Thursday, July 13, 2017
Formerly I've been an independent environmental regulatory compliance consultant to businesses. In that capacity (and others) I became very familiar with the various National and State environmental laws and regulations. In addition, I did the research for and wrote a number of EISs (Environmental Impact Statements, which are required by Law for many projects) for some clients. Because of that, I became well versed in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)---a Law passed during the Nixon years---and a few different SEPAs (State Environmental Policy Acts).
A couple days ago, I came across an article with a link to a page in the Federal Register dealing with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)...specifically, a Notice of Intent (NOI) stating the Army would be doing an EIS in relation to the Pipeline. That NOI was published in January of this year. I was a bit surprised because I had seen no indication of such an EIS all this year. [Because this whole thing is in my field, I keep my eyes peeled for EISs on huge, major projects.] I did another Search...no luck. I then contacted (by email) the Army's Corps of Engineers Civil Projects section and asked to see a copy of the EIS in question...or, if there was none, why not? Incredibly, I heard back within the hour. Here's the body of the text/reply:
"Upon revaluation of the Dakota Access Pipeline project the U S Army terminated its intent to complete an EIS. This action was announced in the Federal Register in February 2017.".
The Army, as the Lead Agency, published the NOI on January 18, 2017...a couple days before Trump was sworn in as President. Here's the link:
The easement for crossing the Missouri River at Lake Oahe is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers. The point being: there's no doubt that the NEPA requirement for an EIS applies in this situation. Sometime after Trump is sworn in as President, the Army publishes its EIS termination notice... in February.
Not long ago, I saw a News clip of Trump bragging how no one else had the guts to authorize DAPL. "But I closed my eyes and just signed it.". Yes, and here's what that means:
you have violated the National Environmental Policy Act. If the Fed Gov't issues a permit for a project of that size & potential impact (& owns the easement on which the project is located), and even if the project is completed by a private company, an EIS is required. That's well established...there's no question about it.
SEPAs also require an EIS on major projects. [If an EIS is completed under NEPA Rules, it fulfills any State requirement.] North Dakota doesn't have a SEPA, but South Dakota does...and the DAPL goes through portions of both Dakotas, Iowa, and Illinois. It's a HUGE project with significant potential impacts. For one thing, it crosses (or goes under) more than one major river. There's no doubt at all that an EIS is required by Law.
I think the Standing Rock Tribe has filed a lawsuit over this very thing. I hope so. Trump is not above the Law; he just thinks he is.
It's not relevant to my point here if you are for or against fossil fuels, or for or against the Rights of Native Americans/Indigenous People/American Indians. It's not even relevant if you believe the EIS requirement on major projects is a good or bad thing. What's relevant is that the President has violated the Law. He can't repeal a Law without Congress. Perhaps the Corporate Media and the Democrats should stop beating to death the Russia distraction, and instead, concentrate on something solid...such as this scenario.
Not only my opinion. Be Well
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Ajit Pai, who originally was brought into the FCC by Obama and more recently was appointed as FCC Head Honcho by Trump, is planning to eliminate Net Neutrality Rules (referred to as NNR in the rest of this piece). Pai has a credible background, but it should be noted that he did a two-year stint as a Verizon attorney. He claims that the NNR are hurting Business interests, stifling job development, and that the Mega Internet Providers should be allowed to "voluntarily" comply with the spirit of the Rules. Please...who in their right mind thinks that will work out in favor of the rest of us?
I don't have the time to detail all the reasons why NNR need to be retained forever, so if you're not already familiar with those reasons, do a Search for: what killing net neutrality means for the internet. Suffice it here to say that those Rules prevent the Mega Players from screwing over 99.9% of us relative to internet usage. Killing the NNR would hurt us and benefit the Big Boys in the Internet Game.
Although the Oligarchs lost the last battle over this issue, it's obvious they haven't quit the war. They never will. That's because the internet is the greatest democratizing tool ever to exist...and they know that. The Gaslighting Trump knows that, and the last thing billionaires want in a society is full participatory democracy. As in the last battle over NNR, it again will take millions of citizens speaking out to overcome the Oligarchs' efforts to eliminate these protections. On Wednesday, July 12, you'll see all kinds of postings on the Web showing you how to have your voice heard. Please participate. If you don't, it's pretty much guaranteed that: the cost of internet usage will increase; there will be "slow lanes"; some sites will be "throttled"; smaller ISPs will be hurt; and outfits such as Comcast and Verizon will be the BIG winners. There will be censorship on items/ideas that never should be censored.
To those of you who still support the Corporatists in the Executive Branch (or anywhere else), this issue further demonstrates that their beliefs & policies definitely do not favor the everyday citizen.
Not only my opinion. Be Well
Monday, July 10, 2017
As reported on Democracy Now, 122 nations have signed a Treaty banning the use of nuclear weapons. [It's astounding to me that the People of any nation anywhere allow their government to build and possess such weapons. I guess it's a testament to the power of Edward Bernays style Propaganda.]
Naturally, none of the Nuke Nations signed the Treaty. Perhaps their leaders should watch or re-watch (it's on YouTube) the 1983 ABC movie, "The Day After" with Jason Robards. That's the movie that caused Reagan (according to him) to begin the process of re-examining his belligerency toward Russia. The Trumpistas (Fascistas) in our Gov't definitely need to see it...even though it probably wouldn't do most of them any good. It's difficult for many "True Believers" to let go and consider alternatives.
The movie starts out a wee bit sappy or what I call "schmaltzy", but quickly becomes a riveting drama depicting the aftermath (in the Midwest) of a nuclear war. It's not for the fainthearted.
I know all the arguments against banning nukes...and they aren't worth spit. It's entirely possible to defend a nation without using or even just possessing nuclear weapons. It's also entirely possible for a People to peacefully force its government to go non-nuke...but only if those people truly have the will to do it.
Not only my opinion. Be Well