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Letters to the Editor for May 31

Coal not a wise choice

I understand that covering barges to minimize coal being blown into the waterways would make shipping coal too expensive to pursue. If a tarp costs too much, what, other than a television, would make a person believe that there could be living wage jobs for Americans in shipping the stuff through the Gorge?

That same publicly owned Wyoming coal is sold at a loss, mined by an Australian company, spilled on our lands and waterways, and burned upwind of us in China, the home of the economy most likely to squat on ours. Which side of your burn pile do you stand on?

Coal companies are already being sued for violations of the Clean Water Act that occur when coal trains cross water. That isn’t less expensive than a tarp, so what’s up? I read that covering the coal from these mines would create conditions which cause explosions like those that occur in grain elevators.

The trouble with China’s increasing coal burning is that globally, it’s like having that burn pile in a school gym. It doesn’t matter which political party you root for, or what channel you watch; you will feel the heat.

People in this country recognized the threat of Nazi Germany and Japan and rose to meet those threats, changed their course, and together with all our allies fought and won for the greater good. Now they deny the existence of the largest current threat to American lives, and some work to promote that threat, which profits Chinese and Australian investors.

To burn subsidized American coal upwind in China, to breathe in the smoke, and live with the dust and pollution is not a wise choice to make. Don’t support that.

We can’t aspire to be a nation built on the backs of a few ditch diggers with joysticks who work for the competition. Insist that we innovate an energy and jobs solution to our problem that protects our options. Who knows but that there may be jobs innovating a solution?

John Wood

Hood River

Equality victory

Since last December Hood River Oregon United for Marriage volunteers collected over 1,000 signatures supporting marriage equality. We are thankful to everyone who signed the petition, local establishments who allow us to collect signatures, all the musicians who volunteered their time and talent, and to the establishments who graciously made their venues available.

On May 19, Judge Michael McShane put forth the Constitutional responsibility of equal protection under the law and overturned Oregon’s prohibition of same gender unions, thereby making marriage equally available to all Oregonians.

In his ruling Judge McShane stated that “certain rights are subject to ownership by all and not the stakehold of popular trend or shifting majorities.” His ruling upheld the constitutional guarantee of equal rights for all is not dependent on the will of the majority. However, we have no doubts that, given the broad acceptance of gay and lesbian family members and friends, marriage equality would be approved by a vast majority of voters should the November ballot be necessary.

With Judge McShane’s ruling Oregon joined the growing number of states in recognizing same-gender couples’ rights to marry in Oregon; however, the National Organization for Marriage, a D.C.-based organization, has petitioned Supreme Court Justice Kennedy to issue a stay which could halt marriages for same-sex couples.

Still, we are confident that love and freedom will again prevail whether by Justice Kennedy’s decision or the November ballot box.

So, while we are waiting for yet another decision let us celebrate just how far we have come. Join us on June 7, for Tim Mayer and the 3 Speed Trio, and on June 14, Mazama, at Columbia Center for the Arts and show your support for marriage equality during Gay Pride Month.

Gary Young and Colin Wood

Hood River co-chairs

Oregon United for Marriage

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