Protestors disrupt Medford Chamber of Commerce meeting to demand the Chamber condemn the Jordan Cove LNG pipeline project.
Medford, OR- A group of climate activists from Southern Oregon Rising Tide, concerned community members, and business leaders members interrupted a meeting at the Medford Chamber of Commerce to demand the organization stop taking money from the Canadian fossil fuel corporation proposing the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline. At this meeting, they also asked the Medford Chamber to officially oppose the controversial project.
The Medford Chamber PAC has taken $70,000 from Jordan Cove to distribute throughout local elections in Jackson County. According to the October 21 Mail Tribune front-page article, the $70,000 from Jordan Cove represents 63% of the contributions received by the Medford Chamber of Commerce PAC this year. Additionally, just days before Jordan Cove’s first contribution, the Medford Chamber of Commerce blindly sent a letter of support for Jordan Cove to the Energy Facility Siting Council.
The group interrupted the Chamber’s new business member orientation meeting to read a statement from local business leaders. The group questioned why the Medford Chamber of Commerce would issue support for a project that directly threatens the community that it’s supposed to represent and the businesses that depend on clean water and tourism.
“We’ve seen pipelines built through rural communities across this country. The pipeline companies always come in promising jobs and instead hire workers from out of state. This project doesn’t mean more jobs, it really just threatens jobs already existing in the Rogue Valley,” Margaret Frazee, a resident of Jackson County, “Really industries like tourism, fishing, and farming all depend on a healthy environment, all of which is threatened by this pipeline.”
After waiting for a break in the meeting, business leaders began to read a statement about why they were there (text included below). However, the group was not allowed to finish as members of the meeting aggressively harassed and pushed the activist and business leader reading his statement.
“The Medford Chamber of Commerce is part of our community, it’s supposed to be looking out for the interests of our community. Supporting Jordan Cove is not in our interests. Harassing and assaulting peaceful protesters unprovoked is not in our interests either,” Frazee said, “Clearly, the Chamber of Commerce needs to re-evaluate it’s stance on both the pipeline and the way it responds to community input.”
The group’s statement demanded “that the Medford Chamber of Commerce join [them] in saying no to Jordan Cove by rejecting monetary donations from the corporation and writing a letter against the project to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.”
After physical and verbal harassment by individuals in this meeting, the group of protestors left the building and the meeting was moved.