: Boise Weekly's story on the agreement between the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and the Idaho Dairymen's Association (: BW, News, "Dairy Kings," Jan. 23, 2013: ) raised some concerns among readers.
Here's what some online commenters had to say.
Wow, those letters are incredible. Who does the representative of the cattle industry think he is questioning the DEQ on their ability to monitor air quality properly?
I'm all for open lines of communication where the sharing of scientific research is concerned, but the tone of those letters makes it pretty obvious that the cattle industry thinks they'll be doing the talking and the DEQ will be doing the listening.
The MOU is a complete conflict of interest and I, as a citizen of Idaho, am extremely concerned about the precedent this sets.
Idaho, if you think this letter is upsetting, this is only the very tip of the iceberg.
In our audit of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation files, we found letters from Mr. Marv Patten, bureau chief with ISDA to producers alerting them to the fact that their (ISDA) inspectors had found violations that they (ISDA) did not consider Clean Water Act violations, But that [the Environmental Protection Agency] did. At the time, SDA was under an MOU with EPA and should have shared that information with them--they did not.
In addition, there are extremely close ties between regulators and industry. For example, Mr. Lloyd Knight, past president of the Idaho Cattleman's Association and author of those 2003 emails in his official capacity at that time, is now working for the Idaho State Department of Agriculture as the administrator of the Plant Industries Division of the ISDA.
There is documented groundwater contamination in multiple areas across the state, mostly due to these CAFOs and their waste "management" practices. Instead of our regulators actually doing anything to correct these issues, industry gets the legislature to make those waste "management" practices secret.
I could go on 'til the cows come home, but I think you get the point.
By the way, if you think these ties are suspect, just wait 'til you see what the oil and gas industry will get away with with the regulators. They are already turning a blind eye to what the natural gas companies are doing.
Scary? Here's something even scarier: Just this past Wednesday [Jan. 23], both the House and Senate Resource committees passed rules that will now allow Class 2 injection wells, too. If the thought of the gas and oil industry being allowed to inject toxic, carcinogen-laced, possibly radioactive "produced"--water at high pressure--through our aquifers is concerning to you (and it damn well should be), you need to be involved. And don't even get me started about the earthquakes that are induced by these injections.
Care to know more, or get involved? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Facebook page: Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction.
More Gun Brouhaha
Whenever Bill Cope takes on gun control, there's a lot of feedback, as was the case after his recent column (BW, Opinion, "The Mad Monkey Flu," Jan. 23, 2013).
Just want to compliment you on your recent writing style. You've obviously taken some of the techniques that have been so successful for the geniuses at Fox and (hopefully) you're playing the part of someone who is ignorant and unaware in order to stimulate some interest and discussion in some otherwise pretty uninteresting subjects.
Here's to keeping the spice in it. Have some fun!
Oh, please. If politicians were trying to pass any laws trying to restrict the First Amendment, Cope would be the first one balled up in a fetal position, crying in the corner, complaining about how his rights were being taken away. When the anti-gun crowd starts talking about guns, they positively make Glenn Beck look perfectly sane.
Hasn't anyone put Badger out of his misery yet?
When BW posted a blog about musicians' accidents, (Boiseweekly.com, Cobweb, "Boise Musicians Jason 'Bug' Burke and Bill Parsons Need Your Help," Jan. 18, 2013) some comments got nasty. In reaction, some offered etiquette reminders.
Accidents cannot be prevented. They happen. Being a dick, though. That can surely be prevented.
It's always good to teach people how to be better humans ... if they want to know and, conversely, to listen, when others try to teach us how to be better ourselves. I say never kick someone when they're down.
: --Mary Jeanne Toutloff