It may be true that cruise ships have their own security, though in recent events when hit by sea pirates, some of them have barely managed to protect themselves ("Tax revenue ahoy," The Daily Astorian, March 30). When was the last time you saw any cruise ship enter the Columbia River to dock at any of our ports that was accompanied by U.S. Coast Guard escort boats including gun boats?

This is a whole different ball game. We now have to deal with potential terrorist tactics, and the collateral damage from attacking a liquefied natural gas tanker in the vicinity of a large cruise ship would create just that.

In some large ports, where the Department of Homeland Security deems the entire infrastructure at risk due to potential terrorist activity, cruise ships already have gun boat escorts. Now, with the potential for that same scenario on our peaceful Columbia River, the Coast Guard has deemed that as a necessary mandate.

Consider all the deep draft vessels which now traverse the Columbia that carry varied and dangerous combustible materials. Not one of those vessels requires the type of high profile attention that one LNG tanker receives in any port it enters in U.S. waters.

And the Coast Guard that is supposed to guard the Columbia River against all threats - has anyone checked lately to see just what kind of equipment these brave men and women are dependent upon to do their jobs in this area ("It's time to get back on track with USCG," The Daily Astorian, April 23)?

What tools will they have to work with? What is the local budget for our Oregon-based Coast Guard? And specifically, the base near Astoria? Will they be doing an armed escort?

What are the full facts in regard to the emergency response program? I think that is considered a nonpublic issue at this time, so we don't know what the facts are ("LNG firm begs feds to 'disregard' state concerns," The Daily Astorian, April 25).

Is there something to fear? Who are the people in Washington who will be affected by this natural gas pipeline? That has also been considered a security issue, so none of those potential property owners knows if they are or aren't going to have to deal with the eminent domain issue.

Why should the state of Oregon not expect Northern Star to comply to the full extent with the codes that are Oregon's mandates. Isn't that what your taxes are paying for? This should be a state's right issue, not a federal government mandate.

Try to get some answers from Northern Star. Good luck. I am tired of their trying to spoon-feed us pudding. The fact that they still can't seem to present a document that is in full compliance with the codes of the state of Oregon or the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission makes me think that they are the ones most affected by the fear factor.

We don't need LNG turning the Columbia River into an industrial artery for California. And that is where this product is destined.

VONDA KAY BROCK

Longview, Wash.

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