The Oregonian Editorial Board wrote on January 25th about ‘Obama’s plan to aid the middle class:’
When President Barack Obama addresses the nation Wednesday night, he will drag to the lectern rock-heavy bags from a trying first year: an economy at the edge of collapse, stepped up war deployments and metastatic joblessness. All of it big, all of it morphing with each passing week, all of it occurring at stratospherically expensive levels as Oregonians struggle to pay their rent or mortgage and feed the family.
His announcement Monday that he would … aim his best efforts at removing economic pain from the middle class is good news to us, indeed. Exactly how he will do that is just emerging, and we hope to hear in his State of the Union address that measures designed to make life easier for middle-income workers will be swift and without corollary damage to the untargeted.
-Oregonian, January 25, 2010
In Harney County Oregon, where our Greater Echanis wind projects are located, the pain of this recession is acute. Here’s what one person wrote in a letter to the Editor of the January 20th Burns Times Herald:
“A voice needs to be heard! A helping hand needs to be extended to the hardworking men and women who break their backs every day just to try and survive! Proud Americans are struggling to make ends meet. One paycheck doesn’t make it to the next. (…) The people sitting in their big comfy chairs on Capitol Hill need to take a step down and spend a month in the shoes of a struggling middle class citizen. Maybe then they will understand how hard it is to make it from paycheck to paycheck. Maybe they will see the real hardships people are facing every day.”
- Letter to the editor of Burns Times Herald, January 20, 2010
CEP hopes the President will renew his pledge to rebuild America’s economy on the strength of renewable energy projects and infrastructure, which produce jobs in fragile communities like Harney County that cannot be exported, produce many other long term benefits and will help reverse global climate change. Our Greater Echanis Projects are ready to be part of that effort – now!
PGE’s recent announcement that the company plans to step up the timetable to close its Boardman coal-fired power plant has generated a range of reactions, from “hooray!” to concerns for cost and ability to meet base load power needs. The Oregonian opined on the topic on January 19:
Some environmentalists have argued that emissions from the Boardman plant are such that it should be shut down as early as next year, or at least by 2014. Whether Boardman’s emissions merit that action, a rash one in our view, has yet to be proven to the appropriate regulators, but it is certain that shutting down the plant in 2011 or 2014 would throw customers of the state’s largest electric utility into a world of uncertainty.- Oregonian, Jan. 19, 2010.
Maybe, but probably not so much. PGE will not put their customers in jeopardy in terms of reliable supply. And the whole process, which requires Oregon Public Utility Commission consideration and approval, is likely to end up with a good result. A compromise result, to be sure, but anyone concerned about global climate change should be encouraged by this step.
Whatever resource PGE taps for power to replace power from Boardman, having electrons from our Greater Echanis projects on the grid will help decrease the likelihood that all of that replacement power comes from fossil fuels alone. If you look at the comparative production profile of our wind projects and those in the Columbia River Gorge area, you see that “blending” these diverse resources provides a remarkably uniform, renewable resource. That’s what the region needs to replace coal and reduce our dependence on fossil and imported fuels. The Greater Echanis wind projects are a vital part of making that goal a reality!
On January 9th, an editorial in the New York Times sends a clear signal to the world that the time has come to work together to resolve even the most intractable environmental issues to slow the impacts of global climate change and jumpstart our country’s green energy economy.
In the editorial, the New York Times sided four-square with Secretary Salazar to end the wrangling over the long-suffering Cape Wind project off Nantucket Sound. ‘Make a decision,’ the editors as much as charged, ‘and get building!’
I can’t help but read this editorial about a wind project off Cape Cod as a distant (but closely-related) cousin of our Echanis projects on Steens Mountain.
Our company has met with stakeholders concerned about our project numerous times over the past year. Listening to their concerns and adopting many of their ideas and suggestions, we have developed a package of seven major items we’re prepared to offer as concessions and mitigation IF they will agree not to sue after the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for our transmission line and future project stage permits are issued. They can and certainly will be free to participate fully in those very thorough and public processes, but they must agree to live with the results (as will we) rather than sue to delay the inevitable in hopes of stopping the project on an economic basis.
The last sentence of the New York Times editorial reads as follows:
“We hope the administration can persuade the various sides to quickly reach a compromise that preserves the core of the project. If not, Mr. Salazar can and should decide on his own to allow Cape Wind to proceed.”
We at Columbia Energy Partners hope the various stakeholders will work with us to resolve their concerns in a binding agreement that will benefit all sides and allow this vitally important project to proceed.
Welcome to CEP’s blog… We plan to use this space to communicate on timely issues surrounding our projects as well as news effecting renewable energy, climate change and the communities where we are at work.
We hope you will check in with this space from time to time for news and updates, as well as perspective on important issues facing the environment, our economy and the future. We believe our work crosses all those areas, which is why we care so much about what we do. That passion gets us up in the morning (and sometimes in the middle of the night) and keeps us going in long hours at the office, on the road and in the ever-challenging process of developing vital new renewable energy resources in a responsible, responsive manner.
We hope you will find these postings informative and helpful. We look forward to hearing from you, as well, along the way.