A Plan to Nationalize Oregon’s Waterways

The view from Portland's light-rail Tilikum Crossing will change radically if the oil and gas industry has its way. Photograph by Alice McCormick.
The view from Portland’s light-rail Tilikum Crossing will change radically if the oil and gas industry has its way. Photograph by Alice McCormick.

A good friend who is a die-hard Portland resident married an upstanding guy on New Year’s Eve before 2014 turned into 2015.  The water on which their boat motored is designated as the Vancouver Upper Turning Basin on the Columbia River, located underneath Interstate-5’s imposing bridge that links Washington to Oregon.

After I saw the video of the sublime heartfelt, sometimes humor-filled, ceremony, I wondered how much time local Portlanders have left to celebrate their longtime connection to clean water, one of the few precious gifts left on Earth.  If the newly Republicanized U.S. Congress has its way, Portlanders’ supposed “green city” will have to yield its waterways to what politicians regard as “the national interest.”

Portland mayor Charlie Hale appears unyielding in his enthusiasm.  He already is touting mammoth social programs to benefit the citizenry.  And, as a whole, the local populace doesn’t appear to have much money, so the welcome mat for a propane export center is being laid out.

Each night on the evening news amid superior graphics, a spokeswoman for the “natural gas” industry pounds out an optimistic forecast – in advertising format suggesting a tech-savvy infomercial – for almost an unlimited number of jobs to be created.  When people get hungry enough, it’s tempting to embrace the devil who will feed your children, a fine legacy to leave the next generation.

Propane is highly volatile, so explosive accidents can and will happen.  In addition, no matter how safely tycoons can convert it into liquefied natural gas, there remains an unknown risk of terrorism.  Whether it’s a radicalized enemy of America or a potential eco-terrorist, Homeland Security must rein in unlimited access to shipping channels.  In other words, say goodbye to Portland’s major rivers.

Republicans have yet to find a tar sands project they don’t like.  In their zeal to give this technology a fast track, they seem hell-bent on converting Portland into another despoiler of Planet Earth.  Yet Sam Avery, author of The Pipeline and the Paradigm, warns the carbon in tar sands is enough “to send Earth’s climate into an irreversible tailspin.”

There’s plenty of reference material available on the Internet.  Sam Churchill compiled a voluminous website listing of projects lusted after by the oil and gas industry whose seemingly interconnected components would convert northwest Oregon into a vast export-import fuel center.  You can check his facts, skim through his research and look at his bibliography by clicking here.

Tar sands are not the only source for propane.  The process known as fracking is well known to Pennsylvanians, because the state’s hills and mountains lie atop the Marcellus Shale.

Three years ago, I reported for a moderate-circulation newspaper about several hundred demonstrators who marched through Philadelphia’s Center City to decry the introduction of methane gas into the environment from drilling.  “Gasland” director Josh Fox spoke to the crowd about what he witnessed, and my later follow-up story suggested fracking’s citizen reporters could find themselves on shaky ground.

I reported that “psy ops” [psychological operations] specialists were being used to sway local communities to oil and gas industry viewpoints.  Therefore, it should be of little surprise that Pennsylvania’s citizen reporters with their own websites learned some nasty methods those specialists use.

National Public Radio discovered that 55-year-old philosophy professor Wendy Lee in Bloomsburg suffered blows to her patriotic sensibilities after taking photos of a gas compression station for her website.  A Pennsylvania state trooper showed up on her doorstep to grill her about any leanings to eco-terrorism.  You can read her opposition to fracking here.

One of Lee’s compatriots in New York State, Jeremy Alderson, 65, found himself under suspicion from two state troopers.  If the effect was supposed to stifle free speech (or the appearance thereof), Alderson is ringing the alarm even louder with videos and reports about the dangers of propane in Watkins Glen.  His website is here.

The story I wrote about “psy ops” intruders from the military appears below.  As far as Portland is concerned, it appears citizens will heed the clarion call and kill the goose that laid the golden eggs of tourism.  What the next generation faces is a dying world that will flounder in irreversible climate change.

The war against what precious resources are left is being won by industry barons, currently identified as the well-to-do 1%.

The surroundings of Astoria, Oregon's majestic bridge to Megler, Washington,  is coveted by oil and gas magnates. Photo by Alice McCormick.
The pristine waterway underneath Astoria, Oregon’s majestic bridge to Megler, Washington, is coveted by oil and gas magnates. Photo by Alice McCormick.

Alice and I want to visit many of the ecologically pure sites lusted after by the oil and gas industry before they’re gone.  We’re pretty sure they will be replaced by locked gates, video cameras and ugly reminders of the scenic violations that usually accompany them.

I lived in Miami, Florida until 2003, where global warming turned paradise into a flood zone; these days, Pennsylvanians suffer their share of extreme cold-weather events.

As I read the tea leaves, Oregon is under the gun, and there’s nowhere left to run.

One thought on “A Plan to Nationalize Oregon’s Waterways”

  1. The best way you can protest in a meaningful way is to turn off your power to your house; then you won’t be contributing to those satanic energy companies. Natural gas is the cleanest energy available on a consistent basis. I like solar, but it is not consistent. Turn off your meter, have it removed, then I can respect your stand.

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