Tag Archives: EPA

Bubble Boy Gets Ready for the White House

Bubble We could call it the Bubble Presidency – as the president-elect tries to stifle dissent and distract the media from his plethora of broken promises, outright lies, fake news, and conflicts of interest.  One way to strengthen the bubble is to prevent protests which might call into question the appointments, and by extension the policies of the next administration.  The clock starts now, as the “massive omnibus blocking” of protest permits during Inauguration Season comes to the fore.  In the instance of the Women’s March and the ANSWER protest we see a familiar pattern:

“In the past, inaugural committees have let the park service know what land they won’t be using, and then permits have been issued, Litterst said. The park service is awaiting word from Trump’s inaugural team about its plans. Verheyden-Hilliard said activists are concerned that the inaugural committee will run out the clock on dissidents and she will take legal action in a bid to prevent that.} [ABC3]

Running out the clock is nothing new to the Trumpsters.  The clock ran on with the tax returns – now 2054 days since their release was promised.  The clock ran out on a plan to divulge how a blind trust might be established to reduce conflicts of interest.  The clock is running on plans to replace the ACA. The clock is running on promises to “drain the swamp”  and a plethora of other false inferences and hints.

In the midst of it all is a president-elect who lies with impunity, makes hypocrisy an art form, and elevates statement reversals to the pinnacle of officious palaver.  A few examples in the table below.

January 16, 2016 Trump charged that opponent Senator Ted Cruz was “owned” by Goldman Sachs (Tweet: Daily Wire) As of December 9, 2016 Goldman Sachs related associates of Trump were holding positions as: National Economic Council Director; Secretary of the Department of the Treasury; Senior White House Adviser; Lead Transition Team Adviser.
Trump billed himself as the advocate of Main Street America (“Make America Great Again”) His selections of Wilbur Ross and Steven Mnuchin to head Commerce and Treasury mean that Wall Street is more likely to intersect with the White House than Main Street. [NYKR]
Trump, the rally signs said, “Digs Coal” Republicans are calling the legislation to restore the Miner’s Health Plan a “bailout,” and bipartisan legislation is stalled in Congress.  Trump has had nothing to say that’s been reported on this issue. [Politico]
Trump called for an increase in American manufacturing, said he wants to “buy American and hire American” [CNS] The GOP House voted to cut the “buy American” rules from federal projects (H.R. 2028) Again, the president-elect has made no public comment on this disparity.
Trump claimed to have an “open mind” about human related climate change [VF] Trump appoints climate change denier Scott Pruitt to head the EPA.

 

All is well in the Bubble – in which Trump supporters believe the economy got worse under the Obama Administration (it didn’t); that crime is at its highest rate in 45 years (it’s at the lowest rate in the last 51 years); and, that poverty is an African American problem (while in terms of percentages of a minority population this is defensible, the fact remains that as of 2013 some 18.9 million white Americans were poor, 8 million more than African Americans, 5 million more than Hispanic Americans [Root]).

Facts don’t permeate the outer membrane of the Bubble.  There’s enough fake news and phony reporting out there to restore the outer layer of protection and to keep it reinforced.  However, eventually clocks and calendars do run out, and there’s no more excusing current blunders and problems on past administrations – not that the GOP won’t try.

Restoring a Fact Based Government will depend on the efforts of independent reporters and media, independent thinkers, and independent analysts.   Dissent may have consequences, perhaps not the ones Mrs. Conway has in mind?

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Filed under House of Representatives, Politics, Republicans

Local Water, the EPA: Beyond Goodsprings

Water Faucet EPA

The Reno Gazette Journal reports that there are 23 local water systems in Nevada which are not in compliance with drinking water standards (there are currently 22, but more on that later).  Three local systems listed in the article have lead contamination levels exceeding the lead standard, 15 ppb (parts per billion) as the “action level.”  The public needs this information. However, the agency responsible for establishing the maximum contaminant level (MCL) standards is the whipping boy of choice for the Republican Party.  In short – it really doesn’t do to get up in arms about water or air pollution levels and then call for the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The regulatory system isn’t all that complicated. The EPA establishes the standards and then it’s up to the states to devise the implementation.  There’s a reason for this. Setting national standards means that states can’t compete in a ‘race to the bottom’ in which some states seek to attract industry by lowering standards until they are in competition to achieve the status of “Worse Than Any Pig Would Ever Consider in a Sty.”  And, potentially damaging everyone else’s air and water in the process.  However, this hasn’t stopped Over-Hyped Demagogue Donald Trump from calling for handing over environmental regulation to the individual states.  [WaPo]

Nor has this made much of an impression on Seven Mountain Dominionist Ted Cruz; “Cruz has called the EPA a “radical” agency that has imposed “illegal” limits on greenhouse gases from power plants. “I think states should press back using every tool they have available,” the Texas senator has said. “We’ve got to rein in a lawless executive that is abusing its power.” [WaPo]

Ohio Governor John Kasich has been critical of the Michigan attempts to address its man-made, GOP inspired, water quality issues in Flint, MI, but hasn’t been on top of the situation with the Sebring, OH water contamination. [TP]

The 2008 Republican national platform was exceptionally mealy-mouthed about environmental protection:

“Our national progress toward cleaner air and water has been a major accomplishment of the American people. By balancing environmental goals with economic growth and job creation, our diverse economy has made possible the investment needed to safeguard natural resources, protect endangered species, and create healthier living conditions. State and local initiatives to clean up contaminated sites — brownfields — have exceeded efforts directed by Washington. That progress can continue if grounded in sound science, long-term planning, and a multiuse approach to resources.”

It’s not likely that much more will come from a 2016 version.   Nor should we expect much in the way of support for addressing the national problems associated with our drinking water systems.  Remember the ASCE’s Report Card on American Infrastructure (2013)?

“At dawn of the 21st century, much of our drinking water infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful life. There are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks per year in the United States. Assuming every pipe would need to be replaced, the cost over the coming decades could reach more than $1 trillion, according to the American Water Works Association (AWWA). The quality of drinking water in the United States remains universally high, however. Even though pipes and mains are frequently more than 100 years old and in need of replacement, outbreaks of disease attributable to drinking water are rare.”

Not to put too fine a point to it, but as a nation we’re running on a Run-to-Ruin system in which local water distributors are functioning with outdated infrastructure while trying to maintain acceptable levels of quality.  Goodsprings Elementary School offers us an example of what can happen given a 1913 building and 21st century water quality standards. [RGJ]  If Goodsprings was an isolated example, then we could address the aging pipes and move on, but it’s not that isolated, nor that uncommon.  Current EPA estimates indicate we are having to replace between 4,000 and 5,000 miles of drinking water mains in this country on an annual basis, and that the annual replacement rate will peak sometime around 2035 with 16,000 and 20,000 miles of aging pipe needing to be replaced each year. [ASCE]

Putting The Public Back In Public Utility

I am going to start with some basic assumptions. First, that a family or person should be able to move to any part of this great land and expect to find clean water running from the faucet.  Secondly, that it is not a good idea to allow individual states to set drinking water standards, since some might find it inconvenient or inexpedient to set scientifically reliable standards in the interest of “development” or “industrialization.”  Such a piece meal approach would put paid to the first basic assumption.   So, if we’re agreed that any person in this country should have a reasonable expectation of clean drinking water then we need national standards.

Some of the standards are easier than others.  Arsenic contamination levels offer an example of a complex problem with some nuanced related issues.  The MCL (maximum contaminant level) for arsenic was lowered in 2001 from 50 ppb to 10 ppb. Public water systems were to be in compliance by January 23, 2006. [EPA] [More information at FAS pdf] The Reno Gazette Journal reports ten Nevada water systems not in compliance.  One, the McDermitt GID has recently been declared in compliance with a current projected annual running average below 10 ppb after the system put in a new central well.

Arsenic enters the drinking water systems one of two ways, either through industrial activity or as a naturally occurring contaminant.  If the system is west of the Rocky Mountains it’s a reasonably good bet that the arsenic is naturally occurring.  It’s probably not too far off the mark to say that if the standard were set at 15 ppb most Nevada water systems would be in compliance, but the standard is 10 and that’s ultimately what matters.

The smaller public water systems have more trouble meeting the standards than the larger ones, as described by the BSDW:  “The smaller systems are the ones that tend to struggle with regaining compliance because they typically have limited financial resources so we have to collectively figure out ways to help that community get back to compliance,” said Jennifer Carr, NDEP deputy administrator. “Larger systems such as TMWA also have more personnel to tackle projects whereas some of our smaller water systems are operated by one person who might be doing another side job.” [RGJ]

And, now we’re down to the gritty part: Where does the money come from to resolve contaminant problems with arsenic? Or, for that matter, other water infrastructure issues?    The State Revolving Fund provides low interest loans for water infrastructure projects in the state; and can in some circumstances offer “forgiven” loans to small public water services.  The “bottom line” is that in 2016 there will be a need for approximately $279 million for arsenic treatment, groundwater treatment, storage tank replacements, metering systems, and distribution lines in Nevada.  And, the worse news, “Not all will be funded.” [KTVN]

The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund was created in 1996 to support water systems and state safe water programs.  “The 51 DWSRF programs function like infrastructure banks by providing low interest loans to eligible recipients for drinking water infrastructure projects. As money is paid back into the state’s revolving loan fund, the state makes new loans to other recipients. These recycled repayments of loan principal and interest earnings allow the state’s DWSRF to “revolve” over time.”  [EPA]   As of 2014 this system had provided $27.9 billion to water suppliers to improve drinking water treatment, improve sources of drinking water, providing safe storage tanks, fixing leaking or aging distribution pipe, and other projects to protect public health. [EPA] The EPA estimates that small public water systems nationwide, those serving populations less than 3,330,  will need approximately $64.5 billion for infrastructure needs. [EPA 5th report pdf]

What was the Republican controlled Congress’s response? They may have avoided a shutdown, but the waters weren’t exactly flowing:

The bill provides $863.2 million for the DWSRF  well below President Obama’s request of $1.186 billion and more than $40 million below the programs FY2015 appropriation.While the figure represents the lowest DWSRF appropriation in several years, it is significantly above the FY16 funding levels originally proposed by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, each of which would have cut DWSRF funding to below $780 million. [UIM]

What have we learned?

  • The Republican candidates for the presidency show little to no enthusiasm for infrastructure investments in general, and beyond bemoaning the state of Flint’s water system which must be someone’s fault “just not ours,” even less enthusiasm for funding local drinking water improvement projects.
  • The Republicans in Congress were only too happy to cut funding for the best source for local public water companies projects, in the name of “fiscal responsibility” – meaning, one could think, that preserving tax cuts for the rich is preferable to providing clean drinking water to everyone.
  • The infrastructure needs in this country are serious and go well beyond fixing bridges and filling pot-holes.  This, and we’ve not yet reached the peak of distribution line replacement needs coming up in the next 20 years.
  • “Austerity” is a lovely buzz word, and “We’d love to do it but we just can’t afford to” is a fine campaign trail stump speech phrase, but these won’t keep the water coming from the tap clean and safe.  We need to stop thinking of our infrastructure as an expense and begin to consider it for what it is – an investment; an investment in the capacity of our cities and towns to provide basic services so that economic activity can take place.
  • And, NO it isn’t a good idea to abolish the EPA.

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Filed under Appropriations, Congress, conservatism, Economy, EPA, Infrastructure, nevada health, Politics, public health, Water

Department of No Surprises: From Charleston to Murrieta to Washington, D.C.

 

Murrieta protest 2

In July, 2014 protesters gathered to block DHS busses carrying Central American women and children in Murrieta, CA.  It was ugly, and unnecessary, and gave the town a dismal national reputation. [HuffPo]  Murrieta is in the 42nd Congressional District, with a 46.6% white population, 36.2% Hispanic,  5.1% African American, and 8.8% Asian American. The district has been consistently Republican since 2003.  So, why review this information today?  Because the Representative from this California district, Ken Calvert, has raised the bloody flag in the halls of Congress.

“The amendment to the House’s Interior and Environment spending bill would allow for the display of Confederate flags at national cemeteries managed by the National Park Service (NPS) even though members voted to ban the practice earlier this week. It would counteract another amendment to the same bill blocking the service from selling Confederate flag memorabilia in gift shops in the future. 

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) offered the amendment in the closing minutes of floor debate on the spending bill Wednesday night. He made only a token statement in support of the amendment before setting up a roll call vote on it for Thursday.” [The Hill

Even though Representative Calvert’s amendment hit the floor during the waning hours of the Congressional day, it drew fire overnight when House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) commented:

Hoyer called the amendment, introduced by Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) Wednesday night on a spending bill, “appalling.” He challenged House Republicans to vote against it and preserve amendments banning Confederate flag sales at national parks and displays at national cemeteries.

“That racist, divisive flag of slavery, segregation, and secession is not an appropriate symbol to sell or fly in our national parks and cemeteries run by the National Park Service,” Hoyer said in a statement early Thursday. [The Hill]

Representative Hoyer wasn’t the only member of Congress appalled by the  Calvert amendment.  Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum retorted: “After the murder of nine black parishioners, I never thought that the U.S. House of Representatives would join those who would want to see this flag flown by passing an amendment to ensure” the continued flying of the Confederate flag, McCollum said.” [Roll Call]

Thus evaporated any remaining Democratic support for an otherwise unlikeable Department of Interior appropriations bill.  Representative McCollum wasn’t alone; several other Democratic party Representatives took to the floor to lambaste the idea of voting on the Calvert amendment today, July 9, 2015. [The Hill]

Representative Calvert offered an explanation for his amendment, saying he had been asked by Representatives from southern states to introduce it, and there were Republican members of the House who would not support the Interior Department’s appropriation bill be cause of earlier language banning the CSA battle flag in grounds under DoI administration. [The Hill]

And now we come to the totally predictable part of the story – encapsulated by the remarks of Speaker John Boehner (R-OH):

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters the spending bill had been pulled to avoid the issue from becoming a “political football.” “That bill is going to sit in abeyance until we come to some resolution,” he said.” [The Hill]

This, from the Speaker who said only days ago in the immediate aftermath of the Charleston Church massacre, that Congress would be “the adults in the room.”

So, we have yet another major piece of legislation sitting “in abeyance” while the House Republicans engage in their internecine battles over whether or not to allow the pennon of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and racism to flap on federal grounds.  Additionally, it truly is remarkable that yet again House Republicans have slipped their own poison pill into what was one of their own bills.

This seems less like gridlock between two adversarial parties, and more like what happens when a single party with a majority in Congress cannot control its own caucus.  The Democrats should be perfectly pleased that an appropriations bill which stripped the EPA of essential authority to regulate clean air and clean water is “in abeyance.”  Republicans who wanted to dismantle the EPA’s authority to control pollution may be wondering how and why a California Representative could so easily thwart their plans with a truly insensitive and racially charged amendment on behalf of his southern brethren.

We may have to look no further than the angry faces of the anti-immigrant protesters in his district – Welcome Back to Murrieta?

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Filed under anti-immigration, Appropriations, conservatism, ecology, House of Representatives, Immigration, Interior Department, pollution, racism, Republicans

Amodei and Heck Do It Again!

Pollution air In case you missed it —  amidst all the publicity about the pipeline vote – the House of Representatives has again demonstrated its proclivity to promote the interests of corporate  exploiters and polluters (read — Koch Brothers):

“The House voted 229-191 to pass H.R. 1422, which would change the rules for appointing members to the Science Advisory Board (SAB), a group that gives scientific advice to the EPA Administrator. Also called the Science Advisory Board Reform Act, the bill would make it easier for scientists with financial ties to corporations to serve on the SAB, prohibit independent scientists from talking about their own research on the board, and make it more difficult for scientists who have applied for grants from the EPA to join the board.” [TP]

How nice for the Koch Brothers and the multi-national corporations which are annoyed by having to discuss such matters as global climate change, air pollution, and other topics related to whether or not our grandchildren will inherit a viable planet.

So, what did Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) do for the grandchildren?  He voted in favor of the Ignore The Science Bill.  Representatives Heck (R-NV3) and Amodei voted in favor of the bill on Roll Call 525.   Representatives Horsford (D-NV4) and Titus (D-NV1) thought enough of the kidlets to vote against this sop to multinational corporations. But wait! There’s more.

The House also passed H.R. 4795 – yet another pro-pollution bill:

“The Clean Air Act requires major new or expanding sources of air pollution to obtain permits with pollution limits before the facilities start construction.  These preconstruction permits ensure that a new or expanded facility will not increase local air pollution to levels that violate national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets for six principal air pollutants.  When EPA updates each air quality standard to reflect the latest science, permit applicants have to meet the new, more protective standard and show their emissions will not harm public health.

H.R. 4795, introduced by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), creates a loophole in this process.  The bill establishes imprecise procedural requirements for EPA to follow after setting a new air quality standard.  If EPA does not meet those requirements, then a new or expanding facility can apply for a preconstruction permit based on the old air quality standard, which is not adequate to protect public health.  In effect, this bill could give new sources of pollution “amnesty” from new science-based air quality standards.”  [DEC]

Got that?  If Spew & Blow Corp. doesn’t like the new air quality standards, it can use the Scalise Loophole to get around them.  How convenient.  And what did our Representatives do?  The two Republicans (Heck and Amodei) voted for the “Promoting New Manufacturing Act” – the title should really have been the “Promoting More Pollution Act of 2014.”   Horsford and Titus both voted against this travesty of a bill.

Could we have any better demonstration of how closely Congressional Republicans, including our Congressional Republicans, are tied to the Koch Brothers?

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Filed under Amodei, ecology, Nevada politics, pollution

Clean Up In My Back Yard: Record Fine for Henderson Contamination

Memories! Remember when Republican senatorial candidate Sharron Angle proposed eliminating the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency?  Hint: March 22, 2010. [Politifact] Fast forward to 2011 during which House Republicans introduced amendments to H.R. 1 which would have drastically cut funding to the EPA? [TP]  In 2012 Republicans wanted to enact the REINS Act (thinly disguised attack on the EPA) [Grist] and in 2013 a House Committee approved a 19% funding cut to the beleaguered agency. [Politico]  Fast forward —

What has the EPA and its state counterpart, the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection done for us lately?

“One of the world’s largest titanium manufacturers has agreed to pay a record $13.8 million penalty for producing and dumping banned cancer-causing chemicals at its Henderson factory.  Under a settlement with federal regulators announced Wednesday, Titanium Metals Corporation, or TIMET, also agreed to perform an extensive investigation and cleanup of potential contamination from the unauthorized manufacture and disposal of PCBs at its 108-acre site on Lake Mead Parkway east of U.S. Highway 95.” [LVRJ]

What’s close to the dump site?  A Target store and a hospital. Let’s review:  No EPA/NDEP, no fines. No EPA/NDEP no required clean up.  And, the Target store and the hospital would still be sitting there amidst the carcinogens.

Those harboring the delusion that contamination is a minor problem and Mother Nature will take care of things in her own time, might want to harken back to the Carson River mercury problem which affects residents of (and tourists to) Churchill, Lyon, and Storey counties.  The mercury went into the river during the Virginia City boom years — the effect is a current warning from the state of Nevada:

“Due to elevated levels of methylmercury in fish, the Nevada State Health Division has issued health advisories recommending no consumption of any fish from Big and Little Washoe Lakes, Lahontan Reservoir, and the Carson River from Dayton downstream to the reservoir. Mercury can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and serious disabilities for developing fetuses and children. Catch and release of fish, swimming, and recreation are safe.”

And then there are those 3,400 acres in Mason Valley associated with the old Anaconda mine site.   Atlantic Richfield is still reporting to Region 9 EPA authorities on the monthly progress made to clean up that mess. [pdf]

Meanwhile back in the 4th District in Texas, Congressman Ralph Hall wants us to know about ‘guv’mint regg-u-lations:’

“I know firsthand how burdensome government regulations are on small businesses. In order to reignite our economy, we need to curb stifling regulation, reduce taxes and, as part of the effort to bring back jobs, we must eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency.” — March 25, 2014.

I am having a bit of trouble seeing Atlantic Richfield, once part of British Petroleum, and sold to Tesoro, Inc. in June 2013 for $2.5 billion, as a struggling small business.  Meanwhile, the Washoe County Republicans are pleased to offer a link to a Heritage Foundation article on preventing the EPA from regulating extraction industries on their Facebook page:

Washoe GOP EPA

 

And this would prevent… fines for dumping carcinogens? Efforts to monitor mercury pollution on the Carson River?  Clean up management at the Anaconda site?

The most recent Heritage paean to the Oil and Gas Giants comes with some interesting quirks. (1) It doesn’t mention any of the benefits of cleaning up our messes; (2) It radically overstates estimates costs and job losses; (3) It comes to quite different conclusions than three other independent studies; (4) It devises its very own statistical model and then proceeds to operate therefrom = no transparency; and (5) It has a financial incentive to be misleading, read: Koch Brothers donations.  [MMA]

In short, eliminating the regulations and the regulatory agencies doesn’t do a thing for people who shop in stores located near old chemical dump sites, or for people using bottled water to avoid contaminated drinking water, or for people who want to go fishing and release a few of the ‘specimens to grease’ on a weekend outing.  It merely serves to pad the bottom lines of those with already well padded bottoms.

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Filed under ecology, EPA

Friday Roundup: New, Views, Bits, and Pieces

Don’t Leave Home Without It — a person might need to charge his Nevada inauguration expenses on it — Sandoval charged expenses on American Express. [LVSun] Great way to “itemize” without itemizing. Renown Nevada lobbyist Harvey Whittemore is under investigation for funneling campaign contributions. [RGJ]

Nevada casinos made  modest revenue gains in 2011. [NNB] Good news for state revenues. While in some other states there are some strange tax proposals being discussed. [CTJ] There’s also some good news for the western states from Brookings West’s 3rd quarter report. (pdf)

Contrary to all the rhetoric about an “entitlement society” 90% of federal benefits go to the elderly, the disabled, and to working families. [CBPP] There’s even a chart for this:

Worried that the Toxic Emissions rules will detract from job growth? Don’t be.

“Taking into account the new data from the regulatory impact analysis (RIA) of the final rule (EPA 2011b), this issue brief finds that the conclusions of the earlier report, based on the RIA of the proposed rule (EPA 2011a), largely stand: The toxics rule will lead to modest job growth in the near term and have no measurable job impact in the longer term.” [full report at EPI]

Meanwhile back at the housing mess… “Despite record low mortgage rates subprime borrowers are still getting screwed,” [Business Insider]  Ben Walsh explains why the CNBC rant about the mortgage foreclosure settlement was dead wrong, in “Five Reasons…

Careful with the causation.  The situation in Greece is a mess.  Stock prices dropped today when the consumer confidence report showed a downward tick AND there’s some not very good news about the situation in Greece.  [Bloomberg] [Reuters] Here’s an easy prediction: Should the Greeks choose to default on their indebtedness, Wall Street will take a bath. If Wall Street takes a bath, then the charge will be made from some quarters that “Obama’s economic policies have failed.”  Easy. Now. The Administration is responsible for DOMESTIC economic policy, while what happens in the Eurozone depends on the Europeans.  That the Wall Street Wizards waded into those waters isn’t the fault of American politicians, American workers, or American voters.

The Greek Mess may take years to resolve. [Bloomberg]  Four senior Greek members of the government have resigned, further complicating the problems. [BBC] And, the Greek problems continue unabated. [BBC]  There is an excellent background piece from the BBC on how the bankers and the Greek government worked a little magic to make their debt disappear before Greece joined the European Union.  The Germans are demanding Greeks take quick action. [DerSpiegel]  Stayed tuned to this topic.

 

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Filed under campaign finance reform, campaign funds, ecology, Foreclosures, Nevada economy, Nevada politics, Sandoval

Coffee and the Papers: Yucca, Dust, and More

** The infamous Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository idea is still dead.  Although, two members of the Nevada Congressional contingent, Representatives Amodei (R-NV2) and Heck (R-NV3), are cuddling up to the “research park” idea.  [Las Vegas Sun]    Senior members of the Congressional delegation are unimpressed:

“Rep. Shelly Berkley says the four NRC members targeting Jaczko are simply trying to “turn our state into a radioactive wasteland,” while Sen. Dean Heller complained that the commissioners “should be focusing on the safety of the American public, not internal politics.”

Although there are many important safety issues at play in this fight, an important subtext — as Berkley and Heller recognize — are attempts by the industry and its allies to stall for time with the hope that a new president revives the Yucca Mountain project.”  [Full Article Las Vegas Sun]

** The Righthaven litigation shop continues maneuvering through the bankruptcy process.  It’s still too early to declare the outfit a dead zone.  [Las Vegas Sun]

** Does one member of the Nevada Board of Economic Development want the Brookings Institution to do its work for it?  Brookings reported on economic diversification (or the lack thereof) in Nevada, most Board members seem willing to use the report and other state generated information to prepare a plan.  [Nevada News Bureau]  Would diversification come more easily if we weren’t being ‘mugged’ by casinos? [NVEmpFocus]

** Nye Gateway has the run-down on votes by the Nevada Congressional Delegation.   One of the votes is particularly interesting — Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) voted in favor of H.R. 1633, an act to prevent revision of Clean Air regulations regarding ambient nuisance dust created as a result of farming activity.   The problem?  There is NO regulation of “farm dust” under consideration.  [Reuters] [McCarthy, EPA testimony, pdf]

** The Nevada View amplifies economist Paul Krugman’s conclusion that income inequality of the magnitude experienced in the United States at the moment is bad for democracy.   No surprises here, Citigroup’s 2006 analysis in their infamous Plutonomy Memos is well known, and are items the corporation is now trying desperately to suppress.   Good luck, as anyone who has hit “send” on a questionable text, tweet, or e-mail can attest — once in the Internet Pipeline “stuff” is forever.

** Nevada Progressive looks at the fumbling, stumbling Romney campaign and its chances in the Silver State.  Washington Monthly looks at yet another Flippity Flop from the ever-transforming candidate.

** The Sin City Siren passes along information from the National Women’s Law Center concerning the necessity of extending pay roll tax cuts, including the following: “A failure to extend unemployment insurance will hurt women–with an estimated 2.6 million women affected by the UI extension.  Further, Ellie reports that Dr. Adriana Kugler, chief economist for the Dept. of Labor, said that 2.2 million women, 900,000 Latinos, 1.2 million African Americans, and 3.6 million children will be directly affected by the failure to extend unemployment insurance benefits by Dec 31.”  (emphasis in original)

** From The Department of No Surprises:  Gingrich’s tax plan would codify lower taxes for the rich than for the middle class. [TPM full story] Rick Perry’s tax proposal would cut taxes for the ultra-rich. [TP full story]  Mitt Romney’s tax plan benefits the ultra-rich whose income is derived from capital gains, inheritance (where he got his start), and speculation. (Can we say Bain Capital Management?)  [PolicyShop]

** Bark Bark… has an interesting analysis of Newt Gingrich’s “invented people” narrative: It’s part of the dog whistle to signal an “Attack on White Male Supremacy.”   “Others” aren’t legitimate, “others” are invented, “others” aren’t White Males of European Descent.  “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and… blow.” [To Have and Have Not, 1944]

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Filed under Amodei, Berkley, Heck, Heller, Taxation, Yucca Mountain