Nov. 6, 2013 - Letters to the Editor

Credit: Brad Skiff

Mill apologizes for the for smoke

In October, we restarted the Omak Wood Products mill after a four-year closure. Thanks to our partnerships with the Colville tribe, the community and particularly to the hard work from our 88 employees, the mill is running again.

Like all restarts of industrial facilities, there were challenges to reopening. Recently, people have noticed a familiar, visible plume of steam and smoke, resulting from restarting the large, wood-fired steam boiler.

Our boiler is regulated by federal and tribal environmental organizations to assure we comply with regulations. Monitoring devices adjacent to the mill constantly measure for pollutants in the air from all sources, including our boiler, your fireplaces, etc. Restarting the boiler caused a higher than desired level of wood smoke which was at times intensified by a temperature inversion and fog.

To those neighbors more sensitive to the presence of wood smoke, we sincerely apologize. We want everyone to know we are working hard to comply with environmental regulations with officials from the tribal Environmental Trust and the federal EPA.

We need steam from the boiler to operate. Once we add a second shift of workers and increase operations, the complications of starting and stopping the boiler – including wood smoke – should improve.

We are exploring other ways to address this as it may be an infrequent, but recurring situation as we ramp up production.

Omak Wood Products is committed to making the mill a success. Your patience and understanding while we get started is greatly appreciated.

Richard Yarbrough


Out-of-state money funds campaign

The money to campaign against I-522, the initiative to label food that has genetically engineered plant content, comes out of state and from a few donors. These donors are Monsanto Corp. at $4.8 million, Kraft Foods and General Mills at $2.2 million, Bayer Crop at $590,000, Dupont Pioneer at $171,000 and Dow Agrosciences at $29,500. Monsanto is the largest company producing genetically modified food.

There is an old cliche, “Follow the money.” If there is that much money behind the no vote on I-522 coming from big corporations with crony ties to the federal government, I don’t need any other information to tell me something smells like genetically modified rotten fish.

Prior to being Supreme Court Judge, Clarence Thomas was chief lawyer for Monsanto. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Anne Veneman was on the board of directors of Monsanto’s Calgene Corporation. The secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, was on the board of directors of Monsanto’s Searle Pharmaceuticals. Michael Taylor who was vice president for public policy for Monsanto is now deputy commissioner for the Federal Drug Administration. Hillary Clinton was a lawyer for Monsanto before being secretary of state. Roger Beachy was director of Monsanto’s Danforth Center and now director of a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Islam Siddiqui was a Monsanto lobbyist and then agriculture negotiator and trade representative under President Obama.

Don’t be fooled by the expensive glossy colored mass mailings propagandizing you against I-522. Don’t let them dump biotech foods down your throat without your consent.

Bill Huhn



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