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Oregon Eyes Lottery Funds to Build Pipeline

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.

John Norris

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ISSN © 2577-9877 | ISSN © 1532-1266
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