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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Coal Trains and Selling Out the Willamette Valley

The Willamette Valley contains most of Oregon'...
The Willamette Valley contains most of Oregon's population; it extends from Portland in the North to Eugene in the South. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyone who lives in Salem and environs needs to anticipate what coal exports really mean here:  Selling out our future for the empty promise of a few jobs.  Look at the states where King Coal has had its way (West Virginia, Kentucky, PA), and compare them to Oregon.  Now, which is the better model?

Coal exports down the Columbia and up to Bellingham and down to Coos Bay mean the destruction of livability in the Willamette Valley in service of global capital seeking to maximize profits by externalized costs (environmental devastation, climate disruption, reduced property values all along the routes of these behemoth coal trains), with no benefits to the people paying those costs (us).

Coal exports are a gigantic step backwards for the US.  Not only does it return us to the days of colonial status, exploited for our raw materials and stuck with the negative consequences, but it would help ensure a runaway carbon nightmare of the Six Degree C (11F) hotter global temperature average, which is pretty much a nightmare future in the best case.

Anyone with children or grandchildren or simply a modicum of concern for the future needs to realize what a serious threat we face from continued use of coal. 

Bottom line:  if the Iranians and North Koreans had a thousand 100-megaton nukes each and the means to drop them on any place in the world, that would only be a tiny fraction of the threat we face from coal.  It's only the limits of our primitive monkey-based brains that make it so easy for us to see threats from other bands of monkeybrains and so hard to recognize the much more potent and serious threats we unleash upon ourselves.
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