For over fifteen years people across Southern Oregon have been living with the specter of the Jordan Cove LNG export facility and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline haunting their lives. Tens of thousands of people have raised their voices in opposition to this project which threatens hundreds of rivers and streams, forests and wetlands, the homes and property of 240 landowners and the livelihoods of countless people across the region. On November 21, 2019, while 1,000 people protested outside and inside the Oregon State Capitol, nearly 100 landowners, tribal members and activists staged a sit-in at Governor Kate Brown's office. There they remained for 8 hours, waiting for the governor to respond to their demand that she come out publicly against Jordan Cove and the pipeline. When she finally appeared and answered questions from the protesters, she refused to take the stand they were demanding. An hour later 21 people were arrested. A few weeks ago their charges were dropped.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with two women who were arrested that night, Sandy Lyons from Douglas County and Emma Marris, from Klamath Falls. Emma recently wrote an article for High Country News called, "We went to jail for our great-granddaughters."
Sandy Lyon and her husband Russ live on a 300 acre ranch in Douglas County, Oregon, where they worked to improve salmon habitat conditions in the two streams on the ranch, ultimately returning coho to Fate Creek where they are now spawning again after being absent for a very long time. Sandy went back to work in 2004 for the local watershed council where she started their water quality monitoring program and still continues today to work to save salmon. Ironically, 15 years ago, the Lyon ranch was designated to be on the route of the Pacific Connector Pipeline, which would go right through their restored salmon habitat on Fate Creek.
Emma Marris is an environmental writer and an Institute Fellow at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. She has written for many magazines and newspapers, including National Geographic, Wired, the New York Times, Nature and Outside. In 2011, she published her first book, Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World. She is currently writing a book about human relationships with wild animals. She grew up in Seattle, Washington, and lives with her husband and two children in Klamath Falls, Oregon.