Tell ODOT and the OTC we need to limit bulk fossil fuel (oil, coal, LPG) commodity shipments for reasons of safety, environmental protection, and to protect other Oregon uses of these critical infrastructures.
Credit where credit is due! Catherine Mater, of Mater Engineering and recently terminated Chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) represents a transportation perspective we should support. Her recent OpEd in the Oregonian hits the right tone.
The OTC and ODOT are to be commended for their awareness that we can no longer be blind to the local and long term impacts of fossil fuel commodity movements through our state. Unfortunately, the Governor seems to believe the Commission is to be a rubber stamp. He asked Mater to step down from the Commission because they made a decision to not use public funds for the port improvements that would facilitate coal movement through Oregon.
We do not want to stop commerce, but to totally skew our transportation infrastructure and our economy for the benefit of out-of-state energy export firms is foolish in the extreme. It is foolish from the global standpoint since it prolongs world consumption of fossil fuels. It is also foolish from the an Oregon standpoint because it commits our infrastructure to out-of-state products at the expense of Oregon produced goods (food, fiber, people, raw materials, and manufactured goods) Huge increases of unit oil or coal trains from 2 per day to 10-12 per day is simply too much.
If you have a spare moment, write the Oregon Transportation Commission. They will make a final decision on Thursday, February 19th in Salem. Tell them:
- You agree that “commodity-agnostic” management of bulk fuels should go the way of the dodo.
- You appreciate their awareness that we should not subsidize private profits for export of carbon based fuels whose usage will just come back to bite us in global warming.
- You agree we need a broad strategy that balances road and rail freight capacities among the economic needs for OREGON, not just for out-of-state energy firms. We need to protect our farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, foresters, and passengers from being squeezed out.
By snail mail:
Oregon Dept. of Transportation
Citizens’ Representative Office
355 Capitol Street NE, MS 11
Salem, Oregon 97301-3871