Allow me one more day to write on a local topic. I will get back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. Today I need to wrap up the topic I've been airing for the last two days. The topic today is what the role of the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners is in this community.
People seem to think that the BOCC has the power to ban an industry in our community, but they don’t. Even if they all thought an industry was a really bad fit for our community they have no power to stop it unless a new law is presented to them to vote on. This is why the LNG vote was a land issue vote and not an opinion on the industry.
It is not the purpose or function of the Board to restrict business and industry. It is their responsibility when a business or industry wants to come to this community to enforce zoning laws or facilitate a zoning transition through a variance process by setting terms and conditions and making sure conditions are met before any process goes forward. Their jurisdiction is actually pretty small in comparison to the weight that can be thrown around by the Department of Environmental Quality, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and representatives of the various Marine Boards and Homeland Security (Coast Guard).
When the Board was hearing testimony they were inundated with passionate statements from how bad dredging is for the salmon, how LNG tankers will alter river traffic and commerce, how evil the LNG companies are and how ugly the structures will be. None of these topics are within the guidelines of what the Commissioners have power over.
Their only authority is over the roads, the County infrastructure that supports the industry and what to do with the dredge spoils. I don’t think they even have any power over any wetlands issues. I could be wrong, but I believe that is totally a State issue.
I may be missing something but it seems to me the main functions of the County Board of Commissioners is to analyze, revise and approve budgets, make decisions on zoning and land use issues, be it LNG or Measure 37 or 49 claims and make or revise policies and procedures. They are also liaisons with the State. They have no powers to tell any industry that they are not welcome here. People who oppose LNG wasted a lot of time barking up the wrong tree on this issue. Now these rabid curs are trying to uproot this tree at great expense to the taxpayers for no reason other than retaliation.