Morrow Pacific: environmentally responsible

Mary Abrams, director of Oregon DSL, stated in an interview with Rob Davis of Oregon Live “I have a real alliance with the people in rural Oregon. I’m very proud to come from a very small town in Morrow County. I also believe — and I think people who live and work in rural Oregon — have their own environmental consciousness. They believe there are ways to make economic development and good environmental choices at the same time. That’s what I always look for …”

Well, Ms. Abrams, look no further; the Morrow Pacific Project is just what you are looking for: economic development in rural Oregon that desperately needs family-wage jobs and unequaled environmental protection.

As the project manager for Ambre Energy’s Morrow Pacific Project I am tasked with making the Morrow Pacific Project the most environmentally sound project using the very best of available technology. In my 35 years of experience I have not seen a project so environmentally focused.

The project from its inception was designed to be environmentally sensitive. “No coal dust” has been the mantra; thus enclosed storage barns and conveyors. No rail traffic in the Columbia River Gorge or metropolitan areas; hence barging from Boardman to Clatskanie in specifically designed and constructed enclosed barges.

All of which will cost Ambre millions of dollars extra. And that is Ambre’s money; no federal, state or local money is being requested.

The Morrow Pacific Project will be an economic boon for Morrow and Columbia counties, paying $4 million in state and local taxes, port fees and voluntarily establishing and funding annual $800,000 in education trusts in both counties.

We have purposely worked with and focused our attention on Oregon suppliers, contractors and labor at projected additional expense. The project has been fully scrutinized by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers continues to scrutinize the project. Consultation has been done with the National Marine Fisheries Service, The project has spent nearly $1 million in performing cultural resource studies and has been approved by the State Historic Preservation Office.

Initially ODEQ said an air permit was not required. Six months later they changed their mind. Initially the USACE and ODEQ said a 401 Certification was not required. Two years later ODEQ requested a 401 Certification.

The Morrow Pacific Project has complied with all regulatory statutes and provided everything we have been asked to provide. We have endured an unprecedented three public hearings and an extended public comment period. We have patiently waited for a fair and objective evaluation and have had the rules changed numerous times. Is it any wonder that rural Oregon lacks family-wage jobs?

Ms. Abrams, yes, you can have rural Oregon economic development and environmental responsibility when the Morrow Pacific Project is built.

Al Knapp is project manager for Morrow Pacific Project.

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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