Friday, December 29, 2006

Another One Bites The Dust (how original)

As we put another year to rest we can't but help look forward and comtemplate what is ahead of us. Where will we be one year from now? Will we be in a warmer climate zone? Will we be building four new holding facilities for liquified natural gas? Will we be getting another college building proposal?

What will our new judge be bringing to the table? Will the DA resign? Will a mayor stay sober? Will jail overcrowding cause lawsuits? Will cloned salmon swim the river? Will we loose more grade schools? Will our cities merge to share services? Will the high schools share their students to give them the best education?

Will the voters speak out more, fear reprisal less and change the face of the county? Will people come out of the wood work to be heard, working together to get things done that weren't thought possible before? Will empty spaces in the middle of towns fill up? Will affordable housing become available? Will alcoholism and child abuse go down and AA and other abuse programs attendance go up?

Will each of us care about one another more and look for offense less? Will we vote for the person who cares the most for the people and not the one who cares the most for the dollar (unless its the dollar thats buying for everyone)? Will we, maybe not be zenophobic, look with great care on deals that look too good to be true brought to us by people with no ties or connections to our area?

Will this year bring change and will this change be for the best? It is with great excitement that we say goodbye to 2006 and welcome to 2007! May we all have a very good year.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Next Step is up to each of us

A gas pipeline explosion in Quebec and its aftermath

What was the next step from last week's post? A brief synopsis of the meeting was LNG bad, river good. Salmon spawning grounds will be jeopardized with anything placed on the river and with any displacement of the river bed or with the water and its temperature. All those who want to save the Columbia River from LNG corporations building along its banks must write to FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) stating, specifically, why they oppose the corporation and its placement of an LNG holding tank on the river. Bradwood Landing connotates a warm, fuzzy feeling that should not be used so everyone is encouraged to always refer to the site as the Bradwood Proposal or simply Northern Star. We say: envision the Landing (and the warm, fuzzy feeling it conjures up) engulfed in a flash of flames, the countryside of trees devastated all around, the local emergency crews unable to cope with the outcome of a incident of any magnitude.

This is not supposition, it is reality. It is concerns that the Department of Energy has written to FERC concerning LNG corporations building in remote areas, and specifically Bradwood, where emergency response teams are not adequate to respond to any degree should any sort of breech of safety arise.

Perplexing is that there are so many state departments that just don't have anything to do with one another. One state department can be concerned with one aspect while another, blithely unaware or apparently uncaring, issues permit after permit. The fact that the State of Oregon has issued water permits to Northern Star before it has been leased or sold any land, or permitted to build is a vexing problem. However, these permits have been issued. In order to counter those permits, what can and does need to happen next is that businesses need to write to FERC and let that agency know how they will be impacted should Northern Star be allowed to build at Bradwood.

The Coast Guard has written a letter that has gone unanswered by Northern Star regarding other ship traffic being totally limited when a tanker hauling LNG is on the river. On the average there will be three tankers per week on the river. This will curtail the cruise ship industry that many of our community businesses have recently committed themselves to during much of the year. A severely crippling effect that must be taken into consideration when Northern Star touts its numbers of bringing in $$ to the local economy. They do not bring an additional amount to the table. It is an either or, sadly, as the nature of the beast tends to knock the other income makers (mainly tourism through cruise ships and the fishing industry) out of the picture.

We would like the reader to understand that we do not have a vested interest in whether or not an LNG corporation comes in to Clatsop County. Northern Star people have a vested interest and they are not going to give you "both sides". We, frankly and forthrightly, do not see Northern Star's or any LNG corporation's side to putting a facility on the Columbia River except that they are in it for the money and it doesn't bring enough money to Clatsop County to make up for the damage done to the river, the potentially colossal damage done to salmon and sturgeon as well as the tourist industry.

The salmon project is a complete waste of time and money. From the studies done by Bonneville Power Administrations' own scientists these programs and projects do not restore the spawning grounds and hatcheries are a dismal failure in bringing back the salmon runs. We, frankly, need to get rid of the dams, but that is another day another fight another post. For now, we need to not even allow another mistake to happen much less then use 50 years trying to correct it.

To top it off, this is gas that is being imported from other countries when we aren't even using our own resources! Furthermore, this liquid gas, for which we are loosing our economy and our river is being changed and our fish our going extinct isn't even for us, it is for California! And inland! NONE of it stays local! We don't get special rates or discounts for taking the risks associated with hosting a energy plant which are targets as well as pipelines which have leaks and cause surrounding lands to be jeopardized with fireballs from mishaps.

You can contact local businesses and tell them about your concerns. Share with them how they need to contact FERC re their Environmental Concerns on the Bradwood Landing Project Docket #CP06-365 Magalie Roman Salas Secretary Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 888 First Street, N.E.Washington, DC 20426. Businesses, at this point, are crucial to the process because they have a different perspective on the impact that having these tankers on our river will have to our environment and our economy. The businesses, locally, have only been told by Northern Star of the supposed benefits bought through its initial outlay to build the facility. Someone needs to tell them of the draw backs. The impacts that dredging will have on our river's ecology and the fish habitat that is already so desperately out of balance. The impact once tankers are on the river and the loss of cruise ships and fishing boats on the river so that the tankers are safe.

This is something you can do tonight to ensure our river, our community and our children have a safer and healthier tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

STOP LNG on the Columbia River

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

And so, of course, begins Charles Dickens' classic, A Tale of Two Cities. It is that time, isn't it? Especially now, when so many would rather just not know and let their freedoms float away than face what is happening and fight a daily battle of mind and determination.

What is going into your mouth? Who picked it? Are they being paid fairly? Do they have adequate housing, health care, food for their table tonight? Your clothing that you wear, where did it come from? Who wove it? How about those tennis shoes are they worth the effort someone put into making them for you?

Our air, our water our natural resources that we are merely the stewards of for future generations. How will they grade your efforts to keep a peice of it safe for them? You, again, have the chance to do something to keep our county safe and clean. Come to the STOP LNG meeting, Tuesday, Dec 19, 6:30pm at #10 Basin St. Astoria, Union Fish Meeting Room at the Cannery Pier Hotel. Speak up and out!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Say it, Believe it, Become it!

Last week a nice woman wrote into the nice local paper and thanked the nice new corporation that wants to put a nice new liquified natural gas holding tank on our river for being such nice environmentally friendly people and contributing many millions of dollars to the local environment. This nice lady noted that "no other" corporation has contributed to the environment like this corporation wants to, if given the chance to put their terminal in at Bradwood.


Lets take this one spin at a time. For this post let's just address that according to Northern Star they are going to have a salmon program, similar to the one provided by good ole Bonneville Power Administration.

According to documents that Northern Star submitted to the state of Oregon, Northern Star Natural Gas has proposed the Bradwood Landing LNG receiving terminal to be built on about 55 acres of a 420-acre site at Bradwood, located between Astoria and Clatskanie at about River Mile 38 on the Columbia River. The facility would be designed to have a peak sendout capacity of 1.3 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas and would be capable of continuous operation. The project also would include a 34-mile long pipeline that would run from the site to Port Westward and then under the Columbia River into Washington.

One point three billion cubic feet of natural gas per day! Even if running at half peek, say 65 million cubic feet per day calculate that at the price of natural gas. Northern Star is proposing approximately 50 jobs for Clatsop, Columbia and Wahkiakum Counties to share. It is donating "up to 59 million" to environmental causes, less than the amount it will make in one day of operation.

This great environmental organization has optained permits to use 4400 gallons PER MINUTE from the Columbia River and 150 gallons per minute from a well for the purpose of hydrostatic pressure testing of storage tanks and associated pipelines. [Where does this water go, how often is this done, is there a pond that returns this water to its natural temperature before it is dumped back into the river?]

Northern Star has obtained permits to use 133.7 cubic feet per second from the Columbia River for the purpose of suction dredging of Columbia River sediments for construction of ship berth and turning basin. [Bye, bye salmon! Spawning grounds? Oh yeah, were going to make fake ones for them to use. Maybe some test tubes. LNG & BPA bring this salmon to you ... or maybe we can raise them for 4-H.]

Northern Star has obtained an additional permit to use 4.456 cubic feet per second from the Columbia River for the purpose of hydrostatic pressure testing of a transmission pipeline. [So this is shot down the pipeline after it is connected at the plant and the Columbia River water ends up where? Because we have so much of it being wasted by BPA so now it can be used to clean out pipes and be used to test them, instead of as spawning waters for our fish?]

THIS is what kills salmon! Taking COLOSSAL amounts of water out of the river and returning it in an altered state! Dredging our river bottom! These are extremely bad ideas! Read more about them and then protest by writing to your congress person.

There are sincere people in some salmon programs that believe they have the answer for the diminishing salmon population, however, these hypothesis have not been proven out. In most cases the salmon recovery projects have been proven to be dismal failures, as all of Bonneville Power Administrative's environmental salmon projects have shown.

Similar to the sacrifices Thugs brought to their multi-armed god, Kali, local thugs will sacrifice what is left of our salmon and sturgeon to the multi-facilities of the "environmentally friendly," power hungry, energy companies the Bonneville Power and Northern Star, unless we speak up and out, often and loud.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

They're Telling You That You Can't Handle It?

Choosing what to believe is one of the most important things one can do in life and one in which, for the most part, an individual is ill prepared to do. While a few things are plain and simple facts, most are not so plain or simple and you must rely on the interpretation of other people.

History. How many times has the relating of it (history books) changed on you? What was the USA constitution based on? Did the founding fathers believe in God? Was Abraham Lincoln fighting to abolish slavery or to save the Union? Did or did not the United States know that the Japanese were about to attack Pearl Harbor? Did the atomic bombs need to be dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to save lives in WWII or had the Japanese already begun the surrender process and the bombs were merely to show Russia what was what? Did Oswald act alone? Why did the twin towers fall in such an odd way? Where are the weapons of mass destruction? How much do the the top brass know about the way enemies are tortured?

Truthfulness starts in the home with the stories we tell our children. How can a child learn truth when we are inconsistent with it ourselves? Is there a Santa Claus or isn't there? Is there not a better way to explain this lively traditional elf? Can't a parent truthfully explain a tradition of believing in generous souls who gave secret gifts for hard working children, who gave money for teeth, who gave hidden eggs filled with treats? Now, there are binkey faeries who take bottles and binkies and deliver them to children who need them!

What's the problem believing in "magic"? If you truly believe in faeries and elves fine and dandy but if you are going to tell your child you were lying to them to give them a taste of magic that you never believed actually existed in the first place, you might want to reconsider. For those who truly believe in God they should take heed that never before in the history of the world have there been more atheists (non believers in any diety), with more than 70% of them coming from religious upbringings. Can it be directly connected to inconsistent truthfulness? You judge, isn't the child going to logically wonder when is the story of Santa and the story of God going to both be disavowed by the parent, if one of them is? When parents fail to be consistent in their truthfulness we lose trust of our first teachers.

When schools teach what to learn instead of how to learn we don't know how to find the truth if parents do not advocate for their children's education. When coaches give spots on the team based on who's name is on the school board or in the country club we never learn the truth about who it is wise to follow until sports are no longer seen as leadership training grounds. When our news providing media is bought and paid for by special interest groups we allow truth to be buried if we do not speak out and refuse to buy it. When the two party system is in a tie for corruption and people at the polls are looking for the lessor of two evils rather than the best person for the job truth has a way of being something that is considered an unattainable goal to a cynical society.

Truth? Maybe we can handle it, but do we deserve it? As long as we have breath in our body we deserve to be told the truth. As long as this country endures it must tell us the truth. A liar will continue to lie until someone has the courage to call out, "The Emperor is not wearing any clothes!" Be that person!

Truth? We can all handle it!