Letters to the Editor for June 10

Crossroads decision

We stand at an important crossroads today. Are we going to exert leadership to confront and deal with climate change, or continue to deny it is happening and leave the problem to our children?

Putting a price on carbon pollution, which is the main cause of climate change and up to this point has been free, would enable our capitalist market economy to efficiently reduce carbon use. British Columbia and California have already enacted laws pricing carbon; if Oregon and Washington were to join them, our combined economy would be the fifth largest in the world. This would send a powerful message, and set an example, for the rest of the world.

Right now the Oregon Legislature is considering carbon pricing with House Bill 3470 and Senate Bill 965. If you care about the climate crisis, I urge you to ask our local Oregon delegation to support these bills. In Hood River County that is Senator Chuck Thomsen, 503-986-1726, and Representative Mark Johnson, 503-986-1452. In Wasco County that is Senator Ted Ferrioli, 503-986-1950 and Representative John Hoffman, 503-986-1459.

There isn’t much time before the Oregon legislative session ends. If you intend to act, please do so soon.

Peter Cornelison

Hood River

No scam

A recent letter (“Marketing scam”) asserted that spring water is heavily processed and incorrectly describes the spring water bottling process. The author describes water “squeezed backwater through a micro membrane filter,” which suggest she is describing a reverse osmosis treatment process for water purification and mineral removal. By its definition for spring water, FDA (which regulates bottled water) does not allow reverse osmosis treatment as it would significantly change the chemical composition of the spring water from that of the natural source. Nestle and most bottlers do not add “large doses of chlorine” as was asserted. And, in fact, if a bottler adds any at all, it is typically removed using activated carbon before being bottled. More commonly, bottlers use ozone and/or ultra-violet light as disinfectants.

The water “needs to come out of a spring” not because it’s a “marketing tool” but because it’s federal law: 21CFR165.110(a)(2)(vi). We believe people should drink more water — be it tap or bottled. But when the only other packaged beverage choices available to consumers contain caffeine, alcohol, sugar, artificial sweeteners/colors, etc., we believe consumers should have the option to choose the bottled water types (spring, purified, etc.) they prefer instead.

David Palais, Ph.D.

Nestle Waters North

America Inc.

Redding, Calif.

Why oppose innovation?

America is about innovation. We are on the cusp of an energy transition much larger than the PC, telecom, or smart-phone revolutions, engendered by the plummeting costs of renewable energy. The sunshine and wind are free fuels we can collect, and renewables are technologies that get cheaper (think flat-screen TVs), verses fossil fuels that get more expensive as they get scarcer. These cost crossovers will soon become a flood, and the new technologies will enable a deregulation of energy and utility companies to open up markets and remove costs.

Part of that deregulation is charging a fair rate for pollution to level the energy playing field. Republicans advocate “free markets,” so they should oppose our massive subsidies to fossil fuels. The International Monetary Fund estimated US fossil fuel subsidizes at $500 billion annually — over $1500 per citizen.

Instead of all these subsidies to fossil fuels and renewables, we should fix the accounting by charging for carbon pollution, like Oregon HB 3470 proposes, and as recommended by most economists and wise old Republicans like Hank Paulson and George Shultz. Instead, Republicans are ridiculing a price on carbon pollution as a “tax on mobility,” “tax on freedom” or “punitive measure,” even though it would accelerate the transition to cheaper transportation, lower subsidies, and cleaner air.

The GOP platform says, “Conservation is a conservative value.” So why don’t we value conserving our natural resources? “We are the party of sustainable jobs and economic growth — through American energy, agriculture, and environmental policy.” But in both Washington and Oregon, Republicans have opposed clean-fuels bills that stimulate locally produced biofuels and renewable natural gas, and cheaper transportation such as electric vehicles (already the lowest cost for commuters). And job creation is significantly higher with renewables than from fossil fuels.

What is so partisan about creating jobs, slashing unfair subsidies, or cutting pollution? Am I missing something, or are these contradictions simply a party hijacked by truckloads of money from oil interests, poisoning our politics to delay their inevitable demise? Tell your legislators to ignore the hijackers and support clean fuels and HB3470.

Eric Strid

White Salmon, Wash.

Marijuana restrictions

On July 1, 2015, Oregon will join Washington and Colorado in legalizing marijuana in certain limited situations.

Oregonians should be aware that the legalization of marijuana does not come without restrictions. It is important for the public to know some of the many remaining marijuana prohibitions where marijuana possession and/or use remain illegal.

After July 1, the following will continue to be illegal in Oregon:

  • Possession of more than 8 ounces of marijuana in private and/or four plants per residence.
  • Possession of more than 1 ounce of marijuana in public.
  • Possession of any amount of marijuana by anyone under the age of 21.
  • Use of any amount of marijuana in public.
  • Transporting any amount of marijuana out of state.
  • Driving a vehicle while impaired by marijuana, or by a combination of marijuana and any other drug or alcohol.

These are only a few of the restrictions regarding marijuana. Before using or possessing marijuana under the new law, people should study and be aware of that conduct which has been legalized and what has not.

I respect the will of the voters and will support the Peoples’ right to legally possess and consume marijuana. However, when the law is broken, putting children and the public at risk, my office will not hesitate to hold offenders accountable.

Eric J. Nisley

Wasco County District

Attorney



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