It’s a given that everyone wants clean air, water, and energy. But how do we best accomplish that? Every decision needs to be based not on biased ideology but on empirically-driven data that includes all aspects of a situation.
All Oregonians love trees, right? But you wouldn’t know it by looking at our forests, suffering from disease, insects, and a neglect that causes wild fires that hurt our economy and air quality. Healthy trees increase our air quality; they eat up carbon! Wood is a renewable resource. Why have we not managed our forests better? Why have we destroyed the economic base in rural Oregon? This issue begs for better legislative ideas and guidance.
CAP and TRADE
The costs of HB 2020 would have hurt our entire economy (businesses, taxpayers, and lower-income people, especially) while having little to no effect on global carbon emissions. If the presence of carbon dioxide is such a huge problem, couldn’t we neutralize its effects by utilizing carbon dioxide “eaters,” aka trees? Are planting more trees and shrubs and managing our forests better just too simple and inexpensive a solution?
Have you seen Michael Moore’s recent film, Planet of the Humans? You can see the entire documentary for free at planetofthehumans.com. He raises some troubling concerns about what many in the green movement have believed to be true.
Here’s another resource that might be of interest to you, Weathering Climate Change: A Fresh Approach by Hugh Ross. There IS hope! But if we don’t think clearly about these issues, then Oregon may be experiencing brownouts and blackouts in the near future because we have based our thinking on ideology rather than reality. Here are some cogent thoughts from “The Grid Is Not a Tinker Toy.”
“In response to . . . political mandates, electric utilities are gradually shutting down coal plants in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Wyoming. Unfortunately, they are proceeding without a clear plan for replacing baseload power. Wind and solar won’t cut it; as “intermittent” sources they fail to produce electricity about 70% of the time.
“Oregon’s only coal-fired plant, located near Boardman, is owned by Portland General Electric (PGE). Due to an environmental lawsuit that was settled a decade ago, Boardman is scheduled to close by the end of this year. Electricity forecasters are predicting Northwest power shortages as early as 2020, and deficits of thousands of megawatts later in the decade.
“PGE does not have a precise plan to replace Boardman. The utility expects to sign hydro contracts as a transition strategy. But any weather-related power source can disappear quickly, as happened in 2001 when the region experienced a low-water year. The result was a shortage of electricity, and the painful shutdown of the aluminum industry. Some 5,000 jobs in the Northwest disappeared.
“PGE also expects to build or buy more wind and solar, coupled with battery storage. But the best utility-scale storage facility in the country can only deliver power for four hours.
“We are on the brink of a blackout crisis. Instead of addressing a problem they created—the RPS [Renewable Portfolio Standard] law—state legislators have wasted the 2020 short session trying to prevent “global climate change” by placing limits on fossil fuel use in Oregon. Even if enacted, this would have no measurable effect on climate, so it is a waste of time and money.
“Business leaders and civic groups should demand an end to this insanity. Here’s a short agenda:
First, investigate the possibility of extending the life of Boardman. The facility was designed to run for another 20 years. We should not shut it down unless all of its baseload power can be replaced by other reliable sources, at a reasonable cost.
Second, consider having the legislature refer out a referendum to re-legalize nuclear power. Some of the most cutting-edge research on smaller-scale nuclear energy is being done here in Oregon, but any commercialization will have to take place elsewhere. It’s time for a new conversation on this subject.
Finally, repeal the RPS statute. Operating the grid is complicated enough; mandating the types of power sources utilities can use is only making things worse.” (https://cascadepolicy.org/environment/the-grid-is-not-a-tinker-toy/