At their Nov 10th meeting Wasco County Board of Commissioners voted 3-0 to finalize their Nov, 3rd decision to deny the permit for Union Pacific’s proposed rail expansion. To read more about the decision
Highlights from the Nov 3rd Wasco Board of Commissioners meeting:
Gary Kahn, an attorney representing Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Columbia Riverkeeper and Physicians for Social Responsibility presented the case that the project would violate the National Scenic Area Land Use Development Ordinance in many ways.
The testimony from the Tribal Nations was powerful and moving. Austin Greene, Warm Springs Tribal Chairman, drove from Warm Springs in order to testify. The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation was represented by attorney Amber Penn-Roco, who spoked to the Yakama Nation opposition to this project and that it violated tribal treaty rights. She also read a letter from the tribal elders. Testimony was given from Lana Jack of Celilo Village, of the Wyam people. She spoke of the daily challenges and dangers her people face in crossing the railroad tracks.
During the process, Wasco County Planning Director Angie Brewer reminded county officials of their duty to deny the permit unless they could reach a determination that tribal treaty rights were not impacted, citing the National Scenic Area Land Use Development Ordinance. In the end, The Wasco County Board of Commissioners stood up to the Union Pacific Railroad, and voted unanimously to oppose the project. We all owe them a debt of gratitude.
In all likelihood, Union Pacific is going to appeal this decision to the Columbia River Gorge Commission.
Contact Gregory Monahan, Chair of the Beyond Gas and Oil Team, if you would like more information or if you would like to volunteer at firstname.lastname@example.org