Southern Oregon Rising Tide, with lovely help and support from new friends in other organizations, disrupted the February 13 State Land Board meeting in Salem to give Kate Brown some early Valentines love.
The meeting opened with excellent public comments urging the Land Board to be vigilant in the pipeline permitting process, and after the normal meeting agenda commenced people with our group stood up, unfurled a banner reading “Climate Leaders Don’t Build Pipelines,” and read a statement urging Kate Brown to take the decisive actions that are well within her power to shut down the Pipeline project.
We disrupted because the State Land Board meetings are one of the only times that regular people can get in the same room as Kate Brown.
We disrupted because Kate Brown has responded to polite requests only by claiming she’s just a ‘referee,’ but that is a totally inappropriate metaphor for her role and power in an era when the pipeline-happy trump administration is eager to bulldoze all normal checks and processes.
Hey Kate Brown, people who live in so-called Oregon have been fighting the Jordan Cove Pacific Connector Pipeline for almost 15 years. We are young adults starting businesses, starting families, coming into our political power.
You seem intent on avoiding the issue and refusing to listen to our communities, but we can’t afford your silence. We’re done waiting for the appropriate time to speak only to be ignored, so we’re interrupting your meeting for a few minutes to make sure you hear us.
You talk a lot about taking action on climate change. You say that future generations will judge us not on the fact of global climate change, but on what we do to tackle it. You went to the climate talks in Bonn, and declared that in the face of Trump’s climate denial Oregon must lead in the fight against climate change and fulfill the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Yet you still remain silent about Jordan Cove. You’ve seen the greenhouse gas report released last month, and you know that Jordan Cove would be one of the largest sources of climate pollution in the state. You know that it would make fulfilling Oregon’s climate goals and the Paris Agreement goals impossible. You can’t remain neutral or objective when we all know that under the Trump administration, this fracked gas pipeline will be built. Empty statements do nothing but poorly obscure your comfortable hypocrisy.
The Klamath Tribes,* the Yurok, Hoopa, Karuk, Round Valley Indians, and indigenous groups still denied recognition of their tribal status tell you how this pipeline will destroy parts of their history, lives and livelihoods. If you let it be built, you continue the centuries of colonial oppression. If you let it be built you are no better than the Trump administration and their blatant white supremacy.
This pipeline will be socially and environmentally unaffordable. If it moves forward, know that there will be huge and unrelenting resistance to construction. And it will be incredibly expensive for the State.
We all know you want to look like a climate leader. But climate leaders don’t build fossil fuel pipelines; they use their power to stop them. Symbolic words and gestures are nowhere near enough. If you want to claim to be a climate leader, you have to earn that title by standing up to the fossil fuel industry and Trump’s pipeline plans, regardless of whether it’s politically “safe” to do so.
Young people have to care about climate change. Young people care about environmental justice and indigenous sovereignty. Do you really think you are going to get young people to believe in you as a political leader, much less vote, knock doors, or make phone calls for you with your no-stance, no-opinion, no-action “leadership”? The status quo is to sell out our collective existence to corporate tyrants and put a nice political face on it. This is your chance to prove you are a politician who cares about people and the land.
You can stop this fracked gas pipeline, the export terminal and the destruction it will bring on this land. You and the State Land Board have the power to deny state permits and authorizations for this pipeline, and to challenge Federal permit authorizations.
You’ve said that you aren’t on either “side” and that your role is to be a “referee”. But in this age of the emerging climate crisis, you can’t be neutral. Referees aren’t passive spectators watching from the sidelines–they blow the whistle, call fouls, and declare when the game is over. Our communities have been fighting Jordan Cove for well over a decade. We’ve been in overtime for years. It’s time to make a call. It’s time for you to get off the fence. Make your words, your position, and your power as Governor mean something.
Stop the pipeline or you lose our votes, you side with racists, you lose the reputation you are trying to build yourself. The longer you remain silent and passive, the louder, more persistent, more disruptive, more obnoxious, more relentless pain in your ass we we will become.
*Original text was “the Klamath.” Edited to “the Klamath Tribes” at request of a friend who is part of the Tribes. This is the official and preferred way to refer to the Tribes which are a confederacy of the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin Nations.