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Feds Deny LNG Export Project Permit, Again, in Oregon

For Immediate Release

December 12, 2016

For more information, contact Ted Gleichman, political advisor, Center for Sustainable Economy: 503-781-2498tedgleichman@mac.com

(Portland, OR) A massive natural gas export project aimed at the Oregon coast is on life support after the federal government ruled against it late Friday afternoon, December 9, 2016.  The Jordan Cove Energy Project, a $7.6 billion terminal and pipeline plan to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Asia from Canada and the Rockies, was refused by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  The first-ever rejection of federal permits for an LNG export project came in the wake of an 11-year coordinated grassroots campaign against this LNG terminal and pipeline in southern Oregon.

“We’ve been fighting this project for more than a decade,” said Ted Gleichman, a political advisor to the Center for Sustainable Economy. “Thousands of people working together are defeating billions of dirty, dangerous fossil fuel dollars. This is the first victory where FERC ruled in our favor.”


Photo credit: Rick Rappaport

FERC rejected the Canadian developer, Veresen Inc., because of its inability to get guaranteed contracts to sell the fracked gas overseas, though FERC had warned the company for years that this would be critical for their permission to move ahead. That market failure was compounded by Veresen’s dismal record in negotiating easements from hundreds of landowners along the 234-mile pipeline route to Coos Bay, Oregon.  FERC objected to unprecedented levels of eminent domain requirements that would hit landowners and local communities if the pipeline and terminal were approved. Ranchers, farmers, and other landholders had pledged to resist the claims of eminent domain on the 234-mile route of Oregon land the pipeline would need to cross. The company can still go to court against FERC, or reapply, but for now the only LNG export plan for the U.S. West Coast has no clear path to completion. “We are going to defeat their Oregon state permits too, then we will work for genuine good jobs in clean energy and rebuilding the clean infrastructure we all need,” said Gleichman.




New Policy Innovation Would Force Fossil Fuel Companies to Pay for Their Risky Behavior

For Immediate Release

June 3, 2016


Press calls: Dr. John Talberth, president and senior economist, CSE: 510-384-5724

(Portland, OR) Hours after an oil train car derailment near the Columbia River in Mosier, OR, with at least one oil tank car on fire, it was too soon to tell how much this accident would cost: In first responders’ time and resources, in time missed from school for elementary students and their teachers in nearby Mosier Elementary School, in hours of delays as I-84 was shut down, in public health costs from the thick plume of smoke that could be seen from miles away, in evacuations for nearby residents.

A recent study produced by the Washington Attorney General’s Office found that a worst case scenario oil train tanker spill on the Columbia River could cost more than $170 million in damages.  These costs too often have the taxpayer picking up the tab, not the polluter because insurance coverage is only available for minor accidents.  A recent study produced by the Center for Sustainable Economy (CSE), “Fossil Fuel Risk Bonds: Making Polluters Pay for the Climate Crisis,” has found that fossil fuel companies are passing on huge financial risks to taxpayers, and politicians are simply turning their backs on the problem instead of holding those companies accountable.

At each stage of the fossil fuel product life cycle, taxpayers are increasingly burdened with a litany of costs associated with oil train derailments such as the one in Mosier, fracking-induced earthquake swarms, pipeline explosions, abandoned infrastructure, water pollution and, of course, the costs of climate change. Fossil fuel risk bond programs – a policy innovation proposed by CSE  – can help reverse this glaring inequity by shifting the economic risk back where it belongs: on the polluters.

As set forth in CSE’s new report, fossil fuel risk bond programs are systematic efforts that state and local governments can take to evaluate and respond to the financial risks they face at each stage of the fossil fuel lifecycle in their jurisdictions. The benefits could be huge for states, counties, and cities struggling with rising fossil fuel disaster-related and climate-related costs with no clear way to pay for them.

While helping to place the burden of payment where it belongs, on the risky industry, fossil fuel risk bond programs provide a way to ramp up the funding necessary to put scores of people to work – including displaced oil, gas, and coal workers – while ramping down fossil fuel consumption, decommissioning obsolete fossil fuel infrastructure, restoring mines, oil platform sites, and gas well pads back into a natural condition and implementing climate adaptation projects to help make communities safe in the face climate disasters.

For more, please visit our website here: http://sustainable-economy.org/fossil-fuel-risk-bonds-making-polluters-pay-for-the-climate-crisis/

Victory: China Agrees to “Strictly Limit” Public Finance for High-Carbon Projects

For Immediate Release
September 25, 2015

For further information, contact: Daphne Wysham 202-510-3541 (c); daphne@sustainable-economy.org
The Sustainable Energy and Economy Network declared a major victory on September 25, 2015, when China, one of the largest financiers of infrastructure projects worldwide, agreed to “strictly limit” the amount of public financing that it provides toward high-carbon projects. The move is in accord with a 2013 commitment by the United States Treasury Department to cease public financing for new coal-fired power plants, which followed an almost two decade-long battle by civil society groups to shift public financing away from fossil fuels.
“There is much work remaining to be done in holding these countries and public financial institutions accountable to these commitments and pushing them further–to get out of subsidized fossil fuel finance altogether,” said Daphne Wysham, director of the Sustainable Energy & Economy Network (SEEN). “But today, another domino falls as China joins numerous other nations and publicly financed institutions in agreeing to limit its ‘high-carbon’ financing.”

In a series of path breaking reports beginning in 1996, SEEN exposed the disproportionate investment in fossil fuels that was being made in developing countries, including China, by international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Development Bank and export credit agencies, such as U.S. Export-Import Bank. SEEN drew attention to the true beneficiaries of this investment: Not the poorest, as these institutions claimed, but, often, powerful corporations based in the richest countries. SEEN advocated for a shift by these lending institutions from support for fossil fuels and toward investments in clean, renewable energy, with a focus on meeting the energy needs of the poorest. China is now one of the leading investors, both at home and abroad, in infrastructure via the China Development Bank and via the newly formed New Development Bank.


After 17 years of activism by our members, staff, and partners, we began to see some major breakthroughs when President Barack Obama called on the World Bank to get out of coal-fired power. Shortly after Obama’s call, the President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Kim, agreed that it needed to stop financing most forms of coal-fired power; other public banks soon began to make similar pledges.

China now joins the following countries that have agreed to end their public financial support for coal-fired power: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.

The following publicly held banks have agreed to limit their investments in coal-fired power: The World Bank, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development,  the U.S. Export-Import Bank, U.K.’s ECGD, and France’s COFACE.


About SEEN:  Founded as a project of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies in 1996, and now a project of the Center for Sustainable Economy, the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network (SEEN) works in partnership with people regionally, nationally, and globally with a focus on climate justice and, specifically, on ending the fossil fuel age and ushering in the age of clean energy and a sustainable economy for generations to come.

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