Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

LWV policy applies to all leagues

LWV Klamath County, as part of the state and national league organizations, has been introduced to the topic of DEL in a summer workshop, and we plan to include relevant language in our by-laws at an upcoming meeting. Below you will see the LWV national policy, definitions, and a list of further resources.

what can you do?

First you should watch this LWV US training webinar HERE.

Second you can learn about the LWV US policy and relevant definitions.

Then you can read up on this topic from articles and books listed below.

Finally you can JOIN US as we work to incorporate these concepts into our local LWV Klamath County and our work here. Attend an upcoming meeting to speak up on DEI.

LWV Policy

LWV is an organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in principle and in practice. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the organization’s current and future success in engaging all individuals, households, communities, and policy makers in creating a more perfect democracy.

There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, gender identity, ethnicity, race, native or indigenous origin, age, generation, sexual orientation, culture, religion, belief system, marital status, parental status, socioeconomic status, language, accent, ability status, mental health, educational level or background, geography, nationality, work style, work experience, job role function, thinking style, personality type, physical appearance, political perspective or affiliation and/or any other characteristic that can be identified as recognizing or illustrating diversity.

Defining DEI

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are mutually reinforcing. Increased inclusion is associated with increased equity; the majority of organizations with higher inclusion and equity also have greater demographic diversity.


Diversity includes all of the similarities and differences among people, not limited to: gender, gender identity, ethnicity, race, native or indigenous origin, age, generation, sexual orientation, culture, religion, belief system, marital status, parental status, socioeconomic status, appearance, language, accent, ability status, mental health, education, geography, nationality, work style, work experience, job role function, thinking style, personality type, physical appearance, and political perspective or affiliation.

Diversity refers to population groups that have been historically underrepresented in socially, politically, or economically powerful institutions and organizations. These groups include but are not restricted to populations of color, such as African Americans and Blacks, Latinx, Native Americans and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. They may also include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations, people with disabilities, women, and other groups.

A team can be diverse and so can an organization. A person is not diverse. Diversity is about a collective or a group and can only exist in relationship to others. A candidate is not diverse—they are a unique, individual unit. They may bring diversity to your team, but they in themselves are not diverse. They are a woman; they are a person of color; they are part of the LGBTQ community.

We commit to increase diversity in the recruitment, retention, and retainment at the national, state, and local level, and in the leadership and executive roles.


Equity is an approach based in fairness to ensuring everyone is given equal opportunity; this means that resources may be divided and shared unequally to make sure that each person has a fair chance to succeed. Equity takes into account that people have different access to resources because of system of oppression and privilege. Equity seeks to balance that disparity.

Improving equity involves increasing justice and fairness within the procedures and processes of institutions or systems, as well as in their distribution of resources, including professional growth opportunities. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities within our society.

Equity prioritizes efforts to ensure the most underserved and marginalized among us has as much of an opportunity to succeed as the most well-served and advantaged. By taking into account the various advantages and disadvantages that people face, we work to ensure every person has an equal opportunity to succeed.

We commit to prioritizing equity in the work of the LWV staff, board, and members.


Inclusion is an ongoing process, not a static state of being.

Inclusion is the dynamic state of operating in which diversity is leveraged to create a healthy, high-performing organization and community.

Inclusion refers to the degree to which diverse individuals are able to participate fully in the decision-making processes within an organization or group.

An inclusive environment ensures equitable access to resources and opportunities for all. It also enables individuals and groups to feel safe, respected, engaged, motivated, and valued for who they are and for their contributions toward organizational and societal goals.

While an inclusive group is by definition diverse, a diverse group is not always inclusive. Being aware of unconscious or implicit bias can help organizations better address issues of inclusivity.

We commit to making deliberate efforts to ensure LWV is a place where differences are welcomed, different perspectives are respectfully heard, and every individual feels a sense of belonging and inclusion. We know that by creating a vibrant climate of inclusiveness, we can more effectively leverage our resources to advance our collective capabilities.

We commit to working actively to challenge and respond to bias, harassment, and discrimination.

Seeing our work through a DEI Lens

A DEI lens is a way of examining a program, a process, a product, etc. with regards to how it is perceived by a variety of communities, voices, and perspectives, and what, if any, barriers may exist that is preventing it from being equitable or inclusive of everyone.

What To Ask When Examining Your Work Through a DEI Lens

  • Who is involved in the process?
    • Are key stakeholders meaningfully included?
    • Is this work that impacts a group or community? If so, is their voice represented?
    • How diverse is the group of decision makers? Is it diverse enough?
  • Who will be impacted?
    • Who benefits from this?
    • Who is burdened by this?
    • Does this help us meet the needs of underserved voters?
    • Have we considered various, specific marginalized groups and how they might be impacted?
  • What are the intended and unintended outcomes?
    • What issue are we trying to solve?
    • What do we hope will happen?
    • What are the potential negative impacts? Who could be hurt by this?
    • What data or evidence supports this?
    • How might this be perceived by others?
  • Does this align with our vision for an equitable and inclusive organization?
    • How is equity addressed?
    • What barriers might this place in the way of achieving equity?
    • How does this impact the League’s culture?
  • What changes could be made to make this more equitable?
    • What are the short term goals?
    • What are the long term goals?
    • What, if any, policies or bylaws need to be added or amended?
    • What are the benefits for members?
    • What are the benefits for partners and/or members of the community?

Learn More



  • Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, Mahzarin Banaji
  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell
  • Braving the Wilderness, Brené Brown
  • Everyday Bias, Howard Ross
  • The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
  • The Hillbilly Elegy, JD Vance
  • Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions, Arielly, Daniel
  • Waking Up White, Debby Irving
  • The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson


TED Talks

The Danger of a Single Story: TED Talk by Chimamanda Adichie on the theme of how only knowing one story of a culture can enhance our implicit biases and create incomplete pictures of those different from us. 

Other Learning Resources

What is DEI?

Approved Study for 2020-21: Consolidating the Urban Growth Boundaries

Quick: What does “consolidation” mean?(OUR NEWEST STUDY)

APPROVED STUDY FOR 2021: Expansion of Klamath Falls City Limits to Coincide with Urban Growth Boundaries

At some point, as our community grows, the city limits of Klamath Falls will have to expand to include what is now defined as the UGB (urban growth boundary). This is a regional boundary, set in an attempt to control urban sprawl by, in its simplest form, mandating that the area inside the boundary be used for urban development and the area outside be preserved in its natural state or used for agriculture.


LWV Klamath has looked at previous unsuccessful efforts to expand city limits to the UGB in the last 15 years. Our question now is not “Should we expand” but rather our question is “when?”.

There are many factors to consider when looking at this question.  We propose to educate ourselves regarding these factors and then share what we learn with the people who are affected by the answers.

The major factors we are considering include the following differences between the services offered in the city of Klamath Falls and those in the unincorporated areas within the UGB:

  1. Police work
  2. Water/Sewer services, pricing, long term issues
  3. Taxes: city and county; the services each covers and what is NOT covered
  4. Voter representation at decision making bodies (City Council, County Commissioners, South Suburban Sanitary District, County schools, city schools, other Boards that control services)
  5. School Districts (City and County)
  6. Other service differences for ambulance, 911, Fire District #1, airport, etc
  7. Roads
  8. Parks

While we all want to get the greatest number of services for the lowest tax dollar, it is our assumption that we are too frequently focused on the $1 we spend today rather than what it will cost if we wait to spend that $1.  We propose to ask questions about what service delivery will look like as the population grows in the greater Klamath Falls area and what the projected costs are to deliver those services.  We hope that the information we gather and share will assist our community members in being prepared for the changes that are bound to come.

our results:

Committee members: Karen Kunz, Diane Eastman-Shockey, Emily Strauss, Leslie Lowe, Jody Daniels

After some research by each committee member and much discussion about the Klamath Falls Urban Area Comprehensive Plan – Volume I – June 2020 which each of us reviewed, we decided that enough had already changed regarding the issues of consolidation of city boundaries and urban growth boundaries since Jeff Ball’s report in 2003 that further study of these issues by LWV Klamath was no longer useful to our community.

Another contributing factor to ceasing this study came from the interviews done with Mike Griffith, Board Member South Suburban Sanitary District on 6-3-2021, Klamath County School Superintendent Glen Szymoniak on 6-17-21, and Superintendent of Klamath Falls City Schools (since 2010 but now retiring) Dr. Paul Hilyer on 6-3-2021. Those interviews helped us see that the divisive community issues between the 2 school districts alone would overwhelm any possible financial or service benefits from boundary consolidation at this time.

Also, because there are numerous places throughout the Plan that refer to collaboration, cooperation, and consistency between City and County, we felt the trajectory was moving in a very positive direction. Following are a few of the specific changes as they relate to the unincorporated Urban Area or those parts of the County that fit between city boundaries and the UGB. The City and County must follow state land use laws and update their plans accordingly, which is the basis of this Plan.

From the Klamath Falls Urban Area Comprehensive Plan – Volume I – June 2020

Page 1: Since the mid-1990s, the city and county have cooperated on several planning and public facilities planning projects. The recent adoption of the Klamath Falls Urban Area Transportation System Plan (TSP) is a great example of such a cooperative effort. The city and county have also adopted or amended intergovernmental agreements with each other and with special service districts with the goal of increased coordination and efficiency in providing public facilities to serve planned growth in the Urban Area.

In April of 2018, the Klamath Falls City Council and the Klamath Board of County Commissioners agreed in principle to move forward with the adoption of the Klamath Falls Urban Area Plan (Urban Area Plan) that applies to the entire Urban Area.

Page 6: The city and county have entered into intergovernmental agreements with other partners in land use planning, including but not limited to the following:

  • • Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)
  • • Klamath County Fire District 1
  • • South Suburban Sanitary District (SSSD)- 2003
  • • Klamath County Drainage District
  • • Wiard Park District

Page 41: In unincorporated areas within the Klamath Falls UGB, the City and County should collaborate to ensure that new development occurs at urban densities consistent with agreed on urban densities.

Page 46-47: Both the Klamath County and the Klamath Falls Comprehensive Plans recognize the critical importance of providing adequate public facilities to serve planned urban development. As documented in Volume III Public Facilities Masters of the Urban Area Plan, the city and special districts that provide services within the Urban Area have prepared a series master plans for sanitary sewer, water, transportation, parks and irrigation/drainage over the last 40 years. These plans include the following:

A. Klamath Falls Wastewater Collection System Master Plan (2006)

B. Klamath Falls Wastewater Collection System Master Plan Update (2014)

C. South Suburban Sanitary District Facilities Plan (2010)

D. Klamath Falls Water Master Plan (2010)

E. Klamath Falls Water Tank Vulnerability Assessment (2018)

F. Klamath Falls Urban Area Transportation System Plan (2012)

G. OR 66 Green Springs Highway Interchange Area Management Plan (2012)

H. Campus Sub-Area Transportation Master Plan (2008)

I. Klamath Falls Urban Trails Master Plan (2016)

J. Basin Transit Service Development Plan (2013)

K. Klamath Falls Safe Routes to School Master Plan (2018)

L. Klamath Falls Parks Master Plan (2019)

M. Wiard Park District Master Plan (2013)

N. Kingsley Field Joint Land Use Study and Background Report (2016)

O. Klamath Falls Airport Master Plan (2004)

Page 62: See OAR 660-024 to learn more about how UGBs are created and expanded. Each city in Oregon has an Urban Growth Boundary, or UGB. A UGB is used to designate where a city expects to grow over the next 20 years. Cities and counties may amend their UGB as needed to accommodate city growth. The use of UGB’s, and the review process for UGB expansion, helps to preserve Oregon’s agriculture, forest, and open space, and to help ensure compact urban growth.

Page 63: The urbanization element of Klamath Falls Comprehensive Plan has not changed since it was prepared in 1980. This information is not useful in evaluating 2040 land need and supply but does have some historical value; for this reason, the old comprehensive plan is included as a background document in Volume II of the Urban Area Plan. However, the Urban Area EOA includes revised employment land need and supply information. In late 2019, housing land need and supply estimates will be revised and available for public review.

The Klamath Falls Urban Area (Urban Area) has approximately 45,000 people, with roughly half living within the City Limits and half living within unincorporated urban areas – primarily the South Suburban Area. Klamath Falls provides the full range of urban services to support urban development within the City Limits. Except for water service (which is provided by the city), Klamath County, through special service districts, separately provides urban services within the unincorporated Urban Area.

Page 64: Since the mid-1990s, the city and county have cooperated on several planning and public facilities planning projects, including the Urban Area Economic Opportunities Analysis (EOA) and the Urban Area Transportation System Plan (TSP). The city and county have also adopted or amended intergovernmental agreements with each other and with special service districts with the goal of increased coordination and efficiency in providing public facilities to serve planned growth in the Urban Area.

In April of 2018, the Klamath Falls City Council and the Klamath Board of County Commissioners agreed in principle to move forward with the adoption of the Klamath Falls Urban Area Plan (Urban Area Plan) and Public Facilities Plan that will apply to the entire Urban Area. These plans will be implemented primarily by the Klamath Falls CDO within the City Limits and the Klamath County LDC within the unincorporated Urban Area.


We agreed:

  • This study was a good education for those involved, namely Leslie Lowe, chair; Diane Eastman-Shockey, LWV President; Karen Kunz, Secretary/V.P.; Emily Strauss, Board member; Jody Daniels, LWV member.
  • We should monitor this Plan, as nothing in it is binding. This means attending Klamath Falls City Council meetings, Klamath County Commissioner meetings, and checking up on the progress of their collaborations, etc.
  • More citizen awareness of this Plan would be useful. We will put this info on our website and Facebook page. We will write letters to the editor of the Herald and News about what we have learned and encourage citizen awareness of the Plan.
  • We will invite Klamath County School Superintendent Glen Szymoniak to our September 16 Board/Member meeting to talk about:

a) How does Glen Szymoniak propose to decrease the hostility and increase the coordination between City and County schools, especially regarding curriculum differences and communication issues?

b) What “voice” does LWV Klamath have to share with our community regarding Klamath County Schools?

The Human Rights Special Interest Group

The LWV of Klamath County links its work with both the Oregon and US Leagues in many areas. Here is a relatively new effort to link national and local league efforts toward the goal of promoting Human Rights. This particular effort originated with the Mid-Hudson (NY) Region LWV. They are motivated to inspire local community efforts to educate, advocate and implement international human rights policies and goals.

Who we are

The Human Rights Special Interest Group (HR-SIG) is a non-profit, research- based, independent entity.  Our mission is to inspire local community efforts to educate, advocate, and implement international human rights policies and goals. (Please see our bios on page 74.)

You may know of our Human Rights Special Interest Group through our recent presentations on “Inspirational Works of Art at the UN”  and our Briefing Book on Human Rights: The Synergy Between UN Human Rights Conventions and Policies of the League of Women Voters.

Ways we Promote United Nations Goals

We are delighted to share our latest publication:
Human Rights Approach to Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Inspiration for Program Planners and Human Rights Advocates

In a reader-friendly format, this publication reviews the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that constitute the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—the UN’s blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Please read the inspirational words on human rights by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, on the 75th  anniversary of the United Nations in September 2020 (page 5). 

The 17 SDG reviews are designed to guide readers using the T.I.P.S. approach (Targets, Indicators, Policies, and Suggestions). The TIPS approach was developed by the Human Rights Special Interest Group. For each review, we have added relevant links to priorities presented in the League of Women Voters’ Impact on Issues; we conclude each review with a set of suggestions for how Leagues and community groups can implement the goals at the local level.

LWV Klamath County and Human Rights

What have we been doing here? Last summer the LWV Oregon presented a virtual caucus at the LWV Convention, entitled “Climate Migration, Immigration, and Human Rights”. Watch the video presentation HERE.

HERE are further notes and resources compiled the LWV Oregon.

If you would like to get involved, join us, come to our meetings, offer suggestions, volunteer to help, help us connect with local, regional, and other groups which focus on human rights.

Closing the book on the Jordan Cove pipeline?

LWV Klamath County has been updating our community on the status of the proposed Jordan Cove pipeline for several years now. As one of the four Southern Oregon local leagues which have been fighting this development, we felt it important to keep our members informed about all the ups and downs of this project.

Now it appears we may be at the end of the road. Several developments have occurred in the past couple of months that indicate this project is not going to move forward. Below is a wrap-up of some of the recent activities by a number of stakeholder parties. Unless we receive significant new information about this project, there will be no further updates.

This notice is from Pembina, the Canadian developer of this pipeline:

Pembina Pipeline Corporation has decided to pause the development of Jordan Cove LNG while we reassess the impact of recent regulatory decisions.

While we continue to believe in the strategic rationale of Jordan Cove, in light of current regulatory and political uncertainty, our decision reflects our steadfast commitment to our financial guardrails, our disciplined and prudent approach to capital allocation, and our commitment to comprehensively mitigating risk on this project.

We are thankful for the incredible support from community members across southern Oregon and the Rockies Basin.

For more information, visit the Media Centre on Pembina’s website.

Here is the letter that Pembina recently sent to FERC, the regulatory agency.

Here is a recent article on the continued legal fight over Jordan Cove:

NATURAL GAS: Court denies FERC request to halt Ore. pipeline lawsuit

Niina H. Farah, E&E News reporter Published: Tuesday, June 8, 2021

A federal appeals court is charging ahead with a challenge to a controversial West Coast natural gas export facility — despite calls to freeze the case.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit yesterday denied requests from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the developer of the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project to stall litigation over a federal approval for a pipeline associated with the Oregon facility.

Pembina Pipeline Corp., the developer, told the court in April that it was temporarily halting the $10 billion project after failing to gain the necessary permits for the Pacific Connector pipeline that would carry natural gas to the facility. The company argued that landowners challenging the project had not been able to show that they would be harmed by a pause in the legal proceedings.

FERC had also asked the D.C. Circuit to put the case on hold, or alternatively to throw out the dispute altogether.

“Landowner Petitioners do not meaningfully engage with the Project Developers’ commitment not to file any condemnation actions during an abeyance, or with this Court’s invitation to renew their request for interim relief if takings become imminent,” Pembina wrote in a May brief.

The focus of the litigation is whether FERC can convey its eminent domain authority to allow Pembina to seize private land to build its project.

A ruling in the case could answer questions about whether FERC can grant a certificate of public convenience and necessity for a pipeline serving a project with a product that is destined for foreign markets, said David Bookbinder, chief counsel at the Niskanen Center and a lawyer for the landowner challengers.

The D.C. Circuit’s decision to move forward with the case came as a surprise, he said.

“What this means is that [the judges] understood and accepted our argument that even if they decide not to build the project, they will have a valid certificate authorizing eminent domain,” Bookbinder said of Pembina.

He noted that the company has already attempted to build the project on three separate occasions. While Pembina had committed not to build during a pause in the litigation, landowners had not received any assurances that the company would not seek to build again in the future.

“There is every reason to believe there will be a fourth attempt,” Bookbinder said.

The D.C. Circuit’s order yesterday comes as the fate of the project itself has become more tenuous.

Earlier this year, FERC denied the company’s bid to override Oregon’s refusal to certify the facility under Clean Water Act Section 401, which allows states to determine whether federally approved projects comply with state water quality standards.

The Commerce Department has also determined the project is “inconsistent” with the Coastal Zone Management Act (Greenwire, April 23).

Pembina did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit is before D.C. Circuit Judges Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins. Both are Obama appointees.

Some Background Reading on FERC’s review and approval processes:

ENERGY POLICY: ‘Self-dealing’ loophole could upend FERC pipeline reviews

Miranda Willson, E&E News reporter Published: Friday, May 28, 2021

A worker steps out of a car to inspect a natural gas pipeline under construction near Cadiz, Ohio, in this 2012 file photo. Chris Fitzgerald / Candidate Photos/Newscom

As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission weighs changes to its natural gas pipeline reviews, it’s grappling with a key question: How should it determine whether a project is needed?

For years, the agency has signed off on proposals if developers could prove they had customers ready to reserve capacity on their pipeline. But critics say these so-called precedent agreements have a glaring loophole: Different units of the same company can act as both seller and buyer — winning a green light from FERC in the process.

The commission’s reliance on precedent agreements is one of many topics included in FERC’s ongoing review of how it considers and approves new natural gas pipelines.

The outcome could shape the future direction of the independent agency, which regulates power markets and large-scale energy projects. Analysts say FERC’s approach to large-scale natural gas projects could make or break many of the Biden administration’s clean energy goals.

“For as much attention as the commission’s climate reviews have gotten, FERC’s dependence on precedent agreements is the single most problematic part of its reviews today,” said Gillian Giannetti, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Sustainable FERC Project.

The agency has also sought comments about landowner interests, environmental impacts, effects on environmental justice communities and the transparency of its pipeline approval process. Comments for the proceeding closed this week.

“This decision is probably not going to happen overnight,” said Suzanne Mattei, an energy policy analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, which advocates for sustainable energy. “It’s a lot to grapple with, but it’s all very, very important for the energy future of the country.”

When a developer applies with FERC to build a new natural gas pipeline, it typically includes one or more precedent agreements with prospective companies seeking to reserve capacity on the pipeline. While FERC’s current policy is to consider “all relevant factors” to determine the need for a given project, it has in practice relied on the existence of these agreements as proof of necessity, even when the parties that signed a contract are affiliates of the same parent company, according to longtime agency observers.

Between October 2008 and February 2020, FERC issued 480 certificates — allowing pipeline companies to begin construction for a project — and denied three, according to commission records. All recent projects that have been approved included precedent agreements in their applications, while the handful of projects that have been denied certificates lacked them, said Maya van Rossum, leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper, who has followed FERC pipeline issues for more than 15 years.

“In almost every instance, this is the kind of need demonstration we see in one form or another,” said van Rossum.

Natural gas companies and trade groups say the agreements are a good proxy for determining whether a project is in the public interest, since they help ensure that projects are financially viable and are supported by market demand. Precedent agreements among affiliates are just as valuable indicators and are often already subject to additional scrutiny by state regulators, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America wrote in comments to FERC.

“There is no basis for the Commission to depart from this precedent,” INGAA wrote.

Yet Democratic Chairman Richard Glick has said FERC should review its reliance on the agreements as proof of need, especially in cases where the contracts are between units of the same company. FERC’s Certificate Policy Statement — the guiding document for how the commission should consider project need — was issued in 1999 and hasn’t been amended since.

“FERC has been completely relying on the existence of precedent agreements between shippers and pipeline developers to determine whether there’s a need,” Glick said in a recent interview (Energywire, May 24). “In some cases, that might make sense, but it doesn’t make sense when the precedent agreements are between affiliates.”

Deals ‘not entered into lightly’

Advocates for changing FERC’s handling of pipeline reviews say the agency should account for shifting climate and energy trends. The Biden administration has proposed cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 relative to 2005 levels, and dozens of states have set their own clean energy or emissions reduction goals.

When FERC approves a project, it issues a certificate of public convenience and necessity. That generally allows the pipeline developer to begin construction, including the possibility of forcibly taking people’s property through eminent domain.

Because pipeline construction can result in irreparable damage to property and the environment, FERC must be thorough in its assessment of whether a project is truly in the public interest, a coalition of environmental and community groups wrote in comments to FERC this week. In addition, given the threat of climate change and long-term outlooks for natural gas use, relying exclusively on precedent agreements doesn’t cut it anymore, said the groups, including the Sierra Club and NRDC.

“[The] gas industry itself is recognizing the long-term instability of its projects, as shippers are demanding shorter and more flexible terms in precedent agreements,” the groups wrote. “This makes precedent agreements an even less reliable indicator of future demand than before.”

But Casey Hollers, director of regulatory affairs at the Natural Gas Supply Association, argued in comments to FERC that the agreements are “not entered into lightly,” given that they establish a binding commitment for a shipper to use gas from a project. Other supporters of the current practice wrote that the commission lacks the authority or the expertise to make its own determination of project need and should not attempt to second-guess developers on the issue.

“[The current] approach provides the most objective and straight-forward evidence for determining whether a project is in the public interest,” Hollers wrote.

Others have called for FERC to change its practices only in cases where the precedent agreements are among affiliate companies. In those situations, the commission should “employ a rebuttable presumption” that the contracts do not demonstrate need while requiring independent evidence to overcome that presumption, the Democratic attorneys general of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia wrote in joint comments to the commission.

EPA made a similar recommendation.

“To prevent self-dealing and ensure accurate needs assessment, it is important for the Commission to thoroughly examine the relationship between the parties entering into a precedent agreement and carefully scrutinize purposed need where the pipeline developer is affiliated with a local distribution company or other entity reserving capacity on the line,” EPA wrote in its comments.

Some commenters cited projects that were approved on the basis of precedent agreements between affiliates that are now canceled or facing setbacks. For example, the commission in 2020 approved the Pacific Connector pipeline, which had a precedent agreement with the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project. Both projects were developed by the same corporate parent, Pembina, and are now at risk of cancellation (Greenwire, April 23).

FERC initially rejected the Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector projects in 2016 because “Pacific Connector, by failing to provide precedent agreements or sufficient other evidence of need, failed to demonstrate market support for its proposal,” the agency recounted in a filing approving the project last year. But the second time around, Pacific Connector provided the commission with a precedent agreement with Jordan Cove, covering 96% of the project’s capacity, which FERC viewed as “sufficient evidence of market demand for the project,” according to the 2020 order.

The existence of that agreement with an affiliate company was the “sole reason” the commission approved what was essentially the same project, then-Commissioner Glick wrote in his dissent of the approval. Pembina could not immediately be reached for comment.

Broader review ‘looks likely’

Despite Glick’s skepticism of precedent agreements between affiliates, FERC’s other four commissioners — three Republicans and one other Democrat — declined to comment on the issue. While Glick as chairman has broad discretion over the commission’s agenda, he would need a majority to issue a new Certificate Policy Statement or modify FERC’s existing one.

Some commissioners have spoken about the issue before. Precedent agreements are a reliable indicator of the need for a project, then-Chairman Neil Chatterjee said in 2017.

“The commission has historically prioritized precedent agreements in its analysis because those are clear, unequivocal statements of economic need by the market itself,” Chatterjee, a Republican, said at a 2017 forum hosted by the Energy Bar Association. “The companies who are willing to enter into contracts to pay for transportation on the service on a pipeline have a much clearer understanding of the market need for the gas than we could develop through studies here in D.C.”

The commission has previously declined to change its stance on the topic. After receiving thousands of comments in 2018 as part of a similar review of its Certificate Policy Statement, FERC made no changes to its reliance on precedent agreements or other aspects of its pipeline review process.

Christi Tezak, managing director of research at energy research firm ClearView Energy Partners LLC, said the firm expects FERC “to expand its ‘determination of need'” to consider criteria other than just precedent agreements as part of its latest review.

“[We] have not attempted to discern individual commissioner views on the 12 individual questions related to determination of need,” Tezak said in an email. “But more than just precedent agreements (with affiliates or otherwise) looks likely to us.”

Given that it is “incredibly common” for pipeline proposals to include precedent agreements between affiliated companies, it would be a significant change if the commission were to rely on other factors to determine project need, said Megan Gibson, a senior staff attorney at the libertarian-leaning Niskanen Center.

“It would hopefully incentivize these pipelines to come to agreements with third parties, and with multiple parties, and it hopefully would help ensure that these pipelines are actually built for markets that need gas — not just for profit or export,” she said.

A Hopeful Resolution on the Jordan Cove Pipeline

Four local LWV leagues, including Rogue Valley, Klamath, And Coos, have been working for several years to defeat this project which the LWV viewed as detrimental to the environment and lives of the people who live in the areas that would have been impacted by the pipeline construction.

Our position on this project reflects the LWV US position on the Environment, as represented by this action in 2020:

The League submitted a comment letter urging the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to withdraw proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing regulations that would remove public participation in and science-based review of large federal projects.

The League also joined a coalition letter started by the Water Protection Network and signed by over 300 organizations.

Jordan Cove Energy Project LWV Update Summary from rogue valley leaders

As 2021 begins, local, state, national, and global happenings remain relevant to the project’s future. The oil and gas industry is struggling due to market forces stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, and another year of tragic and costly wildfires and weather events have increased public and political pressure to step up the pace to transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The impact of the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is unclear for numerous reasons, but their strong commitment to addressing climate change including by reversing Trump era policies on a range of climate and environment-related matters, both here and internationally, puts projects like JCEP on a very different footing than they have enjoyed for the past four years. Investors are taking note. In their 2021 Guidance and Business UpdatePembina announced a write-down of the Ruby Pipeline, a major asset related to JCEP, and made it clear that their only expenditures on the project will relate to obtaining permits, a task that drags on largely due to state denials, local permit appeals, and incomplete federal regulatory processes.

Here’s an update on key permitting highlights:

  1. The U.S. Secretary of Commerce has directed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to evaluate JCEP’s request for an override of Oregon’s objections to the corporation’s Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) consistency certificate. The outcome of the override request of this critical state permit would have multiple impacts. The Secretary’s decision is due by January 26 (with an option for an extension into February), so could happen at any time.
  2. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) ruling on whether Oregon waived their authority over JCEP’s 401 Water Quality certification is still pending with a decision expected soon. Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) denied (without prejudice) the permit application in May of 2019. If the State prevails, Pembina will need to reapply, but under new EPA rules that weaken the role of states and tribal groups. (LWVOR commented in strong opposition to the rules when proposed.) As of January 4, the two vacancies on the FERC have been filled with a bipartisan pair, Mark Christie and Allison Clements, as is customary. Commissioner Glick is expected to become Chair.
  3. Attorneys on both sides of the appeal of FERC’s Order approving JCEP in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals are now preparing briefs with a deadline after mid-January.
  4. Crag Law Center and Talent Attorney Tonia Moro continue to pursue appeals of several local land use decisions before the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). They won one recently and are arguing another to overturn a permit allowing Coos Bay dredging at this writing.
  5. In addition to these major events, see the list of water permits JCEP has yet to even apply for. The federal FAST-41 Dashboard tracks federal permit requirements, but fails to reflect several permits marked “complete,” that have been reopened due to FERC actions in the Final Order.
  • Supportive quotes from landowners are available here.
  • A one-page summary of the Landowners Fairness Act is available here.
  • HERE is a final report from the NOAA which explains the denial of approvals necessary to go forward with this project (technical).
  • HERE is a copy of a lengthy final summary report on this project from last year.
  • LWV Klamath County also recently signed on to THIS letter of thanks to Gov. Brown for her efforts to head off approval of this project.

news release from our US Senators:

For Immediate Release: March 9, 2021

Contact: Nicole L’EsperanceHank Stern (Wyden) 503-326-7539

Sara Hottman (Merkley) 503-326-3386

Wyden, Merkley Reintroduce Legislation to Defend Property Owners’ Rights from Eminent Domain Claims for Natural Gas Pipelines

Bills would provide needed protections for landowners in Oregon and nationwide facing increased and unfair use of eminent domain for pipeline development

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today reintroduced their legislation that would strengthen the rights of landowners facing eminent domain claims from private companies exploiting public interest provisions to confiscate property in Oregon and nationwide for natural gas pipeline development.

The bills, which Wyden and Merkley first introduced last fall, come in response to the natural gas industry’s increased use of eminent domain for pipeline development and the failure of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to protect landowners’ rights. The property owners in southern Oregon along the potential pipeline path for the proposed Jordan Cove project provide a clear example of that alarming trend.

“Making sure that landowners’ rights are maintained and that due process is the default process is just commonsense. Yet, in Oregon and elsewhere, long-running natural gas projects have kept property owners on edge, not knowing whether their property might be condemned or whether selling out to big industry was the only option,” Wyden saidFERC has proven to be a weak guardian of landowners’ rights. These bills change that and bring much-needed transparency and standardized due process.”

“Allowing private pipeline companies to steamroll people’s private property rights to build export pipelines that won’t benefit Americans is wrong, plain and simple,” Merkley said. “If a massive corporation wants to use land—in Southern Oregon, the Columbia River Gorge, or anywhere in America—they should have to negotiate with landowners for that right. Let’s put an end to the days where powerful and privileged fossil fuel executives act like Americans’ private property is up for grabs as they try to line their own pockets at the expense of our communities.”

Wyden’s Landowner Fairness Act would end the legal presumption that gas exports are by definition in the public interest, standardize gas developers’ communications to landowners while also setting time limits on FERC actions, set stricter standards on eminent domain claims, provide a more robust appeals process for landowners, and more. In addition to Wyden and Merkley, the bill is also cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J.

Merkley’s Ending Natural Gas Companies’ Seizure of Land for Export Profits Act would prohibit companies building export pipelines from using eminent domain claims of private lands. In addition, the legislation would affirm that the federal government does not have the authority to allow companies to use eminent domain to seize state land for natural gas pipelines.

What’s up with the LNG Pipeline?

As one of the four local Leagues in LWV Oregon who has directly worked on the issue of the Pembina Pipeline Project for several years, we are vitally concerned with the progress of this effort, and our interest in supporting LWV environmental positions that would oppose such construction.

Here is some recent news:

Land Use Board of Appeals issues yet another setback for Jordan Cove LNG

LUBA overturns fourth LNG permit for Jordan Cove LNG in 6 months

[NORTH BEND, OREGON] —On January 6, 2021, the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) overturned yet another local land use permit for the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and Pacific Connector pipeline. This is the fourth Jordan Cove LNG permit overturned by LUBA in the last six months while the company has also continued to fail to qualify for State and Federal permits. LUBA’s decision can be read here.

This City of North Bend permit was for the proposed pipeline construction under the Coos Bay estuary.  LUBA ruled that the City erred in its classification of the proposed Horizontal Directional Drill, which would include both drilling and dredging under the Coos Bay estuary. 

The permit was challenged by the Coos County community organization, Citizens for Renewables, on the grounds of protecting the estuary from the fracked gas pipeline. 

“This decision will require the City of North Bend to consider the damage this pipeline will do to our resource-rich estuary instead of ignoring the impacts as Jordan Cove LNG’s attorneys have argued,” said Katy Eymann, a Coos County resident and President of Citizens for Renewables. “LUBA is part of the long line of agency decisions rejecting this project demonstrating that this project is not good for Oregon.”

 “I am so glad that the hard work of local community member, like Jody McCaffree, who have studied and argued highly technical issues regarding the complex Coos Bay Estuary Management Plan has won the day,” said Tonia Moro, the attorney who represented both  Citizens for Renewables and Mrs. McCaffree on this appeal. “For years, community members in Coos County have been advocates to protect estuary resources by submitting comments to showcase that this project is not a good fit for the coastal community. This LUBA decision is another significant blow to this project.”

HERE is another recent article from E & E News regarding these efforts at a national level, with specific mention of Coos County, Oregon.

HERE is an older background document which may also be informative.

Latest Updates on the LNG Pipeline Battle

The fight over building the Canadian-owned and operated LNG pipeline across lands from Klamath County to Coos Bay has spanned several years now. LWV Klamath County has been involved as one of the 4 local leagues that has worked to support environmental and land rights across the projected pipeline route.

Here are several updates and recent media reports on this project, which has remained stalled over legal permits for a long time.

From ProPublica:

This past spring, while much of the country focused on COVID-19, three men who work in an obscure corner of the federal government weighed a question with profound effects across the American West. On the docket was a proposal to build a natural gas pipeline that would slice through hundreds of miles of Oregon wilderness, private lands and areas sacred to American Indians. The plan, which had been repeatedly rejected by state and federal regulators for more than a decade, would give a Canadian company the right to seize the land it needed from any American property owner who stood in the way. The government panel that would make the decision can meet in person. But on this March afternoon, it was conducting the people’s business in writing — government by what amounts to dueling memos.

(read more)

From Capital Press: Empowering Producers of Food and Fiber:

COOS BAY, Ore. — Wind howls across the channel — the kind of wind that turns umbrellas inside-out. On the water, the ghost-like outline of a ship, scarcely visible through white fog and driving rain, seems to stand still.

It is here the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay has proposed the largest project in its history: expanding the channel to 45 feet deep and 450 feet wide and allowing the port to take its place among the international shipping giants along the West Coast.

People have been talking about the idea for decades. Advocates say it could open new avenues for international trade of agricultural goods and transform the region’s economy.

(read more)

dated October 12, 2020: Western Environmental Law Center:

WELC (Western Environmental Law Center) is a critical ally in the fight against the Jordan Cove LNG and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline project (JC/PC). They recently made a formal request for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), due to factors associated with the South Obenchain Fire. The fire burned 32,000 acres, including 7 miles of the proposed pipeline route. (Map and request attached.)
Here’s how WELC’s request starts:
We write to bring to your attention significant new information requiring supplementation of existing environmental analysis for the Jordan Cove Energy Project since the FEIS was released in November 2019, and FERC’s issuance of the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity in March 2020. Western Oregon is experiencing an unprecedented wildfire season. Oregon Governor Brown has declared a state of emergency, calling the wildfires a “once-in-a-generation event.” These fires constitute significant new information that warrants preparation of a supplemental EIS.The rest of the letter is well worth a read as it outlines a range of related issues as Oregon grapples with the new normal undeniably enhanced by climate change.

Read the complete document HERE.

NATURAL GAS: LNG export projects face ‘uncertain’ future — report, dated October 6, 2020

Miranda Willson, E&E News reporter

A glut of natural gas supplies and the economic slowdown from the pandemic have created a “highly uncertain” outlook for planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities, according to a new report from an environmental nonprofit.

Ten proposed U.S. natural gas export terminals and expansion projects are delayed, and the status of another seven projects approved within the last 18 months is “unclear,” the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) said in a report released yesterday.

U.S. LNG exports decreased by more than 50% this year, and about twice as many U.S. oil and gas producers have declared bankruptcy so far in 2020 than last year, EIP said. Given these trends, it is increasingly likely that some proposed projects won’t be built, the report said.

“Recent project delays indicate that the industry expects market conditions to remain unsupportive of future LNG exports,” EIP said.

LNG export terminals were already on shaky ground before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March, said Alexandra Shaykevich, research analyst at EIP.

“All of those preexisting problems in terms of low energy prices, the chronic oversupply of natural gas and the size of the LNG glut … have been significantly compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Shaykevich said on a call with reporters.

Since some of the 17 planned LNG projects lack financing, regulators and companies could still reassess their need and consider their environmental costs, according to EIP.

The 17 delayed projects would emit up to 67 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, EIP said. That’s equivalent to the emissions released from 16 coal-fired power plants “operating around the clock for a year,” and it doesn’t include emissions from end-use consumption of the natural gas, Shaykevich said.

“The total emissions footprint of the natural gas industry is substantial and threatens to lock-in demand for fossil fuels while slowing the transition to renewables and other sustainable sources of energy,” the report said.

Many of the projects pose environmental justice concerns as well, as they have the potential to release local air pollutants that elevate the risk of asthma and other illnesses among nearby residents, EIP said. Thirty-eight percent of residents within 3 miles of proposed LNG facilities are people of color, and 39% are low-income residents, according to the report.

Residents in Port Arthur, Texas, a refining hub on the Gulf Coast that is the site of one proposed LNG terminal, are already subject to oil and gas industry pollution, said John Beard, president and CEO of the Port Arthur Community Action Network. It is not clear that residents have much to gain from additional projects, including LNG terminals, he said.

“One has to wonder, what’s the need and what’s the benefit?” Beard told reporters.

LNG facilities under development should be required to get new Clean Air Act permits considering the time that has passed since companies won approval, EIP said. Six of the projects received permits more than three years ago, even though projects must begin construction “within a reasonable time” under the Clean Air Act, said Eric Schaeffer, executive director of EIP.

“Clearly at this point, there’s no reason not to pull these permits given how saturated the market is already, given the long delays we’ve already experienced with these projects and the fact that they don’t seem to have secured the financing,” Schaeffer said.

Two energy policy professors not affiliated with EIP, however, criticized some of the report’s claims.

For example, the report does not account for emissions from coal-fired generation that could be avoided by LNG exports. Burning natural gas is less carbon-intensive than using coal.

Exporting LNG could reduce the need for a country such as China to build additional coal-fired power plants, said Ed Hirs, an energy economics professor at the University of Houston.

“They should be looking at what the LNG is a substitution for, and it’s pretty clear it’s a substitution away from coal and away from oil,” Hirs said.

The report also appears to disregard recent trends in LNG demand, said Erin Blanton, senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. While demand for U.S. LNG exports has declined since the beginning of the year, it has shown signs of recovery, as existing LNG terminals have seen increased use since July, Blanton said.

Some analysts predict terminals will be fully utilized by winter, Blanton said.

“I wouldn’t extrapolate from this year that there’s no future for U.S. LNG because of the pandemic in 2020,” she said.

Although energy markets have been in retreat because of the pandemic, U.S. LNG exporters processed nearly 8 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day as of yesterday, said Charlie Riedl, executive director for the Center for LNG. That’s up from deliveries of 4 billion cubic feet per day in June, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“As nations look to reduce emissions, improve air quality and spur economic growth, many will use natural gas and LNG to create a cleaner energy future,” Riedl said in an email.

Tree and Bench Commemorative Ceremony August 18, 2020

LWV Klamath bench and trees
New bench and trees
Commemorative Plaque

On Tuesday August 18, 2020, at 11 AM, the LWV Klamath Falls participated in one final commemoration ceremony to honor the 100th anniversary of the LWV and the passage of the 19th amendment, gaining women the right to vote. Two trees recently planted were joined by a new bench with a plaque on it. The tree and bench are located on the Klamath Wingwatchers trail, located near the Visitor Center at 205 Riverside Drive on the west side of Highway 97.

Planting the commemorative tree
Tree planting
Dedicated LWV Klamath members and friends

Herald and News Story

It took the prompting of a mother to her son to help ratify the 19th Amendment on Aug. 18, 1920, clearing the way for voting rights for many women whose efforts to attain it had spanned decades.

That day, State Rep. Harry T. Burn’s vote garnered the two-thirds majority needed to make the 19th Amendment official. Many, mostly white women could officially vote eight days later.

To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the ratification, League of Women Voters of Klamath County charted their own path down the Ken Hay Nature Trail on Tuesday, where they celebrated 100 years of voting rights, commemorated the efforts that led to the ratification, and shared about the struggles that remain in the pursuit of voting.

The event is the third piece of what has been a year-long effort to mark 100 years of women earning the right to vote. Other pieces included a dramatic play and the book “Timeless Recipes: The Great Fight to win the Vote for Klamath County.”

Klamath Falls Mayor Carol Westfall, dressed in Suffrage purple and gold, marveled at the actions of Burns and his fellow legislators, and all the women who helped pave the way to the vote.

“It really changed the course of this nation,” she said.

Westfall was one of about 20 attendees, including founding members of the League of Women Voters of Klamath County, to join the walk along the portion of the Klamath Wingwatcher’s Lake Ewauna Nature Trail. Many dressed in hats, and/or carried signage that reflected the time period of Suffrage Movement and that still resonates today: “Votes for Women,” “Equality for Women,” and “Voting is a right.”

Leslie Lowe, longtime treasurer and member of League Women Voters of Klamath County, emphasized the long history of securing a woman’s right to vote dates back further than the centennial anniversary.

“It’s really important to remember that that the fight to get the right to vote and actually be able to cast that vote has gone on since before the Declaration of Independence,” Lowe said. “It’s not just history, it’s alive today.”

Women in Klamath County had been able to vote since Nov. 5, 1912, when Klamath County men voted in favor 919-688.

Joan Balin Staunton, one of two surviving founding League of Women Voters founding members present, also helped start the Klamath County chapter in 1976 after moving to Klamath Falls from Federal Way, Washington.

Anita Ward, also a founding member, attended the event as well.

Staunton said both saw the chapter actively help institute Kindergarten in Klamath County before it became a statewide requirement.n She recalled efforts to get people registered to vote at grocery stores in town.

Staunton encourages women to take leadership roles and participate in the community.

“It’s so important for women to be active,” Staunton said.

Heather Tramp, executive director of Klamath County Chamber of Commerce, said that from an early age, her great-grandmother instilled in her the importance of voting.

Tramp said her great-grandmother grew up during a time when women could not vote and the impact of that has not been lost on her.

“I’m thankful for the women and the men that stepped up and got us that right,” Tramp said. “That led me to a lifelong passion for being involved at our local, our state level, and our federal level.

Gutierrez, who also spoke at an event celebrating the centennial on Feb. 9, emphasized that “women earned the right to vote.”

Gutierrez called the period that lead up to the ratification one of the “darkest” periods of history, in part due to hunger strikes and oppression toward women who took part in the Suffrage Movement.

“Women went to jail for this cause,” Gutierrez said.

“Timeless Recipes: The Great Fight to win the Vote for Klamath County,” the 100th Anniversary cookbook and history lesson elaborates, describing the experiences of women who fought for voting rights:

“They picketed for the right to vote, were put in jail, and some declared insane. Jail guards grabbed, dragged, beat, choked, slammed, pinched, twisted, and kicked the women, with no consequences to the guards.”

Lowe emphasized than in 1920 and beyond, despite having the technical right to vote, women of color still had many barriers between them and the polls.

“Although they had the right to vote, they didn’t have the opportunity to vote because of poll taxes and a whole variety of ways that they were kept from the polls,” said Leslie Lowe, treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Klamath County, “Until the Civil Rights Act of 1965, and here we are today, 55 years later, and we’re still dealing with the same oppression.”

Emily Strauss, president of the League of Women Voters of Klamath County, spoke of additional barriers to voters on behalf of Diane Shockey, who served the past year as chair of a committee to organize the centennial celebrations. Shockey is dealing with COVID-19 and is expected to recover, according to Strauss.

Wingwatchers Trail Info

Klamath Wingwatchers has developed a 2.5 mile trail along the western shore of Lake Ewauna and on both sides of Highway 97 as it enters into downtown Klamath Falls. Along this trail, Wingwatchers planted over 1500 trees, shrubs, and other plants that provide shelter and food for the many species of wildlife that utilize the area. Picnic tables and benches, information kiosks, and signage enhance the walking experience. Pets are welcome so long as they are leashed and owners use poop bags, which are provided at the start of each trail. Licensed bicycles are permitted so long as the rider is respectful of pedestrians. Brochures at the head of each trail tell about native plants and the trail. Here is our interpretive guide. Here is our native plants brochure.

planting LWV commemorative tree
Planting our commemorative tree

Pembina’s Jordan Cove pipeline: Updates

This time a local permit set-back for JCEP

July 21, 2020

Good news! Here’s a press release from Crag Law Center that explains what happened and some of what this means. I want to add a little more context by way of giving kudos to the legal team that accomplished this.

The Crag Law Center and the LWV go way back. The LWVUS and LWVOR have filed two amicus briefs in support of plaintiffs in Juliana v. USA, the landmark climate lawsuit initiated in 2015 and is still ongoing. Crag’s Executive Director Courtney Johnson drafted both of those briefs for the Leagues. That in addition to work against JCEP. 

Tonia Moro, who represented the Coos Bay Citizens for Renewables in the LUBA reversal, has been in the JCEP fight over the long haul, too. She was supported in this current work in part by a grant from the LWVOR, precisely because of her track record for getting things done and the understanding that receipt of local land use permits, including this one, are an essential part of the bigger effort to stop this project.

There’s way more to this very complex story, but we want to underscore Tonia’s and Courtney and her colleagues at Crag’s excellent work on behalf of the local, state, national, and global community, including to stop this massive project. If built, it would deal an enormous blow to Oregon’s goals and efforts to reduce GHG emissions and ensure environmental justice and cause irreparable damage to the natural and human environment across southern Oregon and in the Coos Bay Estuary and community.


dateline: June 2, 2020

As the State of Oregon is battling JCEP’s attempt to get FERC to declare that Oregon waived its Section 401 authority, making moot DEQ’s May 2019 denial of that essential permit, the EPA released its new rules on that section of the Clean Water Act yesterday. In other words, the Administration is lending a hand to get JCEP done in case FERC doesn’t do this additional job. 

A congratulatory article in the Financial Times this morning said this: “The Trump administration has curbed US states’ power to veto energy infrastructure projects, drawing praise from fossil fuel industries for a move that could make it easier to build pipelines and export terminals across the country. The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday reinterpreted provisions in the federal Clean Water Act that state governors had used to stymie projects targeted by climate campaigners. . . . The state of Oregon blocked the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export terminal citing the provision. . . . Energy companies argued the states were abusing a clause in the water law to obstruct projects they opposed for other reasons. Andrew Wheeler, EPA administrator, said the agency was returning the certification process to its ‘original purpose, which is to review potential impacts that discharges from federally permitted projects may have on water resources, not to indefinitely delay or block critically important infrastructure.’” 

It’s not clear yet whether Pembina will attempt to use the new regs to try to get JCEP to happen. It seems that JCEP might submit a new application for their 401 permit now under the new rules as a Plan B, but they also might wait and let their waiver claim to FERC play out first. If FERC grants their petition, Oregon (and community opponents of JCEP) may sue. If they reapply, the regular state permitting process will need to proceed. It’s unlikely DEQ will grant the permit because of the egregious adverse impacts, even under the new rules. And Governor Brown (and the LWVOR) commented in opposition to the proposed regs last fall (both attached), charging that they were unlawful misinterpretations of the Clean Water Act, as did any other states and  environmental organizations. That route likely leads to court, as well.

dateline: May 27, 2020

NATURAL GAS: Ore. landowners sue over ‘indefensible’ export project

Arianna Skibell, E&E News reporter

A group of about 30 property owners has sued to block a proposed Oregon liquefied natural gas export terminal and corresponding pipeline that would cut across their land.

The landowners asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Friday to review the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the Jordan Cove LNG export project and the Pacific Connector Gas pipeline.

“We will do all we can to try and stop this incredible overreach and the blatant misuse of eminent domain to benefit special interests over public interest,” said Deb Evans, a challenger in the case.

The $10 billion project, backed by the Canada-based Pembina Pipeline Corp., would include a 230-mile, 36-inch-diameter feeder pipeline that would run from a town along the Oregon-California border to a 200-acre natural gas liquefaction and export terminal at Coos Bay. The export hub would be the first on the West Coast, closer to energy-hungry Asian markets.

The oil and gas industry has been pushing for the development of LNG terminals to facilitate greater exports of gas as the fuel glut continues. The terminals liquefy gas by refrigerating it to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit, which reduces its volume and allows it to be transported on ships. The Jordan Cove hub could liquefy up to 1.04 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day for export to Asia.

FERC approved the project in March and last week upheld its decision despite requests to reconsider from affected landowners, the state of Oregon, tribes, environmentalists and fishing interests (Greenwire, May 21).

David Bookbinder, chief counsel of the Niskanen Center, who is representing the landowners, said he’s confident the D.C. Circuit will rule in their favor.

The Jordan Cove project, he argues, does not pass the eminent domain test. While FERC can issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity, which grants eminent domain authority to developers, the project must demonstrably serve public interests.

Bookbinder said the D.C. Circuit made clear last year in City of Oberlin, Ohio, v. FERC that an export-only project doesn’t automatically meet this threshold. In that case, the court instructed FERC to take a second look at its rationale for approving the Nexus pipeline, which runs through Ohio and Michigan on its way to Canada (Energywire, Sept. 9, 2019).

“The law is you can’t count this,” he said.

Bookbinder will argue on behalf of landowners affected by the Jordan Cove project that a Canadian company selling Canadian gas likewise does not benefit the American public.

He also noted an absence of gas contracts for the project. In 2016, under the Obama administration, FERC rejected Jordan Cove because of concerns about consumer demand. Bookbinder said the project’s developers have not assuaged those fears.

“The idea that a company that has no customers will take U.S. property in order to ship Canadian gas to Japan is outrageous,” Bookbinder said. “That is indefensible in so many different ways.”

‘Landowners get thrown under the bus’

For the property owners involved, the court filing offers a glimmer of hope in what has been a 15-year saga.

The Jordan Cove project was proposed as a natural gas import facility in the early 2000s, when Evans and her husband, Ron Schaaf, bought their property. The project was changed to an export site when U.S. hydraulic fracturing operations significantly boosted domestic supplies.

“We were busy; our kids were in school. We followed it, but not super-close,” Evans said. “Then fracking came in, and the project disintegrated.”

In 2013, Jordan Cove’s developers filed a new application with FERC. Their bid was denied in 2016 following concerns about a lack of customers; falling property values; and harm to environmental resources that support timber, fishing and other local industries (Energywire, March 14, 2016).

“It’s the same landowners who have been affected by this for 15 years,” Schaaf said. “Landowners get thrown under the bus, and many landowners don’t have a lot of money. Not everyone has the opportunity to advocate for themselves.”

FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee, a Republican, stressed that while Pembina has eminent domain authority to condemn private property for its pipeline, no construction on the pipeline or LNG terminal, including land clearing, can take place until the company has obtained the necessary permits — which is proving to be an uphill battle.

Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality denied the project’s water quality certification. The state Department of Land Conservation and Development rejected a permit because of the adverse effects the facility would have on coastal and critical habitats, as well as on endangered species. In February, it ruled that the project was not in line with the state’s coastal zone land use laws.

Pembina recently withdrew its application for a dredging permit when the Department of State Lands indicated that it was about to reject that application, as well.

Evans said she doesn’t understand why FERC would allow the pipeline developer to condemn her land while at the same time agreeing that no construction can begin without the requisite permits.

“Why would eminent domain be allowed before the conditions are met?” she asked.

‘FERC is delivering on its promise’

On a call with reporters after rejecting requests for rehearing on the project, Chatterjee said eminent domain is outside FERC’s jurisdiction.

“When it comes to eminent domain, we have no authority,” he said. “We’ve got expertise in how essential it is to siting pipelines.”

For landowners, Friday’s D.C. Circuit petition carries extra meaning. FERC’s swift rejection of the request for rehearing allowed landowners to seek recourse instead of hanging in legal limbo while pipeline construction moved forward.

“It’s a good example of Neil Chatterjee following up and delivering on his promises,” Bookbinder said. “FERC is delivering on its promise that it would not stop landowners from going to court.”

The commission has recently come under fire for issuing so-called tolling orders, which indefinitely extend the deadline for FERC to respond to landowner challenges while allowing pipeline construction to proceed.

FERC has issued a tolling order for every rehearing request filed over the past 12 years. Every case was then eventually denied. On average, 212 days — about seven months — passed between the time a landowner made a request for rehearing and when FERC ultimately denied it.

While Chatterjee has said his agency has addressed the issue, a case against FERC’s use of tolling orders is pending before the D.C. Circuit (Energywire, April 28).

Schaaf said he’s grateful that the landowners’ complaint over Jordan Cove can move forward.

“We understand owning property is a privilege and fighting for it is a privilege,” he said. “We’ll be in this until the end. We don’t know how it’s going to turn out.”

dateline: May 24, 2020


dateline: May 22, 2020

1) Recall from last update that the State of Oregon (specifically four agencies) had filed a petition for Rehearing on FERC’s Order granting the two major federal authorizations JCEP needs to go forward. The article also mentioned that a coalition of around 30 organizations also filed a petition for Rehearing, but was not very specific. That petition included Niskanen Center, the law firm representing around 20 affected landowners, Sierra Club, and also for the interest of this group, the four local LWV that have been jointly opposing JCEP since their application. Yesterday, the FERC met and denied those petitions. I haven’t read the Order yet, but it includes some confusing language that we’ll probably need legal eyes to interpret. Hopefully, it doesn’t throw any problems in the direction of key petitioners. The Niskanen Center has already filed an appeal to the DC Circuit and the coalition’s attorney members are moving in that direction, as well.

2) JCEP has filed a Declaratory Order (roughly a petition), charging that the State of Oregon failed to action on the company’s Section 401 Water Quality Certification application within the one-year time limit specified in the Clean Water Act and thereby waived its authority to determine whether the Project would violate Oregon’s Water Quality Standards. The Department of Environmental Quality denied JCEP’s application in May 2019. A Section 401 permit is necessary for the Project to go forward, but the waiver would make the denial null. The State is working on a response. The deadline is June 4.

3) JCEP has appealed the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) Objection to the company’s Coastal Zone Management Act certification to the Secretary of Commerce, asking him to override the State’s decision. This is an allowable option in the event of an objection, but we have looked carefully at the rules governing under what circumstances the Secretary can legally perform an override and agree with the State and many others that the required circumstances don’t exist. The Oregon AG’s Office submitted the required Brief last Tuesday and we are now awaiting the next step. If an override occurs, this issue could wind up in court as well.

4) An outside, apparently well-funded national group (Consumer Energy Alliance) has created an “astroturf” (faux-grassroots) entity called the Western States and Tribal Natural Gas Initiative (WSTM) involving natural gas and LNG export proponents (e.g., western states’ local government officials, Chambers of Commerce, and some tribal groups) in the push for the JCEP. Expect to see a full-page ad in the Oregonian this Sunday, purporting to be a local and grassroots effort linking the construction of JCEP with means for economic recovery from COVID-19. News (start at 2:02:48 on the video) of this and other activities by CEA came via connections in Utah with concerns about fossil fuel development in the fracking fields there. More as this develops. As if Goliath wasn’t muscular enough already. 

5) Finally, on the human side of this, here is a link to coverage of how this (the JCEP) pipeline project is affecting property owners whose land happens to lie on the proposed pipeline route. There’s a lot here. The blogs are excellent.

100th Anniversary Celebration at the Ross Ragland Theater, February 9, 2020

A Wonderful Community Event!!

Over 160 people attended the community celebration at the Ross Ragland Theater on February 9th, 2020. LWV members wore period costumes, served wonderful cake, put on an interesting and varied show, promoted the League and its 100th anniversary.

Take a look at some of our pictures below. You will see:

  • Our special poster
  • Members in costumes
  • Three beautiful cakes
  • The lobby full of guests
  • Busy LWV members getting ready
  • Rehearsals! (Yes we did)
Ross Ragland February 9, 2020
LWV Ross Ragland POSTER
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