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  • Category Archives Tribes Misuse EPA Grant
  • EPA Grants and Contracts

    TRUMP FREEZES EPA Grants and Contracts

    Trump moved to block implementation of at least 30 environmental rules finalized in the closing months of President Barack Obama’s term.

    Trump freezes EPA Grants and Contracts.

    THE EPA’S FY 2016 BUDGET REQUEST OF $8,600,000.00 BILLION, IN ADDITION $5,000,000.00 MILLION IN STATE GRANT FUNDING IS PROVIDED IN THE WETLANDS

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    THE EPA’S ACTIVE CONTRACTS LIST 10/26/2016
    DATA PROVIDED BY US EPA OFFICE OF ACQUISITION MANAGEMENT

    NUMBER OF CONTRACTS: 629

    TOTAL CONTRACT OBLIGATION: $6,398,369,335.21

    ACTIVE CONTRACTS BY CONTRACT NUMBER AS OF 10/26/2016

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    Here how the EPA grants worked with and through the DOE at a state level.
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    The EPA granted to WA State DOE $100,000.00 for the Shoreline Management Update  (SMP) in a pass through grant)
    EVERY SMP UPDATE IN EVERY COUNTY, IN THE USA WAS GRANTED $$$$ ( AS A PASS THROUGH GRANT)   BY THE EPA, TO  EVERY STATE DOE, TO BE GRANTED TO EVERY COUNTY.
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    Fiscal Year 2016 – US EPA

    https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/…/epa_fy_2016_congressional_justification.pdf

    The agency’s FY 2016 budget request of $8.6 billion enables us to ..Many communities are facing multiple pollution problems and are looking for integrated or holistic …. In addition, $5 million in state grant funding is provided in the wetlands.

    EPA Active Contracts Listing | Contracting with EPA | US EPA

    https://www.epa.gov/contracts/epa-active-contractslisting

    Oct 31, 2016 – Listed below, you will find the EPA Active Contracts Listing, which lists of all currently active EPA Contracts. The listing is available by Contract …


  • Trump’s DOI and EPA Pick?

    Trump’s DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR (DOI) and ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) Pick? 

    How WILD will it get?

    As we discovered through inquiry and questions what the candidates were all about and where their roots were fastened, we then had a good idea of where they were coming from and where they are trying to go, or take us.

     IN THE END, NOV 9, 2016 AMERICAN CITIZENS “DID NOT”  VOTE FOR A PRESIDENT WHO WILL TRY TO GET YOU TO AGREE TO SACRIFICE WHAT YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO LOSE TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T EARNED IT, THEN TAKE YOU SOMEWHERE YOU DON’T WANT YOUR FAMILY, YOUR FRIENDS, YOURSELF, COMMUNITY, CITY, COUNTY, STATE OR COUNTRY, OR WORLD TO GO, LET ALONE BECOME!

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    “Well, if I wanted all the people out of Northern California, what would I do?”

    I’d lock up all the natural resources.  I would remove all the infrastructure… like the DAMS. After some more time went by… I’d have the National Forest in a quasi wilderness area, I’d have the loggers gone…Get rid of the pesky diggers..the mining community. I’d go after the agriculture community…attempt to eliminate them.  I’d go up stream…get rid of the  dams, remove the water inventory and electrical generation for 70,000 homes.

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    WELL, IF SENATOR PATTY MURRAY WANTED ALL OF THE PEOPLE OUT OF THE OLYMPIC PENINSULA IN WA STATE, WHAT WOULD SHE DO?

    SENATOR MURRAY MADE HER CHOICE, OVER SIX (6) YEARS AGO…. WILD OLYMPICS  WAS FIRST INTRODUCED IN 2010, IN 2012, CONGRESS NORM DICKS AND SENATOR PATTY MURRAY INTRODUCED IDENTICAL BILLS IN … WILD OLYMPICS WILDERNESS AND WILD AND SCENIC RIVERS ACT OF 2012

    APR 11, 2013 – PATTY MURRAY’S PROPOSAL IS CALLED WILD OLYMPICS.

    REINTRODUCING 2013-2014 and REINTRODUCING 2015-2016

    SENATOR MARIA CANTWELL was busy having roads decommissioned while MURRAY AND KILMER  waited in the wings with their phones and their pens.
    In the meantime Kilmer took on Dicks roll, with Murray to re-introduce the unwanted, unnecessary and wasteful Wild Olympics Wild & Scenic Act TWICE!

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    Behind My Back | The Roadless Crew Cantwell and Inslee

    www.behindmyback.org/2014/04/25/the-roadlesscrewcantwell-and-inslee/

    Apr 25, 2014 – The Roadless Crew Cantwell and Inslee. H.R.3465 — National Forest Roadless Area Conservation Act. Various forms of this bill have been …

    Keeping the rainbow green party voters smothered in free government grants, takes priority over the previously devastated Washington State and Olympic Peninsula jobs, that have been killed under this administration. The administrators who take money from you, to pay the pawns to help them pass their legacy agenda.

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    Behind My Back | Dept. of Interior Deterioration

    www.behindmyback.org/2014/05/04/dept-of-interiordeterioration/

    May 4, 2014THE UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, President Obama Appointed Sally Jewell, she is a member of the cabinet of President …

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    SENATE BILLS  FOR WILDERNESS AND WILDING, SACRIFICING THE USE OF OUR PUBLIC NATIONAL PARKS, PRIVATE LANDS  AND RIVERS.  PLACING RESTRICTIONS ON PUBLIC AND PRIVATE RESOURCES OF, AND IN WASHINGTON, IDAHO, CALIFORNIA, AND OREGON STATE

    Wilding the West Murrays Choice Our Sacrifice

    Posted on April 15, 2016 10:41 am by Pearl Rains Hewett Comment

    Wilding the West Murray’s Choice Our Sacrifice

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    APR 11, 2013 Advocates will immediately tell you that Wild Olympics will not have any impact on current harvest levels and will only modestly harm jobs. WHILE THIS IS TECHNICALLY ACCURATE, IT’S ALSO INTENTIONALLY MISLEADING.

    IN 2013, THE MANAGEMENT OF NATIONAL FORESTS WAS  DYSFUNCTIONAL AND INEFFECTIVE.

    WHEN ONE USES THE FALSE BASE CASE OF MISMANAGED LANDS AS THE POINT OF COMPARISON IT BECOMES POSSIBLE TO HIDE THE LONG-TERM HARM WILD OLYMPICS WILL HAVE ON THE PEOPLE OF THE PENINSULA.

    WILD OLYMPICS PROPOSES SHIFTING 23 PERCENT OF THE REMAINING WORKING FORESTS, 126,000 ACRES, FROM WORKING FORESTS TO WILDERNESS

    Guest: The problem with the Wild Olympics plan for Olympic National …

    www.seattletimes.com/…/guest-the-problem-with-the-wildolympics-plan-for-olympic

    APR 11, 2013Patty Murray’s proposal is called Wild Olympics. … way he can support passage of the Wild Olympics legislation prior to a fundamental overhaul …

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    The Wild Olympics Scam

    www.wildolympicsscam.com/

    stop the wild olympics, agenda 21, land grabs; will devastate rural communities.

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    Behind My Back | The Wild Olympics Scam

    www.behindmyback.org/category/the-wildolympicsscam/

    JUL 25, 2016THE WILD OLYMPICS PLAN is more than a fraud, a thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with …

    NOV 2016, HOW TYPICAL HOW PREDICTABLE,  HOW UNFORTUNATE, THE WA STATE RADICAL LIBERALS IN THE BIG CITIES VOTED TO RE-ELECTED SENATOR PATTY MURRAY

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    Wilding the West Murrays Choice Our Sacrifice

    Posted on April 15, 2016 10:41 am by Pearl Rains Hewett Comment

    Wilding the West Murray’s Choice Our Sacrifice

    Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining Legislative Hearing

    Please click on and read the two links below.

    Someone else’s choice = your sacrifice

    “Well, if I wanted all the people out of Northern California, what would I do?”

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    Well,  if American Voters wanted the  “WILD”  radical liberal democrats out of the WA DC swamp, what would they do?

    Nov 9, 2016,  How wonderful, how stunning, Donald J. Trump is elected President of the United States of America and Republicans control the House and the Senate

    PRESIDENT TRUMP’S TRIUMPHANT ELECTION VICTORY,  SUMMED UP IN TWO WORDS “AMERICA FIRST”

    President  Donald Trump’s shortlist of candidates to lead the U.S. Department of Interior? The Department of the Interior (DOI) oversees 500 million acres of public lands.

    YOU CAN BET THAT TRUMPS NEW AMERICA FIRST, SECRETARY OF THE DOI AND EPA, SHALL BENEFIT  AMERICA FIRST. Indeed, the public land industry, public land access to millions of acres of national parks, reserves….. stretching from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico.

    HOW WILD IS THAT?


  • In An Apparent Shell Game S.2012

    The bill in question is No. S.2012 -the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016

    In an apparent “SHELL GAME” likely intended to disguise a hidden agenda and to confuse the American public, Congress is considering “BEHIND CLOSED DOORS” two versions of S.2012.

    U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK-R) is pushing a massive 792 page Senate Energy bill incorporating more than 393 amendments covering these and other policy areas

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    Polson, Montana –September 14, 2016

    According to nonprofit Western States Constitutional Rights, LLC,

    S.2012 contains VERY harmful tribal government forest management provisions that could severely diminish the constitutionally protected rights of western and rural private property owners throughout the  United States

    In an apparent “SHELL GAME” likely intended to disguise a hidden agenda and to confuse the American public, Congress is considering “BEHIND CLOSED DOORS” two versions of S.2012.

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    Why would the Politico’s establishment of this Congressional Mumbo Jumbo confuse the American public?

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    snippet…

    It is understood that the Senate passed the Murkowski version without forestry measures in April 2016, while the U.S. House of Representatives passed a second version with both forestry and tribal forest management measures in May 2016,namely,H.R. 2647 –the Resilient Federal

    Forests Act of 2015. H.R. 2647 was sponsored by Representative Bruce Westerman (AR-R) and cosponsored by 11 Republicans and 2 Democrats. It seems H.R. 2647 was incorporated within the House version of S.2012 via an amendment adding new Title VII as part of “Division B, Titles I-X”.1 On September 8, 2016, the two versions of House/Senate S.2012 were submitted to a Congressional conference committee to be reconciled for ultimate passage by both chambers and signature into law by President Obama.

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    DON’T WAIT UNTIL S.2012 IS PASSED  BY CONGRESS, LIKE OBAMACARE, TO FIND OUT WHAT’S IN THE NORTH AMERICAN ENERGY SECURITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE ACT OF 2016  

    We the People must demand an end to the secrecy, shady backroom deals, and usurpation of our natural and constitutional freedoms and property rights.

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    WELL NOT REALLY…

    WE THE PEOPLE MUST INFORM AMERICAN CITIZENS REGARDING USURPATION’S of  S.2012

    THAN ON NOV 8, 2016 WE THE PEOPLE  VOTE FOR TRUMP.

    AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TRUMP PUTS AN END TO ALL OF THE SECRECY, SHADY BACKROOM DEALS, AND USURPATION OF OUR NATURAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOMS AND PROPERTY RIGHTS.

    ENDING A MASSIVE  NUMBER OF GOVERNMENT USURPATION’S

    By definition an act of usurping; wrongful or illegal encroachment, infringement, or seizure.

    INCLUDING OBAMA’S EXECUTIVE ORDERS

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    A UN and tribal takeover? – Canada Free Press

    canadafreepress.com/…/energybillshidden-tribal-forest-management-amp-other-pro

    2 days ago – Hidden provisions in congressional energy bills undermine America’s … of private property owners throughout the United States, the Western States … shared by many citizens throughout the western and rural United States.

     

    By Lawrence Kogan —— Bio and Archives September 17, 2016

    A MASSIVE 792-PAGE SENATE ENERGY COMMITTEE BILL THREATENS TO AUTHORIZE FEDERAL BUREAUCRATS TO CEDE EXTENSIVE CONTROL OVER WESTERN STATE WATER AND PROPERTY RIGHTS, ENERGY DEVELOPMENT AND FOREST MANAGEMENT TO NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES, LOCAL UN SUSTAINABILITY COUNCILS AND RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALIST GROUPS.

     CERTAIN PROVISIONS COULD UNDERMINE THE FOUNDATIONS OF OUR NATION FROM WITHIN OUR NATION.

    S.2012, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016, incorporates some 393 amendments. Incredibly, it is being driven forward by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and other members of Congress behind closed doors. Probably very few have read the bill in its entirety. Virtually none understand its likely impacts on western and other rural land, water and property rights, potentially throughout America, or on the families and communities whose lives will be upended.

    This secretive approach—with no opportunities for meaningful public examination or comment, even by those who will be most affected—is almost unprecedented. It could well become another example of “we have to pass it to find out what’s in it.” But numerous people will have to live with the consequences, while the authors and implementers walk away exempted, unscathed and unaccountable.

    The bill’s tribal government forest management provisions are extremely harmful and could severely diminish the constitutionally protected rights of private property owners throughout the United States, the Western States Constitutional Rights consortium emphasizes. Indeed, the pending legislation is itself unconstitutional, as explained in a legal memorandum the consortium sent to 13 members of Congress.

    This Montana-based nonprofit was formed to safeguard the property rights of farmers, ranchers and other land and business owners against reckless federal, state and local government laws, regulations and policies. WSCR members live on or near the Flathead Irrigation Project within the Flathead Indian Reservation, and in other parts of northwestern Montana. But their concerns are widely shared by many citizens throughout the western and rural United States. It has a long, hard road ahead on these issues.

    The apparent “shell game” is likely intended to disguise a hidden agenda and confuse people. In fact, Congress is quietly considering two versions: a Senate-passedMurkowski version without forestry measures and a House of Representatives version with both forestry and tribal forest management measures (H.R. 2647, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, sponsored by Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and cosponsored by 11 Republicans and 2 Democrats). Bipartisan chicanery.

    On September 8, the two versions were submitted to a conference committee, to be reconciled so that both chambers can pass a bill and President Obama can sign it into law. The problems are extensive.

    The House/Senate versions’ forestry measures embrace Euro-UN-Agenda 21 sustainable forest management principles, plus United Nations Indigenous Peoples Rights policies that would supersede the U.S. Constitution—while implementing unscientific climate change and sustainability objectives devised by the White House and “Forest Service Strategic Energy Framework.”

    Tribal Forest Management (TFM) provisions in House/Senate S.2012 are more problematic, because they would racially discriminate in favor of Native American tribes. They would do so by using the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to recognize off-reservation aboriginal pre-European land and water rights—where none exist in U.S. law—at the expense of all other Americans’ constitutionally protected private property rights. S.2012s’ TFM provisions would also:

    • Supplant states’ authority and jurisdiction over their natural resources, as recognized by the Tenth Amendment requirement that these resources be held in “public trust” for the benefit of each state’s citizens—including incredibly hard-working western ranchers who put so much food on your table.
    • Enable Native American Tribes to treat “Federal Forest Lands” (including national forests and national parks belonging to all Americans) as “Indian Forest Lands,” merely by establishing that “the Federal forest land is located within, or mostly within, a geographical area that presents a feature or involves circumstances principally relevant to that Indian tribe.” That means a tribe only has to show that the lands are covered by an Indian treaty, are part of a current or former Indian reservation, or were once adjudicated by the former Indian Claims Commission as part of a “tribal homeland.”
    • Provide Native American Tribes near U.S. national forest and park lands with federal “638” contracts to manage, oversee and control such lands and appurtenant water resources for federal regulatory and other purposes, even when they are well beyond the boundaries of Indian reservations.
    • Expand tribal political sovereignty and legal jurisdiction and control, especially over mountainous forest lands—the source of most snowpack and other waters that farmers, ranchers, and even towns and cities rely on for irrigation, drinking and other water needs.
    • Enable tribes to impose new federal fiduciary trust obligations on the U.S. government to protect their religious, cultural and spiritual rights to fish, waters and lands located beyond the boundaries of Indian reservations, by severely curtailing non-tribal members’ constitutionally protected private water and land rights, without paying “just compensation” as required by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    A recently filed federal lawsuit by the Hoopa Valley Tribe of northern California against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and National Marine Fisheries Service underscores the importance of this so-called federal fiduciary trust obligation. The tribe wants to compel the agencies to protect the tribe’s alleged off-reservation aboriginal pre-European water and fishing rights in southern Oregon’s Klamath River and Upper Klamath Lake—even though their reservation is more than 240 miles southwest of the lake!

    A tribal court victory would severely curtail Klamath irrigators’ ability to exercise their rights to vitally needed water. Northern California’s Yurok Tribe says it will soon file its own lawsuit. A cascade of such legal actions would disrupt or destroy the entire western water rights system.

    Combined with S.3013 (Montana Democrat Senator John Tester’s Salish and Kootenai Water Rights Settlement Act), the TFM provisions would expand and codify into federal law off-reservation aboriginal water and fishing rights that the tribes now claim. That precedent could then be used by other litigious tribes to override water and private property public trust obligations that Montana, Oregon, California and other western states owe their citizens under state constitutions. It could happen throughout America!

    S.2012 would cause even more problems if Congress adds a Wyden-Merkley Amendment that provides federal funding and implementation for the controversial Klamath Basin Agreements Tribal Rights Settlement. That would greatly expand tribal water rights, in violation of U.S. constitutional requirements that any such expansion be pursuant to Congress’s authority to approve or reject interstate compacts or regulate commerce with Indian tribes.

    It would also create a federal and interstate template for greatly diminishing regional—and potentially all irrigators’—state-based private property rights, in favor of Native American tribes. Its proponents have grossly misrepresented the settlement’s alleged benefits and substantially understated the damage it would impose on Klamath Basin residents.

    If S.2012 is enacted into law with the tribal forest management, Wyden-Merkley Amendment and Salish-Kootenai Settlement, Congress will cede control over western and rural lands and waters to Native American tribes in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth, Ninth, Tenth and Fourteenth Amendments.

    This year’s presidential and congressional elections are a referendum on the role and performance of government.

    We the People must demand an end to the secrecy, shady backroom deals, and usurpation of our natural and constitutional freedoms and property rights.

    Congress’ immediate withdrawal or modification of this grotesque omnibus energy bill would be a good first step in this direction.

    Lawrence Kogan is managing principal of The Kogan Law Group, PC of New York, NY and legal counsel to Western States Constitutional Rights, LLC.

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    Just asking?

    Why would the Politico’s establishment of this Congressional Mumbo Jumbo confuse the American public?

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    This West Is OUR West: Uniting Western States – Protecting Our Rights

    thiswestisourwest.com/

    Energy Bill’s Hidden Provisions UndermineS.2012 – the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016, which many in Congress … protected rights of western and rural private property owners throughout the United States.

    BREAKING NEWS September 15, 2016

    WESTERN STATES CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS, LLC

    PRESS RELEASE

    Energy Bill’s Hidden Provisions Undermine Western and Rural U.S. Property Owners

    The following press release is based on a recently prepared memorandum of law and

    correspondences dispatched to 13 members of Congress explaining the unconstitutionality of pending legislation discussed below

    Polson, Montana – September 14, 2016 –

    Energy and forest management are not generally assumed to be interrelated policies.

    Nevertheless, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK-R) is pushing a massive 792-page Senate Energy bill incorporating more than 393 amendments covering these and other policy areas. The bill in question is No. S.2012 – the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016, which many in Congress have not likely read.

    According to nonprofit Western States Constitutional Rights, LLC, S.2012 contains VERY harmful tribal government forest management provisions that could severely diminish the constitutionally protected rights of western and rural private property owners throughout the United States.

    In an apparent “SHELL GAME” likely intended to disguise a hidden agenda and to confuse the American public, Congress is considering BEHIND CLOSED DOORS two versions of S.2012.

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    A shell game is a shell game….. by hook,  by crooks or by the U.S. Congress

    Behind My Back | The “RESTORATION” Shell Game

    www.behindmyback.org/2014/06/09/the-restorationshellgame/

    Jun 9, 2014 – The “RESTORATIONShell Game. A highly convoluted “GAME OF RESTORATION” that is involving the sleight of many, many hands, in which …

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    Read more on Pie N Politics

    News from Klamath Basin Crisis.org

    by Liz Bowen

     

    http://klamathbasincrisis.org/billslaws/2016/Energybillshiddenprovisions091516.pdf

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    Western States Constitutional Rights, LLC is a Montana-based nonprofit entity the mission of which is to promote the protection of private property rights held by western United States property owners against reckless federal, state and local government laws, regulations and policies. Its members are irrigators, landowners and business owners located on or near the Flathead Irrigation Project situated within the Flathead Indian Reservation, and from other areas in northwestern Montana, but their concerns are widely shared by many citizens throughout the western and rural United States.

    All media inquiries should be directed to The Kogan Law Group, P.C., NY, NY, Western States Constitutional Rights, LLC’s legal counsel, at: 212-644-9240.

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    Energy,  forest management  and TRIBES are not generally assumed to be interrelated policies.

    Connecting the dots on  Senator Murkowski….

    Senator  Murkowski  (R) is an active member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and served as Vice Chairman of the Committee during the 110th Congress. She is the Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a member of the Committee on Appropriations, She was honored with a Congressional Leadership Award by the National Congress of American Indians


  • What’s Upstream? in Olympia and Bellingham

    EPA: What’s Upstream is a misuse of federal funds …

    www.capitalpress.com/…/epawhatsupstream-is-a-misuse-of…
    Capital Press

    3 days ago – In a turnaround, the Environmental Protection Agency says a media campaign to link farmers with water pollution has been a misuse of EPA …In a turnaround, the Environmental Protection Agency says a media campaign to link farmers with water pollution has been a misuse of EPA funds.

    Don Jenkins Capital Press Published on April 5, 2016 11:31AM

    Last changed on April 5, 2016 6:12PM

    Photo courtesy of Save Family Farming
A billboard near Bellingham, Wash., promotes a campaign funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Kansas Republican Pat Roberts, calls the billboards a disturbing and malicious attack on farmers. On Tuesday, the EPA said it was withdrawing its support for the campaign.

    Photo courtesy of Save Family Farming A billboard near Bellingham, Wash., promotes a campaign funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Kansas Republican Pat Roberts, calls the billboards a disturbing and malicious attack on farmers. On Tuesday, the EPA said it was withdrawing its support for the campaign.

    The Environmental Protection Agency today reversed course and said EPA funds should not have been used to finance What’s Upstream, a media campaign to arouse public support in Washington state for stricter regulations on agriculture.The campaign, a collaboration between a tribe and environmental groups, raised the ire of farm groups and drew a rebuke Monday from Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan…….. (read full text on link))

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    EPA’s reversal on What’s Upstream rings hollow to ag groups

    www.capitalpress.com/…/epas-reversal-on-whatsupstream-ri…
    Capital Press
    3 days ago – The Environmental Protection Agency says grant recipients misused federal funds in waging media campaign against farmers, but agriculture …
    The Environmental Protection Agency says grant recipients misused federal funds in waging media campaign against farmers, but agriculture groups say the agency needs to explain why the grant was awarded in the first place.
    Don Jenkins Capital Press Published on April 5, 2016 6:16PM

    Last changed on April 6, 2016 10:55AM

    Don Jenkins/Capital PressA billboard in Olympia advertises a website that advocates for stricter regulations on farmers. A tribe and environmental groups put up this billboard and one in Bellingham with a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The billboard fails to dislcose the funding source, as required by the terms of the grant.

    Don Jenkins/Capital Press A billboard in Olympia advertises a website that advocates for stricter regulations on farmers. A tribe and environmental groups put up this billboard and one in Bellingham with a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The billboard fails to disclose the funding source, as required by the terms of the grant.

     

    The Environmental Protection Agency reversed course Tuesday and said EPA funds should not have been used to finance What’s Upstream, a media campaign to arouse public support in Washington state for stricter regulations on agriculture.The change in position pleased farm advocates, but also left them asking why EPA allowed the campaign in the first place.

    “It’s nice EPA recognized what seems obvious,” said Washington State Dairy Federation policy director Jay Gordon. “But who … decided this was acceptable for federal funding?”

    What’s Upstream, a partnership between the Swinomish Indian tribe in northwestern Washington and environmental groups,

    has been funded with nearly $600,000 in EPA grants.

    The tribe used some of the money to hire a public relations firm, Strategies 360, and kept EPA informed as the firm crafted a campaign to influence a “malleable” public.

    Until Tuesday, the EPA had refrained from commenting on the campaign’s substance other than to say it did not violate prohibitions on using federal funds to lobby, even though What’s Upstream sought to organize a letter-writing campaign to state lawmakers.

    In a statement, the EPA took to task the grant’s original recipient, the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, and the Swinomish tribe.

    The commission, a consortium of 20 tribes, “sub-awarded” the money to the tribe.

    “The consortium made a sub-award for a campaign which should not be using EPA funds. We are in the process of correcting that,” an EPA spokesman said in a written statement.

    Efforts to reach the commission and tribe were unsuccessful.

    Two U.S. senators Tuesday sent a letter to EPA Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins Jr. requesting an investigation into how the grant funds were used.

    “We are troubled to learn that EPA’s financial assistance appears to improperly fund an advocacy campaign in Washington state that unfairly targets and demonizes farmers and ranchers,” wrote Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts and Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, both Republicans.

    Roberts, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Inhofe, who chairs the Environment Committee, zeroed in on whether the letter-writing campaign amounted to illegally funded lobbying and political activities.

    “The fact that the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission campaign website fully or partially funded by the EPA enables the public to use a script criticizing agricultural producers in an effort to influence lawmakers deserves immediate legal scrutiny,” the senators wrote.

    An Inspector General spokesman Tuesday said the agency doesn’t confirm or deny the existence of any ongoing investigation.

    IG investigators have already had a preliminary telephone conference call with farm groups, though it’s unclear whether the office will conduct a full investigation.

    “Based on our conversations with the people from the inspector general’s office, we think it is a pretty significant issue for the EPA,” said Save Family Farming director Gerald Baron, who participated in the call.

    Save Family Farming, based in northwestern Washington, was recently formed to respond to critics of farming practices.

    Baron said EPA should be held accountable.

    “I think it’s dishonest for them to try to put the responsibility for this on the grantee,” he said. “The record shows they were very closely involved in the content.”

    The tribe submitted regular reports to EPA over several years as Strategies 360 polled voters and met with focus groups. The polling found that voters were largely unconcerned about water pollution and held farmers in high regard, though the public relations firm reported that opinions could be changed with the right message.

    EPA distanced itself from the campaign one day after Roberts rebuked EPA for funding it.

    “The tone and content of this outside campaign does not represent the views of the EPA,” the EPA spokesman said.

    In a statement issued Monday, Roberts directed his ire at What’s Upstream billboards put up in Olympia and Bellingham, Wash., calling them “disturbing” and “malicious.”

    The billboards, which advertise the campaign’s website, picture dairy cows standing in a stream. The words say: “Unregulated agriculture is putting our waterways at risk.”

    The billboards do not disclose that they were funded by the EPA, a standard requirement for all EPA-funded materials.

    Gordon, himself a dairy farmer in Western Washington, said he was especially pained to see the billboard on a busy street in Olympia.

    “Seeing that right in the middle of Olympia, knowing it was paid for by taxpayer dollars, that was the one that hit me the hardest,” he said. “When you see it, you just go, ‘It’s just not fair.’”

    The environmental groups involved in What’s Upstream defend the campaign as public education, a permissible use of the EPA grant.

    “I still contend its use was for public education and was not a misuse of funds,” said Trish Rolfe, director of the Center for Environmental Law and Policy. “It (whatsupstream.com) is an educational website. It doesn’t lobby for or against a particular piece of legislation.”

    The EPA did not elaborate on what its next step will be.

    The agency should act quickly, Baron said.

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    Two billboards that violate federal rules governing EPA funding, which appear to lobby for …

    By Rich Keller, Editor, Ag Professional

    Two billboards that violate federal rules governing EPA funding, which appear to lobby for new state legislation to limit farmers activities that environmental groups claim pollute waterways, has caused quite a stir in Washington state and Washington, D.C.

    A coalition of environmental groups in Washington state put up two billboards with the same photo and headline promote “What’s Upstream,” a campaign developed by a public relations firm to link agriculture with water pollution. It appears that a large amount of the money for the campaign and billboards are being financed by an EPA grant to the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and controlled by the Swinomish Indian tribe.

    According to regulations, the billboards should mention financial support from the EPA, but they don’t, and EPA officials have agreed it was a mistake. The second concern is that money is being used for political lobbying, which is also contrary to use of federal grant funds. Of course, the EPA says the What’s Upstream campaign isn’t strictly political lobbying. Third, farmers and legislators from agricultural districts see the EPA aligning itself with anti-agriculture forces of environmental activists, and this isn’t appropriate for an agency that should be unbiased before evaluating specific regulations.

    The billboards show three cows standing in a stream with the headline: “Unregulated agriculture is putting our waterways at risk.” The environmental groups along with the Indian tribe—Puget Soundkeeper, Western Environmental Law Center and Center for Environmental Law and Policy—say the What’s Upstream is simply of educational nature.

    This whole situation about the billboards and the EPA handing out of grant money was first uncovered by Capital Press, but this has grown into more than a state issue.

    The chairmen of two Senate committees are calling for an investigation into billboards in Washington state that blame agriculture for polluting waterways because they apparently were funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.

    Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Agriculture Committee are requesting an audit and investigation of the EPA grant.

    Sen. Roberts released a statement regarding the anti-agriculture billboard. “This disturbing billboard is a bold example of exactly what America’s farmers and ranchers complain about all the time: the EPA has an agenda antagonistic to producers. Whether it’s overly burdensome and costly regulations or something as obvious as this malicious billboard, the EPA has much to answer for in maligning those that grow the food and fiber to feed the world. Our farmers and ranchers are stewards of the land and want to see our natural resources protected as much as any other American.

    “While there are legal concerns with the lack of disclosure of EPA’s involvement, the billboard is another example of EPA’s improper practice of encouraging the lobbying of legislators. How and why the EPA has allowed taxpayer dollars to be used to attack any industry, including our vital agriculture producers, demands answers.”