As many as 75 opponents of the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project swarmed into Gov. Kate Brown's office in Salem today and vowed they would stay until Brown announces her opposition to the project.
Brown has never taken a position either way on the proposed project, which would entail building a 229-mile pipeline across Southern Oregon to an export facility at Coos Bay.
Landowners along the proposed route and environmentalists have long opposed Jordan Cove, which has been on the drawing board for more than a decade.
The project's current sponsor, Pembina, a Canadian energy company, has continued to push forward in the state and federal permitting process, cheered on by members of Oregon's trades unions, who want the jobs a massive construction project would bring to a depressed part of Oregon.
Today, as lawmakers held interim meetings, hundreds of Jordan Cove opponents filled the Capitol halls, chanting and singing, their words audible on a Facebook livestream of the occupation. (Brown's office is on the second floor of the Capitol building.)
Among those taking part in the occupation is former Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, a Democrat who preceded Brown as the state's top elections official.
"It's so clear to me that the Jordan Cove energy project in Coos Bay makes absolutely no sense," Bradbury said in a statement. "It risks the safety of about 25,000 citizens while employing less than 200 people and makes global warming worse for every resident of our planet. Helping a Canadian corporation make money while jeopardizing our citizens is just plain stupid. They don't allow it in the state of California, they don't allow in the state of Washington—we shouldn't allow it in Oregon—just say NO!"
Charles Boyle, a spokesperson for Brown, says the governor wasn't in the Capitol when the occupiers arrived.
"Gov. Brown just addressed the protestors via phone," Boyle says. "She answered questions regarding her approach to the proposed Jordan Cove Project and shared a letter she recently sent to the EPA opposing their attempts to remove the state's authority in the permitting process to ensure the Oregon's air and water are clean. As many of the protestors noted, she has met with leaders and members of the No LNG Coalition a number of times, including after the Land Board meeting in June."