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Following San Bruno Pipeline Fire, Landowners on PG&E Pipeline Route Join LawsuitSalem-News.com
Many communities along the proposed pipeline route have volunteer fire departments with limited resources.
(MEDFORD, Ore.) - Landowners along PG&E’s proposed Pacific Connector pipeline route announced today that they will ask to join a federal lawsuit brought by Pacific Connector pipeline against the State of Oregon and the state’s Clean Water Act permitting process.
The Pacific Connector pipeline proposal, a project of PG&E and partner corporations, sued Oregon’s agencies for deeming their application incomplete for a 230-mile, 36-inch, non-odorized pipeline.
Oregon law requires landowner permission for wetland and stream crossing permits on private land, and PG&E’s project has been unable to obtain landowner permission for these permits.
The group of six landowners are concerned not only about preserving their private property rights, but also about the safety of the 234-mile pipeline in the wake of the San Bruno tragedy that has resulted in four deaths and the destruction of more than 50 homes.
“The state of Oregon is simply following the law, which requires landowner consent for wetland fill and streamline crossing permits on private property,” stated Bob Barker, a Jackson county landowner who joined the intervention.
“In requiring landowner consent before issuing a permit, the state is protecting me and my property from a speculative project that could wreak havoc on hundreds of landowners just like me.”
Added Barker, “Given what happened in San Bruno, The lawsuit by Pacific Connector is all the more offensive because they aren’t even proposing to odorize the gas in their pipeline through Oregon. We don’t need the gas, and we don’t want the serious risks.”
Many communities along the proposed pipeline route have all volunteer-run fire departments with limited resources. The 30-inch ruptured San Bruno line was odorized and pressurized at 200 psi, while the proposed 36-inch Pacific Connector line would be non-odorized and pressurized at 1440 psi. The landowner coalition argues that the State of Oregon applied the law correctly in requiring the pipeline company to engage with landowners and get their permission before issuing permits.
“This lawsuit is not about a company complying with any unfair state legal requirements,” Barker added. “It is about the private property rights and the safety of hundreds of Oregonians, which are currently protected by Oregon law, being trampled by an over-zealous corporation.”
Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline is a project of PG&E Strategic Capital (a subsidy of PG&E Corporation), Williams, and Fort Chicago.
The coalition of landowners filing to join the suit include individual ranchers, organic farmers, homesteaders, and the Oregon Women’s Land Trust, all whose land is threatened with federally-granted eminent domain for the proposed Pacific Connector pipeline right-of-way. The landowners are located in Coos, Douglas, and Jackson County. Susan Jane Brown, a staff attorney with the public interest law firm Western Environment Law Center, represents the landowner coalition.
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