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DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER: David Versus Veresen

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Earlier this month, the esteemed Pulitzer Prizes were handed out for excellence in journalism. Mixed in with the big dogs and usual suspects is a small newspaper, The Storm Lake Times, a twice-weekly newspaper in Iowa. The circulation for the newspaper is smaller than the Messenger. The editor won the prize for best editorial writing, for a series of articles that unapologetically took on big agricultural interests in the farming community.

Congratulations. And thanks for the inspiration.

We also believe that small can be mighty, and we are encouraged that the Messenger can make a difference in southern Oregon—yes, by providing great information about events, and art, and bands, but also about public interest happenings and championing important causes. (We also are currently in the process of switching this newspaper to a nonprofit, and are asking our readers to submit us. Just like public radio listeners support its services, we need your support.. And thank you to those who already have pledged.)

Specifically, we are hoping to rally our readers to be politically engaged. Don’t let this be a silent spring in southern Oregon. Concerned about global warming (and who shouldn’t be?)? There is something stirring in your backyard—on the Oregon coast—that you can stop.

Although it has not yet reached the notoriety of the Standing Rock pipeline and protests, the so-called LNG Pipeline has so many of the same elements—a pipeline bisecting public and private property, and Native lands; environmental concerns, as a potentially large contributor to carbon emissions; a federal government running roughshod over local opinions.

No thank you.

The LNG pipeline has twice been rejected by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But shortly after Donald Trump was elected in November, word began to circulate that Veresen, the Canadian company proposing the pipeline, planned to resubmit its application to the FERC for approval of the pipeline again—although local opinion has not changed in its opposition to the pipeline, was has is the federal government’s attitude towards energy sources and global warming. They did. And Veresen is looking pretty assured about getting their precious permit. Unless you stop them.

Just last week, White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn all but promised that the administration would approve the permit, saying that it would offer a big economic boon to the U.S. economy. (Egg on his face: The company that would own the pipeline is Canadian.)

But David can beat Goliath.

Start by attending the People’s Climate March on Saturday, April 29 in Pear Blossom Park in Medford. It is a satellite march to one in Washington DC. The march has a diffuse number of abstract goals—and that has been a flaw in the efforts to “stop” global warming. Organizers and publicity has explained that the march will creating good-paying clean energy jobs in our region; safeguard public lands, clean water, air, and fisheries; support family farms, etc., etc. While we find this scatter shot unhelpful, we encourage readers and marchers to focus those concerns to the one, biggest threat to carbon emissions and environmental harm in southern Oregon: The LNG Pipeline.

Second, support YES on Measure 6-162. While most of our readers don’t live in the voting jurisdiction for Measure 6-162, most could be affected by the LNG Pipeline. The measure would prohibit the transportation of fossil fuels within the county as well as the development of any non-sustainable energy systems, particularly hydraulic and pneumatic fracturing; essentially, banning the pipeline. Currently, the YES on Measure 6-162 is outgunned. Opposition has reportedly gathered a war chest of funds, a reported $358,500 in campaign contributions, more than 30 times the amount the Yes on Measure 6-162 committee has received. Much like the GMO ban ballot measures a few years ago, multinational corporations—which only have financial gains to seek from the region—are rolling into town and trying to buy a victory. The bulk of the funds (92 percent) to stop Measure 6-162 have been funneled from Veresen.

Don’t have $300,000 to fight back? Push back through marching. Push back through posting on Facebook. Talk with friends about the concerns over the LNG Pipeline. Just don’t do nothing.

 

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