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I'm disappointed in guest opinion selection and in our county judge; Hemp oil extraction facility not an exclusive farm use

I'm disappointed in guest opinion selection and in our county judge

Wow! the Tuesday, Feb. 25 edition of the Central Oregonian was a real eye-opener for me — and not in a good way.

First, the editorial was written by Timber Unity's president, Mike Pihl. Does he speak for our local newspaper's editorial board now? Are you allowing outside influence to guide the paper's editorial position? Why was that column not run as a guest opinion piece instead of the position piece of the publication?

Second, Judge Seth Crawford spoke to the Crook County Democratic Central Committee during their meeting on Monday, Feb. 17. He talked of many things, reporting on some of the concerns and projects of the county. It was a good presentation. When he was responding to questions from the audience, he was asked about his speech at the state capitol and his stance against cap and trade — and that since he was opposed to the legislation, what was his plan to combat climate change? He did not present an alternative.

In addition, he made NO mention of the proclamation that the county court would be voting on two days later (see page 1 of the CO, Feb. 25, 2020). To my way of thinking this was disingenuous — he should have said "oh, by the way, you might want to attend our meeting Wednesday night when we'll be discussing this very issue."

I'm very disappointed — in Judge Crawford and in the Central Oregonian.

Dar Fishel

Prineville

Cap and trade policy is punitive, not progressive

Cap and Trade is punitive, not progressive

For Oregon to use 80% less carbon in 30 years, we will need equivalent make-up power sources and delivery. Cap and Trade legislation so far is only punitive to industry and individuals. The state takes away the capital we will need to transition in ever increasing taxes.

It needs to be progressive, to permit and build the high voltage transmission lines, transformer complexes, local lines chargers and storage for every home in the state, every business and rest-stop. Starting from ONE second level charger in my home-town! Where is carbon captured? Where are bond issues for massive pumped storage reservoirs, where is battery back-up like Hawaii, where is nuclear power, where are the new hydro-dams? Where is financial assistance to transition all our vehicles?

Thinking industry is going to solve this problem is total failure of legislative remit. Thinking the ordinary Joe rate-payer can afford to do it all is ludicrous. Count up all the gas pumps in the state, multiply by 3 or 4 to get the number of charging heads we will need! Also, double your insulation thicknesses on all the buildings in Oregon; install new high-speed transit connecting all of the cities and in-city distribution; outlaw Uber and Lyft drivers idling around; squeeze every pound of carbon out of use — or look at an Oregon with 80% less population and 80% less business activity.

Cap and Trade legislation is premature;. There is no state and regional master plan that gets us from here to there in defined, measurable stages. It is based on an ideological goal without an ounce of engineering behind it and it has to be imposed on us by people who know what's best for us and who won't be here in 30 years.

David Kuperstein

Prineville

Hemp oil extraction facility not an exclusive farm use

It seems like we're too often expected to choose between the lesser of two evils. That's not the best way to build a future. The future shouldn't be the default outcome of choosing between today's alternative paths. The future should be imagined and then created. That's why we have leaders who are expected to aim high and have vision and values that respect residents' hard earned investments and chosen livability standards.

Our Crook County leaders will be tested on Friday, March 13. Will they support absentee investors who plan to perform year-round commercial ethanol extraction of industrial hemp brought from all over the state to a Powell Butte Exclusive Farm Use property? To do so would clearly ignore Prineville's established industrial zones which already have needed infrastructure and safe access for commercial vehicles.

It would be short sighted to affirm a permit that fragments established farm neighborhoods and degrades property values for dozens of permanent residents. If county leaders support the extraction permit (even on technicalities), they will eventually look back and admit that this was the day they redefined "exclusive," the day they redefined "local," and the day they even redefined "farm." Not only will current residents be slighted, but all future rural properties will suffer from the precedent.

We whole heartedly agree with Holly McLane's eloquent encouragement (Central Oregonian, February 25, 2020) to preserve farm values and lifestyles. We also sympathize with local farmers if they have been swindled by some bad actors in the hemp business (Matt Cyrus, Rancher, February 2020). Because we all agree that agriculture is so important to Crook County, it is incumbent on current leadership to ensure that farms and industrial activities are properly supported, but each in its own logical space. That's a vision that already exists in common sense.

Steve and Beverly Oberg

Powell Butte

Rural residential area not fit for industrial operation

Barbed wire may stop most cows and tumble weeds, but they won't stop motor noise, blowing litter, spilled chemicals, solvent fires, night lights or the awful stench of the marijuana variation called industrial hemp. That barbed wire fence is all that stands between us and an alcohol extraction plant that the county has approved next door.

We carefully chose our home where we could raise our horses and share farm experiences with our grandchildren. Powell Butte's Cornett Loop area already had a strong reputation for great and helpful neighbors and we wanted to contribute to that positive ethic. There have been no regrets, but now the livability factors that attracted us are under attack by people who won't share in the degraded social and physical environment that they will create.

If the commissioners affirm the permit Friday afternoon we will feel betrayed by our county leaders. The individual commission members are known to be supportive of their constituents and to the character of Crook County which totally identifies with its agricultural roots. We ask that you don't trade the legacy for legal rhetoric. Don't trade the future for more Salem-speak. Uphold the standards our predecessors provided us and we will pass them on to our children and grandchildren.

Rural Crook County residents will quickly understand that a permit affirmation will obliterate the line in the sand that marks the clear differences between real farming and year-round industrial processing of imported biomass. Then it's not just a slippery slope but a potential free fall. The precedent could require that every permit application for performing such industrial operations on exclusive farm use properties will have to be honored.

Now, we look to your leadership. Put industry in industrial zones and leave farming to those who will value and protect rural livability standards.

Dan and Kathy Oxford

Powell Butte

Commissioners should side with neighbors, not absentee deep pockets

"There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them."

— Alexandre Ledru-Rollin.

If there's a question about this among county political leaders then just watch dozens of residents on Cornett Loop in Powell Butte. They absolutely know where they're going and, commissioners, on Friday, you have the opportunity to take the lead.

We have heard authorities claim that year-round alcohol extraction of imported industrial hemp is just like mint distillation — not true. They have said that traffic safety is somebody else's job. They have ignored the existence and availability of abundant industrial zone space in Prineville which would keep commercial vehicles off our small country roads.

A permit to commercially process industrial hemp using large volumes of reaction chemicals has been granted with certain "conditions." Those conditions compromise the credibility of granting authorities. The listed conditions are not inclusive of residents' concerns; they are inherently weak, will not be monitored and are unenforceable. Any common sense reading of the terms would reveal the anemic cover for authorizing an unwanted activity.

The Cornett Loop neighbors don't tell each other how to use their properties. We support farmers growing the crops that work for their situations. We encourage each other to raise animals for market, to provide personal pleasure and to teach life lessons that young people sorely need. Because we are such strong supporters of agriculture, we have no trouble identifying industrial processes when we see them.

So, commissioners, this is your chance to get in front of the parade. Your Friday determination on the extraction appeal is a very crucial test of your vision for Crook County and your leadership to make the right things happen. Siding with absentee deep pockets over your own neighbors would be a regrettable precedent for all.

Cheryl Ehnisz

Powell Butte


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