The Question of Gas

March 9 online letters debate City Council shift to electric and address Ukraine


So, electricity is really cleaner and better for the environment than gas? Please tell me: Where does electricity come from? 

Interesting information on the U.S. Energy Information Administration website: Most electricity is generated with steam turbines using fossil fuels, nuclear, biomass, geothermal and solar thermal energy. Fossil fuels are the largest sources of energy for electricity generation. Natural gas was the largest source of U.S. electricity generation in 2021 and used in both steam and gas turbines to generate electricity. 

Coal, the second-largest energy source for the U.S, is a nonrenewable fossil fuel that’s burned and used to generate electricity. Nearly all coal-fired power plants use steam turbines. A few coal-fired power plants convert coal to a gas for use in a gas turbine to generate electricity. 

Nuclear energy provides about 10 percent of U.S. electricity generation; Do we want that? Not me. Renewable energy sources provide about 20 percent. Hooray, let’s make lots more of that.

The fact is electricity comes from sources driven by natural gas. How much good will banning gas powered appliances in new construction really do? Seriously?

Joann VanHorn



Salem must pass the Treasury Investment and Climate Protection Act (HB 2601) this year and transparently transition our state’s investments away from fossil fuels. Divest Oregon, a grassroots coalition, obtained a copy of a “climate risk” consultants report from the Oregon State Treasury last month. The report reveals the poor performance of fossil fuel investments in PERS.

Our treasurer kept this study under wraps since February of last year. No surprise here: It clearly shows holding onto PERS fossil fuel investments are a big financial loser for the state. The loss relative to baseline over the next five years for not divesting PERS fossil fuel holdings would be 14.5 percent (in the most likely future climate scenario).

Despite the Treasury’s own consultants showing that these investments are a huge drag on PERS returns, it invested in new fossil fuel funds in the past month. Many of these funds are locked into long-term contracts, making it hard to exit any time soon. We need the Treasury to get in the transparency habit of releasing important reports when these reports arrive — not one year later. And, it goes without saying, the Treasury should follow the advice of its own expensive consultants.

While treasurer Tobias Read has announced a “plan for a plan” to decarbonize, this plan would not begin until 2024 — the year he transitions out of office. Kicking the can does not meet the urgency of the climate crisis.

HB 2601 rises to the occasion, offering better returns and real transparency for all Oregonians.

Robin Bloomgarden



Remember playing with a tuning fork as a kid? You smack it on the table, and hear the wah-wah-wah sound and feel the vibration as you move it around your body? Fun, right?

Well now imagine it’s 3:45 am, and the tuning fork is the size of a building. Most every morning of the week at this time, the giant picks it up and smacks it. For about two miles, sleep is interrupted, and various well-documented health risks of exposure to these low frequency noises are laid at your feet. Walls actually vibrate. It’s so loud, earplugs and a pillow over your head don’t cut it. 

This is what we go through, thanks to the Zip-O-Laminators mill. The city has passed an ordinance against the low frequency drone they emit, and I believe they are being honorable to the process. But that doesn’t stop them, nor does it give the corporate owners a conscience about what they are doing to our community. 

Angela Englert 



We are storing used and excess armaments on 36,000 acres at the Sierra Army Depot in Northern California. There are 26,000 armored personnel carriers and 2,000 M1 Abrams tanks mothballed there. Why aren’t we sending the majority that still work to Ukraine?

Jerry Brule



Don’t Biden and Putin realize how bad nuclear war may be for the climate? We must ban all radioactive fallout in Eugene now!

Mark Fiser


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