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EPA knew of ‘blowout’ risk for tainted water at gold mine

By Michael Biesecker     •     My Way News

In this Aug. 12, 2015 file photo, water flows through a series of retention ponds built to contain and filter out heavy metals and chemicals from the Gold King mine chemical accident, in the spillway about 1/4 mile downstream from the mine, outside Silverton, Colo. Internal documents released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday, Aug. 21, show managers at the EPA were aware of the potential for a catastrophic “blowout” at an abandoned mine that could release “large volumes” of wastewater laced with toxic heavy metals. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

Internal documents released late Friday show managers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were aware of the potential for a catastrophic “blowout” at an abandoned mine that could release “large volumes” of wastewater laced with toxic heavy metals.

EPA released the documents following weeks of prodding from The Associated Press and other media organizations. EPA and contract workers accidentally unleashed 3 million gallons of contaminated wastewater on Aug. 5 as they inspected the idled Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado.

Among the documents is a June 2014 work order for a planned cleanup that noted that the old mine had not been accessible since 1995, when the entrance partially collapsed. The plan appears to have been produced by Environmental Restoration, a private contractor working for EPA.

“This condition has likely caused impounding of water behind the collapse,” the report says. “ln addition, other collapses within the workings may have occurred creating additional water impounding conditions. Conditions may exist that could result in a blowout of the blockages and cause a release of large volumes of contaminated mine waters and sediment from inside the mine, which contain concentrated heavy metals.” [Read more...]

EPA threatening Wyoming man with $75K per day fine over homemade pond

By Alex Cabrero     •     Deseret News

Andy Johnson, of Fort Bridger, Wyo., built a pond on his property about five years ago. Thirty days ago, he got a letter from the EPA accusing him of violating the Clean Water Act by damming a creek and polluting the water to build the pond. The agency is threatening Johnson with a $75,000 per day fine until he gets rid of the pond. He is fighting the EPA. James Young, Deseret News

It was a dream come true several years ago when Andy Johnson built a pond on his property to stock fish, let his kids play and provide a spot where his horses could have a drink.

But now that dream has turned into a nightmare. Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency accused him of violating the Clean Water Act by damming the middle of Six Mile Creek and polluting the water to build the pond.

The agency is threatening Johnson with a $75,000 per day fine — a penalty often reserved for companies that emit toxic hazards — until he tears it all down.

“I think they’re trying to gain jurisdiction,” Johnson said. “They’re trying to see if they can run over me, and then they will get into everyone’s irrigation ditch and stock ponds throughout not only Wyoming, but the United States.” [Read more...]

Climate change expert sentenced to 32 months for fraud, says lying was a ‘rush’

by Michael Isikoff     •     NBC News

John Beale is set to be sentenced by a federal judge on Wednesday, Dec. 18. DOJ

The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison Wednesday for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job.

John C. Beale’s crimes were “inexplicable” and “unbelievably egregious,” said Judge Ellen Huvelle in imposing the sentence in a Washington. D.C. federal court. Beale has also agreed to pay $1.3 million in restitution and forfeiture to the government.

Beale said he was ashamed of his lies about working for the CIA, a ruse that, according to court records, began in 2000 and continued until early this year.

“Why did I do this? Greed – simple greed – and I’m ashamed of that greed,” Beale told the court. He also said it was possible that he got a “rush” and a “sense of excitement” by telling people he worked for the CIA. “It was something like an addiction,” he said. [Read more...]

Clinton Email Scandal: 19 Lame Excuses Can’t Wipe It Away

by Investor’s Business Daily

Hillary Clinton Speaks At Event At Center For American ProgressHillary Clinton’s email scandal has grown into a credible threat to her candidacy. Worse for her, she continues to offer up a defense filled with contemptible excuses, weak explanations and outlandish dodges.

When asked Tuesday if she wiped her entire private email server clean before turning it over to investigators, Clinton responded with a retort suitable for a playground argument.

“Like with a cloth or something?” she asked, while making a wiping motion with her right hand.

It was a snarky answer — don’t tell us the humorless one was trying to employ humor — and it’s received a lot of attention. [Read more...]

Military leaders appointed by Presidents Obama and Clinton oppose Iran nuclear deal

By Michael Barone     •     Washington Examiner

President Clinton walks away from the podium with Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton in the briefing room of the White House Thursday, June 10,1999. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

What do military leaders appointed by President Obama and President Clinton think of Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran? Not much, in many cases. Examples:

• Admiral James Stavridis, NATO supreme allied commander 2009-2013: “I think the top [issue] is the verification regime, which is starting to resemble swiss cheese … you can drive a truck through some of these holes. I am very concerned about that.”

• General Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency 2012- 2014: “There are so many things that Iran has been gifted right now with this unbelievable deal. I mean, it’s far more than just nuclear issues. I mean, it goes into everything that Iran is going to be capable of doing. And I’m going to tell you. When they receive this $150 billion check essentially I am really concerned about what kind of behavior they are going to continue to display.” [Read more...]

Industry braces for EPA regulatory ‘tidal wave’

By John Siciliano     •     Washington Examiner

The EPA estimates the total cost of the proposed methane restrictions to be $170 to $180 million in 2020 and $280 to $330 million in 2025. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

The methane restrictions for oil and gas companies proposed by the Obama administration Tuesday are just the beginning of a regulatory “tidal wave” that the industry is bracing for this fall.

The new rules for oil and gas wells proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency would limit methane from fracking sites, creating new costs that the industry says are “unnecessary.” The industry says it has reduced methane voluntarily, so why bother with regulations that would only be duplicative.

The EPA estimates the cost of the proposed rule to be $170 to $180 million in 2020 and $280 to $330 million in 2025.

Those costs are expected to amplify considerably given that some of the rules coming down the pike are considered the most expensive in history. [Read more...]

The 3 a.m. phone call just came in — quick, hide the emails

By Washington Examiner

Hillary Clinton at senate hearingLast week, the public learned that at least two of the 30,000 or more official work emails Hillary Clinton exposed to the world’s hackers and spies (before belatedly giving them to the State Department) contained “top secret” information. This is highly sensitive stuff that can be legally handled or discussed only within special, secure government facilities, with no recording devices allowed.

Another day, another shoe drops.

This week’s revelation is that there were actually at least 300 emails containing information that government officials are prohibited from allowing the public to see because it is probably also classified. Given the volume of Clinton’s emails yet to be analyzed, there are probably several times as many left to be disinterred.

So we now know that sloppiness with national security matters was the rule when Hillary Clinton ran the State Department. And what a contrast there is between her treatment of national secrets and her fastidious, thorough efforts to conceal what she did. She believes in security only after the horse has bolted — hardly a recommendation for the next commander in chief. [Read more...]

Federal Judge Threatens To Hold IRS Commissioner, DOJ Lawyers in Contempt of Court over Lerner

Judicial Watch

Lois Lerner IRSJudicial Watch announced that U.S District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan today threatened to hold the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department attorneys in contempt of court after the IRS failed to produce status reports and newly recovered emails of Lois Lerner, former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the IRS, as he had ordered on July 1, 2015.

During the status hearing today, Sullivan warned that the failure to follow his order was serious and the IRS and Justice Department’s excuses for not following his July 1 order were “indefensible, ridiculous, and absurd.” He asked the IRS’ Justice Department lawyer Geoffrey Klimas, “Why didn’t the IRS comply” with his court order and “why shouldn’t the Court hold the Commissioner of the IRS in contempt.” Judge Sullivan referenced his contempt findings against Justice Department prosecutors in the prosecution of late Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and reminded the Justice Department attorney he had the ability to detain him for contempt. Warning he would tolerate no further disregard of his orders, Judge Sullivan said, “I will haul into court the IRS Commissioner to hold him personally in contempt.” [Read more...]

Punish and Reform the EPA

by Alex B. Berezow & Todd Myers     •     RealClearScience

EPA says it focuses on environmental protection. The Animas River disaster shows that it is more concerned with protecting itself.

The accidental spill of toxic wastewater into Colorado’s Animas River is an ironic case study: The very organization meant to protect Americans from environmental catastrophes was responsible for perpetrating it. How should the Environmental Protection Agency be held accountable?

Colorado, and the states downstream of the spill, should sue the EPA. But, instead of merely recovering the cost of environmental damage, the lawsuit should focus on taming the leviathan the EPA has become.

Created in 1970 by President Richard Nixon, the EPA, at its best, has been an important part of improving air and water quality. Clear standards, enforced in a straightforward way have been successful. The fact that the American environment is cleaner and safer than it has been in a century is partially due to EPA action. [Read more...]

President Obama’s Department of Injustice

By Alec Karakatsanis     •     New York Times

Last month, President Obama used his clemency power to reduce the sentences of 46 federal prisoners locked up on drug-related charges. But for the last six years, his administration has worked repeatedly behind the scenes to ensure that tens of thousands of poor people — disproportionately minorities — languish in federal prison on sentences declared by the courts, and even the president himself, to be illegal and unjustifiable.

The case of Ezell Gilbert is emblematic of this injustice. In March 1997, he was sentenced to 24 years and four months in federal prison for possession with the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine. Because of mandatory sentencing laws, Mr. Gilbert was automatically sentenced to a quarter-century in prison, though even the judge who sentenced him admitted that this was too harsh.

At his sentencing, Mr. Gilbert noted a legal error that improperly increased his sentence by approximately a decade based on a misclassification of one of his prior offenses. In 1999, without a lawyer, he filed a petition seeking his release. A court ruled against him. [Read more...]

The Dark Secrets Behind ISIS’s Success

isis-militants-iraq terroristby Rawanduzi Majid

The Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (Syria) is the largest and most gratuitously and viciously violent armed terrorist organization in the world and headed by a man who is enthusiastic for murder, death and destruction. His name is Abdullah Ibrahim, and his nickname is Abu Baker Al-Baghdadi. Interestingly, Ibrahim was previously detained at Bucca Camp American prison in Iraq and holds a  PhD in Islamic history from the Islamic University in Baghdad.

This man, who called himself Caliph of Muslims, leads today an advisory council of military and political experts, and another council which consists of dozens of Emirs who are responsible for Sunni areas, in addition to hundreds of senior officials who run and lead ministries of the so-called the Islamic Caliphate State. Leaders of this organization consist of senior Iraqi officers with high military discipline and tough intelligence training where their methods of governance depend on the sword, shedding blood and killing anything in the way. It may not pass for enlightened leadership, but so far it has been an effective approach to grabbing control of vast regions and exercising iron-fisted control.  [Read more...]

Iranian Dissimulation Versus Presidential Incompetence

Obama Iranby Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi

In his embarrassingly unpresidential Cairo speech in 2009, President Obama stated that “in the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.”  This statement was vintage Obama.  On the one hand, he demonstrated his historical illiteracy for ignoring the hundreds of books and thousands of essays published in Iran and throughout the world about the real causes of Mohammed Mossadegh’s downfall in 1953.  On the other hand, by mindlessly parroting the KGB-manufactured disinformation about the CIA’s involvement, he signaled to the mullahs his sympathy for their hatred against the United States of America.

More tragically, Obama’s apology reflected his naivete about the root causes of the United States’ troubled relationship since 1979 with the Islamic Republic of Iran.  In his intellectually defunct book “The Audacity of Hope” he portrayed the United States as a rogue state that, from its inception, arrogantly trampled on the sovereignty of others.  In fact, he clearly intimated that he was elected to rectify the past immorality of American foreign policy not just against Iran but also toward the wider world. [Read more...]

Hillary looking more like Nixon as email scandal deepens

By Post Editorial Board     •     Washington Times

Hillary clinton 5Now Hillary Clinton’s being compared to President Richard Nixon by one of the two reporters famous for breaking the scandal that brought Nixon down. How much worse is the email mess going to get?

The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward laid it out Monday: “You’ve got a massive amount of data. It, in a way, reminds me of the Nixon tapes: thousands of hours of secretly recorded conversations that Nixon thought were exclusively his.”

Then came ABC News’ report that a backup server likely holds all the emails Clinton said she’d deleted — which could open up a whole new front in the probe.

More bad news: The State Department has flagged another 305 Hillary emails as likely containing classified information. This despite Clinton’s claim that such info never touched the personal account she used for all her government business. [Read more...]

Former CIA spy on Clinton emails: ‘You and I would get fired and possibly jailed’ for this

by Joseph Lawler     •     Washington Examiner

If Hillary Clinton allowed classified information onto her private server or personal phone, she should be disqualified from becoming president, former CIA spy Bob Baer said Saturday.

Baer, a former CIA officer and commentator on national security issues, said that sending or receiving top secret information is a “transgression that I don’t think the president of the United States should be allowed to have committed.”

In an interview with CNN International, Baer claimed that the markings on emails believed to have crossed the private server Clinton maintained as secretary of state represented the highest levels of secrecy in the government.

“You don’t get any more secret than that,” he said. [Read more...]

Bob Woodward: Clinton emails ‘reminds me of the Nixon tapes’

by Eddie Scarry     •     Washington Examiner

Hillary Clinton Speaks At Event At Center For American ProgressVeteran Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward on Monday compared the email controversy engulfing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to the downfall of President Richard Nixon.

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Woodward, who through his reporting helped break open the Watergate scandal, said it’s at least suspicious that Clinton’s emails from her tenure as secretary of state were wiped away from a server she owned privately.

“Follow the trail here,” Woodward said. “There are all these emails. Well, they were sent to someone or someone sent them to her. So, if things have been erased here, there’s a way to go back to these emails or who received them from Hillary Clinton. So, you’ve got a massive amount of data in a way, reminds me of the Nixon tapes: Thousands of hours of secretly recorded conversations that Nixon thought were exclusively his.” [Read more...]