Columbia River Estuary Action Team

Methanol and forestry news

Hello CREATE-ives,

Our next CREATE meeting is July 20 at 6pm at the Blue Scorcher.   More news below.

From Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky at Columbia Riverkeeper:
Instead of being a green leader, Washington just approved the world’s largest fracked natural gas-to-methanol refinery. The methanol refinery could emit more than a million tons of climate pollution every year.1 This week, in an effort to protect our climate and the Columbia River, we filed a legal appeal of two permits, and the Environmental Impact Statement, for the methanol refinery proposed on the Columbia River in Kalama.

Read our full press release here and learn about the fracked gas-to-methanol refinery on our website here. Working with our partners at the Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity, and represented by Earthjustice, we are asking the Washington Shorelines Hearings Board to reverse the permits for the methanol refinery.

The Seattle Times reported, “Enviro groups appeal state permits for $1.8B methanol plant in Kalama.”

The Kalama methanol refinery would increase Washington’s fracked gas consumption by nearly 40%!2 This methanol refinery alone would consume more fracked gas than any other sector (residential, industrial, gas-fired power plants) in the state. At a time when clean energy needs our full support, the Kalama methanol refinery weds Washington to the fracked gas industry.

What can you do to help Washington realize its green ambitions? Tell Washington Governor Jay Inslee that you support green energy solutions—not fracked natural gas pollution.

Call his office: 1-800-833-6388

Reach out on social media @GovInslee on Twitter and @WaStateGov on Facebook

Write a letter: Governor Jay Inslee, Office of the Governor, PO Box 40002, Olympia, WA 98504-0002
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From Roger Dorband and Helen Westbrook:

There was some good discussion and updating on various issues at our at our last meeting on May 2nd. .  Our work will continue sometime toward the end of September when we will meet again.  Helen and I hope you all have opportunities to get out in the forest this summer and will continue to make your voices heard whenever possible.  Some of the areas of concern that we are tracking for renewed discussion in the fall are as follows:

1. THE ELLIOTT STATE FOREST –  In early May the Land Board voted to keep the Elliot as public land rather than sell it off to a timber company.  While that was good news, the proposed alternatives all have pros and cons.  Governor Brown’s proposal that the state should essentially buy land from itself in order to protect it, as Washington has, seems like the most viable plan.

Treasurer Read wants to sell the land to Oregon State University as a research “lab” .  The OSU Forestry Department likes the idea, but could they be trusted to protect the sensitive areas given they are the bastion of tree farming in the state?

Out in right field is Sec. of State Richardson’s idea to trade the land for federal land that would be less controversial to be logged.

All 3 of these plans are discussed more fully on-line  http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2017/05/everything_you_need_to_know_ab_1.html

2. THE LINN COUNTY LAWSUIT – One could almost think that a potion producing sanity and reason have been surreptitiously put into Oregon’s water considering what has happened with the Elliottt and the lawsuit.  The same judge that found the suit viable over a year ago has reconsidered, changed his reading of the law  and virtually thrown out the case rendering huge blow to the timber barons and their lawyers!  Suddenly the Clatsop County Commissioners who voted it down look prescient. Yikes! I can’t believe I wrote that! (see letter below)

3. THE 2018 AOP –  The AOP is the Forestry Department’s planned timber sales for the upcoming year. As we introduced it at the last meeting there are 14 different parcels on the chopping block.  On the Boiler Fleet site the Forestry plans to spare 8 acres of 125 year old trees.  This  small grove is located very near Highway 30.  It would make an idea (nearly) roadside park and picnic area if anyone in state or local government had the vision to imagine it.  Its hard to guess why they might not be cutting these trees.  Maybe they have developed a conscience about taking out such large trees in a place so close to public scrutiny, or maybe they want to have a token gesture of ecological compassion up their sleeve in the face of a public outcry over the remainder of the plan which cuts many older trees.

Here’s what Chris Smith of the North Coast Forest Coalition had to say about the overall plan which cuts mostly trees 80 years old and older.

“Regarding (of the reason to save the 8 acre parcel of 125 year old trees) all the other sales, none of them are in “conservation areas.” I think the crux of the matter is that they should be because they are the closest thing we have to old growth on the north coast. Cutting these rare, old stands is essentially proactively preventing habitat from developing – just like Tim Josi and the timber industry want. It’s the same problem with Homesteader, which was not a conservation area but should have been based on what it offered.”

Those of you who attended the last CREATE meeting, heard Carolyn Eady give about a presentation of how ODF responded to several detailed comments that were submitted that were highly critical of the proposed Plan.  Basically, ODF brushed comments aside, did not answer the questions raised and are proceeding to clearcut the County’s oldest and largest trees.  In Clatsop County, their actions will eliminate the possibility of producing older growth forests here for many generations.  Carolyn plans to appeal these actions by testifying (hopefully, along with others) at an  Board of Forestry meeting on July 26.

4. ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL – The “Westerman Bill” under consideration in the US House of Representataives is a retrograde series of changes in forest management that are tantamount to Manifest Destiny on steroids. Like so much that has been introduced under the Trump administration the bill would take the country headlong into the good old, bad old days of yore.

– NT: House Logging Bill (HR 2936) Guts Federal Environmental Laws, Literally Privatizes Public Lands, Creates Logging Free-for-All

– “The Westerman Bill is breathtaking in how brazenly it seeks to destroy responsible science-based forest management in this country,” said Susan Jane Brown of the Western Environmental Law Center.

-Trees of our national forests are “crops and ought to be harvested.”  Sonny Purdue, US Agriculture Secretary

For more information check out  https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2017/06/21/house-logging-bill-hr-2936-guts-federal-environmental-laws-literally-privatizes

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