The long-running controversy over a proposed natural gas pipeline will be the subject of yet another hearing Thursday evening.
This latest hearing will be held before a hearings officer. It comes in the wake of a January court decision that ruled recent permit extensions for the project invalid.
The hearing begins at 6 p.m. Thursday in Room 216 of the Douglas County Courthouse, 1036 E Douglas Ave., in Roseburg.
Canadian energy company Pembina hopes to construct the pipeline across 229 miles of Southern Oregon from Malin to the planned Jordan Cove export terminal in Coos Bay. It would cross 64 miles of land in Douglas County.
About 75% of the property owners along the route have reached agreements allowing the pipeline to be built on their land, but many of the holdouts fiercely oppose the project. The opponents fear eminent domain will be used to force the pipeline onto their property.
Environmentalists also oppose the project, because the Jordan Cove terminal would become one of the state’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Some opponents have also raised safety concerns, fearing damage to watersheds, explosions or forest fires.
The county is just one of many agencies that must sign off on the project before it could become a reality. But its authority extends only to the company’s right to develop along a 7 mile stretch of county forestland near Camas Valley, called the Coastal Zone Management Area.
The county had originally approved a conditional use permit for the project in 2009, at which time the pipeline company had intended to import natural gas through it, for use in the Pacific Northwest, California and Nevada.
In 2014, the county approved the developer’s request to reverse the direction of the flow. Since then, the plan has been to use the pipeline to export gas to Asian markets.
The county’s 2009 permit ran for two years, after which the county planning director had granted annual extensions since 2011. In January, a Douglas County Circuit Court judge ruled the 2016 extension invalid because it was not issued before the previous extension expired. She also said the extensions should not be made by a ministerial decision of the planning director.
The developers resubmitted their application in April.