10 Facts About Jessica Gomez, Jeff Golden, and the Jordan Cove Pipeline
It is interesting to compare State Senate candidates Jessica Gomez and Jeff Golden on the Jordan Cove fracked gas export terminal and pipeline proposed by a Canadian corporation called Pembina.
Where are the candidates getting their money? What is their track record on Jordan Cove? And how honest are they being with voters?
FACT 1. Gomez is Vice Chair of the Medford/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce. On August 3, 2018, the Chamber sent a formal letter to the Oregon Department of Energy that said, “Our organization has strongly supported this project.” Gomez’s name is on the letterhead.
FACT 2. Three weeks later, on August 24, Jordan Cove’s political action committee (PAC) gave $25,000 to the Chamber’s PAC, according to reports they are required to file with the Oregon Secretary of State.
FACT 3. Two weeks later, on September 7, Chamber PAC transferred $10,000 to the Gomez campaign, with more possibly to come before or right after Election Day, as often happens with funding from controversial PACs.
FACT 4. On March 12, 2018, the Oregon Business Council (OBC) sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), saying “the Oregon Business Council supports the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline.”
FACT 5. Jessica Gomez is on the OBC board and her name is on the letterhead.
FACT 6. Jordan Cove’s reports show that it gave $10,000 to the PAC of another special interest lobby, Oregon Business & Industry. OBI’s PAC, by coincidence, gave $25,000 to the Gomez campaign.
FACT 7. Earlier this year, Jordan Cove’s PAC contributed $500 to a campaign committee to reelect Carl Wilson of Grants Pass to the state legislature. On September 18, Wilson’s campaign transferred that exact amount to Gomez’s campaign.
FACT 8. On September 22, the Oregonian reported that Jordan Cove “is registered as a foreign partnership and a foreign limited liability company with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office, one with its principal office in Calgary, Canada. And the campaign finance manual published by [the state’s] election division says that federal regulations prohibit foreign nationals, corporations and partnerships from making campaign contributions.”
FACT 9. Gomez’s campaign finance reports also show major contributions from global oil and gas companies such as Chevron, British Petroleum, and Tesoro.
FACT 10. Jeff Golden, a long-time opponent of the Jordan Cove project, does not accept campaign contributions from corporate PACs.
Giving Voters a Straight Answer
The key way a state senator could oppose the Jordan Cove project would be to write a formal letter to the federal and state agencies reviewing the company’s permit applications. Our departing state senator, Alan DeBoer, refused to do that, even though Jackson County’s Republican county commissioners have done so.
At a public forum on environmental issues held Oct. 1 at the Medford Library, there was a segment where candidates were asked to give straight answers to a series of questions by holding up a placard saying “Yes” or a placard saying “No.”
Gomez and Golden were asked, if elected, “Would you pressure state agencies to deny permits for the Jordan Cove project?”
Golden held up “Yes.” Gomez held up “No” in one hand and “Yes” in the other.
In a videotaped discussion after that, people attending the forum asked her to explain.
First, she said she couldn’t oppose Jordan Cove because there are some state senators who support it.
Then, she said that as a state senator she couldn’t write to FERC opposing Jordan Cove because FERC is a federal agency (even though her name is on the Oregon Business Council letter to FERC supporting Jordan Cove).
When she was asked why her name is on the Chamber’s letter to a state agency supporting the project, she said she is just one member of the board. When asked how she, as Vice Chair of that board, voted on sending the letter, she said she “couldn’t remember.”
Jordan Cove would build a 229-mile pipeline across public and private land in southern Oregon to bring highly flammable fracked gas from the Rocky Mountains to a new terminal at Coos Bay, where the gas would be exported to Asia.
The project would trample the rights of landowners and local tribes, threaten more than 400 waterways, jeopardize existing businesses that depend on our rivers and bays, drive up energy prices here at home, and create the largest source of climate pollution in the state.
It also would create a new fire hazard in our region – just about the last thing we need. And the highly explosive export terminal would be located right in the earthquake and tsunami zone on the coast, putting thousands of lives in danger for the short-term profits of a Canadian company.
Corporate special interests are being heard, loud and clear, in this election. It’s up to the rest of us to get the facts.