The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Kalama and our river are being threatened


February 2, 2017

To The Eagle:

If you haven't heard of "Cancer Alley" please look it up before you decide it's a good idea to build the largest methonol plant in the world, right in our neighborhood.

I live on Puget Island and my family supports the following groups: Wildlife Center of the North Coast, Portland Audubon Society, Columbia Riverkeepers and Columbia Land Trust. Every single one of these groups are steadfastly against the approval of the proposed Kalama Methanol project. Why? Because for the past 20 to 30 years they've done their best to mitigate and prevent exactly the kind of pollution this project is guaranteed to cast upon our environment. It's a known fact that this proposed methanol facility will produce substantial increases of pollution in our air, our rivers, and all along the pipelines and railways that carry the inbound raw materials. Profiteers tell us they'll maintain "acceptable levels" of ongoing emissions which are known to contain carcinogenic pollutants. To those of us who care about our children and grandchildren, there are no acceptable levels! China wants us to build this plant right here, right now, because currently, it is the cheapest way for them to obtain raw materials to make plastic.

China has resources to make methanol. This option is simply less expensive right now. Please go online and look at Webcams in China. The smog levels you'll see are shocking. Should we export our non-renewable US natural resources to China? Are we doing the right thing by providing them with more US fossil fuels? We can regulate local pollution, but once we ship our methanol overseas, we sacrifice our rights to control it's use. However, we can't escape the same biosphere. What will happen once we've made this deal, and then the price of oil, or the temperament of our relationship with China, have changed? Be assured, over time these things will change. What will happen to this behemoth of a plant after an earthquake, a catastrophic spill, or any other disaster? What will happen to the plant's production when fossil fuel extraction, fracking, or fuel transportation methods are outlawed in those zones we don’t control? And indeed, what happens when our US raw materials have been depleted, and China still has their own?

We need clean jobs that are sustainable beyond the next 50 years, not projects that may become obsolete in the next five to 15 years. The real push for this project is driven by nothing more than the expectation of huge corporate profits. We're being offered around 1000 jobs during construction, and then less than 200 permanent future jobs for Kalama. It isn't worth the cost. It's just like any deal with the devil. The greatest known personal health risks, reduced property values, and environmental damages will be borne by our local families, not the corporations seeking to profit.

As a resident of the Lower Columbia River, and a citizen who has worked hard to keep it pristine, I feel that this methanol project is a very bad idea. In the interest of our community's health and environment, we must stop this project. Please take time today and submit your comments to: The deadline for submitting comments is Feb 6, 2017.

Vicki Bucklin

Puget Island


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