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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (June 11, 2019)
THE ASTORIAN • TuESdAy, JuNE 11, 2019
JIM VAN NOSTRAND
Founded in 1873
JOHN D. BRUIJN
Politics, not science behind water quality rollback
don’t know how you can be against
clean water, but some of the indus-
tries in Washington state are.
They have convinced the U.S. Envi-
ronmental Protection Agency to roll back
the water quality standards we estab-
lished two years ago.
Now being implemented, these stan-
dards are among the most protective of
human health in the nation. They were
developed in cooperation with industry
after 20 years of effort.
They reflect the truth of
Washington state’s eco-
nomic and cultural con-
nection to water and
The pulp and paper
industry, oil companies
and others are behind the
rollback, using the same
old excuses that industry
has used for decades to avoid regulation.
Automakers once claimed that air
bags, unleaded gas and pollution-re-
ducing catalytic converters — even seat
belts — would spell the end of the auto
industry. Too expensive, they said. The
technology doesn’t exist. The standards
are too high and their effectiveness is
Today, the industry accepts those
health and safety standards as the cost of
In fact, safety ratings now drive prof-
its. The auto industry was forced to inno-
vate because we had the courage and
wisdom to require them to meet new
When protective standards are based
on good science, innovation will come. It
always does. Industries were given gener-
ous implementation timelines to help fos-
ter solutions. But this water quality roll-
back undermines our ability to accept
science, make changes and move forward
For centuries, Washington state’s indigenous people have relied on fish and shellfish
for food. A manipulation by a federal agency means some industries will be allowed a
greater degree of contamination in state waters and the food species that live there.
The state’s old water standards were
based on a fish consumption rate of 6.5
grams per day, or about one 8-ounce
serving per month, and included a cancer
risk rate of one in 1 million.
The new standards are similar to Ore-
gon’s. They include a consumption rate
of 175 grams per day while keeping the
same cancer risk rate.
Agreeing to the 175 grams per day
rate was a huge compromise by the
tribes, who routinely consume much
higher levels of fish and shellfish.
Industry and EPA were at the table
when we developed the new standards.
What’s changed? Not the science. Not
the need to protect our waters and our
health from toxic chemicals. The only
thing that’s changed is the politics of the
last few years.
Equally as disturbing is the way that
EPA is rescinding our standards. There
was no consultation with the tribes or
state before taking action. Even worse,
EPA refuses to take any input from the
state, tribes or public until after the roll-
back is complete.
Here at home, the state of Washington
is providing leadership on the issue. The
director of the state Department of Ecol-
ogy, Maia Bellon, has repeatedly called
on EPA to stand down and let the current
standards be implemented.
We also are encouraged by Gov. Jay
Inslee and Attorney General Bob Fer-
guson, who called the action illegal and
vowed to take the issue to court. They
point out that under the federal Clean
Water Act, tribes and states are respon-
sible for setting water quality standards
under their jurisdictions.
Our water protection standards could
be tied up in court for decades.
EPA and industry are motivated by
short-term profits at long-term expense
to our health and the health of the envi-
ronment, salmon, orcas and other natural
Sooner or later the bill always comes
due. All of us who live here will be on the
hook. We will pay for it with our health,
quality of life and our natural resources.
Northwest Indian Fisheries Com-
mission Chairwoman Lorraine Loomis
writes her ‘Being Frank’ commentaries in
honor of longtime commission Chairman
Billy Frank Jr. in an effort to enhance
communication between the Indian and
Good cause for investigation
n the June 4 letters in The Astorian,
“Impeachment? Really?” and “Neg-
ative evidence,” it is implied that the
Mueller report documented no evidence
supporting impeachment, and that the
investigation was a politically motivated
scam. I assume the authors have not read
the report, since saying so would have
reinforced their arguments.
I must admit that I haven’t read it
either, but I did not hear Robert Mueller
say there was no evidence of wrongdo-
ing. In fact, the investigation resulted in
several indictments of Trump administra-
tion officials, and conviction of his cam-
paign manager and personal lawyer, who
testified in court that President Donald
Trump lied concerning hush money to a
Do you really expect me to believe
that if Gov. Kate Brown’s lawyer had
admitted that under oath, that Repub-
licans would not be howling for her
removal? What Mueller said was that the
Justice Department is prohibited by the
Constitution from accusing the president
What would you think if our mayor,
after a very close election, in which he
publicly invited the governor of Wash-
ington to hack into his opponent’s email,
called the chief of police into a private
meeting and demanded the chief’s per-
sonal loyalty? Especially if the chief was
a respected professional, who had been
the first to report wrongdoing by the may-
There was good cause for an inves-
tigation. I don’t really care if the House
chooses to impeach or not, but as our rep-
resentatives they have the perfect right,
and a Constitutional duty, to make that
Why support Trump?
hy would any thinking American
support President Donald Trump?
He is giving the people who delivered
terrorism to U.S. soil on Sept. 11 access
to the technology used in precision bomb
guidance systems. How is anyone good
His supporters claim he will improve
the U.S. economy, but since he took
office the trade deficit has increased $135
billion and continues to rise. Overall per-
sonal debt is up $1.8 trillion, and rising.
Average family savings are down $5,400.
Defense/war costs are up $39 billion and
rising. (Source: usdebtclock.org)
His tariff war with China has irrep-
arably harmed U.S. farmers. Soybean
exports to China fell from $12.2 billion
in 2017 to $3.1 billion in 2018, according
to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
China now is telling us to say goodbye to
that last $3.1 billion.
Other countries are snapping up that
business, and very little of this market
share will return to American farmers.
What does will require significant price
American consumers pay for tariffs
through price increases on a broad variety
of commodities, from appliances to auto-
mobiles to the food on our plates. How
does this improve our economy?
From being an admitted adulterer and
sexual predator, to rolling back environ-
mental protections, to refusing to con-
demn Nazis, to cozying up to dictators
while offending our allies, to rejecting
the overwhelming consensus of scien-
tists worldwide on the threat of climate
change, to denigrating our own intelli-
gence agencies and law enforcement offi-
cials, the list goes on and on.
Yet, some Americans still support him.
Thanks for support
s the school year winds down, I’d
like to take this opportunity to thank
the faculty and staff at Seaside Heights
Elementary School for supporting the
Start Making A Reader Today (SMART)
reading program this past year.
It has been an honor to work with
them as site coordinator. I especially want
to thank my tremendous volunteers for
their dedication to the program, and to
As fall approaches, I encourage North
Coast residents to consider volunteering
and supporting this excellent program.
Thanks again, to everyone.
Oregon. We should care enough about
our environment to voluntarily quit using
We live in a throw-away world when it
comes to packaged items and electronics.
We need to care more about the future
of our planet, or we are going to fill our
oceans with plastic and make a new con-
tinent out of landfill.
As a young person I am worried about
what we are doing to our planet.
Help the homeless
f the “citizenship question” is included
on the 2020 census, mayn’t I invoke
my Fifth Amendment right, and refuse to
If I do so, will my other responses be
counted, or thrown out?
Doesn’t our Constitution say “all” peo-
ple in this country will be counted? Why
is so much of our American life hitherto
uncontested, now called into contest?
Worried about our planet
e shouldn’t wait to be told we can-
not use plastic shopping bags in
omelessness is becoming more
and more relevant in our
community. Statewide, there are
14,476 homeless people on any given
night in Oregon.
The issue is spreading rapidly through
the states, and with many jobs appearing
and disappearing, it’s apparent that there
are people who are also losing their jobs
due to living conditions, lack of skill and
even mental disorders.
To help, people can donate, become
educated and help homeless individuals
by seeking out job opportunities, groups
and charities, and overall helping the peo-
ple who need it.