Letters: Zenith oil trains are public health issue
I'm writing in response to Zane Sparling's July 30 article, "Zenith to triple oil train capacity at Portland terminal."
I live in Southeast Portland and ride across oil train-carrying tracks every day on my way to work. It is absolutely unacceptable that Zenith is more than tripling their oil train capacity at their facility in Northwest Portland. City Commissioners and their bureaus must prioritize finding pathways to shut down Zenith's expansions once and for all to fit the spirit of Portland's 2016 ban on new or expanded bulk fossil fuel facilities.
Furthermore, no Portlander should take Zenith's spokespeople seriously when they claim that the city needs their infrastructure in order to increase the use of renewable energy. That's like saying that you need easier access to cigarettes in order to help people quit smoking.
The public health comparison here is fitting: Diesel from unit oil trains is polluting our neighborhoods and the devastation that would be caused by a crude oil train derailment is mortifying.
Climate change is degrading public health worldwide, and global scientists have made it clear that we must drastically reduce — not increase — our usage of fossil fuels to prevent the most cataclysmic of scenarios.
I urge Mayor Ted Wheeler and his fellow city commissioners to direct their bureaus to make finding a way to shut down Zenith's dirty plans a No. 1 priority. The public health and safety of Portland is at stake, as well as our reputation as a leading city on addressing climate change.
Mass shootings are national disgrace
I'm writing in hopes of reaching Sen. Jeff Merkley and Sen. Ron Wyden after a weekend of deadly shootings.
I'm very saddened about what has happened and angry that people of color were targeted in this way. None of us is safe with the lack of gun safety laws. My workplace has anti-shooter training and my third grader has it in her school, why do we need to live in fear like this? Nobody needs an automatic gun, or any type of a gun outside sporting/recreation.
I don't feel safe in my own country any more.
I am calling on Merkley and Wyden to support common-sense gun laws and to rid our communities of assault weapons whose only purpose is to end life, as much and as quickly as possible. This should not be allowed on any level.
How does any of this make any sense? Militias could never face the U.S. government. And why are our politicians who are elected to serve their constituents able to legally accept payments (bribes) from lobbyists like the NRA to essentially buy their vote? Why is this allowed?
This isn't a democracy, this is a disgrace. This is not happening at this level in any other developed nation. Just this one. This must stop, and I am calling on our elected representatives to take action.
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