I'd like to comment on three things in last week's paper.
The article by Ron Polk pointed out that diesel exhaust carries dangerous health hazards, especially for children and the elderly. It also mentioned that diesel pollution in our area is very low. But if you’re in downtown Joseph, Enterprise, Lostine or Wallowa (much of the time), in the back of a diesel school bus, or near a running diesel rig you’re breathing unhealthful air. Simply put, anytime you, your children, or anyone smells diesel, your lungs, or theirs are being exposed to an especially harmful substance.
It was also very disappointing to see State Senator Hansell’s guest editorial about the legislature's new Cap & Trade bill. His statements suggest that he’s not fond of the free market system or democracy. The bill will result in the price of fossil fuels reflecting a more true market value (where the costs to taxpayers for dealing with the problems caused by fossil fuel use are factored in). Senator Hansell’s statement that he’ll use whatever means necessary to defeat the Cap & Trade bill is an obvious reference to his willingness to flee the state, during the legislative session again. That’s antithetical to democracy and a flagrant slap in the face to Oregon voters and taxpayers.
Lastly, I urge the County Commissioners to reverse the cuts to the county’s recycling program and make it more robust than before, even if that means increasing the tipping fee for garbage disposal. Not all county services pay for themselves, nor should they. For example, we don’t expect the sheriff’s department to generate as much revenue it spends - it’s a service for the public good. Recycling is in the public good and should be treated the same. For suggestions about more effective management, county commissioners could creating a citizens committee on solid waste and recycling.