Comment from Legry, John
The Northwest is on the cusp of being a national leader in addressing climate change, and improving our health and environment. I applaud the Council's decision to include strong energy efficiency targets in the draft 6th power plan, but we must go farther. We cannot truly protect ourselves from both the financial and social risks of climate change without setting a strong price for the cost of carbon, and we cannot truly solve climate change without taking substantive steps to end our reliance on the biggest culprit in global warming pollution coal. Council staff has performed an analysis that shows the way. The Northwest can become coal free by 2020 in steps that are both achievable and affordable. Phase out coal from the Northwest, and set a strong carbon price. Oregon Chambers of Commerce frequently proclaim our good government, and how lovely everything is here, but... Men's Health researched the relative industrial toxicity of the 101 largest cities in the United States in June 2004. Their data included the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) most recent tally of hazardous waste producing facilities. EPA's Total Environmental Release data records the amount of waste released into air, water and land, and the number of Superfund sites - places so dirty they qualify for federal cleanup funds. Houston came out the most contaminated, followed closely by Portland, Oregon. Not much has happened locally since to change conditions. Local media largely ignores it. Interferes with boosterism. The powers that be in Portland spend most of their time trying to attract more business to the area, giving away riverfront property, cheap utilities, and so on. South Waterfront development is being built on a mud mass in an extremely unstable liquefaction zone. Local decisions are economic and political, never really environmental. For all their talk of quality of life, they have facilitated its degradation and consistently propose even more ruin. Growth at any price, without limits or reason, dooms the city from ever improving, or even preserving its quality of life. David Suzuki, B.C. Biologist, calls "unlimited growth the ethos of a cancer cell." As they say, "You don't miss water until the well runs dry," or becomes so poisonous you can't drink it. Isn't the quality of our air, water and land more important than increased density and business development? Perhaps the real question is, how dumb are we? Nothing irks me more than a newcomer who says, "We lost it in Podunkville, but we still have a chance to save it here." Did it need saving before someone hyped them to move here in their gas-guzzling, fume-belching SUVs by the legion? Governor Tom McCall told visitors, "Welcome to Oregon. Have a nice visit, but don't stay." METRO is currently debating expansion of the urban services boundary to permit more ticky-tacky box-building on prime farmland. The Arctic ice hasn't melted at this year's rate in 2,000 years! We are warming the ocean, changing the currents, and decimating the bottom of the food chain. The chi-chi morons in local leadership positions must think this is all happening on some other planet - NOT on Planet Oregon! Will somebody please channel Tom McCall for us? Quickly. We need someone to look at this boldly who has a broad public voice. Someone to bring the truth and reason home to Portland for us. Please help get people's heads out of their... armpits. The game is over. Phase out coal from the Northwest, and set a strong carbon price.