Letters to the Editor

Our congressman, Greg Walden, in a sneaky Friday vote, voted to cut food stamps in spite of the fact that up to 34 percent of his constituents and more than 800,000 Oregonians are food stamp dependent.

His office stated that he is voting "the will of his constituents." How would Walden know? He just spent five weeks out here but held only two town hall meetings in two tiny counties.

Walden represents Oregon? Not hardly damned likely. — Don Stone, Ashland

The closing of Rising Phoenix Biofuels is indeed a loss for the community as a whole. Its closure, however, does not reflect the health of the local or national biodiesel industry.

We at Rogue Biofuels will recycle more than 200,000 gallons of locally-collected used cooking oil into biodiesel this year. Since incorporating in 2008, we have steadily grown each year, seeing 40 percent growth for 2013. And our advancement is not unique. The U.S. biodiesel industry is producing more biodiesel this year than ever before. As of 2011, all diesel fuel sold in Oregon is blended with 5 percent biodiesel, a level supported by all vehicle manufacturers.

High blends such as B99 (the fuel previously sold at Rising Phoenix Biofuels and currently sold at our own station) may be used in some diesel vehicles without modification, but is incompatible with others. B99 is therefore only popular with those committed to using a locally made and renewable fuel.

Fuel retailers' margins are very small. Standard fuel stations rely on their convenience stores to create profits; at Rogue Biofuels, we rely on the collection of the used cooking oil the fuel is made from. Our industry is not dying — it's thriving. — Jordan Beck, Ashland

Brian Ettling's column (MT, Sept. 12) offers an excellent summary of current consequences of climate change in the region. They are substantial. Probably the most serious problem is posed by reducing snowpack.

Historically, snowpack has served as the reservoir guaranteeing summer water supplies. As this snowpack melts through the summer and fall, agricultural, forestry and domestic needs are met. However, with currently dwindling snowpack (at Crater Lake, it's already down 25 percent since the 1930s, and in the lower Siskiyous, it's down 13 percent since the 1950s), and a potential drop down to 10 percent of historical amounts by late century, more serious water limitations are expected.

If our summer temperature increases some 12 degrees Fahrenheit, as anticipated, and it combines with the potential for reduced summer rainfall, we can expect seriously enhanced water shortages. These will be combined with extended droughts and more severe and frequent wildfires.

Projections suggest that the suffering that is currently being experienced throughout much of the rest of the country will quickly come home to Southern Oregon. We will all be paying a heavy tax in suffering.

It's time to place a fee on the carbon pollution that is causing the problem. — Ken Deveney, Ashland

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