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Opinion

The Navajo Nation and New Mexico vs. incompetence and bad faith in the USEPA

On August 5, five years to the day after suffering from a 3-million-gallon spill of heavy-metal-laden toxic wastewater from Colorado’s Gold King Mine, the State of Utah announced a settlement of its claims against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and several EPA contractors (who thus far have not been held responsible, accountable or liable) for their alleged negligence in allowing the spill.

The notorious, devastating accident turned Cement Creek and the Animas, San Juan and Colorado Rivers yellow all the way from Colorado through New Mexico and Utah and into Lake Powell. The settlement is good news. Yet those whose memories of are faulty at best may not realize that the EPA is still in the throes of a consolidated lawsuit filed by the State of New Mexico, the Navajo Nation, and a group of 295 Navajo farmers and ranchers (and 16 other individuals) who were harmed by the spill.

Indeed, the Obama Administration made it very clear early on that neither the EPA nor the Federal Emergency Management Agency would provide just compensation for the damages caused by the incident, in which an EPA contractor using a backhoe to dig away rock and debris from the adit (mine portal or entrance) opened the floodgates. The spill happened because no one had done any testing to determine the height, volume or quality of water inside the mine. Continue reading

Five years after the infamous blowout, EPA finally settles with Utah over Gold King pollution

On the fifth anniversary of the notorious spill of 3 million gallons of heavily contaminated acid mine water from the Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and State of Utah announced an agreement that ends the state’s lawsuit.

Neither the EPA nor the contractors involved at the Gold King spill site are entirely off the hook for their alleged missteps that resulted in downstream damages. Lawsuits filed by the Navajo Nation, the State of New Mexico, and a group of Navajo farmers and ranchers have been consolidated, and discovery is proceeding, with a projected trial date sometime in late 2021.

Pursuant to the agreement, Utah will dismiss its legal actions against the EPA and the United States; mining companies Kinross Gold Corporation, Kinross Gold U.S.A., Inc., Sunnyside Gold Corporation, and Gold King Mines Corporation; and EPA’s contractors: Environmental Restoration, LLC, Weston Solutions, Inc. and Harrison Western Corporation. EPA also agreed to strengthen Utah’s involvement in the EPA’s work to address contamination at the Bonita Peak Mining District Superfund Site, which includes the Gold King Mine and other abandoned mines.

The agency further agreed to act on the Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s application for $3 million in Clean Water Act funds for various projects, including the development of water quality criteria for Utah Lake, septic density studies, nonpoint source pollution reduction projects, and nutrient management plans for agricultural sources. Continue reading

Bryan Fischer

The tyrannical governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has declared war on the church of Jesus Christ in the Golden State. He is looking to claim his first victim in the person of John MacArthur, the longtime pastor of Grace Community Church.

MacArthur is ignoring the latest edict from Gov. Newsom, which totally bans indoor worship services. However, Gov. Newsom’s diktat does not have the force of law, since he has zero legal authority to issue coercive mandates like this. We live in a republic, not a dictatorship, a fact that seems to have escaped the governor’s attention.

Most state legislatures have granted their governors temporary authority to issue emergency orders for obvious reasons – an emergency may be sudden and unforeseen and require some kind of government intervention until the legislature can convene to deal with it. These emergency orders typically expire after 30 days, and must be renewed by the state legislature or the governor’s emergency authority lapses. Newsom’s 30 days ran out a long time ago.

So he may think he can act with emperor-like power over the church, but he can’t. Not in America.

He has compounded his problem by targeting MacArthur’s church for mean spirited reprisal. The church has been operating its parking lot on a long term lease with Los Angeles County, a lease that has been in effect for 45 years with no problems. The governor has evidently decided that if he cannot shut the church down, he’ll just evict it. The church has until the end of September to abandon the parking lot or the county will sweep in and confiscate everything on it that isn’t nailed down. Continue reading

Eric Fruits, Ph.D.

President Trump is frequently accused of lying. But he doesn’t have a monopoly on falsehood. Look around the Portland region and you’ll see our local politicians lying to us. We live in our own Pinocchio-land.

Metro’s “Get Moving 2020” ballot measure is a $5.2 billion tax increase disguised as a transportation measure. It’s a permanent tax on the total compensation paid by every private business and nonprofit with more than 25 employees. Metro says it’s a payroll tax, but it’s much more. It will tax every dollar you earn — even the money you save for retirement.

Comedian John Oliver says, “If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring.” And, that’s what Portland City Council has done with a major charter change packaged as some minor housekeeping.

Portland says the amendment merely clarifies the charter. In reality, the amendment will open a spending tap with water customers on the hook for ever rising water bills.

Portland Public Schools deserves its own wing in the Hall of Pinocchios. PPS put a $1.2 billion bond measure on the November ballot. About $200 million of the new money will be used to fill cost overruns on the projects funded by the 2017 bond.

How did PPS run $200 million over budget? Simple: PPS lied to us. The school board intentionally low-balled cost estimates to fool voters into approving the measure.

This year, voters must put an end to the billions of dollars of fibs our local politicians are telling. Pinocchio learned his lesson about lying; it’s time for our politicians to learn theirs.

Eric Fruits, Ph.D. is Vice President of Research at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research center.

John A. Charles, Jr.

Last month, the Metro Council voted to send a regional payroll tax to the November ballot. The rationale for the new $250-million-a-year tax is primarily to help fund a 12-mile light rail extension from Portland to Bridgeport Village in Tigard. It will also pay for a smattering of minor transportation projects throughout the region, but those are just ornaments on the tree.

There are at least three problems with this proposal. The first is that we already pay two transit taxes: the TriMet payroll tax assessed on employers, and the statewide transit tax collected from employees’ paychecks that was adopted by the Legislature in 2017. Most people don’t benefit from either one, because they don’t use transit. Adding a third tax to pay for light rail to Tigard ¬– called the Southwest Corridor project – makes no sense.

Second, light rail ridership peaked in 2012 and has been dropping ever since. Now, amid the coronavirus pandemic, it is down about 70% from last July, according to TriMet ridership numbers. With many worried about the inability to physically distance on public transit and the prospect that some may work from home permanently, more rail is the wrong project at the wrong time. Continue reading

Bryan Fischer

They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. ~ Psalm 57:6

We are watching a display of biblical justice play out right before our eyes. Democrats have fallen into the pit they have dug for Donald Trump and they can’t get out.

The waves of mayhem that have swept over Democrat-run cities – all of them President Trump’s fault, according to regressives – are starting to return to shore in a tsunami that will sweep Democrat regressives off the political map.

Today’s Democrats have no agenda. Their entire platform message at the DNC was “Orange Man Bad.” They spent four days demonizing President Trump and blaming him for everything from random violence to halitosis.

This is their entire campaign strategy – to convince the nation that Trump is responsible for everything that plagues America, including the chaos in cities that have been run by Democrats for decades. Continue reading

By True Oregonian

There was a time that when I thought of Portland Oregon, I thought of rivers, bridges, fine dining, Forest Park, and so many other idyllic things that made Portland amazing.

Friends and family always talked about visiting. Those that did often came back for obvious reasons. I remember telling people that we only let people believe it rains here all the time so that they don’t want to move here.

Those days feel like a distant memory. Not because of the worldwide shutdown, but because of the seemingly endless violent riots.

As of Monday, August 17th, 2020, the World has come to know Portland, Oregon as the American City that has had the longest running civil disorder since the death of George Floyd, standing at 80 days.

There is a lot of debate about what has been going on in Portland. Wikipedia says this about civil disorder: Continue reading

Rachel Dawson, Policy Analyst, Cascade Policy Institute

Governor Did you ever watch the Simpsons and think nuclear waste from utility plants looked like glowing green goo oozing out of cans?

If you answered yes, you might be the victim of media propaganda. The waste produced by utility nuclear power plants is not a leaking green goo. In fact, it’s not capable of leaking at all as nuclear waste is a solid metal rod (better known as a spent fuel rod) instead of the green ooze many associate it with.

These misconceptions are important to dispel as potential future power shortages along with increased clean power mandates make having a clean and reliable baseload power source like nuclear increasingly important.

In reality, nuclear fuel is made up of multiple ceramic pellets stacked vertically in long metal tubes. The resulting waste looks no different and actually has the “consistency of a teacup.”

Nuclear spent fuel remains radioactive for thousands of years. But the idea that it will one day be unearthed and “spilled” across green pastures and waterways is a scenario based more on science fiction than reality. Continue reading

By American Exceptionalism

As of July 29th, 2020, the Portland media has announced that 303 people have died in Oregon from Covid-19(1). Out of a population of 4,301,090(2), that is a 0.007% statewide death rate.

The majority of deaths throughout the country are from the elderly and those with underlying conditions, also known as comorbidity. We know this now and the data is easily verified by a myriad of reports.

So, if the actual risk of death is fractional, and the response should be to treat the entire situation like we’re dealing with a bad bout of an influenza virus, why is there still this ever-present reminder that we need to be afraid of dying from Covid-19, and therefore continue shutdowns and mandates with no end in sight?

Regardless of the most up to date facts and figures, government officials in Oregon continue to implement stringent mandates that have forced entire industries to shut down, many businesses to shutter permanently, and our way of life to irretrievably change.

To further cement this new reality, the State of Oregon recently came out with a Covid-19 ad campaign. Oregonians young and old have been subjected to billboards, computer ads, and TV commercials that have some very disturbing messages: Continue reading

Bryan Fischer

The Republican National Committee (RNC) voted this week to keep the 2016 platform, in part due to the intransigence of Democrat governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina. He refused the RNC the opportunity to convene before this year’s Republican national convention. This is customarily when platform issues are reviewed and updates are made.

However, the truth is the 2016 platform is just fine the way it is. In fact, it is great the way it is. This is the platform that put Donald Trump in the White House. The platform that gave control of the White House and all of Congress to the Republican Party in 2016 ain’t broke. There’s no need to fix it. (There are some anachronisms in it, references to policies of the previous administration, but these can easily and quickly be updated.)

Donald Trump won on this platform in 2016, and he can win on this platform in 2020. In fact, radically reworking this platform is the only thing that could threaten an electoral win on November 3.

The main danger comes from the relentless effort of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group that advocates fiercely for the normalization of homosexuality. After celebrating the Supreme Court decision in Bostock that inexcusably redefined the word “sex” in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to give special rights to transgenders, the LCR said, “While we celebrate today, we know that the real work needs to continue in Congress passing bipartisan legislation that will update the Civil Rights Act and remove any ambiguity that sexual orientation and gender identity are protected.” Continue reading

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