Letters to the editor: Owyhee plans, Lady Viks and carbon emissions

Owyhee group plans trips, meetings

To the Editor:

Common ground: It’s time for a more inclusive path forward for Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Senate passed a sweeping lands conservation bill by a vote of 92 to 8. Last week, the House passed it 363-62, proving love for America’s public lands is a truly powerful thing: It can overcome even Washington DC’s drama and deep dysfunction. Yes, good things can and do happen when people work together – and there are few issues in our polarized country that have such widespread, bipartisan support as safeguarding our public lands. 

People here in Malheur County and throughout Oregon know the Owyhee Canyonlands is one of the most special places in the entire American West. The skies here are so dark, you’ll see stars you’ve never laid eyes on before. The hunting, fishing and camping you can experience on these public lands are straight-up world-class. And the rich human history of this area defies the imagination – from the semi-nomadic hunters and gathers that have inhabited this area for over 13,000 years to its Wild West roots steeped in ranching and Basque culture. All of these wonders are right here in our backyard, on public lands that are the shared natural heritage of all Americans. 

And yet, as the recent article “Malheur stewardship coalition takes new Owyhee plan to Congress” made clear, a select few are trying to drive the discussions about how this place should be cared for and managed for current and future generations. That needs to change. We don’t need isolated groups crafting ideas alone in a vacuum and pushing their agendas when the political pendulum swings their way. We need a more inclusive path forward that brings together all the people who care about this place to find solutions on how best to manage Oregon’s Owyhee. 

My passion for Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands runs deep. I grew up in Adrian. I’ve spent decades exploring the area with my friends and family. I’ve spent countless hours researching its unique history and incredible ecological and cultural values. And now, with Friends of the Owyhee, I’ve had hundreds of conversations with community members of all stripes. I also help others discover, care for and fall in love with this unique place. Like a whole lot of people throughout Oregon and beyond, I care deeply about the Owyhee. And our voices matter. They need to be heard. 

To make sure that happens, Friends of the Owyhee will be reaching out to folks who are committed to finding common-sense solutions for the Owyhee’s future that truly consider the input of the many people who care about this place. Friends will also hold events and trips in Malheur County throughout the year to ensure that people can share their hopes, concerns and ideas for ensuring a bright future for the Owyhee – and then we’ll be relaying that input directly to our elected officials. Everyone is welcome. 

If we’re going to find real, lasting solutions for this place that protect its special character and ensure our local communities and economies can thrive, we all need to roll up our sleeves, check our mistrust at the door, and come together. Good things can and will happen when we do. 

Tim Davis, Executive Director, Friends of the Owyhee

Lady Viks, fans represent Vale well

To the Editor:

My name is Keenan Holte. This past week I was the volunteer greeter/host for the Lady Vikings during their visit to the state basketball tournament here in Coos Bay.

It was such a pleasure to be associated with the team, its coaches, trainer, statistician and driver. I was also able to meet a few of the folks who came to cheer on the team.

I want to congratulate the team on getting to the Elite 8 in the state, a major accomplishment. I am so impressed with all the young women. The maturity and polite behavior that they exhibited was what made my involvement so meaningful to me. This group is a product of your community and it shows in the most positive way. The team represented the community in a manner that you can all be proud of.

My hope is that next year we can do it again. I am confident that the hard work of the coaches and team will allow for another trip to the coast. Best of luck for the remainder of the school year. I look forward to a visit to Vale this summer, and to renew the friendships that I feel fortunate to have made.

Keenan Holte, Coos Bay

Cap, trade a tax by any other name

To the Editor:

Baker County and the surrounding area will be greatly impacted by House Bill 2020, the cap and trade bill. This is not just a one-time tax, it is a forever tax that will devastate industry, ranch and farm jobs in Eastern Oregon.

I wish to thank the state Legislature for the hearings they held in Baker City. There were a great many people who wanted to speak against HB 2020 but due to the time limit and crowd of over 300 people, only a few got to vent their frustrations. 

I believe the bill is about a tax and is not directed at a problem, which there is none. Back when Oregon was part of the inland sea, volcanos vented into the sea, spewing tons upon tons of carbon dioxide into the air, saturating the landlocked retreating seas. The carbon dioxide combined with calcium rich sea beds created thousands of feet of limestone in this region. The three major volcanic eruptions in recent history put more CO2 into the atmosphere than man has since the industrial revolution.  

All of the carbon restrictions on motor vehicles and fuel are just about tax and control. If we had pollution problems like in the Far East, like China and India where smog is prevalent, then we would have a problem. But to tax Americans because other countries pollute is ridiculous. 

Oregon’s counties have been engulfed in forest fires on the national forests. Each burning tree gives up all of the carbon dioxide gas it has absorbed in its lifetime, pouring millions of tons of CO2 into the air. If you want to tax someone, tax the Forest Service for massive CO2 and carbon-ash pollution and mismanagement of our forests.

Chuck Chase, Baker City

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