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The conservative case for criminal justice reform

by Senator Mike Lee     •     Washington Examiner

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, introduced the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 on Thursday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

This Thursday, after months of hard work, a bipartisan group of senators and I introduced the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015.

Most people, including many conservatives, might think criminal justice reform is a progressive cause, not a conservative one.

But, like many pearls of conventional wisdom, this is simply untrue.

Just look at the history of criminal justice in the 20th century. The most successful reformers — whether they be academics or evangelists, policymakers or community leaders — have advocated for conservative goals: law and order built on tight-knit communities, a vibrant civil society, strong, intact families and personal responsibility. [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

How to Repeal and Replace Obamacare

Affordable Care Act opponents must make their goal the enactment of a better plan.

by James C. Capretta     •     National Review  Money ObamaCare

In the 2014 midterm elections, opposition to the Affordable Care Act — i.e., Obamacare — was a clear political winner. That’s obvious from the election results themselves but also from polling that consistently finds that far more of the electorate disapproves of the law than approves of it.

It is therefore to be expected that the incoming Congress, fully under the control of the GOP, will vote on a straight repeal bill, probably very early in next session. In the House, such a bill will pass easily. But in the Senate, Democrats will control at least 46 seats in the new Congress, giving them plenty of votes to filibuster most legislation they oppose. Consequently, the most likely scenario is that the repeal legislation will die in the Senate and therefore never get sent to the president for a certain veto. [Read more...]

They Blew Up the Healthcare System for This?

obamacare tire mudby Byron York

The Los Angeles Times, citing studies and information the Obama administration most certainly knows about but won’t release, reports that 9.5 million previously uninsured people now have health coverage because of Obamacare. Look for that 9.5 million, or perhaps a rounded-up 10 million, to be come the talking point for Obamacare supporters in coming days.

The Times says the numbers break down like this: 4.5 million previously uninsured people are now on Medicaid; 3 million previously uninsured young people are now covered because of a provision that allows them to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26; and 2 million previously uninsured people have purchased coverage on the Obamacare exchanges. In all, it is “the largest expansion in health coverage in America in half a century,” according to the Times. [Read more...]

Ex Dem Radio Talker: Enough of Obama, Supporting Romney

by Craig Silverman

I support Mitt Romney for President and Paul Ryan for Vice President. For most of my life, I have been a Democrat, and I very publicly voted (C-Span, live radio, The New York Times) for Obama-Biden in 2008.

As I studied Obama’s performance as President, I could no longer support him. [Read more...]

Credit Unions Offer Alternative for Consumers and Small Businesses

Congress Must Act to Lift Restrictions on Consumer Choice and Access to Credit in the Market

by Horace Cooper

Much has been written about the over-reach of Dodd-Frank and the drag that law and its progeny will have on the financial services sector, the economic recovery, and job creation.  Evidence continues to mount that the specter of over-regulation is crowding out free market solutions and restricting credit in the markets.  Worse, the negative effects of government interference in the financial services industry extend well beyond large commercial banks deemed “too big to fail.”  A case in point is credit unions.

Credit unions serve an important source of credit for consumers and small businesses.  Historically this has been especially true during economic downturns, when the banking industry either tightened or in other ways limited credit.   [Read more...]

Republicans Are Right, Fact-Checkers Wrong On Welfare

Reform Rollback:  True MeterDemocrats and “fact-checkers” claim Republicans are lying when they say that the president wants to gut work requirements. Here’s why the GOP should press on.

You heard it straight the other night from Bill Clinton — who would never lie to anyone — that Mitt Romney’s campaign is lying about welfare reform: “The claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform’s work requirement is just not true. But they keep on running the ads claiming it.”

This is the latest attempt by the Democrats to refute a charge that has become a huge headache for them because, well, it’s true. [Read more...]

Why ‘Catch Shares’ Is the Solution for Fisheries

Seafood Is Yummy; Bureaucratic Mismanagement Is NotCommercial-Fishing

Public policy on fisheries continues to rely largely on outdated central planning. This has led to hazardous fishing conditions, depletion of many fish stocks, and economic inefficiency.

An innovative approach – dubbed “catch shares” – has emerged in recent decades. Where it has been tried, it has been successful, both for fishing production and conservation. Catch shares involve recognizing fishermen have property rights – the “shares” – they may use, lease, or sell.

[Read more...]

Rethinking American Foreign Policy

by Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyiglobe-hands

On January 20, 2013, the United States of America will either have Barack Hussein Obama for four more years or will have a new president, the Republican Willard Mitt Romney, with a new House of Representatives and a new Senate.  Be that as it may, the continuation of the Obama presidency, or alternatively the transfer of power to the new Romney administration, will be accompanied by many challenges, presenting the old, or the new president with a difficult agenda. [Read more...]

George Landrith on Productive Healthcare Reform