The northwest region of the United States has everything good going for it — clean air, lush forests, beautiful rivers, and a self-renewing ecosystem that supports our local economies. I am in favor of improving local economies, but only in ways that do no harm.
I was born in Washington State, and returned here for reasons that include natural health and natural wealth that no amount of money can buy. But all that will change if corporate oil and chemical industries — special interests — continue to invade and endanger everything good about this region.
How is it that the Chinese government can build a huge methanol refinery on the banks of the Columbia River without permission from local residents whose lives will be forever changed by such a project? Who gives a foreign government permission to do that? What laws of our own country have become so twisted as to allow such disregard for human rights by rich corporations and intrusive foreigners — just because their special interest wants to make a profit off of what we consider to be our own? That is called theft. It is mind-boggling, irrational and outrageous.
American citizens have special interests too — beginning with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We will not continue to tolerate the exploitation of our homes, land, climate, water, environment, and self-sustaining economies just to make rich people richer and other chemical-guzzling nations more powerful. Nothing good is in that for us. Nothing but unmitigable heartache and destruction when something inevitably goes wrong — whether by dirty oil, dirty coal or climate-destroying chemicals such as methanol.
Methanol from the proposed Kalama refinery on the Columbia River, the largest such refinery in the world, would be destined for China to make plastic. Proposed crude oil shipments from our own Port of Grays Harbor would also be shipped to China. All such commodities are unnecessary, dangerous and therefore intolerable — with extreme health risks and guaranteed negative impacts on air, land, water and the ordinary pursuits of life that are enjoyed by a free people.
So I say no to a foreign-owned methanol refinery on the Columbia River. And I say no to crude oil trains and shipments out of the Port of Grays Harbor… or anywhere else along the northwest coast. Such projects offer slow or quick death. Those are the choices they represent.
We choose neither, and we will fight to preserve what is ours. We will oppose them wherever they continue to threaten our homes, our families, our environment, our very lives, here in the great northwest region of these United States.
And we will win.
Judith L. Alberts