Umbrage will be taken when the blame can be placed on the other political party

Let me get this straight.

The Energy Department may have been mistakenly shipping unstable nuclear material to the Nevada National Security Site since 2013, but the guy who took office in 2017 and whose agency caught the apparent error, suspended further shipments and informed Nevada public officials of the possible error is to blame and should resign.

The morning newspaper quotes Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford calling for Energy Secretary Rick Perry to resign and Democratic Rep. Dina Titus blustering, “The level of incompetence at the Department of Energy is only matched by its dishonesty.”

Let’s see, the errors apparently occurred for four years of the Obama administration without anyone catching it, but the agency that caught the error and reported it is dishonest and to blame.

The paper quotes a Horsford statement as saying, “Secretary Perry has repeatedly disrespected the people of Nevada and eroded the public trust in his ability to abide by established rules for waste disposal. His failure to disclose these actions amount to their lying to a federal judge, our Nevada congressional delegation and our state’s governor repeatedly about his agency’s activities in our state. Secretary Perry must resign immediately.”

The Energy Department was supposed to only ship low-level radioactive waste from Oak Ridge, Tenn., to N2S2, but nine shipments may have included unstable “reactive” nuclear material mislabeled as low-level waste.

The newspaper further quotes a letter fired off to the Energy secretary by Gov. Steve Sisolak and Nevada Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, all Democrats, saying, “These egregious acts — whether acts of negligence or indicative of something else — are unconscionable and have potentially put the health and safety of Nevadans and our environment at unacceptable risk, including the employees of NNSS and the communities in Nevada and along the transportation routes of this material to NNSS.”

But an Energy Deparment statement was quoted as saying, “The components that were shipped pose no risk to the safety and health of the general public or workers at the facility at NNSS. The Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration has launched an internal investigation to determine how this went undetected for a six-year period.” Four of those years during the previous Democratic administration, by the way.

Umbrage always seems to be taken only when the offended ones are of a different political party.

R-J graphic

Negotiating skills such as these one can find every day

Perhaps you saw the headlines. They were all over Nevada’s newspapers. They largely said in varying language: Cortez Masto wins fight to remove plutonium from Nevada.

Nevada’s senior Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto sat down with Energy Department Secretary Rick Perry earlier and he sent her a letter agreeing to begin removing in 2021 the half metric ton of plutonium that had been sent to the National Nuclear Security Administration site from South Carolina, where a federal judge had ordered it removed. Perry also said no more South Carolina plutonium would be shipped to the Nevada site. On Tuesday Cortez Masto agreed to stop blocking nominees for high-level Department of Energy jobs.

But you’d need to read the Exchange Monitor to learn that the agreed upon removal schedule was what the Department of Energy (DOE) planned to do all long.

Perry’s letter to Cortez Masto states, “DOE commits to commencing removal of this material from Nevada beginning in calendar year 2021, and completing the removal by the end of 2026.”

In a Nov. 20 letter to then-Gov. Brian Sandoval the DOE said the plutonium would to transferred to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico by the “2026-2027 timeframe.”

In his letter, posted online by the Nevada Independent, Perry noted that the judge had ordered one metric ton of plutonium be removed from South Carolina by 2019 and he said no more would be shipped to Nevada but rather to New Mexico. He did not bother to mention whether that was DOE’s plan all along.

Cortez Masto tweeted a video bragging of her success in getting the DOE to do what it apparently planned to do all along:

Newspaper editorial suggests ‘fitting memorial’ for Reid

Yucca Mountain (AP file photo)

Yucca Mountain (AP file photo)

The editorialists at the Washington Examiner have come up with a fitting way to honor the three decades of service in the U.S. Senate by Nevada’s Harry Reid.

They note that Reid, with an assist from the Obama administration, has defied, circumvented and defeated the law as passed by Congress that would turn Yucca Mountain into a nuclear waste repository — or suppository, as Chic Hecht called it. The 1987 law has been less than affectionately referred to as the Screw Nevada Act.

The editorial notes that utility companies with nuclear reactors have paid $21 billion to the Energy Department for the purpose of disposing of their waste, but Energy has failed to act.

“Its failure, due to political sabotage, is both dangerous and expensive,” the opinion piece relates. “The Yucca Mountain repository, in a deserted, uninhabitable section of Nevada, was supposed to begin taking in nuclear waste on New Year’s Day 1998, so that the material would not have to be stored in communities across the nation. Nineteen years and countless scientific studies later, Yucca is just a $15 billion hole in the ground, thanks mostly to ferocious opposition from the retiring Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid.”

It is estimated that by 2020  taxpayers could be on the hook for $50 billion in damages to the utility companies on top of the construction costs at Yucca Mountain.

The newspaper suggests Energy Department secretary nominee Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, has the persistence and drive to make the repository a reality, and “a fitting memorial for one of America’s most memorable legislative leaders. Taxpayers deserve no less than to see the Harry Reid Nuclear Waste Repository at Yucca Mountain become a reality, at long last.”

Cover of Jim Day book.

Cover of Jim Day book.

As originally envisioned, Yucca Mountain’s U-shaped shaft would have been filled with 70,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel rods, each covered by titanium and palladium drip shields to protect them from water seeping through the mountain. After 100 to 300 years the hole was to be sealed and pictographic warning signs erected. The material would still be hazardous for thousands of years.

Greens are turning red over these Trump nominees

Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson nominated for secretary of State. (Reuters pix)

Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson nominated for secretary of State. (Reuters pix)

Now, I’m no fan of braggart-in-chief Donald Trump, but you’ve got to love three of his cabinet choices, if for no other reason than they are making the green acolytes turn red with rage.

Today Trump named Texas oilman and Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson to become secretary of State and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to head the Department Energy. Add these to the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency and you can see why the climate change Chicken Littles are running around like their heads have been cut off.

Rick Perry nominated to head Energy Department. (Getty pix)

Rick Perry nominated to head Energy Department. (Getty pix)

The grease orchard cartel is sure to be angrily opposed by those who have been getting rich on renewable energy subsidies and their Democratic Party allies in Congress.

Though there has been considerable angst about Tillerson’s ties to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, you can count on the greens to thump him on allegations that Exxon has concealed its research on climate change, despite the fact Exxon has bought into the Paris climate deal.

“At a time when the climate crisis is deepening, both the United States and the world deserve much better than having one of the planet’s top fossil fuel tycoons run U.S. foreign policy,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune bellowed in a statement challenging the appointment. “We urge senators, who are elected to represent and protect the American people, to stand up for families across the country and the world and oppose this nomination.”

With Perry named to head a department he once proposed be eliminated, the greens will be gunning for him since he has long been a climate change denier.

Scott Pruitt nominated to head EPA. (KFOR pix)

Scott Pruitt nominated to head EPA. (KFOR pix)

Brune said the designation of Perry to head Energy is “an insult to our functioning democracy. Putting Perry in charge of the Department of Energy is the perfect way to ensure the agency fails at everything it is charged to do.” The Energy Department was created by Jimmy Carter following the oil embargo in the early 1970s. The U.S., due to fracking, is no longer relying on Middle Eastern oil.

Pruitt over the years has challenged the EPA’s regulatory overreach repeatedly, often joining with other states, including Nevada, to file lawsuits.

Pruitt said in a statement released following his nomination that Americans “are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses.”

The folks at the Sierra Club call him a puppet of polluters and that his appointment is like “putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires.”

Can anyone remember this much ink being spilled over provious cabinet appointees? Trump might not be draining the swamp but he is sure stirring the waters.

 

 

Editorial: Federal government’s fracking rules usurp states’ rights

Our masters in Washington are always searching for solutions to problems. They invariably find a solution even if they can’t find a problem.

The Interior Department recently released a 400-page set of rules for fracking on public lands, which covers about 87 percent of Nevada.

Sally Jewell

“Current federal well-drilling regulations are more than 30 years old and they simply have not kept pace with the technical complexities of today’s hydraulic fracturing operations,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in a press release, completely ignoring the fact that hydraulic fracturing has been used in a majority of oil and natural gas wells since the 1940s. “This updated and strengthened rule provides a framework of safeguards and disclosure protocols that will allow for the continued responsible development of our federal oil and gas resources. As we continue to offer millions of acres of public lands for conventional and renewable energy production, it is absolutely critical the public have confidence that transparent and effective safety and environmental protections are in place.”

Also, she completely ignores the fact the states currently regulate fracking and there have been virtually no problems or water contamination associated with the process. Pay no heed to the fact the states maintain the power to regulate water within their boundaries or that the states maintain police powers over federal land within their boundaries.

Nope, they are from the federal government and they are coming to save the day with job killing, economy choking regulations such as:

• “Provisions for ensuring the protection of groundwater supplies by requiring a validation of well integrity and strong cement barriers between the wellbore and water zones through which the wellbore passes;
• “Increased transparency by requiring companies to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing to the Bureau of Land Management through the website FracFocus, within 30 days of completing fracturing operations;
• “Higher standards for interim storage of recovered waste fluids from hydraulic fracturing to mitigate risks to air, water and wildlife …”

It took the U.S. government four years to come up with this 400-page usurpation of states’ rights.

Noble Energy drills in Elko County and fracked this well. (Noble Energy photo)

Less than a year ago, the Nevada Division of Minerals Administrator Rich Perry released Nevada’s 20-page revised rules that require groundwater testing before and after drilling, pressure testing of equipment, notifications to landowners before fracking begins and abiding by strict engineering standards — all of which cover the same ground as the federal rules, but took only a couple of months to draft and implement.

Redundancy from the bureaucracy.

The oil and gas industry immediately filed suit in Wyoming to block the federal rules, calling them “arbitrary and unnecessary burdens” for industry.

The Congressional Western Caucus criticized the new fracking rules, saying the process adds costly red tape and bureaucratic uncertainty to the oil and gas permitting process on federal lands.

“The Department of the Interior has yet to demonstrate why a federal hydraulic fracturing rule is even necessary in the first place with states already regulating the practice effectively within their borders,”said Caucus Chairman Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming. “This rule jeopardizes these efforts by forcing states to jump through bureaucratic hoops just to reclaim their authority to regulate drilling and wellhead activities that have been under their purview for decades. The federal government is the newcomer in this space, bringing nothing to the table except more red tape and more barriers to energy production on federal land that continues to lag far behind the energy boom on state and private lands. This rule disproportionately impacts the very western states whose energy reserves are a necessary ingredient to achieving lasting American energy security.”

Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, said, “The Obama administration’s hydraulic fracturing rule is a solution in search of a problem.”

The federal bureaucrats should be forced by Congress or the courts to back off and let the states handle this.

Nevada Division of Minerals administrator Rich Perry talks about fracking rules established by the state. (Elko Daily Free Press photo)

A version of this editorial appears this week in the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record.

 

Texas governor sends National Guard to border to act as welcome wagon for illegals

Texas Gov. Rick Parry has announced that the is sending 1,000 National Guard troops to the Mexican border to halt the flow of illegal aliens flooding across our international border.

Well, no, not really.

He actually announced that he is sending 1,000 trained soldiers to help round up those crossing out borders and quickly turned them over to taxpayer funded boarding houses  for care and feeding until they can be set free in the general population and told to show up for an immigration hearing someday, if they feel like it.

“Technically speaking, if we were asked to we could detain people but we’re not planning on that,” said Adjutant General John Nichols, head of the Texas Military Forces, Nichols, who joined Perry at a press conference today. “We’re planning on referring and deterring — so deterring them with physical presence and referring any people that we see that we think are illegal immigrants to DPS (Texas Department of Public Safety).”

Deter?

The people coming across the border are not trying to evade the Border Patrol. They readily and eagerly turn themselves in, knowing they’ll be royally treated.

“We think that they will come to us and say please take us to a Border Patrol station,” Nichols said. “We’re going to be prepared to have water there, to render aid if they need it.”

“These children are not trying to evade Border Patrol and there’s no reason to confront them with soldiers,” said U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio.

There is no one even hinting that we should station personnel at the border and tell these people to stop and turn back. No, it is: “Come on in, sit down. Here is good, clothing, medicine and safety.”

It will cost Texans $17 million a month roll out this welcome wagon. That’s $5 million for DPS and $12 million for the National Guard. Perry says he will send a bill to the federal government.

Billions for detention and handling of illegals, but not one dime for turning them back at the border and not letting them cross

Illegal immigrant children at the border.

Central American parents are sending their unaccompanied children north to the U.S. because they believe their children will be given homes, food, clothes, an education and medical care and will not be sent back.

So, what is included in Obama’s proposed $3.7 billion spending package to “secure” the border?

The biggest item is $1.8 billion for Health and Human Services  “to provide the appropriate care for unaccompanied children, consistent with Federal law, while maintaining services for refugees.  With these funds, HHS will have the resources to be able to care for the children currently projected to come into the custody of the Department of Homeland Security while putting in place more stable, cost-effective arrangements for these children going forward.” Going forward means for the long haul.

As for actually securing the border and turning back illegals before entering the country, there is not a mention of doing so.

Obama proposes $433 million for the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, but much of that is for  “contract services and facility costs to care for children while in CBP custody, and medical and transportation.”

It all about apprehending and detaining and not turning back.

Obama proposes $1.1 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement:

  • $116 million would pay for transportation costs associated with the significant rise in apprehensions of unaccompanied children;
  • $109 million would provide for immigration and customs enforcement efforts, including expanding the Border Enforcement Security Task Force program, doubling the size of vetted units in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and expanding investigatory activities by ICE Homeland Security Investigations; and
  • $879 million would pay for detention and removal of apprehended undocumented adults traveling with children, expansion of alternatives to detention programs for these individuals, and additional prosecution capacity for adults with children who cross the border unlawfully.

Most the rest of the money goes for paying lawyers and judges and clerical staff to push paper around for years and years, such as the “$45.4 million would be to hire approximately 40 additional immigration judge teams.”

Then there is that $5 million for a propaganda campaign in Central America that “will emphasize the dangers of the journey, deliver the message that unaccompanied children are not given a permit to stay in the U.S.” Nope. No permit just perpetual care and a lot of paperwork.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry points out that there is no Border Patrol at the border to turn back foreigners.

“The president was not even aware that his border patrol was back 40 or 45 miles from the border at these checkpoints,” he said on Fox News. “They need to be right on the ripper, they need to be there as a show of force.”

Perry went on to say:

“Very little of it [the bill] is for border security. And I think until he gets realistic about the problem and how you deal with the problem, and it is a border security issue, and we’ve got a track record now of five plus years of him disregarding what is going on on the border, so here’s his opportunity to truly lead.”

Lead? He wouldn’t even go to the border — or send his Border Patrol there.

Today the White House confirmed that many of the illegals will be allowed to stay in this country permanently if they simply say they are afraid to return home because of the dangers there.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said:

“These children will — and other immigrants who are attempting to enter the country without documentation — will go through the immigration process and that means their claims of asylum will be considered by an immigration judge and by asylum officials.

“What that means is it means that if a immigration judge determines that they face a credible threat of death upon their return to their home country, then, again, I’m not an immigration judge, but it is likely that the immigration judge will find that that person should be granted humanitarian relief.”

Don’t we all face a credible threat of death eventually?

 

Glenn McCoy cartoon