On the right track

Last week, a group of Ashland High School students from Ashland Youth Climate Action testified in Salem before a joint hearing of the House and Senate environment committees. They spoke on behalf of capping greenhouse gases and investing in renewable energy through Senate Bill 557.

The young people are on the right track. Oregon has a growing renewable energy industry with potential for creating more living-wage jobs in local communities. Renewable energy creates three times the number of jobs that fossil fuels create for each unit of electricity generated. That’s because most of the money spent on renewables goes to wages while most money spent on producing fossil fuels goes to land and machines.

Increasing energy production through renewables means we don’t have to choose between jobs and the environment. Both are important to me because my own young adult children are native Oregonians and expect to live and work in Oregon for a long time.

Let’s urge our legislators to support SB 557, the Clean Energy and Jobs Bill. It will limit greenhouse gas pollution and provide investment in clean energy jobs, not just in Portland, but in small towns and rural communities like ours.

Caren Caldwell

Ashland

We need Walden here

Rep. Greg Walden reported receiving over $330,000 during the 2015-2016 campaign cycle from industrial groups and PACs in energy and natural resources, including Koch Industries, Exxon and Chevron. By contrast, Sen. Ron Wyden reported $20,000 from energy and natural resource groups during the same time period, and Senator Merkley only $9,500. (Source: opensecrets.org)

Walden represents Oregonians who cherish clean air and water and the fish, wildlife and natural beauty of our great outdoors. He chairs the House committee that will determine the fate of the Environmental Protection Agency. He is overseeing bills that would prohibit the EPA from dealing with climate change and another bill that would abolish the agency.

He will influence President Trump’s budget proposal to slash 20 percent of the EPA’s budget, ending vital programs, including the one that responds to new and emerging environmental crises such as lead in Flint, Michigan’s, drinking water. Closer to our home, the Jordan Cove LNG proposal is surfacing again.

How will Walden represent us on these critical issues? We need him here in Medford soon to discuss them in a public forum. Where are you, Greg Walden?

Marie Reeder

Rogue River

Turkey should release pastor

The Rev. Andrew Brunson, an American citizen living in Turkey since 1993, was arrested last Oct. 8 by Turkish authorities.

The Rev. Brunson serves as pastor of a church in Izmir, Turkey. He was held for two months without charge and on Dec. 8, Turkish authorities charged him with "membership in an armed terrorist organization." No evidence has been presented against him.

Last month, 78 members of the U.S. Congress sent an open letter to President Erdogan of Turkey. The letter was signed by members of both parties. The letter requested that Andrew Brunson, "an American citizen who has been unjustly detained in Turkey, be immediately released and deported."

Please pray for The Rev. Brunson, his wife and three children. You can sign a petition for his release which is on the Evangelical Presbyterian Church's website, epc.org.

Larry Jung, lead pastor, First Presbyterian Church

Jacksonville