Sierra Club’s deceptive attack on Sen. Wyden

Is Senator Wyden a Closet Conservative?

by John in Oregon

Upon occasion Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has reached beyond Democratic Party orthodoxy and Democratic lobbyists positions.  One example is a Wall Street Journal article, A Bipartisan Way Forward on Medicare that was authored by Senator Wyden and Representative Paul Ryan.

On another issue, Senator Wyden cosponsored S-1269, the Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act (SRCA). According to an article in the Oregonian, the Oregon Sierra Club (OSC) launched a scathing attack – which would suggest that Senator Wyden is a closet conservative.

The Oregon Sierra Club call to action is titled “Wyden launches surprising attacks on Clean Air and Clean Water Acts”.  In that call to action the OSC tells us that “Senator Ron Wyden is taking a strong stand against enforcing the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act in order to protect the timber industry from having to address air and water pollution associated with some of their operations.”  With such claims a little fact checking is in order.  For sake of space, consider just one paragraph checking point by point.  First the full paragraph:

Wyden has introduced legislation to overturn an Oregon court decision which says that when clean water and salmon streams are being sullied with polluted runoff from logging roads, it requires a permit under the Clean Water Act and action by landowners to address the pollution and fix their roads to better protect water quality. The case stems from heavily used logging roads in Oregon’s Tillamook State Forest which discharge polluted water directly into key salmon streams. Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader has introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.

Fact checking point by point.

Wyden has introduced legislation…

FALSE.  S 1369 was introduced by Senator Crapo.  Senators Wyden, Risch, and Begich cosponsored the legislation.  The Oregon Sierra Club language creates the impression that Senator Wyden embarked on a solo crusade.  In fact at least four Senators from both the Republican and Democratic sides of the isle support the legislation.

…legislation to overturn an Oregon court decision…

FALSE.  The Oregon District Court held in favor of the Oregon State Forester.  It was the 9th Circuit, which overturned the Oregon court decision.  The effect of S 1369 the SRCA is to restore the Oregon court decision.

…court decision which says that when clean water and salmon stream

are being sullied with polluted runoff from logging roads…

FALSE.  The 9th Circuit required EPA pollution discharge permits for any storm water near roads and most certainly did NOT use language such as “clean water and salmon streams are being sullied”.  No scientific pollution studies were used.

…polluted runoff from logging roads, it (the court decision) requires a permit

under the Clean Water Act …

PARTIALLY TRUE.  A permit is required. The Sierra Club implies permits are only required for polluted storm runoff.  The 9th Circuit simply imposed discharge permit requirements for all storm water runoff near roads, polluted or not.  By court ruling all runoff, including uncontaminated water, is effectively classed as pollution requiring a discharge permit.

… permit under the Clean Water Act and action by landowners to

address the pollution and fix their roads to better protect water quality…

MOSTLY FALSE. The OSC wants us to believe that a permit requirement will cause landowners to address pollution and fix roads.  When the added bureaucratic permit burden remains for uncontaminated storm water the true incentive here is to remove roads.  Permit denial and lawsuits will block roads. Which is consistent with the apparent Oregon Sierra Club goal, turning private forest-land into wilderness preserves

The case stems from heavily used logging roads in Oregon’s

Tillamook State Forest which discharge polluted water directly
into key salmon streams.

UNVERIFIABLE.  The lawsuit covered the Tillamook State Forest, and the Trask and Kilchis rivers.  The case had no study showing heavy logging road use.  Are these roads more used than others?  Does use change storm run off?

Such studies as may exist are non-scientific studies conducted by volunteer law students eager to find mud puddles alongside logging roads.  Worse, the students had easy access to logging roads and no study of natural erosion or landslides as a reference of natural silt conditions.  Frequent highway slide closures and high murky fishing in road less streams show natural erosion is common, yet the students studies provide none of that kind of information.  A natural erosion study would involve hiking away from roads during winter, and spring weather when hiking is a severe outdoor and safety challenge.

Worse yet, none of the examples of apparent pollution were analyzed for the presence of Clean Water Act priority pollutants.  No samples were tested for Carbon tetrachloride, Methyl chloride, Phenol, Aldrin, Dieldrin, Chlordane, DDT, PCB, Antimony, Arsenic, Beryllium, Copper, Cyanide, Lead, Mercury, or Selenium.

In the final analysis the Court and OSC don’t have the faintest idea what pollution is present.  Neither do we.

Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader has introduced similar

legislation  in the House of Representatives.

FALSE. HR 2541 was introduced by Representative Beutler Alden. Representatives Schrader, Michaud, Mcmorris Rodgers, Pingree of Maine, and Walden cosponsored the bill.  Representative Schrader is not a lone wolf.

Overall the Oregon Sierra Club earns a deceptive rating, four Geppettos carving ever-longer noses for Pinocchio.

The Oregon Sierra Club used an Oregonian article as justification for the attack on Senator Wyden.  (Without any direct quotes from the article.)  A long established legacy news outlet, the Oregonian is not known as an advocate of the timber industry.  Never the less, consulting the Oregonian article is informative.

  • Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat, also supports backing off increased regulation of logging roads.

While not a supporter of sustained yield cutting levels, and not seeking a high profile on this subject, the governor does oppose increased federal regulation. Kitzhaber is forced to balance his support of low logging levels against increased federal intrusion upon state authority.  In this instance retaining state authority has priority for the Governor

Timber groups — along with Kitzhaber and Wyden — say the court decision would result in a spate of lawsuits to stall logging.

The Oregonian correctly points out that the 9th Circuit decision will result in increased bureaucratic burdens, increased lawsuits, and reduced state authority to run our own affairs.  The Oregonian illuminates further:

Josh Kardon, Wyden’s chief of staff until January 2010, lobbied Wyden and other members of Congress on the issue this year on behalf of the National Association of Forest Owners.

(snip)

Kardon, who worked for environmental groups in the past, said he took the lobbying job to prevent “the same flood of litigation” in private forests that has stymied logging in Oregon’s federal forests, reduced forest health and cut timber jobs.

“Riskedahl [Northwest Environmental Defense Center] and his deep-pocketed, politically powerful funder are using personal attacks to try to intimidate me into dropping my client, and it won’t work,” Kardon said.

The “funder” is Peter Goldman, director of the non-profit Washington Forest Law Center. Goldman is a Democratic donor whose family wealth strikes fear in timber interests.

Clearly the Oregonian coverage is more balanced, and thanks to the article we know that at least four Oregon politicians, including our Governor, oppose federal and court intrusion upon state authority.  With the intervention in court of 26 other States and industry groups we see that concern is wide spread, a natural apprehension when Courts drift from a neutral referee of disputes and become a tool of environmental policy manipulation.

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  • Sprintdude

    Why this defense of Sen. Wyden? Let the leftists eat each other. Sen. Wyden is a member of the party of gigantic spending and gigantic debt. Let’s get him weakened and then replace him with a fiscal conservative.

    • Sol668

      I don’t know if you’ve noticed sprintdude, but republicans can’t win a state wide election in oregon, I agree wyden has got to go, to be replaced by a true progressive that cuts our bloated military to the bone, and restores some measure of fairness to the most inequitable america in history by raising taxes dramatically on the wealthy which coincidently would go a long way to balancing the budget….

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >which coincidently would go a long way to balancing the budget….

        Incorrect.

        Our current annual federal deficit is about $1.3T. Every 1% you raise taxes on those making over $1M raises about $5B in revenue assuming static projections (a huge mistake, but it does maximize the projected revenue, in other words I am purposefully skewing the figures in your favour)

        Therefore if we raised taxes with a 70% surtax (thus confiscating all wages of those who make over $1M, they currently pay 30%, 70% +30% = 100%) you have raised an additional $350B ($5 Billion per %increase x 70% increase = $350B).

        Dividing out, we find that $350B is a little over a quarter of the current deficit of $1.3T.

        So in other words, no, raising taxes on the wealthy doesn’t go a long way to balancing the budget even if you enslave them and confiscate all their wages every year.

        Sorry but this idea that we will tax our way out of this mess by only hitting the wealthy with taxes is just such a nonsense argument.

        And by the way totally is at odds with your “we are all in this together” statement earlier.

        • Sol668

          ooh I agree we’re going to have dramatically reduce spending as well..thus a 90% cut in military spending, the end of all farm subsidies, corporate tax incentives, so called “public private partnerships”, the faith based intiatives and yes even entitlement reform…but 1/4 of the way there is not insignificant, and I’m talking about a 90% marginal tax rate such as we had in the 1950’s when our middle class prospered

          There is just the expectation on the right, that you are entitled to the servitude and subserviance of the “little people” its rather remarkable.  A tiny minority is simply not entitled to the fruits of all of societies labors, but this is precisely the outcome we see of 30 years of your tax cuts and deregulation.

          Today we are certainly not all in this together, a few benefit, the rest work harder longer for much much less

          You wage war on middle class people like me, and then feel as though your not going so see some sort of response, I’ll do everything I can to end logging on oregons public lands, just as you have done everything you can to drive down wages and crush the urban middle class

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >I’m talking about a 90% marginal tax rate such as we had in the 1950’s when our middle class prospered

            Id be fine with this actually but I have a feeling you would not. When marginal rates were at those levels, the effective tax rate was much lower than today. Thus the burden of taxes was more evenly distributed.

            At that time the middle class paid roughly twice the share of federal income taxes they pay today (about 7% of the burden then as compared to a little under 3% now)

            >There is just the expectation on the right, that you are entitled to the
            servitude and subserviance of the “little people” its rather
            remarkable.

            Actually this is more the ethos of the left. I am not sure who you mean by the “little people” but I imagine the bottom 50% of wage earners would include them. Since the bottom 50% currently pays close to nothing of the federal income tax burden and you are only arguing for increasing taxes on upper income, it is clearly you who holds this view, not the right.

            >You wage war on middle class people like me, and then feel as though your not going so see some sort of response

            I am not sure how objecting to you raising taxes on me, and I am definitely middle class in terms of income level, constitutes waging war on you. Pointing out inconsistencies and erroneous statements by you is not waging war.

            > just as you have done everything you can to drive down wages and crush the urban middle class

            Can you list one thing I have done that would substantiate this statement?

          • Sol668

            I can point to the real outcomes of 30 years of tax cuts free trade and deregulation

            the most inequitable america in history

            Which given your “conservatism” I can only presume you wish to worsen by continuing these policies

            Thankyou for proving my point Rupert! When we had higher marginal tax rates on the wealthiest we had far less inequity and the tax burden was more evenly distributed!

            Its odd, that you only look at taxes, while I’m speaking not of taxation, but of who benefits from society, and its rather clear that the tiniest of minorities at the top has been the primary beneficiary of your policies, they being of course entitled to an ever greater share of societies productivity..evidently

            Rupert If you are middle class I’d cut your taxes dramatically, today you’re paying a higher rate then warren buffet, a situation you seem fine with…as I said, 80% should pay no federal income tax…based on wealth distribution.

            Of course the RW feels that the little people should labor in squalor, AND pay the bills…which again I find remarkable

            Your naive utopism, and clear inablity to see your own interests, represents no inconsistency on my part, but definantly a great deal of ignorance, on yours…

            But please continue to support the right, it can only result in a worse life for you, continue to wage bitter class war against the unions, and drive down your own wages, continue to support market solutions that only support the worst inequity in US history.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >When we had higher marginal tax rates on the wealthiest we had far less inequity and the tax burden was more evenly distributed!

            I would totally agree with that. Basically you are arguing for a more shared burden of the tax load as when those rates were in effect the lower 50% paid roughly twice the amount of the FIT than they pay now.

            What in the world is your disagreement with me?

            You keep bringing up tax structure that had the bottom 50% sharing more of the load, I want the same thing, what is your disagreement with me here?

            >today you’re paying a higher rate then warren buffet, a situation you seem fine with

            Incorrect. Warren Buffet pays a higher FIT rate than I do as he is in a higher tax bracket.

            His overall tax rate may be lower, but that is due to combining capital gains tax rates with FIT rates. We are talking about FIT here, not all taxes. If that is unclear to you, then you have misunderstood the discussion as I have made this very clear in my discussion.

            The thing you are forgetting is I am self employed, and thus taxed as one of “the rich” when it comes to liberal orthodoxy and tax policy. 

            I am well aware of whose ox would be gored on tax policy if you had your way. I would be taxed even more punitively than I am now simply because I chose to create my own job rather than work for someone else.

            And please, for the love of God do not ask me in what way the left exacerbates the business owners tax situation. I really do not wish to rehash the obvious.

            >continue to wage bitter class war against the unions

            On the contrary, I wage no war of bitterness. It is you who do so and whatever bitterness there is reverberates quite clearly in your tone,not mine.

            No, my war against unions is based upon logic, not bitterness. Unions are directly opposed to my best interest and thus I oppose them.

            How is this so? Well, unions continually lobby for laws that hurt my business and raise my taxes simply because I chose to work for myself and not another person.

            To oppose unions is not bitterness in the least, but simply the logical position. 

          • Sol668

            the bitterness the pettiness seeths from your every post rupert, rather then take responsiblity you blame everyone government unions environmentalists, I’m sorry you’re a failure…and wage bitter class war on the few remaining middle class people….

            But not surprising, as with all republicans, you don’t wish to pay your employees well, whether they work for the state or your own business well

            Nothing makes this clearer then the record inequity, a tax burden shifted onto the poor..and the efforts to further errode the middle class with your constant attacks on unions

            A sad bitter little man, blaming everyone but himself, you embody hypocrisy

          • None

            “At that time the middle class paid roughly twice the share of federal
            income taxes they pay today (about 7% of the burden then as compared to
            a little under 3% now)”

            Do you have a source for this?

  • Oregonkid

    Why so slow on the uptake? The OSC’s article was published six months ago. Congress last week suspended the EPA from implementing the NEDC ruling for 12 months as part of the payroll tax cut deal. Do you really expect groups like the Sierra Club to present themselves as neutral third-parties like a newspaper? They obviously opposed Congressional intervention, and being the ‘Oregon’ Sierra Club focused on Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, including calling out his original co-sponsorship (one of only a handful of Democrats) of a bill overturning the 9th Circuit ruling. Oregon rep. Kurt Schrader was an original co-sponsor of the House bill. The ruling was issued from a federal courthouse in Oregon.

    Seems you are splitting hairs and six months late – no wonder Oregon Republicans can’t punch their way out of a paper bag and get anyone elected to statewide office.

    The author also complains the scientific information leading to the ruling wasn’t vigorous enough. If that’s the complaint, what is the logic behind supporting Congressional efforts to require a ‘head in the sand’ approach to non-point logging road runoff issues? Ironically, the lack of oversight of logging road runoff is what led to the lawsuit and the legal victory. Would the Oregon Catalyst have us believe that ignorance is bliss despite ample peer-reviewed scientific evidence that some logging practices can in fact harm water quality and fish habitat?

  • Bob Clark

    Folks in many rural areas where these largely unused public forests reside are hurting economically much, much more so than us city slicker folks who sometimes in a blue moon take a day trip to these forests.  I suggest city slickers cut rural economies some slack, especially private property resources, and cut back contributions to the likes Sierra Club. 

    It’s getting so you have to have a certificate of competency or other government approval just to screw in a light bulb.  Way, Way too much government intrusion in individual economic affairs.  The use of environmental argument for this over intrusion is downright abusive, or at least out of balance with the reality on the ground.

    • crabman34

      Western fishing communities are also hurting, not least because of the damage that the western logging industry has been causing to salmon habitat for decades. Regulation (ooh, scary) is needed because private industry isn’t doing the job.  All the scare tactic rhetoric on this issue won’t change the fact that channelling water from roads and discharging it into streams is exactly what the Clean Water Act is meant to control.  How about the logging industry cleans up its act and stops reflexively fighting any attempts to hold their feet to the fire?

      By the way, it isn’t true that there is more government intrusion into individual economic affairs today.  Obama has passed fewer regulations than Bush II at this same point, and his regulations cost less than Bush I did.  Repeating a lie might get presented as news on Fox News, but it doesn’t convert it to truth.  There are definitely boneheads in the regulatory/bureaucratic apparatus, but there are just as many in the private industrial apparatus who are willing to ignore everything but their bottom line.  Including the long-term sustainability of their profits and their forest products  (see Pacific Lumber and Scotia, CA for a good example).

      Finally, courts are well prepared to deal with scientific research.  The defendants had plenty of opportunity to present opposing evidence or challenge the underlying basis for the environmentalists studies.  They didn’t succeed.  This is not a matter of a bunch of idealistic law students making up data, it’s a matter of you not liking the ruling.  What is the main pollutant in the runoff?  Sediment.  That’s the problem that logging causes for streams, fish, and fishing communities downstream.  That’s what the court meant to address.  Wyden is shortsighted on this one.

      • John in Oregon

        >All the scare tactic rhetoric on this issue won’t change the fact that channelling water from roads and discharging it into streams is exactly what the Clean Water Act is meant to control.
         
        1] Oregon regulations don’t approve storm water runoff discharge directly into streams.
        2] The CWA is limited to the commercially navigable waters between states.  See Supreme Court decisions:
        http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/pdf/2001supremecourt.pdf
        http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/pdf/CWA_Jurisdiction_Following_Rapanos120208.pdf
         
        >By the way, it isn’t true that there is more government intrusion into individual economic affairs today. Obama has passed fewer regulations than Bush II at this same point, and his regulations cost less than Bush I did.
         
        Sorry but low Obama regulation doesn’t pass the smell test.  The only guaranteed job these days is selling repair parts to the Federal Register printing presses. 
         
        >Finally, courts are well prepared to deal with scientific research. The defendants had plenty of opportunity to present opposing evidence or challenge the underlying basis for the environmentalists studies.
         
        The Oregon District Court did deal with the evidence when ruling for the State and Private Landowners.  It was the 9th Circuit that ignored the facts at trial in favor of an esoteric point of law that classed all storm water as pollution.

        • crabman34

          (1) You clearly don’t understand CWA jurisdictional law, which I admit is a mess due to poor drafting and too much SCOTUS review, since you cite EPA’s latest Rapanos guidance for the assertion that the “CWA is limited to the commercially navigable waters between states.”  That document you linked to includes (on the first page no less) “non-navigable tributaries of traditionally navigable waters” as well as wetlands adjacent to both.  

          You are right that “navigable waters” is a key phrase in this issue, so I commend you for pulling that out of such a complicated document.  But “commercially” doesn’t appear in the guidance, the CWA, or any of the SCOTUS cases, except in describing other factors (such as the benefit of waters to “commercially important” species) that will influence jurisdictional considerations.Failing to read carefully kind of throws the premise of your entire article into question, doesn’t it?  As someone who presents himself as a fact checker to attack articles or court cases he doesn’t like, you ought to be a bit more . . . attentive.(2) It is unequivocal that Obama has passed fewer regulations than Dubya at this point in his career.  Just claiming that I am lying by using your vernacular doesn’t prove your point.  (See: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-25/obama-wrote-5-fewer-rules-than-bush-while-costing-business.html)

          Granted, you may hate the health care bill, and you obviously hate this decision, but you’re wrong that Obama is passing too much regulation.

          (3)  Why you are writing about legal issues when you don’t understand how appellate courts work is beyond me.  But the 9th Circuit reviews the law, it isn’t there to review the evidence unless, in rare cases, that is what is being appealed.  That’s not what appellants asked for.  They asked the 9th Circuit to rule on whether the Silvicultural Rule, passed by EPA to exempt logging roads from the CWA, applies to natural runoff once it is channelled and controlled.  The District court said it does not, counter to both logic and case law.  The 9th Circuit said it does, therefore logging roads require permits.  Sediment is the pollutant here.  Not even your precious timber industry disputes that sediment causes damage to streams.  They just don’t want to be regulated.

          This is not esoteric stuff, it is what courts do, interpret the messy, often incomprehensible, work of Congress and the agencies.  It’s how government gets done for those of us who want to live in a society with clean water, healthy ecosystems, and plentiful natural resources for future generations.

          • John in Oregon

            It’s good you noticed the Rapanos document is EPA “guidance”.  Point is that guidance reflects the agency desires.  It’s not an actual court decision, although court opinion shapes guidance.
             
            As you noted the guidance refers to “traditionally navigable waters”.  Which is exactly my point, that also is significant.  Taken together these two points get to the heart of the matter.
             
            One other data point.  A Democrat majority party Congress was asked to, in effect, remove the word navigable.  The bill went to committee and neither party was willing to take it up in committee.  Its clear congress intended the wording navigable waters to have meaning as written in the CWA.
             
            The quote you found is, “non-navigable tributaries of traditionally navigable waters” as well as wetlands adjacent to both.”  So we have a clear expression of EPA desires.
             
            So then does the EPA desire the gully on Jake’s back 40 qualify as navigable waters?  Every 10 years or so a heavy warm rain follows a wet snow.  Then it’s possible that water may flow in the gully.  Occasionally some may flow into a seasonal stream.  Then into a creek and a tributary.  So yes, by EPA reckoning Jake’s back 40 is navigable waters.
             
            In fact, most everything is.  Except.  The Trask and Kilchis rivers don’t flow into a traditionally navigable river.  Neither crosses state lines.  And both are involved in the general area of the lawsuit. 
             
            Let me save a step. — But John — the ocean is navigable…… 
             
            So by picking nits, and debating what the meaning of is is, we have magically transformed navigable waters into any damp place at any time.
             
            Worse.  We have created a meaning without a distinction.  Words that can mean anything ultimately mean noting at all.  People intrinsically know those words have meaning.  They also know what’s missing is the common sense that god gave a jackass.
             
            Thank you for helping to make that point, and next time don’t assume what I did or did not read.
             
            I do have one question.  You said “Sediment is the pollutant here”.  Do you mean to say that sediment doesn’t occur naturally?
             

          • crabman34

            This post is so incoherent as to not merit a response.  The weird misplaced punctuation, the references to some guy named Jake and head lice, repletion of the word significant as if that is supposed to make your post mean something.  That said, I’ll give it a try.

            Agency guidance doesn’t reflect agency “desires” (whatever that means) but rather is an attempt at interpreting the complicated CWA legislative history and SCOTUS’s complex CWA cases.  It doesn’t matter if it is a court opinion or not, my point was that you were RELYING on the agency guidance to prove a point that the guidance doesn’t prove (you said “the CWA is limited to the commercially navigable waters between states” and then cited EPA’s Rapanos guidance.)  You can’t slam agency guidance as meaningless at the same time you cite it to prove a point.  

            EPA’s guidance, and that quote “I found” (what does that mean?) are INTERPRETATIONS of the Supreme Court opinions of SWANCC, Riverside Bayview, and Rapanos, which directly address wetlands.  It is not clear from what Congress wrote in the CWA and their discussions in passing the legislation what they meant and whether wetlands, among other waters, are covered by the CWA.  It is clearly not as black and white as you think it is since SCOTUS has reviewed the issue three times.  Just because you don’t WANT the CWA to apply to certain activities or waters, doesn’t make it so.

            And yes, seasonal streams is another complicated aspect.  The fact is that science often requires us to reevaluate what laws mean, and that is very much the case in clean water regulation.  

            Re: congress’ attempt to take the word navigable out, I don’t think that the current Congress’ inability to do anything (due to an intractable republican minority beholden to ideologues and a gutless democratic majority unwilling to do anything that might be seen as ideology) means anything.  IT certainly doesn’t tell us anything what the 1972 congress meant when it passed the CWA, it tells us what the current congress does or doesn’t want to do.  It is the job of the judiciary to interpret laws of the past, not current Congress.

            No, the ocean doesn’t grant jurisdiction to everything that flows into it, but Tillamook bay does.  Traditionally navigable no longer applies, SCOTUS has interpreted the CWA for today and has decided that in some cases seasonal streams, wetlands, and other waters adjacent to TNW are covered.  Again, read a bit more and you’ll understand.  More importantly, your precious timber industry defendants didn’t even contest the jurisdictional question.  You think that with Stoel Rives, one of the top environmental law firms in the nation, defending them, someone probably considered that issue?  And then decided it wasn’t worth bringing it up in court because it was a waste of time because clearly these streams fit within the CWA jurisdictional definition (even though you, a pedantic non-lawyer with a penchant for incomprehensible rhetoric feel that they shouldn’t because dammit you just don’t like them dadgum govmint regulatin’)

            Finally, no, according to all the SCOTUS opinions AND EPA’s guidance, the proverbial Jake’s 40 would NOT be regulated by the CWA.  Read the opinions, the law, and the guidance, then come back.Read the CWA and implementing regs, you’ll see that sediment is considered a pollutant.  I don’t think you are incapable of imagining why human activities that introduce (additional, more, whatever word means the most to you) sediment into streams can be problematic.  I’m going to cite an EPA document here, just so you can dismiss it as EPA’s “desires.”  http://iaspub.epa.gov/waters10/attains_nation_cy.control

          • John in Oregon

            The Ad Hominem attack says more about the lack of strength of your argument than anything else.  The same is true of mischaracterizing what was said in order to respond the mischaracterization. 
             
            Consider your facts.  With respect to the question, does the Silvicultural Rule, passed by EPA exempt logging road storm runoff?  You stated:
             
            > The District court said it [the rule] does not, counter to both logic and case law.
             
            This is false.  The District Court held the rule did exempt the roads and runoff.  Consistent with EPA policy of not routinely issuing such permits. 
             
            If as you said the District Court ruled that the Silvicultural Rule does not exempt runoff then why would NEDC need to appeal? 
             
            More importantly the 9th Circuit itself stated.  “The district court concluded that the discharges are exempted from the NPDES permitting process by the Silvicultural Rule”.
             
            You also said:
             
            > The 9th Circuit said it [the Silvicultural exemption] does [apply], therefore logging roads require permits.
             
            This is also false and the logic makes no sense.  Simply stated what you said was, the rule which exempts logging road permits requires permits.
             
            In fact the 9th Circuit said the Silvicultural exemption does NOT apply and therefore runoff permits are required.  They reached this conclusion based on a long and detailed discussion of the meaning of point source and non-point source.
             
            As to the common expressions you didn’t understand.  Most everyone understands that picking nits means focusing on minute details to the exclusion of reality. 
             
            Debating what the meaning of is is, is a more modern version of the same.
             
            > Agency guidance doesn’t reflect agency “desires” (whatever that means) but rather is an attempt at interpreting the complicated CWA legislative history and SCOTUS’s complex CWA cases.
             
            If you honestly believe that the INTERPRETATIONS in guidance is free from the bias of the agency ambitions then you might want to consider Angelo M. Codevilla’s “Americas Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution”.
             
            You still did not answer the question.  When you said “Sediment is the pollutant here”.  Do you mean to say that sediment doesn’t occur naturally?
             

          • valley person

            John, your questions weren’t directed at me, but I’d like to weigh in on your last question about sediment.

            Yes, sediment occurs naturally. So does mercury, sulpher dioxide, various organic matter, and a whole lot of other “natural” things that only become pollution when we facilitate transfer of too much of it where we don’t think we want it.  In the case of sediment, there isn’t much question that land use practices expose more soil to transport than occurs under “natural’ conditions. If I do something that lets soil leave my property and enter a stream, then I am a polluter.

          • crabman34

            Well, first of all, I said your post was incoherent, not that I didn’t understand the phrases you used.  I understand your words, I just don’t understand why you use certain phrases, why put them in the order you do, and why you think that the words you commit to the blog prove your point.

            The bulk of your response to me is to point out that I inadvertently used the negative when describing the district court’s opinion and vice versa in describing the 9th Circuit’s.  Point that out doesn’t do anything to diminish my points.

            I don’t really care about Angelo Codevilla and his book, but why do you think that simply citing what sounds like some tea party tome proves something?  And a quick google search finds some fun flirtation with birtherism that essentially sinks his entire intellectual credibility.

            And what are agency ambitions?  I would agree that changes in administrations produce changes in agency direction, but I don’t believe that government agencies have ambitions of their own separate from statutes, case law, precedents from prior agency actions, and administration directives.  The idea that agencies are sovereign creatures out to take your land and force you into servility just makes you sound paranoid.

            Finally, you haven’t answered any of my obvious points about sediment.  As vp points out below, a lot of things occur naturally.  Pollutants are not just man-made chemicals and toxins.  You’re being purposely obtuse here and you know it.  And again, you just repeat your knowingly ignorant line to, what, elicit some smiles from other readers? 

            I answered your question about sediment.  Yes it occurs naturally, but it doesn’t not occur naturally at the same levels as when human activities channel more sediment into streams.  

            And what was ad hominem in my previous post?  When I called you pedantic?  But you ARE a pedant, i.e. “a person who is excessively concerned with minor details or with displaying academic learning.”  I mean, your last post is practically the definition of pedantic, picking on a minor slip of words that was clearly a mistake since it didn’t prove my point and was at odds with the truth and my general argument, and then calling it my “facts.”  (Well, I suppose that was also intellectually dishonest of you, but I prefer pedantic, it just fits you so much better).  Your post was also incomprehensible and incoherent.  Those aren’t ad hominem attacks.

            And you didn’t respond to any of my points about clean water act jurisdiction.  

    • Sol668

      Bob, rural oregonians don’t care about a “city slicker” like me…don’t care if we have affordable healthcare, living wage jobs, retirement clean air to breath or clean water to drink…they could literally careless about me, as they are ‘conservatives’ and their entire ideology is “screw you I’ve got mine” and guess what I could literally careless about them, I’ll work day and night to ban all logging forever, until you people come to your senses and realize that we are all in this together..but of course that is completely contrary to conservative ideology

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >they could literally careless about me

        I don’t think those words mean what you think they do.

        First of all, its care less, that’s fine, I am a horrible speller myself. Careless has entirely different meaning than care less however.

        Second, you are asking us to take your statement in a literal sense, as you use the term twice. This makes your statement mean the opposite of what I think you think it means.

        To say as you did (paraphrasing):

        Conservatives could care less about me

        Is to say they care about you to some extent since all your statement means is they have an ability to care to a lesser amount than they presently do.

        If you are trying to state conservatives have no sense of caring about you the statement should be

        Conservatives could not care less about me.

        >until you people come to your senses and realize that we are all in this together

        If you really believed this, then can we assume that you support abolition of the progressive tax system?

        After all, if you truly believed we are all in this together, then obviously all should pay for whatever the “this” that we are in consists of. Since the lower 50% of wage earners pay essentially no federal income tax I assume you would raise taxes on them?

        • Sol668

          Actually rupert based upon wealth distribution I believe about 80% of americans should pay no federal income tax…those that derive the benefit of all of societies labors should pay the bills precisely commesurate with the share of our productivity they presently enjoy

          Don’t like it? support proven measures such as unions, tarriffs on foreign gods, and high marginal tax rates that produce a higher wages for workers…thus broadening the tax base, by reducing inequity

           Grammar and spelling critiques aside…why should I care if rural oregonians have jobs?  You certainly don’t care about us…and the very inequitable outcomes of 30 years of your deregulation and tax cuts, are all the proof I need of that fact.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >Actually rupert based upon wealth distribution I believe about 80% of americans should pay no federal income tax

            An often made argument, but one that is also erroneous. Wealthy people pay more of the federal income tax burden than they would were such taxes based solely on such distribution.

            >.thus broadening the tax base, by reducing inequity

            Actually the federal income tax base was broader in the past because the effective rate, not the marginal rate, on lower income filers was higher in the past than it is today. This is why in the past the lower 50% paid a higher share of federal income taxes than they do today.

            >Grammar and spelling critiques aside

            Actually it is not a grammar mistake, it is mistaken phrasing and word usage.

            > You certainly don’t care about us…and the very inequitable outcomes of 30 years of your deregulation and tax cuts

            I sure hope you are not going to argue that there are less regulations now than there were 30 years ago.

          • Sol668

            substancially less, glass steagel? anyone?

            Do you have any numbers to back that up the assertion that they pay more then wealth distribution would indicate?

            As I have alot of evidence to the contrary

            http://wealthforcommongood.org/shifting-responsibility/#shift

            From that article

            In 2007, America’s top 400 averaged $344.8 million in income. A half-century earlier, in 1955, the top 400 averaged, in 2007 dollars, only $12.7 million. The bottom line: The incomes of America’s top 400 have multiplied, after inflation, by 27 times since 1955. But 1955’s top 400 paid over three times more of their incomes in federal income tax.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >Do you have any numbers to back that up the assertion that they pay more then wealth distribution would indicate?

            Yep, you can go to the US Treasury and/or IRS website and verify virtually every stat I have used here .

            The bottom 50% pay approximately 3% of the total Federal Income Tax burden.

            The bottom 50% have more than 3% of the wealth.

            I can even use your own source (which by the way is proof of nothing as most of what is in the article, aside from graphs, is not sourced but simply stated)  to refute your argument right off the top of my head.

            The top 1% pay roughly 40% of FIT. but woopsie, look at your article, their share of personal income is about 25%.

            So right there is a basis to destroy this concept that you are arguing for fairness. You are not. you are arguing based on envy and retribution, not fairness. 

            In short I am not going to get into a who can post the most web links discussion with you here. I have posted these innumerable times before and I require that someone bring a modicum of knowledge to the discussion without my having to hand hold all the way.

            If you were unaware that the bottom 50% paid about 3% of the FIT or are under the impression they only have 3% of the wealth, then you have not brought enough to the table to engage in a discussion about tax fairness.

            If you were unaware that the bottom 50% have paid a diminishing share of the FIT over the past several decades, then you really should educate yourself on the matter before discussing it further.

            Your arguments are fairly easy to refute not because you are a stupid person, but because you have not looked into the issue to the extent I think you probably should have.

        • crabman34

          Oh come on.  Just because you write these things with a reasonable voice – as opposed to the irrational fire tongue of a tea partier – doesn’t make them reasonable.

          A flat tax sounds fair, until you consider how unfair it acts on the poorest people.  The fact is that the richest Americans get far more benefits from the government than the poorest.  And as you get richer, the services you enjoy from your government grow exponentially.  That’s why they should pay more taxes.  I’m not saying that millionaires should pay a surtax of 70% of their income like you suggest above, but I do think they should pay more because they consume more government services.  The government is there to protect their real estate and investment holdings, something the poorest don’t even have.  The government is there to protect their personal property, something no one will steal from the poorest citizens.  The richest Americans have money to influence politics, something the poorest Americans cannot do.  A higher tax rate on them means that the undue influence of money on politics is at least tempered just slightly.

          The problem with our progressive tax code isn’t the progressive ideals it embodies.  It’s the loopholes and gimmicks that the rich have paid their representatives to insert for them.  A flat tax isn’t going to fix money in politics, it will just give the richest more money to play with.

          And enough of this 50% of people don’t pay taxes garbage like it proves something.  Another way of saying that is that HALF of Americans are too poor to pay federal income taxes.  Meanwhile, they get no respite from Social Security or Medicare taxes, state sales taxes, gasoline taxes, etc.  Stop using a soundbite that you think makes the bottom 50% of Americans sound like freeloaders.  They aren’t.

          Finally, in your dismissal above about increasing taxes on the richest “going a long way” to balancing the budget, it is clear from that post that the poster meant that raising taxes AND decreasing the ridiculous military budget would go a long way to balancing the budget.  Instead of responding to the real arguments in this section, you Rupert, like the author of the original article, sit there and disassemble red herrings instead of proving your point.  Why?  Because your positions aren’t defensible.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >The fact is that the richest Americans get far more benefits from the government than the poorest.

            Actually that’s not true. Poor people are far more likely to avail themselves of government services than rich people. Few rich people get WIC, Food Stamps what have you. Few rich people are on Medicaid. Rich people tend to send their kids to private school and are very unlikely to live in government subsidized housing. Rich people are also very unlikely to see a negative tax rate as opposed to poor people who often can through the EITC.

            Sorry, but this argument that rich people are somehow sucking down way more benefits from the government than poor people is total hogwash.

            >I do think they should pay more because they consume more government services.

            No, you think they should pay more simply because you want them too. Asserting they use more government services does not make it true. Listing the government services available to the poor but not the rich implies that it isnt.

            >The richest Americans have money to influence politics, something the poorest Americans cannot do.

            Well, that money hasnt done much good then. If it had, then one does wonder why the share of federal income tax paid by the rich has only grown while that paid by the poor has shrunken.

            > Another way of saying that is that HALF of Americans are too poor to pay federal income taxes.

            Wrong. Again you are arguing by assertion, not by evidence.

            The fact is that incomes of the lower 50%  have remained relatively stable over the years. However the share of federal income tax burden they contribute to has been cut in half on the past 40 years.

            >Meanwhile, they get no respite from Social Security or Medicare taxes, state sales taxes, gasoline taxes, etc.

            And if you check, most of those taxes were not put in place by conservatives. That is unless I am completely wrong on the party affiliation of LBJ and FDR.

            > it is clear from that post that the poster meant that raising taxes AND
            decreasing the ridiculous military budget would go a long way to
            balancing the budget

            No its not, he said raising taxes on the rich would put a significant dent in the deficit. That is simply not true.

            Here is the quote

            ” restores some measure of fairness to the most inequitable america in
            history by raising taxes dramatically on the wealthy which coincidently
            would go a long way to balancing the budget…. ”

            Re – read.

            >Because your positions aren’t defensible.

            Hate to tell you this, but I defended my position with more actual evidence and logic than you have here.

            You might not like my positions, that’s fine, however to say they are indefensible is obviously totally erroneous, as I have defended them here wit reason and evidence.

          • crabman34

            Read and re-read:  Here is the original posters full sentence (omitting the first clause because it’s should be a sentence of its own): 

            “…I agree wyden has got to go, to be replaced by a true progressive that cuts our bloated military to the bone, AND restores some measure of fairness to the most inequitable america in history by raising taxes dramatically on the wealthy which coincidently would go a long way to balancing the budget….”  (emphasis mine).  

            As to the discussion about services.  How much do you think it costs the government to protect the financial property of the wealthy?  You can list a host of government services for the needy, but that’s not what I was talking about.  When you are rich, the government protects everything of yours from loss.  Those assets are huge, and the government “aid” needed to protect them is likewise huge.  Think tax breaks on second, third, fourth homes, jets…  

            You really think that money in politics hasn’t favored the wealthy in this country?  Why do we have more income inequality today than anytime since the great depression?

            You prove my point when you said that incomes of the lower 50% have remained relatively stable over the last decades.  Do you think that is right?  Meanwhile the share of total income going to the top 10% has risen from below 35% in the 70s to 50% today. 

            In my book, that is wrong.  In yours, who cares if we have a servant class of over half the population who can’t even afford to put food on the table without government assistance.  Or, wait, maybe private charity and churches will take care of them.  We can wash our hands.

  • Treehugger

    I agree. Enough with this guy.

  • Brandon

    Know this: I will not vote for a RINO who supports the Patriot Act, NDAA, SOPA or PIPA.  If a Wyden opponent does, would rather deal with smaller disagreements than have a constitution shredding RINO represent us. I have not researched Jim Huffman in advance of making this statement.

  • valley person

    Wyden is basically trying to do an end run around a court finding he doesn’t  like. Oregon forest practice rules are way weaker than those in Washington and California. What the folks who filed the suit want is a strengthening of our rules to better protect public water. They were rebuffed at the legislative level and from the forest practice board, so they turned to the courts and won.  

    The outcome should be a negotiated settlement where Oregon agrees to clean up its forest practice act. Wyden and Schrader should use their offices to help broker this agreement, not negate a curt decision. Its not in Oregonians interest to allow timber companies to pollute.

  • Cox

    Once upon a time we had a democratic senator (Ron Wyden) and a Republican senator (Gordon Smith) who were strong in their own ideologies but willing to work together in a bi partisan way for the good of this state.  They were willing to compromise for the good of the people they represented.  Ron Wyden is willing to work with Paul Ryan to preserve medicare.  He is not the the only democrat to have done so.  Wyden is also willing to work to moderate the often extreme decisions of the 9th circuit.  I am a Republican, but I think in these instances Ron Wyden’s willingness to overcome partisanship is to be applauded.  

  • Carolyne Jones

    Unlike homeowners, you will find few businesses who’s property has been seized for polluting.  Most are fined after lengthy legal proceedings.  In Lake Oswego, however, my property was designated as Sensitive Lands, a designation comparable to a seizure.  The use and the value has been significantly impacted and there has been no due process to that shows that living on my property which was built in l961 is causing pollution.

    I would not recommend anyone consider purchasing property in Lake Oswego.  The majority of the City Council admit that private property rights
    are not important. 

  • Guest

    I see NWRepublican’s house trolls have moved over here now that that site is shut down.  Really, how about some moderation on the folks who are just here to repeat Democrat talking points ad infinitum?  They contribute nothing to the discussion.

    • 3H

      Unlike your pithy and relevant comments?

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