Tillamook County, Ore. – Facebook has been drilling off the Oregon Coast near Tillamook county to connect a high-speed fiber optic cable to China. The project hit a major snag under the ocean and Facebook has abandoned all the equipment down there, with no plans of picking it up. We’re talking thousands of gallons of drilling fluid, hundreds of feet of pipe, tools, and more. All left sitting there on the ocean bottom just off the central Oregon coast. On Thursday the Department of State Lands told Facebook they’re now in violation of their project permits – because they can’t store equipment on the bottom of the ocean off the Oregon coast. The state gave Facebook 30 days to reach a deal on damages for violating the permit. Facebook also has 180 days to get the stuff out of there, or apply for a new permit so they can leave it down there. Oregonlive reports this whole project is something many retired residents in the small town north of Pacific City has fought against from the every first day, but the Tillamook county Board of Commissioners approved the project despite the community opposition. Some tell Oregonlive now the disaster has become far worse than what they were expecting.
In 2016, Oregon Governor Kate Brown reportedly wrote a letter to a telecommunications conference encouraging builders to use Oregon as a landing site for international undersea cables.
Two years later Facebook bought some beachfront property from former Oregon Ducks quarterback Joey Harrington for half a million dollars. Facebook started applying for permits and drilling began back in March. The accident happened at the end of April.
Story by KXL’s Jacob Dean.