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There are big corporate interests sharking after the water in the Columbia Gorge. Nestle, the globe's largest food processing company, is proposing a new water bottling plant along the historic Columbia River Highway out of the Oxbow Spring, currently under the jurisdiction of Cascade Locks and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Though there has been much opposition from the people of Oregon through the thousands of comments submitted to the State, Nestle in cooperation with the Municipal Government of Cascade Locks have been working on a back door for passing the rights over to Nestle so they can begin the process of implementing their processing plant.
As a personal venture for the last couple of years, I've been following stories on oil trains and spills. I knew a lot of oil came through the Port of Vancouver on its way from the North Dakota fracking fields to the oil refineries in the Puget Sound.
Though less controversial than traditional pipelines, carrying oil by train is both more common and more dangerous. Horror stories of derailed trains carrying toxic loads of crude oil, spilling fire and poison onto towns and natural areas, have dotted the news headlines as oil production in the Continental U.S. and Canada has gone up in the last few years.
Hear in Vancouver, oil headed for the port has to traverse miles of rail way, much lining the Columbia River Gorge. This is not only a natural wonder, but a spill in the Columbia would be a health risk for millions all along the River from Hermiston, OR to Astoria, OR. This time of year, the gorge is also hit with high winds, ice, and occasional white out conditions, making the chance of a derailment all the more possible.
Below is a story I found on a spill in North Dakota of more than 400,000 gallons of crude oil. It refers to spills in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, which resulted in 47 deaths, and another in Alabama which resulted in a fire that burned several days.
Punctured Cars in ND Train Crash Spill 400K Gallons of Crude Oil - InsuranceJournal.com 01/15/14
While we get closer to the end of this year I have been wondering about the foundations on which we start the next. We just watched the wrap up to international climate meetings in Peru, the grand funeral of two New York City Police Officers in the wake of Police killings of young black men, the reopening of diplomatic ties with our neighbour Cuba, the drop of the price of oil to only $55 USD along side the drop in Russian currency, and a charismatic Pope sensationalizes our media and our heads of state. In 2015, powers that met in Lima will reconvene in Paris, deciding international regulations in the name of addressing climate change. We will see the addition of body cameras to most Police uniforms, in addition to many new regulations and restrictions and "re-education" in the name of reducing Police violence and racism. Americans for the first time in half a century will be able to travel freely between Cuba and the "Land of the Free", agreements Obama says that Pope Frances was indispensable for. And yes, Pope Frances, will be making his appearance in Philadelphia for the "World Meeting of Families".
This next year will be nothing sort of revolutionary, and the choice is with individuals to pay attention to the decisions being made for us. We as the people of Earth, not as divided factions of peoples of as a race of individuals, we must recognize our compassionate nature. I believe that only with action and compassion will mankind have hope not to destroy itself. I am making my commitment personal, to being my voice to the stage. I have a great love for mankind and for the Earth we call home. If the Christ tradition is to be believed, humans are called to be stewards of the Earth. I believe that is our calling. I am joining hands with those already in the fight for Good. Now seems like the time for it to be crucial that all those already aware step up to do this.
So, I wish a happy New Year to all human-kind, and hooah to all those already in the fight.
UN Climate Change Conference 2015
Pope Francis helped broker US-Cuba talks
Portland's Police Body Cameras
US Supports Cuban Relations
Pope's 2015 Visit
Current Price of Oil