It was so sunny and crisp on Saturday, Mount Baker stood out clearly even in the middle of the afternoon. I traipsed around the neighborhood in search of an open horizon. From Crown Park (formerly Crown Zellerbach Park, one presumes, for the erstwhile owners of the paper mill below):
Loverly view, innit? Somewhere down there in that picture, the mill is hard at work building a biofuels plant. The locals in government and industry want the jobs, the cheaper power. Nobody seems to care about the consequences to the planet. "The pollutants that would increase are nitrogen oxide by 6 tons a year, volatile organic compounds by 36 tons a year and carbon dioxide by 231,000 tons per year..." Even the environmentalists, who have gone to court again to try to stop it, are couching their argument in NIMBY terms, the damage to our local air quality. Carbon dioxide, y'all. The plant is going to make the air around here less clear, that's true. But even if that weren't the case, how is it ok to produce all that carbon dioxide in order to save money and make jobs??
I am aware of the contradiction: we are joyfully taking down the dams on the Elhwa River to call the salmon home. The lower dam did produce clean power for some small percent of the mill's needs; but that power has already been replaced by Bonneville power— also clean— pulled out of the grid. Nippon Paper doesn't need the biofuels plant. Bonneville power is, however, part of the system of dams that kills rivers and salmon. Nothing is simple.