Dangers outweigh the benefits of LNG

By Eddie Rodriguez | Distribution Manager

Jordan Cove Energy Project has been working for years to establish a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry in Oregon’s Bay Area. Originally, Jordan Cove intended to import natural gas by way of the constructed underground and underwater pipeline, but faced too much resistance. Now it has shifted its focus to exporting natural gas. There are many safety concerns surrounding LNG that local citizens are, or should, be concerned about.

Though I agree it is important to have more energy sources available and the possibility of more jobs in the Bay Area, the possible negative effects of LNG, including those on the environment, dangers associated with transporting it, and potential disasters due to its high flammability may not be worth it.

Jordan Cove no longer intends to extract LNG in this area through hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, but information regarding this process and the risks it poses to people should make citizens carefully consider the presence of LNG in any form. Fracking is not as environmentally friendly as most oil and gas companies make it seem. Many of the chemicals used are harmful to people and contaminate water sources. These chemicals include alkyl benzene sulfonic acid, benzoic acid and ethoxylated alcohol. Some companies go as far as saying the water near the site is safe for consumption when it is apparent the water is not safe to drink.  As a result, many gas companies are installing filter systems to clean out the polluted water.

Two years ago, a documentary film by Josh Fox called “Gasland” was released, which exposed all the harms of fracking. It follows multiple families around Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Texas, among other locations. In the film, most of the families show how their tap water can be lit on fire due to the gas released in it, and the water in most of their homes showed distinct coloration. In fact, some of the people interviewed in the film suffered from health issues when they drank the water. Any potential leaks into the many water sources through which pipelines flow could be harmful to humans and animals alike if Jordan Cove’s plan follows through.

The plan to transfer LNG via trucking should also concern local citizens. There would be an abundance of trucks transporting the highly explosive natural gas in and out of the area. The difference between typical gas trucks is the sheer number of trucks being used. If a truck carrier caused a spill, there would be harmful dangers to nearby citizens due to the chemicals in the gas.

Finally, danger exists in a possible earthquake, given the Bay Area is due for one, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Natural gas running through an underwater pipeline during an earthquake could cause a severe explosion, which would result in health hazards for the community. The first priority should be to keep citizens safe. An earthquake is dangerous enough as it is, and a pipeline explosion would only increase the risk of harm in this area.

Thus, if Jordan Cove’s plan for the underwater pipeline is followed through, then our community is put in harm’s way. No amount of industry or jobs is worth the potential loss of human life, damage to animal and environmental areas, or property. These aspects of the community must be kept in the forefront of officials’ minds when considering LNG industry in the Bay Area.