For property owners facing the threat of eminent domain encroachments on their property, tomorrow’s meeting is likely to be very emotional. Will the two ‘development-friendly’ commissioners move to rubber stamp the pipeline or will they take some time to consider the impacts? The May 20th hearing was jam packed with property owners opposed to the project and only one person, Gino Landrum, spoke in favor of the pipeline in a hearing that went on til almost midnight.
There is another factor to consider with respect to setting a precedent allowing the energy choices of Californians to supersede the property rights of Oregonians. Most transmission corridors are multi-modal. Gas transmission, electric
transmission, etc… run along the same corridor and there is some logic behind doing this. Nevertheless, at a conference this spring in Portland, OPT, the wave energy group stated they planned to transmit the power generated from the proposed project off the coast of Coos Bay via a new line corresponding with the Pacific Connector pipeline. When the hearings officer was here in May, I asked the Williams group if the easement they are hoping to obtain included room for an accompanying overhead electric transmission line. They said no. They were only taking land via eminent domain for their pipeline.
Assuming both are correct, what I fear is that if the wave park is built and they WILL need new transmission lines to sell the power, again to power hungry California, they will piggy back on the precedent already set. Using the ‘for the public good’ argument established by the first line, more land will be taken from the abutting land owners to accommodate the transmission towers. The Coalition for Fair Transmission Policy suggests FERC be prudent in burdening others unfairly who stand not to gain from their actions…
…Commission is examining how to allocate the costs of new transmission projects in a way that ensures that electric customers do not pay for projects from which they receive no benefits. “It is critically important that the ultimate beneficiaries of this Commission’s regulatory effort be consumers, especially in this difficult economic climate,” said Sue Sheridan, Coalition President and Chief Counsel. “Consumers can’t be asked to bear the burden of additional costs if they receive little or no economic or reliability benefits.”
It is interesting to note that even Governor Arnold Schwarznegger is a member of the coalition. Effectively, allowing the rights of property owners to be trod upon is socializing the life style choice of people hundreds of miles away, people who choose to use LNG rather than renewable energy sources.
Tuesday, August 3rd: 1:30 p.m. – The Coos County Board of Commissioners will Deliberate on the Hearings Officer’s recommendation of the Pacific Connector Land Use Application. The Board of Commissioners will not take additional evidence or testimony beyond what was presented to the Hearings Officer. Event will take place in the Planning Department Conference Room (Owen Building) of the Coos County Courthouse Annex, 201 N. Adams, Coquille, OR (This is the same meeting room where the May 20th Hearing took place.)
Meeting notice on-line here