Two conservative Salem City Council candidates in the upcoming May 19 election have decidedly crazy ideas about idling cars and climate change.
Reid Sund (Ward 7) and Jan Kailuweit (Ward 1) are claiming that building a 3rd Bridge across the Willamette would be a big contributor to lowering greenhouse gas emissions in Salem. Yes, they say, it is one of the best solutions we have in our “tool kit” for fighting climate change.
In this regard they have a lot in common with Donald Trump. They make stuff up that has no basis in fact and then they repeat it over and over.
Bizarrely, Sund and Kailuweit claim that because at rush hour, which now is basically non-existent given the many people working from home or out of work, there can be cars waiting to cross Salem's two bridges, those idling engines create more greenhouse gas pollution than would be produced by the construction of a billion dollar (with financing costs) 3rd Bridge.
Before showing how wrong they are, here's how Sund and Kailuweit are making that flimsy argument. This Your Vote Counts CCTV video starts at the point Sund is asked about the Climate Action Plan being undertaken by the City of Salem.
Reid says that he wished the plan to build a 3rd Bridge had been able to move forward. He adds that the bridge would have had an impact on carbon emissions. Here's the crazy part: he thinks that stalled cars have a major negative impact on Salem's environmental quality, more so than the carbon footprint of an additional massive bridge across the Willamette.
Likewise, Kailuweit also claims that building another bridge would decrease carbon emissions, rather than increase them.
So let's do a fact check on Reid Sund and Jan Kailuweit. They're running to be on the City Council of Oregon's capital. That's an important job, albeit an unpaid one. Voters should expect that council candidates know what they're talking about on important issues facing Salem.
Well, in this case Sund and Kailuweit are flat-out wrong.
There is absolutely no evidence that building the 3rd Bridge would reduce carbon emissions, more so than not building the bridge. The reality is that there was never an assessment of greenhouse gas emissions in the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) process. City officials reported this to the City Council in a staff report.
The closest thing we do have to this kind of assessment is what was done by the Salem River Crossing consultants CH2M in their “Energy Technical Report Addendum."
Because of the phenomenon known as “induced demand,” CH2M concluded that building the 3rd Bridge would put more cars and trucks on the road resulting in a 16.1% increase in “operational energy consumption” in 2040. If more fossil fuel is consumed there will be more carbon dioxide emissions.
So even leaving aside the carbon footprint of a massive bridge construction project, “induced demand” creates more carbon dioxide than fewer idling cars and trucks by a significant amount. That’s the evidence we have. Sund and Kailuweit either didn’t bother to research this or they are choosing to ignore it. The idling car claim is totally bogus.
Keep this in mind if you live in Ward 7 or Ward 1. Do you want a city councilor who makes decisions based on facts rather than their personal political biases? If so, vote for Vanessa Nordyke in Ward 7 and Virginia Stapleton in Ward 1.