ABOUT THE PROJECT
The proposed Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline project (PCGP) will provide a link with existing pipeline systems that
converge at Malin, Ore., and the west coast of Coos Bay, Ore. The PCGP project is being proposed to connect this natural gas
supply hub, where energy is competitively traded on a daily basis, to a proposed LNG terminal. As it traverses southern Oregon,
the PCGP route crosses or is located in the vicinity of existing natural gas infrastructure in several places. The PCGP has the
potential to give regional natural gas customers in Pacific Northwest market areas better access to domestic Rocky Mountain and
Canadian supply basins.
Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline route
With the announcement of Jordan Cove’s proposed plans to develop an export terminal, landowners may be wondering how this will affect
the proposed Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline. In reality, not much will change along the proposed route. Gas will be
transported 230 miles from interconnects near Malin, Ore., west and north to the Jordan Cove LNG terminal in Coos Bay, Ore.,
where the natural gas will be liquefied for transport via ocean-going tanker to markets on the Pacific Rim.
The proposed pipeline route does not need to be changed to accommodate the new east to west flow direction.
There has been concern expressed among landowners about a pipeline’s right of eminent domain and how it might be used in connection with the Pacific Connector project. Here are a few facts about eminent domain to keep in mind:
Eminent domain is the power to acquire land upon payment of fair compensation to the landowner. The power of eminent domain is given to governments and certain utilities by the state legislature or the Congress of the United States to prevent a single individual from unduly disrupting an activity deemed to be in the best interest of the state or nation’s citizens. However, both the state and federal constitutions contain protections for landowners, requiring due process and payment of market value for any land taken. Pipeline companies have had the power of eminent domain since the Natural Gas Act was enacted in the 1930s.
It is important to point out here that while the right of eminent domain exists, it is not in Pacific Connector’s best interest to use it, and it is a method that is used only sparingly and only in the most necessary circumstances. For example, in a recent project in Washington state with 868 landowners and 1,041 tracts, a condemnation action was filed on 71 landowners (8%) and 93 tracts (9%), which was quickly reduced to 12 tracts (1%) through further negotiation. Eventually, only one case proceeded far enough to schedule a court date but even that one was settled through third-party mediation prior to trial. Sometimes a disinterested third party can be quite helpful in resolving such conflicts.
It is Pacific Connector’s genuine desire to negotiate these land rights with each landowner along the route in a fair and equitable manner and to reach a cooperative settlement that considers the needs of both parties. Should a negotiated settlement not be possible, only then would eminent domain be considered to acquire the necessary land rights.