As of Friday, November 6, 2015
It’s an encouraging time. The corner for climate action is turning and accelerating. Many see it as a moral issue. Others want insurance against the substantial risks. And it is an excellent opportunity for business and creating good paying jobs.
Nationally, we have heard Pope Francis’ compelling appeals. Ten House Republicans recently introduced a resolution calling for climate action, and interest in the Citizens’ Climate Lobby “revenue-neutral carbon fee” proposal grows.
Here in the Gorge, there is growing interest. One example: a recent public meeting on climate change held at the Gorge White House in Pine Grove with Sen. Chuck Thomsen, where he and others voiced their concern and need for state legislative action.
The same group that organized this meeting, Oregon Climate, is inviting everyone to take part in “Salmon on The Square: Art for Climate Action” to be held in Pioneer Square on Nov. 14, where a giant salmon mosaic will be created with 16” x 16” or 8” x 8” cardboard tiles that Oregonians contribute (google “salmon on the square”). It’s a positive way we can tell our lawmakers we want action.
This Friday, Nov. 6, everyone is invited to a “Climate Change Art Party” at the Riverkeeper office, 111 Third Street, from 5 to 8, to decorate a tile for climate change (you or your group can also drop your tiles for forwarding). All tiles will become a part of the big salmon mosaic on Nov. 14 in Portland. It’s a great opportunity to show your concern.
Whatever you do, let’s all work together and get this done.
Contrary to what the supporters of the proposed Water Protection Measure are telling you, this measure is all about stopping Nestlé, just like banning big box stores was all about stopping Walmart.
In both cases, fear is the motivator. Fear of corporate America, of lost water, lost jobs, lost control. The left is all about control.
How about some facts. Everyone buys the water they consume — Full Sail, Ryan’s Juice, farmers, and you and I. But WPM supporters don’t want Nestlé to have the same opportunity. Nestlé will buy about 118 million gallons of water per year. That’s about three time what Full Sail and Ryan’s buys. The City of Cascade Locks will sell that water to them just like the City of Hood River sells to its customers.
The sale of water as well as electricity to Nestlé has the potential to double the general fund income to the city. In addition, with a $50 million plant and 50 family wage jobs, the city income could rise an additional $2 million per year. And the $3 million annual payroll, spent locally and regionally, will create additional jobs and revenue.
So where does the water come from? Cascade Locks receives nearly 77 inches of rainfall annually. That is over twice the rainfall in the Hood River Valley. Even in this drought year, they received 94 percent of normal and the year is not over.
For comparison, consider that if the total flow of the Columbia River were likened to an Olympic swimming pool, Nestlé would be removing about 7 quarts.
Let’s get real and welcome Nestlé into our Gorge family.
I’m grateful to Nestlé for revealing cracks in our community in need of attention. I appreciate hearing from folks in Cascade Locks bringing up the continued need for economic development and increasing my awareness on the whole issue. The Oxbow Springs issue is a big one exactly because it reveals our economic, social, and ecological divides.
Because I absolutely agree that Cascade Locks needs new economic solutions, I researched Nestlé and looked into how other communities who have sold them their water rights have fared and I’ve decided that the Nestlé bid is not good enough for us. Nestlé’s lack of transparency and use of financial and political power to pressure and dominate makes them a bad community partner. Their “take, make, sell, use and dump” business model is rapidly becoming outdated and is not going to contribute to the livable economy for current and future generations that we all want.
Likely Nestlé will soon be sending mailers to all of us arguing “local jobs” and “taxes for the county.” As the issue pokes at us, revealing fears and insecurities, let’s seek not to be the dog who chases after the stick but rather the lion who turns around to see where the stick came from. Let’s support the water protection measure and collaborate to find more innovative, long term economic solutions to increase equity throughout our county.