Friday, November 30, 2012
Just over a year ago, the Sierra Club began alerting residents to a proposal now under way to transport 130-150 million tons of coal per year through the Columbia River Gorge — via barges or open train cars. One of the specific coal transport projects tied to that proposal is now under consideration in Oregon.
Several public hearings are scheduled for the public to provide comment to the Department of Environmental Quality about the proposed Morrow Pacific Coal Export Project near Boardman, Ore.
The project would involve the barge transport of 8.8 million tons of coal per year on the Columbia River, through Hood River, to Port Westward on the Lower Columbia, loading onto Panamex vessels for overseas markets.
Ambre Energy, who owns the Montana and Wyoming coal strip mines involved, has applied for permits through the Department of State Lands.
The DEQ is now considering three related permits: an air emission permit, a pollution discharge permit and a storm water discharge permit.
Some communities directly benefiting from the export plan are focused on economic positives, but local opponents, including Columbia Riverkeeper, cite concerns over diesel pollution from transportation and coal dust dispersion while in transit, plus smoke from unregulated combustion overseas.
A local effort to encourage public comment is under way with a local workshop to provide interested residents with additional information prior to the public meetings. Springhouse Cellar Winery will host the local workshop on Dec. 2, 4-5:30 p.m. at 13 Railroad St. The event is free.
The three public DEQ hearings are slated as follows: Dec. 4, 6 p.m. – Port of Morrow, River Front Conference Room, 2 Marine Drive, Boardman; Dec. 5, 6 p.m. – Clatskanie High School Auditorium, 471 Bel Air Drive, Clatskanie; Dec. 6, 6 p.m. Ambridge Event Center, 1333 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland.
Buses to DEQ meetings from Hood River are being coordinated via email at Peter@GorgeFriends.org.
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge