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Options to halt

coal-train fiasco

There are five cities in Columbia County that will be seriously impacted by 12 coal “unit trains” per day (each train being 1.3 miles long) if Kinder-Morgan gets to build a 100-acre coal storage pile at Port Westward.

The trains can be stopped if the Port of St. Helens Commissioners simply vote NO on final approval of the lease.

Columbia County also can say NO to coal trains. The planning commission can determine that the port’s application to rezone 957 acres of agricultural land to industrial land (in violation of statewide land use goal #3 — preserve farmland) is not justified, especially to accommodate a coal terminal and unit trains.

We as citizens must do our part, and I see three ways: 1) Tell our port officials what we think of this coming traffic nightmare at every grade crossing along Highway 30; 2) write a letter to the Columbia County Planning Commission urging it to deny the farmland reduction or testify at the May 6 hearing; and 3) vote for Michael Clarke for Port Commissioner, Position 4; Mike opposes the coal train fiasco and aims to shine a bright light on the not-so-transparent dealings of the Port.

Darrel Whipple


Coal has other

far-reaching effects

David Sprau’s letter stating, “you can’t stop coal trains” was very compelling. I reread it several times. What I find missing in his and so many other’s who support coal exports via Columbia County is the discussion of what the governors of Oregon and Washington stated in their joint letter to the Environmental Protection Agency published in the Spotlight, March 29.

They state, “the true costs of long-term commitments to supply coal from federal lands for energy production, whether domestically or in Asia must be examined.”

Those who desire an environment in which living communities can expect to support future generations hope for this investigation and discussion. As people of our nation, state, community and households, we are part of a problem that is verifiably on our doorsteps wherever we live. That problem is the clear and present danger of increasing CO2 emissions, which cause global warming with climate change everywhere.

Burning coal is a major source of greenhouse gases. It would be well worth reprinting the letter from the governors. As responsible sources they explain very well the cost of contributing further to these gases. The loss of adequate snow pack in our mountains and ocean acidification are costs no amount of wealth will be able to bear.

I ask those who say the trains will be OK and the jobs forthcoming to look at the overreaching question: How do we justify coal exportation in the face of the irretrievable harm more emissions will yield?

I am hoping this is part of how this proposed project is analyzed by the Port of St. Helens commissioners and the leadership in our communities and state.

I have found that Port commissioner candidate Michael Clarke has indicated a keen interest in studying all the concerns expressed regarding coal transport via Columbia County. I appreciate his emphasis on small business development for job creation. As Mr. Sprau indicated, trains will run as they do, but the port doesn’t have to provide coal-export facilities to service that particular commodity.

I hope Michael Clarke will be seated on the commission to represent my concerns for a sustainable future for all.

Janon Hutton

St. Helens

Enter the country legally if you want respect

State Rep. Dennis Richardson asked about giving provisional driver’s licenses to illegal aliens (Oregon SB833).

I replied:

“When I was collecting signatures (local measure 5-191) in 2007 a woman said she married an illegal and had a child. He went back to his country, went through the paperwork and entered the country legally. She didn’t see why it should be so hard. But he did it.

I told her now that he was here legally, his green card was huge! Now it’s clear he certainly wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize his hard-fought legal status. I’d welcome them living next door. He did the right thing.

This provisional driver’s license requires a year in the state. During that year wait they will be driving illegally; here illegally; unable to understand our laws; illegally. Don’t foster this occupation.

Illegals need to go home, get in line and come back legally like he did.

Anything easy, which is what you’re considering, is degrading and takes away from the route her husband took.

Wayne Mayo


Stopping firearm

financing? Well stop you

It was reported by the media that GE Capital, the financial division of General Electric, is withdrawing lines of credit for firearms dealers in the country, in response to the Sandy Hook School Massacre.

Mr. Lanza, the shooter’s father, (it is reported), is an executive with GE Capital.

While I do have empathy for Mr. Lanza’s loss of both his wife and son, the action by GE Capital is an act of arbitrary revenge and retribution. His son’s actions were responsible. A call for mental health initiatives to stop acts by persons such as Adam Lanza from happening would have been more effective and appropriate.

I suggest that the action by GE Capital in withdrawing lines of credit for firearms dealers across the country should prompt gun owners to seek financing of their purchases from companies other than GE Capital as an appropriate response.

Tom Klingbeil


Success at the

Spring Garden Fair

The Columbia County Master Gardener Association’s 18th Annual Spring Garden Fair was a great success. We want to thank the hundreds of gardeners who made purchases at the fair, the vendors who participated and the many local businesses and agencies that helped us prepare.

We would like to thank all who posted our event on reader boards, published news releases, listed us in event calendars, posted fliers in their businesses, mentioned us in radio spots and allowed us to post signs on your property.

Your participation in this event was vital. Thank you all for your support.

See you next year at the fair.

Wes Bevans

Publicity coordinator

2013 Spring Garden Fair

Contract Publishing

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