Though the decision was anticipated and remains conditional, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) approval of the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Coos Bay, OR is already drawing the ire of environmental groups across the country.
The Jordan Cove project includes building an export terminal that would be supplied by the proposed 235-mile-long Pacific Connector pipeline, crossing public and private land in southern Oregon to connect to existing pipelines from British Columbia to California. The DOE says the project is subject to federal environmental and regulatory reviews, but organizations like the Sierra Club and Rouge Riverkeeper hope it doesn't get to that point.
The groups are publicly reminding citizens and legislators that the State of Oregon can reject the terminal and pipeline under laws like the Clean Water, Coastal Zone Management and Clean Air acts.
"Private property would be taken via eminent domain, rivers and streams would be harmed and forests would be clear-cut for the construction of a 235-mile pipeline to an export terminal in Coos Bay," Rouge Riverkeeper writes in a petition. "Southern Oregon deserves better and Governor Kitzhaber needs to hear from you."
Environmental groups say Oregon's coastal bays have long been the focus of foreign energy companies and federal entities here as a potential gas export gateway. They fear that final approval only encourage more fracking, which consistently compromises the health of people around the nation
“DOE did not attempt to address the myriad environmental issues with the project," Susan Jane Brown, a staff attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center, said in a Sierra Club statement. "We believe it is clear that the LNG terminal and pipeline will harm our natural resources and that the projects should not proceed.”
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, believes the "dirty truth" is that accelerating exports will only encourage more fracking for more profit. Final approval of the $7.5 billion project would mean the U.S. can export gas to countries it does not have a free-trade agreement with, according to The Oregonian. The DOE has approved all seven export applications it has received and reviewed. Those include projects like Dominion Cove in Busby, MD and Freeport LNG, near Houston, TX.
“Fossil fuels should not be used as a geopolitical bargaining chip, nor should giant oil and gas corporations write our foreign policy," Hauter said. "That’s why earlier this month, over 200 organizations called on the Obama administration to reject fast tracking natural gas overseas. “The hypocrisy of the call for exports is highlighted by the fact that it will take years for our export facilities to be able to process the volumes of gas proposed for overseas sales.
"Ultimately, approving and building infrastructure is a lengthy, expensive process, and the limited oil and gas reserves available under U.S. soil will not support the money and energy needed to ship it overseas."
Nathan Matthews, a Sierra Club attorney, says that the environment and health of Oregonians would be sacrificed if the project gets final approval. An environmental impact statement from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could come in April or May
"The economic study the DOE itself commissioned clearly states that LNG export will transfer wealth from wage earners to fossil fuel executives. LNG export is nothing by a giveaway to the dirty fuel industry, at the expense of everyday Americans.”
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
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The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
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Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.