Canadian energy giant ‘funding’ Oregon sheriff’s unit to thwart protests against one of its own pipeline projects

A Canadian fossil fuel company “bought” a sheriff’s unit in Oregon with the aim of controlling and monitoring the behavior and activities of anti-gas pipeline activists and environmentalists, the Intercept has revealed.

In November 2018, Coos County Sheriff’s Office – which has closely monitored local opposition to the Jordan Cove Energy Project – hosted a two-day training event for officers, instructing them on how to deal with battles against protesters.

Yet, the event costs of $26,250 were paid by Pembina Pipeline Corp. – the Canadian energy company that owns the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project, which the Trump administration has named as one of its high-priority infrastructure projects.

Not only did it cover the costs of the police training event, Pembina for four years was the “sole funding source” of a unit within the sheriff’s office dedicated to handling security concerns around the pipeline development, according to a new investigation by the Intercept.

Despite the fact that the energy project still needs to be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, between 2016 and 2020 the sheriff’s department reportedly spent $2 million of Pembina’s cash, using the money to purchase riot gear, monitor activists and coordinate intelligence-gathering operations with “private security companies” that worked with the Canadian energy giant. A decision by the FERC was expected on February 13, but was delayed by another week.

The financial arrangement was put on hold in April 2019, but Coos County Sheriff Craig Zanni said the partnership is likely to be renewed, the report said.