On November 21 st a glorious bald eagle soared above the crowd of several hundred people amassed on the Oregon capital steps to protest the Jordan Cove LNG pipeline project. Hundreds simultaneously inhaled and then erupted in celebration at the auspicious omen. No sooner had the noble creature passed than Yakama Elder Ed Edmo who had just taken the stage recited the poem of the soaring eagle.
This magic followed the several hundred protesters into the echoing rotunda of the state capital and built into a deafening roar. Activists in synchronized motion unfurled a large circular parachute banner with NO LNG emblazoned upon a crisscross design of blue rivers, green forests, and metallic pipelines.Clumsy state troopers immediately attempted to confiscate the unpermitted banner but were flabbergasted to find a circle of activist clipped to it with locking carabiers. The flowing parachute banner continued to ungulate over the golden state seal in the rotunda and the thunderous chants of activists gave cover to the first activists that quietly began to occupy the Governors ceremonial office.
Within a half hour of the protesters first entering the capitol building, over a hundred were now crammed into the Governor’s office. The demand was simple, everyone knew the governor had the power to shut down the Jordan Cove LNG pipeline, protesters were there to stay until she publicly stated she would do just that. From there began nine long hours of singing, speeches, pizza, and state troopers.
First activists were able to get the governor on the phone, and then finally late at night she appeared in person surrounded by a phalanx of aids and state troopers. Unfortunately, her responses never changed. She continually insisted on following the permitting process and sticking to procedure. The permitting process had brought us to where we were now. After 15 years and the Jordan Cove project being rejected twice, the Trump administration has just rammed through its go-ahead for the project this month. With clearcut logging not considered construction, a swath of logging through the forests of Oregon could begin as early as February 14th. All this could be stopped if Kate Brown takes a stand and acts like the climate leader she claims to be. She has the power. But what we heard out of Kate Brown that night were terms like “Cap and Trade” and “Carbon Market.” We saw a person searching for a vision amid a smokescreen of industry rhetoric and false market solutions. Soon after the Governor’s late-night visit concluded the State troopers issued an ultimatum. Leave the capitol building or be subject to arrest. By that time the crowd had dwindled to 50 people and in the closing minutes of the ultimatum 21 people sat down together and stayed. They arrested us one at a time and those comrades still left sung the names of those taken away. “You shall not walk alone,” we sang.
The 21 activists arrested were released early the next morning and we will appear in court on December20 in Salem. The Jordan Cove LNG pipeline has been defeated twice before and if Kate Brown refuses to act soon she is inviting another Standing Rock to occur in her own state. Against this pipeline will stand indigenous tribes, environmentalist, and land owners not just in alliance throughout Oregon, but across the entire country. For a leading Democratic governor who calls herself a climate leader the choice to kill this pipeline project could not be easier. Over 15 years the sustained grass roots resistance to this project could not be more determined. Jordan Cove must die along with every other fossil fuel pipe-dream our corrupt