By Ed Ruttledge, Tierra Del Mar community member
In a late Friday (March 12, 2021) email message, Chris Havel, the Associate Director, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) advised community members in Tierra Del Mar OPRD was granting an additional year to Facebook to complete its project in Tierra Del Mar. Mr. Havel’s announcement also revealed Facebook had requested the extension in a letter dated March 4, 2021 and the extension was granted by OPRD on March 10, 2021. No public hearing was convened prior to OPRD’s decision to extend Facebook’s permit for another year. There was no explanation why OPRD waited until after ithad granted the extension before advising citizens a request had even been made.
OPRD’s unilateral decision to support Facebook drew a quick response from the Oregon Coast Alliance (ORCA). In a message forwarded to Mr. Havel, ORCA stated it was: “… astonished that OPRD decided to grant an extension for a year on the Edge Cable permit.
That is not an appropriate action to take only by administrative review, with no public notice, no explanation to the public, not even posting on the website the criteria by which OPRD decide to make this decision… OPRD [should] rescind this decision and hold at the very least a public
question-and-answer session about: (a) the reasons for the Facebook request for a year’s extension; (b) the grounds on which OPRD is prepared to grant the request; (c) the harm to the community of granting a year’s extension for a project that should have ended directly after the
drill accident. Simply granting a year’s extension with no explanation at all is highly inappropriate in a situation like this one, where the agencies have bent over backward to allow this mismanaged project to continue, and are not holding the company accountable — all at the expense of the community and the marine environment.”
There has been no reply to ORCA’s request from OPRD.
The Facebook drilling project at Tierra Del Mar has experienced multiple failures. Last year Facebook broke a drillhead and abandoned it under the sea floor. Facebook was fined by the State $250,000 for this careless act. On January 25 Facebook experienced a fracout immediately adjacent to the Public beach area. Nevertheless, for whatever reason, OPRD appears to support Facebook’s interests and to do so even while limiting public information about its decision-making process.
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