Letters to the Editor for May 7, 2012

By Jayson Jacoby May 07, 2012 12:52 pm

Herald misses point on coal

To the editor:

It was disappointing to read the Herald’s recent editorial which ignored the dangers of accelerated burning of U.S. coal (April 27). Coal and other fossil fuels (carbon-intensive fuels) are the cause of undeniable and devastating impacts around the world through the mechanism of global warming. 

And now we face proposals to accelerate this devastation by exporting 157 million tons of our coal each year from ports in Oregon and Washington to feed Chinese furnaces. 

Gov. Kitzhaber made a well-warranted response to this looming threat by proposing a comprehensive study. You can read about it at 

oregonlive.com/environment. 

The Herald’s response avoided the heart of the matter, raising only trivial side issues and red herrings. Planet-wide extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and pervasive famine are causing billions of dollars of damage and intense human suffering. Yet the Herald’s Editorial Board said not one word of these consequences. Instead, it derided the governor as “inconsistent” for challenging diesel exhaust emissions from as many as 63 additional coal trains per day, but not the diesel exhaust from trucks carrying wind turbine parts on I-84, as if there were any meaningful comparison. 

Gov. Kitzhaber also raised the concern that coal-burning power plants produce airborne mercury, a known neurotoxin. Internationally, coal-burning power plants are the largest human-caused source of mercury, which eventually settles into water or onto land where it can be washed into water. We have a fish consumption advisory affecting Brownlee Reservoir, because mercury can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system of people of all ages, including the unborn. Incredibly, the Editorial Board faulted Kitzhaber for failing to cite studies proving that airborne mercury is a health hazard! And it then referred to accelerated coal burning as “economically beneficial,” because it would create some jobs. 

Gov. Kitzhaber has raised timely and essential questions about a destructive proposal that threatens us all. It’s important for our nation to focus on this dangerous proposal. It’s time for the Herald’s Editorial Board to directly address the threat of global warming and enter vigorously and responsibly into the national debate. 

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Williams is a devoted leader

To the editor:

I have known Don Williams for over 15 years and worked with him when he was the program manager at the Powder River Correctional Facility. I was extremely pleased when he told me he is running for Justice of the Peace for Baker County. He will bring to the position over 25 years of experience, knowledge and understanding of the criminal and civil courtroom procedure. When I think of Don, I think of integrity, personal courage and the ability to connect people for the good of the community. I have witnessed firsthand his ability to coordinate programs which were not only effective for the offender, they were effective for the offenders’ family and our community. He managed programs when funding was cut time and time again, yet maintained essential services and programs to address community concerns. Don’s leadership and his ability to create a team environment led to successful programs which have had a positive impact on the Baker community.

Don Williams is not a politician, he is a person who is actively engaged in working with private citizens, volunteers and public agencies to find solutions to community issues. Don Williams’ tireless devotion to public service and doing what is right over what is convenient or popular make him the best choice. I hope you will join me in supporting Don Williams for Baker County Justice of the Peace.

Mary Grove-Armstrong
Baker City