Letters to the Editor for April 23, 2013

WFD volunteer program in trouble?

I write this letter in an attempt to convey my thoughts and fear in regards to the consolidation of the Camas and Washougal fire departments.

I write this letter as a long standing volunteer.

In recent months, we have seen the Washougal Fire Department be subjected to dispersing Washougal career staff to the Camas stations, and Camas personnel staff to the Washougal stations. This event alone has disrupted the continuity between volunteers and career staff, and could have a devastating outcome to the volunteer department.

With no fault to the Camas personnel, they are unaware of day-to-day operations and the roles and responsibilities of the volunteers. The volunteers have been in existence for over 80 years and have been an important and vital organization with community service as their forefront.

The following are examples of some of the community services the Washougal volunteers perform:

Fire and life safety: Structure fires, wildland fires and rescues.

Medical services: Basic life services and standby medical personnel for football games.

Public education: CPR classes, Smokey Bear program, fire safety education in schools, at the station and during public events.

Public relations: Special events within our community, college scholarships, and sponsor/donate to organizations within our community including baseball and softball teams, community activities, purchase smoke detectors and fire/medical equipment and host the annual Turkey Carnival.

My concern is that with the consolidation of these two career departments, the volunteer organization will soon be no more and 80 years of service forgotten with the striking of a pen.

I suggest that all members of the Washougal City Council follow up with other members of the volunteer department and with the people that have entrusted you with their voice.

Charles Crumpacker, Washougal

Coal should not be sold

What non-renewable resource do the American people own in abundance?

Hint: It can be liquefied to use as fuel, and gasified for a variety of uses. The technology is not new, but is improving and can continue to do so.

Have you guessed that the resource that could be used to fuel vehicles, make plastics, etc. is coal?

Lest you think I am pro- or anti-coal, let me disabuse you. I am neither.

I am against selling for an average of $1 per ton a resource that you and I own.

That is not a typo. The government conducts coal auctions from public lands, where about one-third of U.S. coal exists, at the behest of mining companies.

The current coal companies’ plans are to buy our coal for $1 per ton, transport it through the Columbia Gorge through our community, leaving piles of particles, dust, diesel exhaust, and polluted water in their wake, send the coal to China, make a huge profit and leave us breathing polluted air while we sit at railroad crossings waiting for mile long trains to pass.

Only undeveloped countries sell their natural resources. Our coal should be left in the ground until such time as it is needed to replace increasingly expensive oil. The U.S. is not a developing nation that needs to sell its raw resources to make ends meet. This supply of coal we have needs to be a bank account for the future, not sold to the only bidder at a lease auction for $1 per ton.

Dianne Kocer, Brush Prairie