Letters: Fight climate change while there is a chance
After a few months of feeling depressed and hopeless about the climate crisis after reading the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, I decided we didn't have any more time for depressed or hopeless and I hope you'll join me.
Right now, Pembina, a Canadian company, is trying to build a 229-mile fracked gas pipeline and export terminal in Southern Oregon to ship liquefied fracked gas to Asian markets. In addition to all the clearcutting and compromised waterways necessary for this project, we have no chance of meeting our Paris Agreement targets if we keep building new fossil fuel infrastructure.
Luckily, we can stop this! 350PDX has had lots of success in the past preventing these projects by interrupting their permitting by submitting public comments. Head over to 350PDX.org/jordancove to learn how before the deadline on Feb 3. Don't give up, we still have a chance!
Barr is wrong for attorney general
Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden need to know that the man who helped build America's surveillance state and thinks presidents are above the law should not become the next attorney general.
William Barr, Trump's nominee for attorney general, is already known as the "Godfather of the NSA's bulk data collection program," from his days in the George H.W. Bush administration. That program was the government's first known effort to sweep up phone records on Americans in bulk, whether or not they were suspected of a crime. This radical violation of privacy soon found its way into the Patriot Act, which Barr supported, even while believing it didn't go far enough.
This, and Barr's endorsement of expansive presidential power, signals he'd oppose holding a president to the same stringent standards of accountability that he'd impose on average citizens. We don't need an attorney general who'd thwart a search for the truth about Trump, especially now!
Housing plan would make matters worse
On Jan. 15, Mary Vogel wrote that readers should support House Speaker Tina Kotek's bill that would remake the character of single-family neighborhoods with duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes for the false promise of addressing housing affordability and climate change.
Like the residential infill plan being considered by the city of Portland, the bill will accelerate the demolition of older, smaller, affordable homes and encourage construction of larger expensive units that most citizens, especially blacks, cannot afford.
According to DATAUSA, in 2016, nearly 108,000 households (41 percent) made less than $50,000 a year. According to city-data.com, median black household income in Portland in 2016 was about $30,000 a year. According to former PSU Professor Loren Lutzenhiser's Nov. 16, 2016, statement to the Portland City Council, a prior draft of the residential infill plan would produce duplexes that "are only affordable as an ownership option to the highest income 15 to 20 percent of the current renter population (incomes of $75,000 to $85,000 a year are required)."
The city has already authorized adding additional dwelling units, or ADUs, in single-family zones, waiving some fees as well. Existing zoning allows internal renovation of larger homes to accommodate more families within them. This will reduce demand for fossil fuels with preserved walkable neighborhoods.
Professor Lutzenhiser found that "renovation of existing dwellings (rather than demolishing them), and adding ADUs to those and additional sites, would achieve the same density as demolition" — with duplex and ADU replacement — "at about 15 percent of the total cost to the households involved."
Like the residential infill plan, the bill would add to global warming. Lutzenhiser found: "Our demolition and new construction carbon emissions estimate is in the neighborhood of 47,000 pounds of CO2 emitted in the demo-construction process. The estimate for a major energy retrofit of an existing house is about 1,500 pounds (about 1/30th as much), and building a new ADU is estimated to produce around 12,000 pounds of CO2."