SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Demonstrators opposed to a liquefied natural gas pipeline and a marine export terminal in Oregon flooded into the Oregon State Capitol on Thursday and staged a sit-in at the governor’s office before police moved in to arrest them.
The hundreds of protesters demanded Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, oppose the project they say will encourage further use of fossil fuels that leads to global warming, and risk spoiling the land and ocean with spills.
The Jordan Cove Project, proposed by Pembina Pipeline Corporation of Canada, says it will bring investments, property tax revenue and jobs.
Oregon State Police did not intervene until Thursday night, when a trooper asked the several dozen protesters remaining in the governor’s office to leave voluntarily. Instead, they locked arms, video shown on the protesting group’s Facebook page showed.
“People from the sit-in are being arrested,” the group, Southern Oregon Rising Tide, said.
The protesters had first gathered under the rotunda, singing “we got the power.” Several dozen went into Brown’s outer office, chanting “Gov. Brown, do your job.”
The protesters, most wearing red T-shirts that said “power past fracked gas,” listened to speeches in the governor’s office and sang. They vowed to stay there until Brown made a statement opposing the Jordan Cove Project.
Brown spoke to the protesters by phone and then showed up in person, encouraging them to make comments during the permitting process for the project, which has gone on for several years.
But Brown rejected the demand to oppose Jordan Cove, protesters said.
Instead she shared a letter she sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Oct. 21, opposing its attempts to remove the state’s authority in the permitting process to ensure Oregon’s air and water are clean, said Charles Boyle, Brown’s press secretary.
The Trump Administration in August proposed streamlining approval of gas pipelines and other energy projects by limiting states’ certification authorities under the Clean Water Act.
“It’s just a bad idea,” said protester Bernadette Bourassa, of Eugene, referring to the pipeline project. “It’s a continuation of the extraction industry where a few corporate billionaires get another millions, or billions. There’s nothing in it for people.”
The proposed marine terminal, in Coos Bay, Oregon, would allow export of American liquid natural gas to Asia, and would have a 230-mile (370-kilometer) feeder pipeline from an interstate gas hub in southern Oregon’s Klamath County.
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