HISTORY and accomplishments
SORO has been operating for about 14 years with the mission of preventing the building of power plants in pristine farming areas in the Klamath Basin. The first power project defeated was the COB (California Oregon Border) facility proposed to be sited east of Bonanza. In 2013 the KBE (Klamath BioEnergy) wood fired biomass project proposed to be sited west of Klamath along the Klamath River and Hwy 66 was defeated.
In 2015 Last year SORO made public comments to the FERC to request a moratorium on the DEIS Jordan Cove Liquefaction and Pacific Connector Pipeline project until a more complete EIS is completed for all environmentally sensitive areas through which the line travels or until the line is designed to minimize impacts in these areas. During the year SORO also joined the Sierra club to fight the building of a biomass incinerator at Southern Oregon University to the protect the image, livability, health and air quality of Ashland’s residents and the sustainably of its tourist reliant economy
SORO recently (in Jan. 2016) has made public comments to the DoD that it is strongly against the approval of the Environmental Assessment document as sent out by DoD-USAF-Title III program for the Red Rock Biofuels Company in Lakeview and unanimously support the comments of Northwest Environmental Defense Center , Oregon Wild’s comments, Wild Earth Guardians, Beyond Toxics and other environmental groups.
SORO’s new focus is to oppose large projects that will have a significant negative impact on the livability, air quality and environment in southern Oregon communities and to maintain the historical usage of Southern Oregon and Klamath county resources (farmlands and natural environments) in areas that surround these communities. SORO’s ultimate focus is to seek to promote public involvement in local government processes to develop strategies for building up the image, livability and economy in these communities.
Massive research on impacts of industrial development on pristine farm and wildlife areas and adjacent to residential neighborhoods
–Land use planning knowledge:
Proper application of KCCP in land use decisions
Evaluation of state land use rules in land use decisions
Design of highway entrance gateways and greenbelts
–Air quality improvement knowledge
Access to environmental engineering experts to evaluate and improve industrial designs and controls
DEQ and EPA process and implementation knowledge
–Some other areas of access to expertise
Fish and wildlife
Legal expertise in air quality implementation laws and land use.
–Association with the following organizations:
The Energy Justice Network
The Sierra Club
Incinerator Free Mason County
RECENT NEWS COMMENTARIES
–July 28, 2013 in the Klamath H&N
LIVABILITY THE KEY TO THE FUTURE OF KLAMATH FALLS
Trying to bring in more dirty industry will trap the Basin in a cycle of poverty
Save Our Rural Oregon’s new focus is to promote more public involvement and teamwork with organizations and people with new creative visions to develop strategies for building up the image, livability the economy of Klamath Falls in the long run.
SORO feels that lack of economic development and livability has resulted from lack of improvement in the image and pride in the community. It is the chicken or the egg thing. Once our image is built up then it will be easier to build up the economy which could, if handled properly improve our livability. (of course both strategies should be worked on concurrently.) SORO strongly feels that the continuing trend of trying to bring in more dirty industry into the basin will not build up our economy and image in the long run but keep us trapped in a poverty cycle of a depressed economy with a poor image and poor livability and hamper our ability to attract new businesses. For example, the recent attempt to bring in the failed biomass plant which would have been located so that it ruined the natural beauty of the scenic entrance along Hwy66 as well as added to our bad air quality problem, used up our water and would have drastically deteriorated our image for a few low paying jobs. This project would have had an extremely negative impact on our image, livability and economy in the long run.
SORO feels that businesses that do not use up our limited air and water resources would protect our livability and the rural atmosphere of our area are the ones we want to seek out to build up our image and economy. We feel that these types of business will improve our image, attract additional tourists, retirees and businesses seeking “our type of area” . One viable initial strategy to encourage economic development is to promote the development small businesses working with local people who have good ideas for marketable products, goods and services and to attract outside owner operator business who want to live here to enjoy our affordable housing, our uncrowded rural atmosphere, our recreational opportunities and livability.
SORO feels that adding citizen involvement in Klamath Falls and Klamath County planning is the key to improving the image and economy of Klamath Falls and Klamath County. Most important of all, SORO feels that all county residents must be encouraged and allowed to work together with local governments, state agencies, educational Institutions (OIT, KCC and SOU), local businesses, farmers and ranchers to realize the improvement of “our image”. (These are the stakeholders)
Finally, SORO feels that “local control” is the key to solving our problems with our area’s general area appearance, improving our air quality and solving our problems of water quantity usage. Businesses and people desiring to relocate to an area will want to know that the local government will work as a team with local citizens to develop and implement the best solutions to our livability and economic development problems. In the future, SORO will be glad to provide further details and to work with all stakeholders to implement our plans
Several of SORO’s high priority projects to implement our new focus are: (1) To investigate the feasibility of developing a plan to improve our air quality by working together with OIT, the EPA and local government to study the scope of our air quality problem and implement new solutions that will make significant step improvements in our air quality and (2) To work with local citizens and local government to develop strategies and ordinances to improve land use planning which will improve our image by protecting and enhancing our natural beauty and rural atmosphere.
BREAKING NEWS ON HERALD AND NEWS WEBSITE:
Proposed biomass plant will not be built
Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013 10:20 am
A proposed biomass plant off Highway 66 will not be built, due to complications with its federal funding source.
Klamath Falls Bioenergy withdrew its application for a site certification on Tuesday. The certification process had been mired in delays with the Energy Facilities Siting Council.
The proposed plant was fiercely opposed by a local group, Save Our Rural Oregon, who contended that the plant would have determintal enviromental impacts. Proponents of the project said it would create jobs and boost property tax revenue in the county.
Read more in Friday’s edition.
Updates on important events that are impacting SORO
Legislative and political pressures on forest practices and biomass development
-Oregon lawmakers are proposing a federal-private forest land swap bill to create more logging jobs and biomass jobs. And the local politicians and commissioners will be also pressured to support this policy which will result in massive feedstock for biomass.
-Federal court ruling have taken away biomass exemptions for green house gas accounting. This will require industry to install tighter emission controls and measurement devices and for the DEQ and EPA to install monitors to check on them. However, industry and governments have appealed this and it will take years to implement
Environmental groups are fighting bills on federal-private forest land swaps
Potential changes in air permitting rules which will make it more costly for biomass projects –Lakeview biomass fight (SORO made both public and written comments & SORO’s environmental engineer is commented to help SORO technically on any new fights
Possible law suit against DEQ/EPA to implement new Oregon tighter emissions standards and account for more categories.
SORO made public comments to ODOE on green house gas accounting rules for power plants
SLIDE SHOW—— EXAMPLE OF IMPACTS OF AN IMPROPERLY LOCATED PROPOSED BIOMASS PLANT IN PRISTINE FARM AREA NEXT TO A WILDLIFE REFUGE AND ADJACENT TO A RURAL RESIDENTIAL AREA (SORO DEFEATED THIS PROPOSAL)