Klamath County: Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline would link a hub to Coos Bay

Register Guard. July 3:

Pipeline project frustrates some Oregon landowners: The Pacific Connector would link a hub in Klamath County and a terminal in Coos Bay

TENMILE — Some landowners in Southern Oregon say a proposed natural gas pipeline is frustrating them.

The 36-inch underground Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline would connect a gas hub in Klamath County and a terminal at Coos Bay.

Originally, it was designed as line for importing liquefied natural gas, but now it’s aimed at exporting newly discovered domestic reserves.

Landowners worry about restrictions on land use — grazing and crops are permitted above the line but trees and structures aren’t.

They’re also worried about the potential for the use of eminent domain if they don’t agree to a price for using their land and about safety, despite assurances from the developers about precautions in construction and maintenance

In Tenmile, southwest of Roseburg, Frank Adams has put off replacing a deteriorating well because the best place for a new one is in the path of the pipeline. He said that, at 65, he’s afraid to invest in the property he’s had since 1981 until he knows whether the pipeline is a done deal.

“I’ve been held hostage for going on five years,” he said. “You’re held kind of in limbo. Do I spend $10,000 to put in a new water system?”

Adams estimated the pipeline’s 50-foot-wide right of way would take up about an acre, and he will get a one-time payment of about $500.

The company considers appraisals by an independent firm and whether the land has crops or timber when making an offer, said Michele Swaner, a spokeswoman for Williams Northwest Pipeline.

“It really is a very specific offer for each landowner,” she said.

The 234-mile line would go through four counties: Klamath, Jackson, Douglas and Coos. It would cross about 100 miles of private land.

The proposal has some prominent supporters. Douglas County Commissioner Susan Morgan said the pipeline will benefit the county’s economy because it would increase the supply of natural gas available in Douglas County, lower prices and attract companies that use it.

Opponents of the line say exporting the gas will tend to raise domestic prices.

In 2009, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved importing natural gas via the pipeline.

In February, though, the project developers told the agency they were turning the Jordan Cove Energy Project into an export proposal and have started work on gaining approval for it. They propose starting operation in late 2017.

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