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Diane R. Miller: Playing politics with air, water

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On Sen. Cory Gardner’s Facebook page you will find a collage of photos depicting the beauty of Colorado — a crystalline lake, the Maroon Bells, a field of wheat and a windmill all imply the senator’s appreciation for the environment, sustainable energy, clean water and pristine mountains.

From his recent voting record, it is clear that nothing could be further from the truth.

Last Friday, Cory Gardner voted to approve Scott Pruitt as Environmental Protection Agency administrator. As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt has filed over a dozen lawsuits to block regulations that would curb such things as mercury pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution that crosses state lines. Hundreds of former EPA staff have stated that during his tenure in Oklahoma, Pruitt had "shown no interest in enforcing environmental laws."

Senator Gardner defends his vote for Pruitt citing the recent injustice of the EPA against plaintiffs in the Gold King Mine spill. He says that he has received assurances that Pruitt will right the wrongs of the EPA and ensure that, “those that experienced economic loss are fully compensated.”

From this, we are led to believe that Cory Gardner had the best interests of Colorado and Coloradans in mind when he voted to approve Pruitt. However, just two weeks ago, Gardner voted to reject the Stream Protection Rule, which was designed to protect streams and waterways from toxic runoff from coal mines.

Gardner says his vote for Pruitt was meant to help Colorado hold the federal government responsible for errors made in trying to clean up toxic mine waste. Yet he rejected a bill that would keep mines in Colorado and elsewhere from polluting in the first place.

Cory Gardner is playing politics with Colorado’s air and water. Like Scott Pruitt, he receives considerable campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry (over $1.2 million since 2013). The Gold King Mine spill is an excuse for him to vote for a puppet of the fossil fuel industry.

Perhaps Senator Gardner should substitute that photo of a windmill on his Facebook page with one of an oil well and a billowing methane flare.

Diane R. Miller

Steamboat Springs

Comments

Erin Biggs 1 month ago

Here, here! Thank you Diane!

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Carl Steidtmann 1 month ago

Says the person who supported a protest in North Dakota that left so much waste behind that it represented an environmental hazard to the very watershed their protest was aimed at protecting.

http://www.nwd.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/1071286/corps-closes-federal-property-adjacent-to-cannonball-river-for-safety-environme/

Hypocrisy much?

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Erin Biggs 1 month ago

Hi Carl,

I'm glad I've left such an impression that you choose to attack me on LTE I didn't even write.

In fact, the people were always planning to depart the Oceti Sakowin camp because it is in a floodplain, but due to early melting (which couldn't possibly have anything to do with global climate change, could it?), they are being evicted early. The people are being evicted from treaty lands, lands that belong to the people, by the Army Corps. They have been in the process of cleaning up and have asked several times for extensions. The reason they have so much to clean up is because there is so much support for them that they received far more in donations than they could ever possibly use, and they have been cleaning up and donating them to local communities in need - often to the very people who are opposed to them, because they aren't just fighting for themselves, they are fighting for the health and prosperity of all people and future generations.

It's interesting how my supporting Diane's letter about clean air and water is hypocrisy in your eyes, but our own Senator, who campaigned as a moderate, voting to pollute our environment is okay with you? I wish you luck in eating money and drinking oil. One day oil will run out, and while you may not be here to see it, our future generations will.

Have a great day.

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Carl Steidtmann 1 month ago

The issue here is clean air and clean water. You posted a note approving of both.

And yet you were part of a protest that despoiled both the land and the air.

Speaking of clean air.... your protesting comrades in North Dakota are burning their waste:

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/8e2de1ce6c9443a4b94a3b38a386d2a0/us-shutting-down-dakota-access-oil-pipeline-protest-camp

Yes, I am calling you and your comrades out for being hypocrites.

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Julie Hagenbuch 1 month ago

Erin can only control her own actions not those of others.

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Carl Steidtmann 1 month ago

Erin attended the protest in North Dakota. Promoted the protest. Encouraged others to attend and raised money here in Steamboat for the protest. Her actions make her a responsible party to the environmental destruction that has and is taking place at the protest site. She needs to own up to it and take responsibility for it.

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Chris Hadlock 1 month ago

Nice personal attack to re-direct the conversation Carl. What about the topic mentioned in the actual letter to the editor.

As in WHY is it ok for the mining industry to leave these problems for the taxpayers to clean up, but the EPA must be attacked for trying to actually fix these problems?

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Carl Steidtmann 1 month ago

I wasn't re-directing the conversation, just calling out a contributor for her hypocrisy which is made evident by today's news.

As for the EPA, the Gold King Mine wasn't a problem until the EPA made it one. And unlike a private company that would be held responsible both financially and criminally for the polluting of the Animas River, no one at the EPA will be held responsible nor will the EPA be held financially accountable for the mess it made.

Mining companies should be held accountable for the the problems they leave behind. The problem in many instances is that the mining company in question went bankrupt decades before the environmental legislation requiring clean up went into effect. Unless we can devise a time machine, the public is left with the tab.

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Ken Mauldin 1 month ago

Thank goodness a majority of States elected Trump President and a majority of voters elected a GOP Congress. I'm happy that Sen. Gardner voted in support of confirmation and I think Mr. Pruitt will bring much-needed reform to the EPA.

1

Julie Hagenbuch 1 month ago

Thank you for voicing what many of us are feeling. These guys are not creating anything just destroying. These assaults on our environment will not create jobs.

1

Fred Duckels 1 month ago

Elections have consequences and maybe the guilt trippers can regroup so that they need not resort to such tactics in the future.

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Ken Mauldin 1 month ago

Remember when the incompetent and corrupt EPA polluted a Colorado river with mining waste and nobody was ever held accountable for the extensive environmental damage?

I don't think Pruitt will be worse than the previous EPA leader that looked the other way after the EPA's negligence caused an environmental disaster in our State.

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Scott Wedel 1 month ago

Interesting one sided narrative presented about the Gold King mine disaster.

The EPA was attempting to address what had been ongoing neglect allowing the mine to fill with water that was leaking toxic water. It was an existing bad situation that was finally going to be addressed.

The plan was to open the old mine entrance, run piping to the contaminated groundwater and treat the water. The big mistake was that no one had considered the possibility that the contaminated groundwater in the mine was already well above the mine entrance. It was assumed that the water would be leaking from the mine entrance if it ever reached that level. Lowering the water level prior to it reaching the level of the entrance was the motivation for the cleanup project.

Unfortunately, the water was already well above the sealed mine entrance and when they started digging then not only did water start leaking, but it gushed out making the hole bigger. This was yet another major release of contaminated water into that river system.

As for suing for damages, sort of ironic that same people want to make a government far more liable for environmental contamination than private companies. Many environmentalists support the idea of greater liability for environmental damages, but would want it to apply just as much to private companies as to government.

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Carl Steidtmann 1 month ago

How about making government and land squatting protesters just as liable for environmental damage as we hold private companies. Problem is the protesters in North Dakota walked away from 1000 tons of waste. The EPA walked away from 3,000,000 of toxic pollutants dumped in the Animas River due to their gross incompetence. I think most Americans would vote to hold all of them equally liable for the damage they created.

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Scott Wedel 1 month ago

Carl,

The protestors should be held responsible for their waste. They were certainly no Rainbow Gathering that make a sincere effort to have minimal long term impact.

The Animas River is a more difficult issue because the river has been polluted by heavy metals ever since mining started. It wouldn't be fair to have EPA pay for cleaning up the entire river while not previously asking private companies to have cleaned the entire river for their earlier spills.

Mining and manufacturing companies do not want ti be held to cleaning the river system in response to their spills.

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Chris Hadlock 1 month ago

Carl, then you support the "Stream Protection Rule" which was designed to protect streams and waterways from toxic runoff from coal mines right? This is exactly the kind of thing that previous mine owners left the public to deal with. I too would like to find ways to prevent these abuses from happening.

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Carl Steidtmann 1 month ago

Yes, I do support the rule and was disappointed to see it struck down by the Trump Administration.

It would have been better if the Obama administration had approached this issue from a legislative point of view rather than a regulatory one. That approach would have required more compromise but it would also have been more enduring.

If you are looking for ways to get less Trump, focusing on the health angle of issues like this will get a lot more favorable attention from swing voters than leaving 1000 tons of waste behind at your 'environmental' protest site. Just saying....

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Brian Kotowski 1 month ago

"You don't like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election." ~ Barack Obama, lecturing the disgruntled GOP, 10/17/2013

Looks like it's time for the left to follow Preezy's advice.

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Nancy Spillane 1 month ago

Thank you for your voice, Diane. I stand with you. It's disheartening that Mr. Gardner simply follows his party instead of listening to his constituents.

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Lock McShane 1 month ago

Most of the trash was left behind by military veterans that were there to support the Native Americans. Apparently, our armed forces never taught the troops to clean up after themselves.

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Eric J. Bowman 1 month ago

"Elections have consequences..."

I'm tired of hearing such hypocrisy from those who supported NOT holding hearings on Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court.

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Eric J. Bowman 1 month ago

"Thank goodness a majority of States elected Trump President and a majority of voters elected a GOP Congress..."

Try again; 3.7M more votes were cast for Democrats in the Senate. Granted, Texas didn't have a Senate race this cycle, but that doesn't make your statement factual.

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Ken Mauldin 1 month ago

Hi Eric - I see your point. However, each State electing two Senators by popular vote is somewhat similar to the practicality of the Electoral College in that the Senate's fixed-size serves to balance representation of the States in the Senate, regardless of population. Therefore, it's doesn't matter that California has 100X the voters of Montana, both California and Montana will each only elect 2 US Senators. When a majority of US Senate seats are held by one party, it's because they received a majority of popular votes in a majority of States. A majority of "State" voters elected Senators from that party, resulting in the Senate majority.

Our system of elections means that both demography and geography are important:
http://www.nbcnews.com/specials/democrats-left-in-the-lurch

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Brian Kotowski 1 month ago

The 3.7 million Dem senate vote margin is simultaneously accurate and misleading, since it includes the approximately 12 million senate votes cast in California - where there was no Republican to vote for. It was a race between 2 Dems.

The reality is that the Dems gave gotten their heads handed to them whenever Preezy hasn't been on the ballot. Since '08 they've hemorrhaged 10 senators, 14 governors, 31 state legislatures, & 63 Congressional seats. They haven't been this anemic in House since the 1920s.

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Chris Hadlock 1 month ago

There were two Dems in the California race because they changed their primary system from two partisan primaries to a single primary vote with the top two candidates going to the general election regardless of party affiliation.

I personally would like to see this change take hold across the entire nation. It seems to me that this primary process would have the effect of eliminating the worst candidates from all sides and giving the middle of the spectrum candidates more voice regardless of party affiliation. In my opinion this would be a good thing for our politics.

Brian, I would not count your chickens too soon there. Just two years ago the Dems were crowing about how the Republican party was dead because of demographics and look how that turned out. The pendulum could just as easily swing left given the right circumstances and counting either party as down and out is a mistake.

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Scott Wedel 1 month ago

Chris,

California's so called gorilla primary system has had the effect of making previously safe seats competitive. No longer is the main challenge of many seats winning the party primary and then cruising to win in Nov in safe seat. System has "worked" in that incumbents have lost in what were safe seats.

It took a state constitutional amendment because the political parties would never support it.

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Scott Wedel 1 month ago

"The 3.7 million Dem senate vote margin is simultaneously accurate and misleading, since it includes the approximately 12 million senate votes cast in California"

No, to quote 3.7 million margin requires counting the losing California Democratic candidate as Republican votes. If those votes are counted as Democratic then the margin grows to about 7 million.

The voting pattern could also be that party of incumbent President losing support in state races. Republicans lost in 2006 when Bush was President. It is much easier to campaign on what is wrong.

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Brian Kotowski 1 month ago

"Brian, I would not count your chickens too soon there."

Attributing an assertion never made. I counted only votes; not chickens.

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