Cassandra explored whether you can make an argument that exporting liquified natural gas is in the public interest. She found several: exporting LNG could encourage domestic natural gas production, help balance the trade deficit, and encourage free trade and competition.
But I didn’t hear any of those arguments yesterday when I interviewed a spokeswoman for the proposed Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline. The pipeline would connect the Jordan Cove LNG terminal to a hub in Malin, Oregon that receives gas from Canada and Wyoming. Michele Swaner, a spokeswoman for the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, said only that an LNG export terminal would create jobs.
The question of whether or not a pipeline exporting natural gas overseas serves the public interest is particularly pointed in Southern Oregon, given that the companies may use eminent domain, to route the pipeline over 150 miles of private property.
Listen to my interview with Swaner here:
[audio href=”http://stream2.opb.org:9000/download/?f=news/2011/09/0923Michele_Swaner_LNG_web.mp3” title=”Michele Swaner, Pacific Connector Pipeline”]Transcript of interview with Amelia Templeton.[/audio]
Here’s the transcript:
AT: These projects, these connected projects, were sold to the public primarily as an import terminal, and with a lot of emphasis put on growing demand for energy in the U.S. and in the Northwest, and energy security, all these reasons connected to benefits to the communities in the Pacific Northwest.
MS: Right, Right.
AT: As an export terminal, what benefit will this bring to communities in the Pacific Northwest?
MS: Well, I mean it’s… there will still be obviously be some jobs to be provided. I think it remains to be seen. Essentially, Jordan Cove is going to have to file that application and we will too. We’re going to have to file a new application for the pipeline as well. So it’s something I think we’re going to have to review and take a look at.
AT: But is there anything you can tell me at the outset the projects have discussed that you believe makes this in the interest, you know, of the broader community here?
MS: I don’t know enough about this… in terms of…I haven’t looked at Jordan Cove’s application. No. It’s one of those where I don’t have enough information to really discuss that right now.
MS: I’m happy to do a little bit of research and get back to you.
AT: Sure. At the risk of sounding like a jerk, your website still says “Committed to Providing a New Source of Gas for Southwest Oregon, which under the circumstances seems a little… ironic.
MS: Yeah, you’re right. It will definitely have to be changed. The website will have to be changed. So that’s clearly something we have to work on.
AT: Anything else? Anything else you’d like to say about the project and what it means that this will be an export pipeline, how that’s different, that people should understand?
MS: No, as I said. I’m… I’m still reviewing it and I know that our team is still reviewing it. It’s something that we’ll know more about as we, as we study and figure out what we need to do in terms of the, uh, filing process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Calgary-based Fort Chicago Energy Partners, L.P. is jointly developing both the gas pipeline and the LNG terminal. PG&E Corporation and Williams are also developing the pipeline.