracking activity has on water quality and share that information with local landowners.
- I pushed for the creation of a House Select Committee on Climate Change and am honored to be an original cosponsor and one of the first Members of Congress to support the Green New Deal Resolution. I’m also proud to be an original cosponsor of the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act and the Climate Emergency declaration.
- I’ve refused to accept campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies and have rejected and refunded contributions from organizations who don’t share my critical legislative and environmental goals.
Furthermore, I don’t support the Jordan Cove project because of the significant negative impact it will have on our environment. Climate change is an existential threat to humanity, and we must take bold steps to address it head on. We’re already experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change in the Pacific Northwest.
Due to the warming of the planet, the ocean is experiencing heat waves like ‘the Blob” we saw in the Pacific Northwest in 2015. It caused the largest algal bloom ever recorded in our region, shutting down crabbing and other fisheries for months. If oceans continue to warm and acidification intensifies, Oregon’s coastal economies could collapse. As sea levels rise, our infrastructure, including ports, bridges, and roads, will need to be replaced or retrofitted. Over the last decade, we have experienced more and more devastating wildfires in Oregon because climate change has extended the fire season and threatened communities, wildlife, and rural economies.
No matter FERC’s decision on the Jordan Cove project, I will continue to work with leaders from the coastal and rural areas of my district as I have throughout my career. I have fought to protect our fisheries, ensured that our ports and harbors are maintained, and kept our waterways dredged so that maritime traffic can navigate safely. I am proud of helping to maintain and upgrade the Coos Bay Rail Line, secure funding for improvements to the North Bend Airport, and direct federal investments to the ShakeAlert earthquake warning program.
As Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I have the ability to focus on investments in critical infrastructure projects in the region that create jobs and strengthen the economy. Additionally, my chairmanship provides me the ability to ensure that job-creating infrastructure projects funded in our rural and coastal communities incorporate green infrastructure solutions to extend their life and contribute to solving the climate crisis. Constructing climate-resilient infrastructure on our coast will not only protect coastal residents, it will also create high-wage, family-supporting jobs.
There is no time to waste; protecting and preserving our environment is crucial. So too is ensuring everyone is a part of the new green economy, providing upward mobility for young people, families, and workers in all areas of our country. That is why I am an original cosponsor of the 100 Percent Clean Economy Act. As we implement bold solutions to address the impacts of climate change and transition our country to a sustainable, 100 percent renewable economy, it is critical to provide opportunity and support to rural and coastal communities in Oregon and the hard-working people who live there. It is essential that they be a part of our renewable energy future.
I’ve been fortunate to live in Oregon for most of my life. When I first moved here to attend the University of Oregon, I was in awe of our natural landscape and rugged beauty. Like many of you, I spend my free time hiking and backpacking in some of the most stunning areas of our state and country. I feel most at ease in wilderness areas like the Eagle Cap, Diamond Peak, Kalmiopsis, and the newly-designated Devil’s Staircase. These places give me peace and allow me to focus on what truly matters. I will continue to devote myself to saving these special places for future generations. But if we don’t tackle climate change, we won’t just lose these beloved spaces. We lose the ability for humanity to survive.
It is our collective duty to ensure that the next generation has a healthy, sustainable planet to thrive and enjoy. I know you’re fighting with me. There’s nothing more important.