The Columbia County Spotlight continues to hear from readers about the planned development at Port Westward.

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What will it take to end school shootings?

Where is the anger? Where is the rage?

Why do we let our children be murdered in a place of learning by madmen who slaughter in the name of what? They kill because they have the means to purchase a weapon of war, go into any school, and murder young children and their teachers.

And we have a party that is more than willing to defend their right to murder these young children with a weapon used in war! What kind of a country do we live in that allows one political party to allow this insanity to continue?

The Republican Party just bows down before the NRA and the right wing in this country that is their base. Why are we so sick that we continue to allow this to happen?

At the moment, it looks like there will be no change to the numbers of dead children that the future will bring.

Maybe people in this region will start to think otherwise when another madman with an AR-15 or some other type of semi-automatic bursts into St. Helens High School and slaughters as many students as possible, or maybe instead that person will pick McBride Elementary where the targets to pick from will be even younger, like the ages of those destroyed in Texas and Connecticut.

Again I ask: Where is the anger? Where is the rage? What "well regulated Militia" did these murderers belong to? Is this really what George Washington, Ben Franklin and the other writers of our Constitution had in mind? I really don't think so. Obviously, the extremists on the right and the NRA would disagree.

What a wonderful future our children can look forward to.

David Bernstein, St. Helens

Community supports NEXT Renewable Fuels

I was one of over 7,000 people who wrote letters in support of NEXT Renewable diesel project and their DEQ air permit. Seven thousand people.

White collar workers. Blue collar workers. Long-time community members. Future, hopeful community members. Parents, teachers, local leaders. So many different voices, so many different paths. And yet, all of them showed up in support of this project.

Want to know why? Because it's exactly what Columbia County needs, and exactly where and when we need it.

NEXT is bringing career opportunities, not just jobs, to our local workers. They're bringing unique partnerships and being good corporate neighbors. They're bringing thoughtful development plans that help create new wetland habitats. They're bringing the future of the green fuel industry right here, to Oregon, to put Port Westward on the map and to help us meet the climate crisis head-on.

The list of positives for this project goes on and on. And that's exactly why so many people came out to write letters of support, and exactly why I'll continue to show up in support of NEXT and this future green fuels project. Join me in adding to the chorus of support — you certainly aren't alone!

Yolanda Martin Lucas, Vancouver (Washington)

Pleased with NEXT's progress

As a longtime resident of Columbia County, and communications manager for a large paper manufacturer employing 600 people, it brings me great hope to see NEXT's renewable diesel project gain traction.

Not only is the project good for our local economy — we're talking thousands of green, union-backed construction jobs, as well as hundreds of long-term green jobs during operation — but it's also great for the environment and our community.

NEXT is going through all of the rigorous permitting required and receiving all of the necessary approvals at each stage of the process. Bravo to NEXT! And bravo to the thousands of local supporters that weighed in on the air permit. This is a great project for our area, and the most recent approval from the Oregon Department of State Lands highlights that this is a perfect project for Port Westward.

We're lucky to have an industrial site that is suitable for this type of development, the political will to support it, a responsible corporation to drive it forward, and the community backing to make it possible.

Let's accelerate this momentum by continuing to support NEXT and the efforts to build a green fuel project here!

Diane Dillard, St. Helens

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