East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, November 18, 2017, WEEKEND EDITION, Page Page 15A, Image 15

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    NATION
Saturday, November 18, 2017
East Oregonian
Page 15A
Keystone pipeline leak won’t
affect last regulatory hurdle
San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office via AP
This photo provided by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s office shows Randall Saito
being arrested in Stockton, Calif., Wednesday. Saito, who escaped from a psychiatric
hospital in Hawaii, was captured as the result of a tip from a taxi cab driver.
Hawaii psychiatric patient says
he’s surprised escape worked
FRENCH CAMP, Calif.
(AP) — A man who acknowl-
edges killing a woman nearly
40 years ago said Friday
that he is surprised he was
able to walk out of a Hawaii
psychiatric hospital and make
it to California before being
captured.
Randall Saito spoke to
The Associated Press in a jail
near Stockton, California,
before briefly appearing in
court and telling a judge he
doesn’t want to go back to
Hawaii.
“I was surprised that
it actually worked,” the
59-year-old said in the jail
interview. “I was expecting
almost every leg of the way,
I was expecting them to be
right around the corner just
going to nab me.”
Saito left Hawaii State
Hospital in suburban Hono-
lulu on Sunday, got a taxi to
the airport and took a charter
plane to Maui. From there, he
caught another flight to San
Jose.
He refused to say if
anyone helped him escape,
where he got the money to
travel or how he acquired
what he called “a pretty
good” fake ID. He insisted
that he only escaped to show
that he should be free.
“I had no delusions of
settling down. That’s gran-
diose. I was just trying to
get as much time as possible
under my belt to prove my
point that I could be in the
community without supervi-
sion and not be truculent or
violent or stupid,” Saito said.
“I just wanted a track
record to throw back into
the hospital and say, ‘Look,
nobody was there to super-
vise me. I was out. I didn’t
drink. I didn’t drug. I didn’t
hurt anybody,” he said.
Saito said he knew his
money would run out at some
point.
“But I wanted to extend
my time out there as much
as possible, maximize my
record, my track record, that
would be in and of itself
irrefutable proof that I was
out there doing it,” he said.
Saito was acquitted of
murder by reason of insanity
in the 1979 killing of Sandra
Yamashiro. A 2002 article
by the Honolulu Advertiser
reported Saito picked his
victim at random.
“I am terribly contrite for
what I did,” he told the AP.
“I’ve regretted it from the
day I realized that I had done
it. And no one can be sorrier
than I because no one is more
culpable.”
He said he faked mental
illness to get out of a prison
sentence and go to the state
hospital instead.
Saito, who has said he
abused substances before
the killing, said the hospital
was never going to give him
a chance so “whether this
worked out or not, or whether
it made things worse, what
does it matter?”
“I was riding that cab. The
wind was blowing in my face.
I was looking at all the lights
in San Jose, and I actually
felt human. And I thought to
myself, ‘Oh my God, I’m a
human being,’” he said.
Saito
was
captured
Wednesday in Stockton after
authorities got a tip from a
taxi driver.
The driver, who spoke
to the AP on condition of
anonymity because she was
fearful Saito could retaliate
against her, said she gave
him a ride Tuesday before he
called back and requested her
again.
She said Friday that she
wonders whom Saito knows
and if her life is in jeopardy.
In court, Saito refused to
agree to immediately be sent
back to Hawaii, where he
faces escape charges. Prose-
cutors called it a “stall tactic.”
He’s set to be back in court in
California on Nov. 27.
Saito didn’t have privi-
leges to leave the hospital
grounds without an escort.
Saito’s repeated attempts
to win such passes were
rejected by the court. But
he was allowed to roam the
hospital grounds unattended.
It took the hospital at least
eight hours to notify law
enforcement that Saito was
missing. Hawaii Gov. David
Ige has said the public and
authorities should have been
notified much sooner.
The state has placed seven
hospital employees on unpaid
leave while it investigates.
ROUND-UP: Sales on retail items,
ticket and beverages were all up
Continued from 1A
Round-Up
Publicity
Director Randy Thomas
said Friday that it’s not
uncommon for stockholders
to voice differing opinions.
“The great thing is that
everybody is included,” he
said.
But it isn’t common for a
group of past directors to try
to nominate someone against
the board’s choice, Thomas
said.
Thomas declined to name
the group of past directors
who are pushing the nomi-
nation and didn’t want to
speculate as to who they
would propose.
According to the Round-
Up’s bylaws, the Round-Up
president must have at
least four years of director
experience before they are
nominated and ratified by the
stockholders. If past directors
do nominate an alternative to
the board’s choice, it would
have to be a former director.
Round-Up directors must
retire from the board after
eight years, creating a large
pool of past directors. Several
prominent past directors and
board presidents interviewed
said they had no direct knowl-
edge of the board challenge.
Mike Thorne, a former
director, said he had been
traveling recently and was
out of the loop while John
Trumbo said he knew about
the potential challenge but
gave a similar answer.
“I’m out of the mix,” said
Trumbo, a former Umatilla
County sheriff. “I’m done
with politics.”
Butch Thurman, the board
president in 2007 and 2008,
declined to comment, citing
his seat on the Round-Up
Foundation Board.
Thurman’s
successor,
Randy Severe, said he has
also heard talk about the
presidential nomination and
couldn’t shed any light on the
situation. But he did offer a
statement.
“There’s a lot of tradition
with the Round-Up,” he
said. “Nothing about this is
traditional.”
The board could have
further broken with tradition
if they had stuck with a
plan to move up the annual
meeting to August. But
according to an Aug. 16 letter
from the board of directors,
the meeting was delayed
until November after they
consulted with past board
presidents.
“We understand this will
allow for more participation
and attendance while enabling
the directors to concentrate
on their duties in preparation
to the Round-Up,” the letter
states.
In the letter asking stock-
holders to support O’Neill,
the board wrote that they
would also address concerns
from “a few past directors”
by having a presentation on
the future of the Round-Up
and the rodeo’s finances.
Thomas said the board
has only been able to provide
“highlights” during the past
two meetings instead of a
full financial report because
the bookkeeper was unable
to close the books for the
previous rodeo by the time
of the meeting. He added that
the Round-Up has changed
bookkeepers since then and
will have a full report at the
stockholder’s meeting.
Thomas said there will
be a lot of positive financial
information shared at the
meeting, including figures
that show sales on retail
items, tickets and beverages
were all up.
As the Round-Up goes for
its third Best Large Outdoor
Rodeo of the Year award in a
row, the board will also share
some of its expansion plans,
like its partnership with
Blue Mountain Community
College to bring an indoor
arena to the Round-Up
grounds.
———
Contact Antonio Sierra at
asierra@eastoregonian.com
or 541-966-0836.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP)
— Discovery of a 210,000-
gallon oil leak from the
Keystone pipeline would
seem to be poor timing four
days before regulators in
Nebraska decide whether
to allow a major expansion
of the system, but officials
say state law does not allow
pipeline safety to be a
factor in their decision.
The Nebraska Public
Service Commission was
scheduled to rule Monday
if a Keystone XL expan-
sion pipeline proposed
by TransCanada Corp.
can cross the state. The
commission’s decision is
the last major regulatory
hurdle for a project that
has faced numerous local,
state and federal reviews
and lawsuits since it was
announced in 2008.
Keystone
operator
TransCanada Corp. shut
down the existing pipeline
early Thursday morning
and workers were testing to
determine the cause of the
spill on agricultural land
in Marshall County, South
Dakota, near the North
Dakota border, about 250
miles west of Minneapolis.
State and company
officials said the spill was
not a threat to waterways or
drinking water, but critics
were quick to use the leak
as an example of what
they see as the risks to the
environment.
The Nebraska vote
Monday will be on a
proposed route for Keystone
XL, a massive expansion
that also would be operated
Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP, File
This Nov. 2015 file photo shows a sign for TransCan-
ada’s Keystone pipeline facilities in Hardisty, Alberta,
Canada.
by TransCanada. The new
pipeline would carry an
estimated 830,000 barrels
of oil a day from the oil
sands areas of Canada
through Montana, South
Dakota and Nebraska,
where it would connect
with the existing Keystone
pipeline.
The
decision
will
hinge on testimony and
documents generated from
public hearings over the
summer and from more than
500,000 public comments,
Nebraska Public Service
Commission spokeswoman
Deb Collins said. A state
law passed in 2011 prevents
the commission from
factoring pipeline safety or
the possibility of leaks into
its decisions.
“The
commission’s
decision ... will be based on
the evidence in the record,”
Collins said.
The
Keystone
XL
proposal has faced intense
opposition in Nebraska
from a coalition of envi-
ronmental groups, Native
American tribes and some
landowners who don’t
want the pipeline running
through their property.
Nebraska
lawmakers
gave the five-member
commission the power to
regulate major oil pipelines
in 2011 in response to a
public outcry over the
pipeline and its potential
impact on the Sandhills, an
ecologically fragile region
of grass-covered sand
dunes.
But when they passed
the law, legislators argued
that pipeline safety is a
federal responsibility and
should not factor in the
state decision.
Opponents of Keystone
XL are incensed that the
leak won’t be considered.
“There is a reason
TransCanada and the big
oil lobby did not want this
information on the record,”
said Jane Kleeb, director of
the Bold Alliance, a coali-
tion of groups that have
opposed the Keystone XL
for nearly a decade.
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