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Where's the benefit?

If the number and passion of opponents were the determining factors, the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas pipeline and export project would be dead in the water. But that’s not how the approval process works. Still, opposition has grown steadily since the project was first floated in 2004, and the Canadian company behind it must clear a number of hurdles before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issues its final determination next fall.

More than 1,000 people, most of them opponents, turned out for a public hearing Tuesday before the Department of State Lands at the Jackson County Expo. Supporters are primarily members of labor unions that would benefit from temporary construction jobs on the pipeline.

These hearings deal only with the state permit required for any project that removes or fills material around wetlands or waterways. Other permits are required from the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Land Conservation and Development and Coos and Douglas counties. Environmental and safety concerns are many and significant.

Opposition has brought together environmental groups and landowners who don’t want the pipeline crossing their properties. Pembina, the company behind the project, says it wants to reach agreements with property owners, but it is far from completing those, and the threat of eminent domain hangs over the proposal.

Eminent domain allows the taking of private property with fair compensation in exchange for a public benefit. We don’t think exporting U.S. and Canadian gas for the profit of a Canadian company constitutes a public benefit.

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