This week I spoke with someone who believes the public should be better informed about the NEPA process governing the FERC and its evaluation of the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal application. To that end he submitted a course proposal to the local community college and was turned down apparently because the college, a public institution, was afraid of offending Jordan Cove. Then we learn from an Op-ed by Brooke Walton what a skewed view, at least the BS Oregon steering committee have of what constitutes public participation. According to Walton the community enhancement plan, a plan to privatize millions of taxpayer dollars by renaming them “fees” has been ten years in the making and “An opportunity for public input has been part of the CSF plan from the beginning.” Yes, the public is finally being invited to the table, sort of.
BS Oregon plans to hold a series of town hall meetings to “learn” about the plan but these are by no means public hearings officiated by elected officials where public testimony is placed into the public record. There is nothing public about this process to offer a Canadian company a fifteen year property tax exemption so that a handful of self-appointed individuals can “play with the money.” When you add in the fact that FERC has not yet even given a date when it will publish a draft EIS then this whole effort to fast track this scheme begins to look very premature.
The county assessor and cartographer are gone until next week but I am working on a breakdown of the actual cost to the public both of servicing a project like Jordan Cove and of extending this long term property tax exemption. Depending upon how the Dept of Revenue assesses the facility, (Walton is now claiming $7 billion), at a tax rate of 10.064 Jordan Cove should be paying as much as $70 million annually. The proposed service fees will not only provide Jordan Cove with a significant savings at taxpayer expense but also provide an additional income tax write off and these public subsidies will go to foreign shareholders in the form of dividends, very little will be reinvested in Oregon.
Contact your elected officials and demand real public hearings.