Oregon Eyes Lottery Funds to Build Pipeline
In an effort to attract large businesses to their districts, two
Oregon state legislators introduced a bill recently that would
provide $20 million in lottery funds to help build a 64-mile
pipeline. No engineering study for the pipeline has been conducted
so far. The bill's main supporters, state Sen. Veral Tarno
(R-Coquille) and Rep. Ken Messerle (R-Coos County), said some of
the funds also could be used to build a high-voltage power line.
As the area's timber industry has faltered, the Coos County
unemployment rate has grown to 10%, nearly double the state's
average. A Coos County official said 1,700 jobs have been lost and
14 companies have passed on building plants in the area because of
the lack of natural gas access. Overall, 61,000 people in the Coos
Bay area are without natural gas service.
Nucor Corp., a Charlotte, NC-based steel manufacturer, has
expressed interest in building a $280 million steel mill in the
area, but only if the power line is built. The Bonneville Power
Administration (BPA) is conducting an environmental impact study on
the proposed $80 million power line, but Nucor, the BPA and
interested utility companies have not been able to decide who
should pay for it.
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