Oregon landowners share a common interest with many Coloradans, and we are not referring to the beautiful scenery and wildlife we both enjoy, but something quite sinister: the Jordan Cove Energy Project (JCEP), owned by Canadian company Pembina Pipeline Corporation. 

Pembina is proposing the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, which would begin in tiny Malin, Oregon, and traverse 231 miles to the coastal port at Coos Bay. There, fracked gas from Canada will be liquified, loaded onto giant LNG tankers and exported to Asia. 

The pipeline will cross more than 400 streams and rivers, eradicate many acres of old-growth forests and threaten Oregon’s beloved salmon. It will also require the taking of land from over 90 Oregon landowners through eminent domain. 

What’s this got to do with Colorado? Everything!

Larry and Sylvia Mangan

Recently, a front group called Western States and Tribal Nations Natural Gas Initiative (WSTN) bought a full-page color ad in The Oregonian, our state’s largest print newspaper. The ad was signed and paid for by Colorado county commissioners in Garfield, Mesa, Rio Blanco and Moffatt counties, among others.

It solicited our governor, Kate Brown, to approve the Jordan Cove project, claiming it will be good for Oregon. Colorado commissioners shamefully flaunted economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as justification.

WSTN is a 501-C (4) organization. Lawyers have set them up as a tax-exempt organization to promote natural gas production from the Piceance-Uinta basin, NOT for Oregon’s economic welfare, as the ad suggests.

Stacey McLaughlin

WSTN has an intimate relationship with another industry lobby group, the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), made up of fossil fuel giants such as Chevron, BP and ExxonMobil.

Through the vehicle of WTSN, CEA promotes oil and gas initiatives by making it look like they have grassroots support. Did we mention that WSTN and CEA share several officers in common, including Andrew Browning, president of WSTN and COO of CEA? 

Pembina registered Jordan Cove, LLC in Delaware to make it seem like a U.S. company. Now they are garnering support for their project by falsely promising to transport volumes of Colorado’s “stranded gas,” knowing full well that all of the gas is coming from Canada, as outlined in their project applications to the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) and U.S. Department of Energy. 

WSTN’s and Pembina’s message for Colorado will likely be a replay of Pembina’s Oregon strategy. Two years ago, Pembina embarked on a promotional blitz in Oregon, portraying themselves as our “good neighbors” and the financial savior for our rural communities.

READ: Colorado Sun opinion columnists.

Our mailboxes were deluged with Pembina’s “giant Hallmark cards” — full-color glossy mailers that were part of a multimillion-dollar television, radio and print ad campaign.

One mailer shows a young family roasting marshmallows at the edge of a lake in the Cascade Mountains with the proclamation, “Respect Oregon,” when in fact the company was strategizing how to circumvent Oregon land-use laws and permit requirements. 

Although the FERC, with its history of rubber-stamping fossil fuel projects, has given federal approval for Jordan Cove, the state of Oregon has denied the project clean water and dredge-and-fill permits and declared it is not consistent with its Coastal Zone Management Area regulations.

Andrew Browning, in a meeting with county commissioners in Wyoming, said they (WSTN) are working with Pembina to circumvent Oregon’s agencies! What is respectful about overriding state laws?

As someone whose childhood memories of growing up in Colorado bring such joy, it is heartbreaking to watch Colorado being conned as Oregon was. Beware of Canadian companies bearing gifts; Pembina is a Trojan horse filled with empty promises.

This project is about corporate profits. Jobs are temporary and certainly do not warrant the taking of private property and violating the constitutional rights of Oregon landowners.

Gas and oil pipelines are not out future; pipelines transporting products from the age of the dinosaur are now becoming dinosaurs. 

Coloradans must choose whether they want to further compromise their state or stand with Oregon and look to a sustainable energy future. Know this: Oregon landowners will do whatever it takes to protect their homes, livelihoods and property from eminent domain.

Please stand with us, as American citizens, against a foreign corporation taking our land.

Stacey McLaughlin is an Oregon landowner whose property is threatened with eminent domain by the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline. Larry and Sylvia Mangan are Oregon landowners whose property had been threatened by the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, but are now working to help other landowners at risk in Coos County. Larry was a wildlife biologist with the Bureau of Land Management for 40 years and Sylvia is a retired public health nurse. 

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