Meet Don Charles Steinke, well known in Clark County as an anti-fossil fuel activist. Don is sincere in his activism and is well spoken and well versed in his one point of view.
First, my apologies to Don for singling him out, but I also know he has been chomping at the bit for a chance to spread his message here. A message I personally feel is somewhat misguided.
In the brief excerpt from his introduction at last year’s Climate Debate held in Vancouver above, Don states his view and from my research, is mistaken.
Being on the “brink of a climate disaster” remains highly debatable among scientists, a fact prominently brought out in the Climate Debate last October.
But Don is also wrong on “the fossil fuel industry has continuously opposed conservation.”
A quick Google search revealed;
December 1990 New York Time LTE: Why Oil Companies Back Conservation
April 23, 2009 Oil Companies Embrace Energy Efficiency
Suffice it to say, there is a plethora of information showing Don is mistaken where he claims, “the fossil fuel industry has continuously opposed conservation.”
Given that, Don’s main point of interest of late seems to be stopping the construction of a much needed oil transfer terminal at the Port of Vancouver. I say much needed because our community sure could use the family wage jobs that it would bring with it.
But Don also has a point in that there are dangers involved. But what in life doesn’t come with some element of danger involved?
Just stepping outside your home can be wrought with danger if you drive, ride a bicycle or even walk. We are not even totally safe in our homes, but most of us don’t roll up in a ball throughout our life out of fear of known dangers.
But, that element of danger is being used in opposing the oil terminal, primarily train derailments in other parts of the world and our country, some fiery with some loss of life.
It would be a lie to claim that is not a valid concern, but again, where it is claimed “13 oil trains have ruptured and spilled in two years,” how many airplanes have crashed in that same time period?
How many trucks have wrecked?
How many car accidents involving pedestrians have there been?
Yes, a derailment is a concern and no one, least of all the oil company, wants to see an accident that costs them profits, draws the scorn of the public and even they do not want any loss of life.
So, safety is an issue of concern and efforts are underway, but from government and the company’s to improve safety. Will it ever be 100% safe? Doubtful, but as I said above, what in life is?
None of us live in a bubble.
Odd to that those like Don adamantly opposed to this job creating oil terminal have no problem with a grain elevator at the Port. Surely they are aware of the volatility of grain dust.
But no one expresses any concern over that.
Likewise, I do not recall any fiery major train derailments here even though those same oil trains have been coming through for decades and regardless of whether or not the oil terminal is built, will continue, city council’s have no jurisdiction over federally controlled and privately owned rails.
But I do recall a major airline crash in 1978 across the river that cost ten lives as a DC-8 ran out of fuel short of the airport and came down in a Gresham neighborhood.
Look up sometime and see how many airplanes still come in to and leave Portland International Airport, our community being under the Approach/Departure pattern.
And instead of the oil terminal, people want to see a concrete jungle waterfront project, complete with Condominiums, even more retail space, yet another convention center, a hotel and high end restaurants?
Offering only minimum wage service jobs, how livable do you think those condominiums will be once prospective buyers hear the Air Force fighter jets roaring overhead taking off?
I do not fault Don in his anti-fossil fuel activism, he has done his homework and is well-versed in his view. But, it is only one point of view.
There is a lot to be considered beyond the fearmongering of “bomb-trains” and derailments.
Not the least of which is we really need those family wage middle class jobs.
I invite readers to review any of the past posts I have written contained at Energy Post Archives
Surely we can find a balance!