In a resolution passed March 15, the Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians made official its opposition to the planning, approval, construction and maintenance of the Malin to Coos Bay LNG (liquified natural gas) transmission line and the Jordan Cove LNG export facility in Coos Bay.
“After careful consideration, the Siletz Tribal Council voted to oppose the transmission line, export facility and all construction that goes with it,” said Delores Pigsley, chairman of the Siletz Tribal Council. “We join other Oregon Tribes and many citizens in the state who don’t want to put land and resources in Oregon at risk.”
The council listed the following as reasons for its decision:
The Siletz Tribe is a confederation of many bands and Tribes whose ancestral homeland combined includes all of Western Oregon from what is now Northern California to the Columbia River and from the summit of the Cascades to the Pacific. This territory includes portions of the proposed Pacific Connector Gas Line route, which would transmit LNG from Malin to Coos Bay, and the site of the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export facility.
The Siletz Tribe has never ceded its aboriginal title interests to Coos ancestral territory. The Court of Claims in 1938 found that the historic Coos Tribe (among others) had been removed to, and confederated with, other Tribes on the Siletz Reservation.
The gas line poses multiple major cultural, natural resource and environmental/habitat losses and ongoing threats throughout its proposed footprint. The LNG transmission line and export facility are not operated by a U.S. company and do not supply energy to U.S. companies or citizen consumers. It is a proposed Canadian LNG export business.
The Siletz Tribe believes construction of the transmission line and export facility will directly negatively affect sensitive aquatic and terrestrial habitat and vitally important species, many of which would be permanent losses that cannot be mitigated. Any long-term operation of the transmission line and export facility would pose an ongoing threat of catastrophic failures during a major Cascadia Subduction Zone seismic event, of which is there is a long-proven geologic record.
Because of these concerns, the Siletz Tribe cannot support the planning, approval, construction and maintenance of the Malin to Coos Bay LNG transmission line or the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export facility, nor the associated proposed Jordan Cove to mouth channel widening, turning basin and shipping berths proposed for the north shore of Coos Bay, and all related planning and construction.
“We really cannot support a project that’s potentially this degrading to the environment and to sensitive habitat for several species, and could compound the disastrous effects of a Cascadia earthquake,” said Robert Kentta, cultural director and a member of the Tribal Council. “We don’t believe this project will continue our tradition of being good stewards of our land, which we need to protect in all ways that we can.”
Jordan Cove LNG project supporters contend the natural gas pipeline and export facility will bring good paying jobs to the Coos County area. But while that is probably true, a growing consciousness is shining a troubling light on such projects that only accelerate concerns about green house gases, global climate change and in the event of a gas leak, danger from explosive fire and contamination of drinking water supplies and threats to rivers and the wildlife that depend on them.
This observation is amplified by predictions that the big Cascadia Subduction Zone that runs up the Oregon Coast, just offshore, is expected to trigger a horrendous earthquake along the coast of the Pacific Northwest within the next 50 to 100 years. Geologists say that core samples clearly show the subduction zone unleashes a monstrous 9 to 9.5 Richter earthquake every 250 to 350 years. The last cascadia earthquake was in 1700. In the year 2019 the quake could strike anytime.
On the brigher side, natural gas critics say that solar, geothermal, wind hydropower and other clean sources for energy can chart a cleaner, lower cost pathway to a much safer energy future.