Suppression is not enough
I attended the county commissioners’ hearing about smoke/fire Dec. 11. According to the article on Dec. 28, it appears the only action the BOC took from this was increasing suppression efforts.
While suppression effort increases are important, we are facing hotter, drier summers and increases in fuels. We cannot change the weather, but we can decrease the fuels. Many speakers, forestry professionals, addressed prevention strategies, including under-story clearing to keep fires on the ground. If this management strategy was employed for 100 yards along all existing roadways, firebreaks would be developed. The county has the ability to mow dry fuels along roadways, require bare land along urban-rural interface to be mowed to create a 100-yard buffer (i.e., the grass fire that threatened Costco).
The extreme intensity of these fires has not been part of the prior experience. Suppression alone is not enough; there are areas too rugged to risk the lives of our firefighters. The commissioners should use their leadership to work for increases in forest management in the off season and work with our representatives in Salem for improvements in the Oregon Forest Practices Act, which is up for evaluation in 2019.
Oregon is not for sale
Pembina, a Canadian company planning to build a controversial 229-mile Pacific Connecter gas pipeline as well as the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal, has been inundating us with slick fliers and friendly-looking TV commercials.
Lift your arms above your head, and spread them as far as you can — that’s how wide their pipe will be. Now, imagine the damage to the environment from horizontal directional drilling extending from the Klamath Basin to Coos Bay — crossing hundreds of streams and rivers (including the Rogue), protected federal forestland and private property. Think about compromising the drinking water of 116,000 Oregonians, including Medford’s.
Imagine what Coos Bay would look like — a shipping berth for tankers, a gas liquefaction operation, massive storage tanks, a new power plant and a 36-inch feeder pipeline. Imagine huge tankers and the danger of gas leaks. The Coos Estuary sits in a tsunami zone, and some 17,000 citizens would live in this project’s hazardous burn zones.
Pembina promises $60 million per year in tax revenue, which translates to a whopping $15.66 per Oregonian.
Pembina, you can keep your “friendly, neighborly” pipeline! I choose clean rivers, clean air and clean drinking water!
Use your brain
Donald Trump, don’t rely on “gut feelings.” Please use your “smart, intelligent brain” that you brag about.