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Hundreds Rally Outside Final Pipeline Hearing

Chris Lehman

Hundreds of people rallied in Salem Tuesday evening outside the last in a series of public hearings on a proposed natural gas facility. The Jordan Cove Energy Project wants to build a 230-mile pipeline across southern Oregon, with a terminal near Coos Bay.

Fergus McLean came from Dexter to testify against the proposal. He said he’s concerned about the potential impact of the pipeline on Oregon’s waterways. And he questioned whether the Jordan Cove company has the best interests of the state at heart. “I grew up in Coos Bay, and there’s an amazing sequence of fantastic get-rich schemes that have happened down there, because it’s a great area but it’s isolated. But they never pan out,” said McLean.

Some people showed up in support of the project. They said it would provide well-paying jobs in a part of the state that has often lagged behind economically.  Josh Zimmer of Silverton said fellow members of the plumbers union he's a part of could benefit from the pipeline and terminal. "I don't know that I would be working on that project, per se. But I know that a lot of brothers and sisters from our local and other locals, it would give them good employment," said Zimmer.

The Oregon Department of State Lands will consider whether to issue a permit for the project, which also needs federal approval.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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