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Like all of you, I have my views. Since I retired from public life, I tend to share them only when asked. In this case — the Jordon Cove Pipeline project, I feel compelled to offer my perspective. A view I developed over the years serving you in the Military, Klamath Chamber, and Oregon legislature.

I am aware of the requirements for a robust industrial infrastructure to ensure our security — both economic and physical at the national, state, and local level. The Jordan Cove pipeline fills that need in spades.

The benefits of this project for Oregon and Klamath County are enormous:

n A 10-billion-dollar project for Southern Oregon;

n Thousands of temporary and hundreds permanent jobs;

n Nearly $8 million in annual spending from workers during construction;

n And most importantly for Klamath — $5.3 million in permanent tax revenues for us. About half of which will be dedicated to schools and half directly to the county and our various districts.

I see overt opposition to the pipeline taking the form of safety and environmental degradation.

In Oregon, there are more than 18,000 miles of pipelines. You drive alongside one for hundreds of miles each time you’re on I-5. The entire state of Oregon is crisscrossed by pipelines that are highly regulated and operating safely for many, many decades. Both state and federal permitting are more extensive and regulation more stringent now than ever before.

In Klamath we have two important pipelines: the GTN (60 years) and the Ruby (10 years). They both cross under many water courses, rivers, drainage ditches and all those features the state considers “wetlands.”

During construction and in the 60+ years (10 for the Ruby) they have been operating, they have not been harmful to wildlife or anything else. Like most people, you’ve probably forgotten they are even there.

That construction and operation generates tax revenue, business revenue, and it links our community to the greater western and U.S. economic energy infrastructure.

Nothing tells us better that exceptional commitment to safety and good regulations are working than the fact that I’m pointing out these pipelines that most of you have either forgotten about or didn’t even know exist.

This pipeline will be built to the highest of world standards, by a company with a strong, proven track-record, without using a single cent of public money.

I know this company. They are a good company. They aren’t lying to you. We will be proud to call them neighbors. They are doing so because of two major advantages we have that cannot be duplicated in the Northwest.

n We have the Port of Coos Bay, the most accessible deep-water port on the west coast of North America, ideally located for access to existing pipelines and to Southern Oregon. This will serve as the terminal for our pipeline.

n We have the Malin Hub interconnector providing an unending supply of clean and safe natural gas through our county and state. This is our resource, unique to Klamath, that cannot be duplicated.

Covert opposition comes from people who have a strongly held fear of global warming (Fossil fuels are bad and anything else is good). While you are entitled to your opinion I am also entitled to my skepticism.

What you and I are not entitled to is ignoring facts. Facts are stubborn things, and the fact is fossil fuels are a finite resource. Sooner or later they will run out.

Prior to that time, we will have developed alternative energy sources that will replace our current dependence on gas, oil, etc. Maybe then one of us will be proven wrong, or more likely we’ll both be proven partially right.

The task at hand is to facilitate that transition. Our pipeline is major component of that endeavor.

I support the Jordan Cove pipeline project. It will have a major, pivotal impact on the health and economic wellbeing of Klamath County. It is past time we expanded the opportunity for our children to find employment here. We possess a one of a kind resource in the Malin facility. A natural resource that nobody in the state can claim.

Let’s not squander this opportunity.

Steve Harper

Klamath Falls