News Briefs: Tar Sands Campaign in Oregon | LNG Pipelines One Down One Flipping | Willamette Bike Lanes | Writer Mourns, Chronicles Loss of Ocean | Bogus Nuke Background? | Chef's Night Fundraiser | CALC Hosts MLK Reading | Activist Alert | Corrections / Clarifications |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Happening People: Indra Stern-Hayworth
TAR SANDS CAMPAIGN IN OREGON
The heavy haul has inexorably been moving massive loads of tar sands equipment up the Columbia River and through wild and scenic corridors to the final destination in Canada where the machines will be used to extract oil from the earth using methods that opponents say are toxic and emit climate-changing greenhouse gases. Native tribes, fishermen and conservationists say the hauls ã trucks and loads with combined weight up to half a million pounds ã and modifications to the roads they travel could hurt the Northwests fragile salmon runs. Groups in Oregon have begun to speak up.
|Activists and tribal members gather at Kelley Point Park. Photo Tar-Free Oregon|
Much of the protest has come from groups directly affected by the megaloads ã people along the route, or who live in the Midwest where the associated Keystone XL Pipeline will run, bringing the crude tar sands oil from Canada to refineries in the U.S. But Michael OLeary of the National Wildlife Federations Tar-free Oregon campaign says the dirty fossil fuel and climate change issue affects everyone. "On the demand side, we are all part of the consumptive behaviors,” he says.
OLeary says Tar-Free Oregon will begin work asking cities, counties and the state to consider contracting for fuel that is tar sands-free and thus has a lower impact on the climate. "One of the largest consumers of gasoline is the local government,” OLeary says, citing uses from the police to county motor pools.
While the group has had conversations with local governments, such as the city of Eugene, no agreements have been made. Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy was one of 25 mayors who sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in late March expressing concern over the Keystone pipeline and asking the State Department to look at how the expansion of high-carbon tar sands imports can undermine municipal clean energy initiatives.
OLeary says Tar-Free Oregon would not ask governments to ban Canadian oil, just not buy tar sands-produced oil. What if, he asks, the gas pump didnt just have an octane rating but a climate impact rating? He says, "10 percent of Oregons fuel is tar-sourced.”
Eugene-based Indigenous People for Sustainable Lifestyles has begun to take action against the route to the tar sands here in Oregon. Native American activists Shayleen Macy and Kayla Godowa-Tufti, both of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and Delia Sanchez of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, organized an event in Portlands Kelley Point Park, along the Columbia on March 20 that they say was both spiritual and a protest.
The group says they do not approve of using the Columbia River, where the Warm Springs tribe has treaty rights to fish for salmon, as a route to destroy the boreal forests of Canada and facilitate destruction of the earth.
IPSL is planning another event, a salmon bake at Kelley Point Park on April 23, according to Macy and Sanchez. Sanchez says the group is also coordinating with Northwest tribal "canoe families” as part of the event. Canoe families have been reviving the Northwest native canoe culture and Sanchez says take journeys by canoe as long as 900 miles.
The group meets Tuesdays from 4 to 6 pm at the University of Oregons Many Nations Longhouse. For more information contact Macy at firstname.lastname@example.org ã Camilla Mortensen
LNG PIPELINES ONE DOWN ONE FLIPPING?
Liquefied natural gas advocates have called those opposed to massive gas pipeline projects in Oregon "NIMBYs” (Not In My Backyard) over their objections to gas companies using eminent domain to take portions of the their land for projects such as the Pacific Connector and the Palomar Pipeline. But opponents say the issue isnt just where the pipelines would go, but the repercussions for everything from the environment to prices for electricity and gas customers.
LNG is natural gas that has been cooled to a liquid for shipping. Once transformed back to a gas, it is shipped through large pipelines, similar to the one that exploded and killed eight people in September 2010 in San Bruno, Calif. Oregonians have been fighting several proposed LNG import terminals. One, Bradwood Landing, has gone under, and its associated pipeline, the Palomar Pipeline, withdrew its permit application last week.
Olivia Schmidt, community organizer for BARK, says despite Palomar Gas Transmission LLCs claims its pipeline was not dependent on an LNG terminal, its decision to withdraw both halves of its proposed pipeline indicate otherwise. The eastern half of the pipeline would have gone through the Mt. Hood National Forest, cutting a 50-foot wide swath through the forest and cutting through the Clackamas River, she says.
Schmidt says Palomar violates the laws that protect wild and scenic rivers and old growth, and it could damage critical habitat for salmon and steelhead.
While celebrating, Schmidt says the fight is not over yet. "When and if they came back were here to stop them again,” she says. Palomar has indicated it intends to file another application in the future. She says what has stopped the LNG companies has "really just been resistance from the public, which has slowed this project down enough to reconsider their investment.”
She points out that even as the diverse coalition of environmentalists, landowners and others celebrate Palomars current defeat, Oregon LNGs proposed terminal in Astoria is still on the table as is Jordan Cove and the Pacific Connector pipeline in Coos Bay.
Monica Vaughan, grassroots coordinator for Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, says LNG opponents fears that the proposed Oregon terminals would not just import LNG but export the fossil fuel were realized when Bob Braddock, project manager for Jordan Cove, told the energy newsletter "Platts LNG Daily” that his company had mulled over inquiries about using the facility to convert domestic gas to LNG for export. Braddock has since backpedaled on his comment.
Under section 7(h) of the Natural Gas Act, as an import terminal, Jordan Coves Pacific Connector legally qualifies to use eminent domain to cross properties as the pipeline would be for the publics benefit. As an export terminal it would not qualify because the gas would not be for "public convenience and necessity.”
Vaughan says, "For the last couple years weve really anticipated that the project would be flipped to export because thats what would make economic sense.” She says the proposed Pacific Connector pipeline to Malin, OR, would link to the Ruby Pipeline and tap into Wyomings natural gas supplies.
Exporting natural gas would cause prices for the fuel and electricity to rise in the U.S. Vaughan says, citing the Industrial Energy Consumers of America, which recently came out against an LNG export proposal in Louisiana. ã Camilla Mortensen
WILLAMETTE BIKE LANES?
Cyclists have appealed to the Eugene City Council to include bike lanes in a planned repaving project on south Willamette Street.
The local GEARs bicycle group posted an action alert on its website March 11. The group said theyd learned of a city re-paving project on Willamette from 29th to 32nd avenues that did not include bike lanes contrary to the TransPlan passed by local elected officials. "This is a serious error, especially given the fact that the Willamette and 29th area was highlighted at the last Advocacy Committee meeting as a top problem spot for biking.”
The group called for people to write to the council urging them to pull the three block section of Willamette from the larger 17-block re-paving project so that the re-paving can be re-planned to include bike lanes.
Six citizens emailed councilors urging the elected officials to include the already planned bike lanes. "Our family relies on bicycle transport on a daily basis, including doing our shopping at the Woodfield Station area. We often take the risky ride along Willamette Street, but when using our bike trailers, sometimes we are forced to take a long detour to avoid the stretch of Willamette Street between 29th and 32nd,” wrote Lynn Cody.
Richie Weinman wrote that he lives near Willamette and that not including the bike lanes "seems to be inconsistent with city policy. If you look at a map, you will see that there arent very satisfactory alternatives to Willamette Street in that area for bike riders.”
"This violation of the citys own policy needs to be addressed,” wrote Carin Wise of not including the bike lanes called for in TransPlan.
The bike lanes from 18th to 32nd streets on Willamette are also included as a key project in a draft new bicycle and pedestrian plan now under development. Cyclists have been calling for the safety improvement for decades and the lanes received the most support in hundreds of public comments on the plan. Willamette has the third highest number of bike accidents in Eugene, according to a recent city study.
The city has resisted adding bike lanes to paving projects in the past. In response to suggestions that the city include bike lanes with a repaving project on Hilyard near Roosevelt Middle School, city transportation planner David Roth told the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee last month, "its way too late.” Roth said, "we have to be a year in advance to even get striping changes.”
Thats a much less flexible process than in Portland. Mia Birk, Portlands bike coordinator from 1993 to 1999, came to Eugene in January and told of how she quickly re-striped a four-lane road for planned bike lanes with the help of the citys traffic engineer and a painting crew. They did it over a weekend. ã Alan Pittman
(A version of this story first appeared at Eugenecycles.com)
WRITER MOURNS, CHRONICLES LOSS OF OCEAN
Once thought of as a limitless source of food, the oceans are being depleted at an exponential rate, according to ocean conservation advocate and activist Carl Safina. Safina has been writing books advocating against the rapid destruction of our oceans and coastal communities and documenting issues like non-target catch ã fish killed in the course of fishing for more profitable or consumable species ã accounting for 25 percent of the total catch, coral reefs quickly being reduced into seaweed gardens, and small islands being drowned by rising water levels. Safinas March 5 keynote address focused on this ocean exploitation at the Public Interest in Environmental Law Conference.
"It is OK to use nature,” Safina said. "It is not OK to use it up.”
Safina highlighted many separate issues facing the marine ecosystem, focusing on a few specific animals and environments. Long-line fishing methods are a threat to albatrosses that swoop in to catch the bait. These gigantic sea-faring birds also have a tendency to eat the myriad of plastic flotsam that comes off of trash barges. Safina showed a picture of a decomposing bird with nothing but Bic lighters in its stomach. It takes some albatrosses up to 10 years before they reach sexual maturity, he said.
Oregons Legislature is currently debating a ban on plastic grocery bags, another source of ocean trash.
The pH levels of the ocean have been decreasing as well. This change in acidic content is dissolving coral reefs, which are also struggling with massive overfishing. Fishermen in these tropical areas have aided in the destruction by using such creative fishing methods as blast fishing ã using explosives ã and poisoning the water, Safina said.
The speech discussed in brief a few ways to reduce the damage being dealt upon our oceans, focusing more on describing the problems than offering solutions. Safina book-ended his speech with readings from his new book A View from Lazy Point.
"The worst thing anyone should be able to say about their life may also be the best: •I tried my best.” ã John Locanthi
BOGUS NUKE BACKGROUND?
Questions about radiation levels in Japan run the gamut, and responses vary from residents in Japan opting to stay near the leaking plants to freaked out Americans buying potassium iodide because of trace amounts of radiation detected in Oregon precipitation.
Recent updates in the media include the figure 620 millirems as the average amount of annual radiation exposure in the U.S. But portraying this figure as typical is not representative of normal exposure, according to Gerry Pollet, executive director of Heart of America Northwest,a citizens advocacy group working on issues related to Hanford nuclear site.
Pollet says that including data for medical treatments like MRIs, CAT scans and radiation used to kill human cells in cancer treatments drives up the reported average. "Whats so misleading is that this is not background radiation,” Pollet says.
"Essentially these figures show what a tremendous rise there has been for 15 years or so in terms of the amount of medical scans in one term or another,” Pollet says. He says that the decision to use radiation exposures to diagnose or treat health problems also acts differently on the human body than a higher radiation background level, which is cumulative.
Instead of focusing on average background levels, Pollet says, the human health outcomes are important. "Even if its not very much, the important question is how many additional cancers will be caused by this level of radiation, which makes the background radiation totally irrelevant,” Pollet says.
A UN Report to the General Assembly on radiation says it is "impossible to make reliable quantitative estimates of risk” because of the difficulty in determining the dose that an individual has received. The report also states that the thyroid cancers of individuals exposed as children in the Chernobyl incident are much higher than expected, echoing the finding that children are more susceptible to the effects of radiation than the adult males that most studies use for their data.
Pollet says that the natural background radiation level (without any human-caused additions) along the Columbia River at Hanford is less than 100 millirems a year. The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation cites 240 millirems per year as the average natural background radiation level globally, which may vary by a factor of three in different locations. ã Shannon Finnell
CHEFS' NIGHT FUNDRAISER
Sixty local restaurants and wineries will serve more than 900 people in the name of feeding the poor Tuesday April 5 at the annual Chefs Night Out.
The benefit for FOOD for Lane County is from 6:30 to 9 pm at the Hult Center. Tickets are $65 in advance (682-5000), $75 Tuesday. The event has raised more than $1 million for the hunger charity since its inception. This years event is dedicated to the memory of local restaurateur Mike West, who spearheaded the creation of the fundraiser 21 years ago and died of a heart attack in January.
CALC HOSTS MLK READING
Local activist groups find Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s message in his April 4, 1967 speech, "A Time to Break Silence,” just as pertinent today as it was almost 50 years ago. Linking opposition to the Vietnam War with the struggle for social justice, King outlined what he called the disastrous "triplets” that haunted American society: racism, militarism and materialism.
Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) is hosting a reading of Kings speech at 7 pm Monday, April 4, at First Christian Church, 1166 Oak St. The local CALC chapter began in 1966 as a response to the Vietnam War and continues educating for peace, human dignity, and racial and economic justice.
"The issues that King spoke on in 67 are still very real today. There is no money for social and environmental programs because our nation continues to place money into military efforts,” said event organizer Michael Carrigan.
Twenty community members, including Mayor Kitty Piercy and City Councilor Andrea Ortiz, will read Kings speech at the event. Soromundi Lesbian Chorus will perform before and after the reading. The free event is the first in a series celebrating CALCs 45 years of work in Lane County. For more information visit www.calclane.org ã Heather Cyrus
« The Many Rivers Group of the Sierra Club is planning a presentation on "Oregons Marine Reserves Process” from 7 to 9 pm Thursday, March 31, at the Eugene Garden Club, 1645 High St. in Eugene. Speaker is Bob Rees of the Our Ocean coalition. Contact Sally Nunn at email@example.com or visit www.ouroregonocean.org
« Buy books and watch the award-winning film Inside Job about Wall Streets role in the financial mess the U.S. is in at the Unitarian Church 6:30 pm Friday, April 1.
« The powerful Metropolitan Policy Committee will hold what could be the last public hearing on the west Eugene EmX on Tuesday, April 5 at 6 pm in the fairgrounds Wheeler Pavilion. Comments can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
« Learn about local farms and products at Thats My Farmer from 6 to 8:30 pm Wednesday, April 6, at First United Methodist Church, 13th and Olive.The program features a farmer presentation, a slide show of Robin Cushmans photography, Coconut Bliss ice cream, live music and a raffle of farm products.A suggested donation of $5 a person or $10 a family provides fresh produce to low-income families.
« The Oregon Conservation Network is planning its annual Environmental Lobby Day from 9 am to 4 pm Thursday, April 7, at the state Capitol in Salem. This free event will start with expert training on OCNs priority bills, including banning plastic checkout bags, protecting children from toxic BPA, and expanding the bottle bill, among others. That afternoon, participants will put their new skills to use, directly lobbying lawmakers. Register at http://wkly.ws/11p
Our March 17 story "Reaction to Invasives Questioned,” misstates the name of a speaker in the second reference. His name is James Morris, not James Miller. We regret the M-vowel-double consonant-vowel-consonant substitution.
« Need a job? Heres one that will pay you more than $50,000 a year to start plus about another $20,000 a year in benefits, plus overtime at up to $50 an hour, lots of vacations and sick leave, plus almost no accountability. Is this one of those socialistic school teacher jobs the right wingers are gnashing their teeth about? Of course not, those job openings that help children require college and masters degrees and are going extinct. These are cop jobs and all you need is a high-school equivalency degree to play with lots of deadly toys. The city of Eugene is hiring at http://1.usa.gov/eUZmoR online. It would be nice if the city hired some police officers for the city of Eugene that actually live in the city of Eugene this time.
« Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio is under attack again by Republicans and conservative media who perceive NPR as taxpayer-subsidized liberal propaganda. We listen to NPR a lot and the content is actually quite mainstream and balanced. Somehow, the "liberal” label has been applied to any public affairs programming that is intelligent, well-reasoned, analytical and supportive of American art and culture. Cruise the AM and FM bands on your radio and you wont find much useful, relevant information, until you find a public radio station. Rural areas in particular need public radio. An informed citizenry is essential to democracy. If anything, public broadcasting needs more public support, not less.
« This week is Feminist Campuss "Dont Be Fooled by Fake Clinics” National Week of Action. Women and girls deserve a sympathetic ear and accurate, clearly presented information about pregnancy, not shame and persuasion toward a particular decision, but thats precisely what so-called "Crisis Pregnancy Centers” give them. These federally funded info centers provide false or misleading information linking abortion to breast cancer, loss of future fertility and mental health problems. The reality is that giving birth has more of these risks than abortion does. Spread the word about their false advertising, and see what you can do for reproductive health and freedom with UO Students for Choice and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Southwest Oregon. See www.choiceadvocates.org for info.
« Wisconsin is causing a furor again and this time its about public records. Historian William Cronon at the UW-Madison wrote on his blog, Scholar as Citizen, about the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that proposes "model bills” for conservatives to adopt in state legislatures across the country. Cronon argued in his post that ALEChad played a major behind-the-scenes role in Wisconsin Gov. Walkers controversial attack on public employee unions. Now in apparent retaliation the Republicans in Wisconsin are demanding Cronons university emails ã employees of state schools are public employees ãthat include terms like Republicans and names like Scott Walker and those of labor leaders through a public records request. Were all for open public records, there are no sacred cows, but records requests should be used to inform the public, not intimidate those in public service.
Speaking of the ExxonMobil and Koch Bros. funded ALEC, Rep. Kim Thatcher R-Keizer has introduced House Joint Resolution 9 asking Oregons Legislature to withdraw from the Western Climate Initiative. The wording is word for word from ALECs model legislation. The resolution is currently lingering in the Committee on Energy, Environment and Water.
SLANT includes short opinion pieces, observations and rumor-chasing notes compiled by the EW staff. Heard any good rumors lately? Contact Ted Taylor at 484-0519, editor at eugeneweekly dot com
Raised in Chappaqua, NY, the home of Horace Greeley, Indra Stern-Hayworth headed west in 1972, with a BFA from Ohio Wesleyan, her friend Kat Parker, a dog and two cats, in her baby-blue Ford van.
"We had a blast,” says Stern, who arrived in San Diego late that year, then discovered Eugene on a visit to the Oregon Country Fair in •73. She returned in •74 and found work at Mamas Home-Fried Truck Stop, a hub of community activism that hosted meetings for the OCF and the Community Center for the Performing Arts (WOW Hall). "I was involved in initial stages of the CCPA. Its one of my proudest moments,” says Stern, who also served as OCF staff from •76 to •84. She met Stan Hayworth in 1978, raised a family and had a long career as a jewelry buyer for local stores. Stern is a founding mother of two long-lived local arts institutions, the Radar Angels performance troupe (since 1979) and the Jell-o Art show (since 1988). This years Jell-o Art Show, on view one night only, Saturday, April 2, 5-8 pm, at the Maude Kerns Art Center, features the Radar Angels extravaganza, "A Toast to Jello,” at 7 pm. "The event is tongue-in-cheek,” Stern says, "but its paramount in any community to promote the arts, to keep art alive.”