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Saturday, August 23, 2014

And people wonder why I don’t trust big business

Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2011, at 6:32 PM

This hits closer to home. Nuff said.

 

Associated Press | 0 comments

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Hecla Mining Co. has made a $77.4 million payment to the United States government as part of a settlement to clean up the Silver Valley of northern Idaho.

Hecla will pay an additional $42.3 million in August 2014 as part of the deal to clean up the Bunker Hill Superfund site in Kellogg, Idaho, which for decades produced silver and other metals.

"Hecla's payment marks the largest collection ever posted by the United States attorney's office in the District of Idaho," said Wendy Olson, U.S. attorney for the state, who announced the payments Tuesday.

Hecla, which is based in Coeur d'Alene, has also paid damages to the state of Idaho and to the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe as part of a settlement that totaled $263.4 million plus interest.

The settlement with the nation's largest silver producer was announced in June, following years of litigation.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began cleanup of the Bunker Hill Superfund site in the 1980s. The mining and smelter wastes in the Silver Valley pose a threat to humans, animals and plant life. The wastes washed into rivers and streams and moved downstream to pollute Lake Coeur d'Alene and portions of the Spokane River.

The lawsuit was originally brought in 1991 against Hecla and other mining companies in the Silver Valley by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, seeking penalties for damage to water, fish and birds caused by millions of tons of mining wastes that were released for decades into the South Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River and its tributaries.

The governments have already reached settlements with other mining companies that had historic operations in valley, which is 50 miles east of Spokane, Wash. That included ASARCO, which along with Hecla was a primary defendant. ASARCO reached a settlement in 2008 to pay nearly $500 million toward cleanup.

Like the ASARCO settlement, the Hecla deal was among the top 10 cash settlements in Superfund history, the EPA said.

The Bunker Hill Superfund site is one of the nation's largest and most contaminated, with widespread releases of toxic metals such as lead and arsenic that have sickened residents for decades. Despite years of cleanup, much contamination remains.

Before the EPA cleanup began, the Silver Valley was so saturated with pollution that it stripped the hillsides of vegetation and poisoned the blood of children, causing physical and emotional problems that continue to this day.

The EPA has spent nearly 20 years removing lead from the environment here, and claims great success because the average blood lead level of children has dropped to about normal, which is 2 micrograms per deciliter of blood. Critics scoff at those results because only a handful of children are being tested.

Cleanup efforts have centered on public health, including replacing soil in about 5,800 residential yards in the Kellogg area.

2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I don't get union wages. I make $10.00 an hour. I am a nationally certified traffic control supervisor which took years of experience to get. And if you think my job is so easy holding a popsicle stick as you call it, try doing my job. Long hours, no breaks, self centered drivers on their cell phones not paying attention, working in the cold or the heat. I work for a small business, almost all of us do. No vacations, no sick leave, no holiday pay, no insurance. Your statement about what I do for a living shows your IGNORANCE. I'm sure you don't work under the conditions I do. I'm not even sure you could cut it. WE ARE THE ONES WHO PUT OUR LIVES ON THE LINE EVERYDAY TO KEEP YOU AND THE WORKERS SAFE!! So get your head out of that dark place and get a LIFE!!!

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 4:57 AM

It's almost 6:30 am and I'm off to work at 8000ft. in temperatures at about 20 degrees with wind and on a road full of curves populated by drivers that aren't paying attention.

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 6:18 AM

Almost everywhere you look, there is some type of corruption. When we take the little guys out of the competition no matter what industry, there is very little oversight.

I hope that things are going better Roy. Been thinking about you and your situation with your mother.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 7:32 AM

I understand your mistrust Roy. I grew up in a part of the country that suffered alot of environmental damage because of mining.

And, I don't think "cantjustwatch" works under the conditions you do, because he/she is too stupid to have a job.

Enjoy your time in Yellowstone.

-- Posted by DaveThompson on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 9:53 AM

I suspect your disrespectful trash talking is made all the easier because you can hide behind anonymity.

-- Posted by DaveThompson on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 12:23 PM

Are you people drunk?

Roy has posted regarding an environmental issue.

CJW immediately runs the topic off the track, and includes mistaken assumptions (wage, union membership)and insults (...popsicle stick in your hand...), (Highly educated profession your (sic) in their Roy.)

It's there for anyone to read. It's there for anyone to understand why CJW would like to remain anonymous (nearly) with liberty to make absolutely condescending, mean spirited and off topic comments. CJW chose to take the topic off track.

Now, put your heads together and come up with a response. Then, quit yer snivelin'.

I'm done on this.

-- Posted by DaveThompson on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 5:35 PM

CJW, you can take your attitude and put it where the sun doesn't shine. I couldn't comment on road construction companies because I don't work for them, none of us flaggers do. We work for small subcontractors. I stand by my statement you could never cut it in my occupation. No response to my education. No apologies for any of your misstatements. If you knew anything about my profession, you would have never made any of the statements about my profession. That shows your ignorance.

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 6:56 PM

And more!

Posted: Oct 12, 2011 5:13 PM

Updated: Oct 12, 2011 5:14 PM

By ALAN SAYRE

AP Business Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A Texas company that owns a refinery in southwestern Louisiana pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony violations of the federal Clean Air Act and obstructing justice and agreed to pay a record fine.

Pelican Refining LLC will pay $12 million for problems at its Lake Charles refinery, including $2 million for air pollution monitoring and other environmental projects in the state, according to a plea agreement reached in federal court. A judge must approve the agreement.

The Justice Department said the criminal fines would be the largest ever in Louisiana for violations of the Clean Air Act

It also said Houston-based Pelican acknowledged that it had violated numerous standards in its permit - including emissions of potentially deadly hydrogen sulfide - and submitted false emissions reports to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

Byron Hamilton, the Pelican vice president who oversaw operations at the refinery since 2005 from an office in Houston, pleaded guilty on July 6 to two Clean Air Act violations. He faces up to a year in prison and a $200,000 fine for each count, according to authorities.

"We regret this chapter in our history" but Pelican and its employees have worked diligently since 2007 to make sure the refinery meets state and federal laws, company spokeswoman Dorothy Beeler said.

Federal authorities said they opened an investigation after state inspectors in 2006 discovered illegal releases of hydrogen sulfide, improperly repaired or bypassed pollution monitoring and control equipment and oil stored in unrepaired tanks.

The refinery also had no company budget, no environmental department and no environmental manager, according to Pelican's court admission. The flare used by the refinery to burn off emissions - including hydrogen sulfide - was not properly functioning and employees typically took turns trying to relight it with a flare gun, the government said.

Also as part of the plea agreement, Pelican would be banned from operating a refinery until it implements an environmental compliance plan, including external auditing by independent firms and oversight by a court-appointed monitor.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 7:34 PM

What side are you talking about, Zook? The side that takes a job that requires standing in the rain, sun, wind, traffic for hours on end; or the side that says "this stinks, I'd rather collect unemployment?"

Last I knew, all work is honorable when you do it well. It never occurred to me that working for a living had a political preference.

-- Posted by junkyard dog on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 8:02 PM

We want everyone to be respectful of our environment so that our children can enjoy the views and sights that we have taken for granted.

I think that is where Roy is coming from. There are industries out there that don't care about preserving the beauty. On the other hand, we have others who take the position that nature cannot heal itself ever.

I believe that we should be responsible for our beautiful country. I also believe that we can work together without judgment on how to have both industry and nature without having someone do without a job or owning a company.

There has to be a voice of reason in this matter. it is like those animal activists who let lab animals go. How on earth can an animal survive when they have known nothing but a cage their entire lives? They starve or become prey to an animal that has been in the wild.

I might not always agree with Roy, but I can do so without making it personal and biting. None of us know each other well and it would do us all some good to put on some company manners.

I might slip up on MSM and cut a little close to the edge, but I think that her point of view is as relevant as mine.

Now, I am through being saintly. Sorry.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 8:18 PM

If all you know about my profession is what you got from that link, you still know basically NOTHING!

No answer on the UNION comment you made? No apologies for the rest of your crappy comments?

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 8:20 PM

To make disparaging remarks regarding a persons job, especially when it pays low wages, has lousy working conditions, but yet puts in their hands so many other peoples lives and safety deserves everything I have said to you and many more things that Brenda would never approve of. To attack a working mans dignity is the action of the lowest of the low.

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 8:49 PM

WORKING MAN'S DIGNITY.........THAT SAYS IT ALL IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE.....IT is good to see that others saw this attack for what it was.......AMEN

-- Posted by lamont on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 9:48 PM

CJW

I am not sure what your situation is, but I want you to know that so far, I really haven't seen Roy whine. He has been in a very difficult situation and so I guess I am asking that you cut him some slack.

I think what might have been a little less personal in your response was to put forth your own experience and help Roy to see the other side of things. That way, it doesn't incite a riot.

As for Lamont, well, There are things that he has experienced in his life that haven't set too well either. No Excuses for him.

The Dave Thompson, I know nothing about. I swear that some of these people change their screen names.

These blogs are not always meant to be forums for savage debates, but an exchange of ideas.

I try to avoid any labels when I reference things or if I do, I describe them in a less personal way. One of us has to quit poking the bear.

I will tell you something to think about. I lived in Northern Idaho in the Mid-80's The incidence rate for MS in women was pretty high and still is.

Living in Missouri, we are right across the road from Sugar Creek. They had an Amoco refinery here. The rate of brain cancer was off the charts for several years until they cleaned up.

Now I am not one to go out and protest or anything. But I do know that there are crooked dealings everywhere. That being said, Not everyone is crooked and not all Liberals are mentally ill. And Conservatives are usually as well educated as the next person.

So here is my 2nd segment on being saintly. When your fingers want to type what you are saying to the computer screen. Take a deep breath and think of a more measured response.

I need to remember this as much as anyone else.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 11:53 PM

I started this blog because it had to do with the poisoning of Idaho's air, water and soil. Something I care deeply about. What about you? You turned it into a political and personal battle. If the poisoning of this planet means nothing to you, so be it. Stand up and shout it from the street corners,

"I don't care about this planet"

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Thu, Oct 13, 2011, at 5:33 AM

zook, a question. When you were in the military, were you one of those collage educated 90 day wonders, or did you get on the job training? The reason I ask because it seems on the job training isn't worth much to CJW.

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Thu, Oct 13, 2011, at 6:25 AM

FUNNY THING CJW I DIDNT ADDRESE YOU BUT IF YOU WANT... AL JAZERRA HAS A BETTER FACTUAL ARTICLE ABOUT THE SAUDIES WITH MORE INFO THAN ANYTHING I HAVE SEEN HERE FROM ANYONE.

PILING ON ...NOPE...YOU WENT PERSONAL right away because he talked about and issue you didnt like. Go back and read you 1st response.You put roy down for no reason and you are still doing it.I get that if you dont have a job that you deem respected that you are not worth the same as you.We all work hard, we all get educations,some more than others if you think denergrating those that have less for whatever reason is the way to go thats your business.I care to think everyone has self worth and dignity and they dont need to be held up in scorn as and example of anything,especially when they have committed no crime.What you consider a socialist politician is your business....The world has seen its share of ultra conservative leaders ,they havnt worked out very well......they killed a lot of people because they didnt agree.there form of conservativness is in place today guess where??? WONDER HOW THAT IS GOING TO WORK OUT.

YOU must be kinda paronoid because my comment stated the obvious.I didnt state it for a fight but that is what you are looking for.Character.I am fine,are you trying to say something???? I would question my character if I said NOTHING.I dont remember anyone here talking about somebody giving them anything.WE HAVE ALL WORKED HARD AND DILIGENTLY SOME HAVE BEEN REWARDED BETTER THAN OTHERS.

-- Posted by lamont on Thu, Oct 13, 2011, at 4:04 PM

A troll calling someone else a troll...that's funny.

-- Posted by MrMister on Thu, Oct 13, 2011, at 9:37 PM

Oh people Roy just lost his mother today. Can't you call a cease fire and show some empathy?

The words keep coming in floods and the anger is like the undertow. We keep diving in and expecting not to drown or get caught up somewhere.

I think that question at hand is what are you really angry about? It's not Roy or anyone else who posts the blogs.

If most of you were in the military, did you stand together despite of your political leanings? Would you go out to the battlefield to rescue your fellow soldiers without thought of what party they belonged to? Of course you would, because you understood that everyone had to stand together and present a united front or no one would leave the battlefield alive.

Can you admit that we are all Americans and that everyone matters? I don't expect everyone to hug and sing campfire songs. Just respect the fact that the person on the opposite side of the street belongs here too.

Just a thought. We will always have greedy, crooked dealings. There will be some that have more than others. For every crooked greedy person, there is someone out there who gives generously. If we encouraged the giving and not demand the sharing, it might just make a difference for us all. Including me.

The true cost of this anger is the loss of the opportunity to make a friend and ally. No one can see your side of things if you can't form a bond of respect for each other first.

My heart aches for Roy today. I have many friends whose politics and belief systems are not the same as mine. My world would be a sad place without their friendship and respect.

My dad would have taken you each into a corner and put boxing gloves on you. He used to do that with my sister and me. It was the only time I got the better of her. But it did help us to lose that deep anger.

Instead of coming out fighting, why don't you come back out and shake hands and introduce yourselves again?

-- Posted by KH Gal on Thu, Oct 13, 2011, at 11:45 PM

KH Gal,

My dad was a professional fighter...made us kids (11 of us) put the mitts on and duke it out. The end never determined who was right or wrong; but it sure wore out the argument before sitting down to supper.

Take it easy on CJW. I don't think he understands what it means to fight anything out.

-- Posted by junkyard dog on Sat, Oct 15, 2011, at 7:38 PM

Okay. We got worn out too, which was the point, I think. Those boxing gloves got a lot of use over the years. My grandfather and uncle were professional boxers too. On the other side of the family.

I felt bad for Roy, because of what his week has been like, I am pretty sure that some of his reaction was because of this.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Sun, Oct 16, 2011, at 12:04 AM


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I'm an almost 61 year old transplant from California 6 1/2 years ago. I work in road construction, those dastardly flaggers. My family roots go back to New England farms, not the big city. The last town I lived in when in California grew from 16K to 40K in 10 years, and that was enough to drive me out. I don't engage in or tolerate name calling. Name calling reduces an adult discussion to grade school play yard level. I have never served in the military, but have family members who have, dating back to WW1. I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I am neither extremely Liberal or Conservative. I am raising my 16 year old grandson, not what I expected at this age, and dealing with those issues as well as my health and near retirement which are 2 things I intend to talk about. I decided to try my hand at this thanks to the warm welcome I have received on Mike's blog. When I take a position, I will defend it until I am shown that I am mistaken, and when that happens, I apologize. There are other things about me that will come out over time I'm sure.