GOP Poisoning Swing State Voters to Win Elections

I’m not surprised the Administration is withholding the report showing polluted sites around the Great Lakes may be contributing to elevated cancer rates.

The lead author and peer reviewers of a government report raising the possibility of public health threats from industrial contamination throughout the Great Lakes region are charging that the report is being suppressed because of the questions it raises. The author also alleges that he was demoted because of the report.

I’m just wondering whether they’re doing so for explicitly political reasons.

You’ll recall the description of why Dick Cheney intervened into the Klamath River dispute.

In Oregon, a battleground state that the Bush-Cheney ticket had lost by less than half of 1 percent, drought-stricken farmers and ranchers were about to be cut off from the irrigation water that kept their cropland and pastures green. Federal biologists said the Endangered Species Act left the government no choice: The survival of two imperiled species of fish was at stake.

Law and science seemed to be on the side of the fish. Then the vice president stepped in.

First Cheney looked for a way around the law, aides said. Next he set in motion a process to challenge the science protecting the fish, according to a former Oregon congressman who lobbied for the farmers.

Because of Cheney’s intervention, the government reversed itself and let the water flow in time to save the 2002 growing season, declaring that there was no threat to the fish. What followed was the largest fish kill the West had ever seen, with tens of thousands of salmon rotting on the banks of the Klamath River.

Characteristically, Cheney left no tracks. [my emphasis]

After deciding for farmers over fish, the Administration did a bunch of photo ops to claim credit with voters in the area.

It was Norton who announced the review, and it was Bush and his political adviser Karl Rove who traveled to Oregon in February 2002 to assure farmers that they had the administration’s support.


Norton flew to Klamath Falls in March to open the head gate as farmers chanted "Let the water flow!"

Now, as the map included in the report makes clear, this report is talking about toxic hazards in the potential swing states of MN, WI, MI, and OH. Add in the potential swing Congressional Districts around Buffalo, and I can certainly see why the Administration wouldn’t want voters to know they had increased cancer risks because of the industrial pollution in their neighborhood, particularly not with a corporate friendly Administration that didn’t make such toxic hazards a priority. The WaPo article notes that the CDC won’t commit to an official release date for this report.

Nowak said that there was no set date for publication, and that the release was delayed to address concerns raised by the Environmental Protection Agency and other reviewers last summer.

But I’m guessing they were hoping to withhold it until sometime after mid-November.

And note, too, the MO is the same as it was with the Klamath fish issue: the Administration is pushing it’s very own scientific interpretation so as to skew the report that will allow it to achieve it’s political objectives.

Which in this case appears to be to avoid telling a bunch of swing voters they’re at significant risk for cancer.

10 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    There’s more coverage in the pipeline on this story, just not certain how far out the next piece will be. Bugs the crap out of me that science simply doesn’t stand a chance against the morons in this administration.

    To make matters worse, this particular swing state has been bankrupted by crappy Republican policies to the point where there are no state monies for toxic site cleanups, let along any contribution to cleanup at those AOC’s.

  2. JohnLopresti says:

    The difficult part of the CheneyRove seemingly mundane rewarding of the reclamation district tillers of soil on the northern borderlands served in the Klamath watershed is, now, six years later, because of similar Republican ploys in the delta of the San Joaquin and Sacramento where agriculture combines with developers wishing to export water 400 miles south to LA, a neighboring anadromous fishery has collapsed, resulting in a certain blueDog’s having to sponsor financial subsidies to now unemployeed independent fishing persons. A roboCall one evening while at work put me in an audio assemblage a few months ago to listen to the blueDog announcement checks were in the mail to coast salmon fishing professionals because of the continuing collapse of the Klamath run. There is a cycle several years in duration, whereby snuffing the returning spawning adults appears as a collapsed fishery a year and more after the initial event, the species maturation cycle taking about 2-3 years, so, it is that long before the ocean phase is complete and fish are old enough to spawn in fresh water riverbeds. Evidently the Klamath run recovered for a few seasons, but other complex factors ensued. Water issues are heated politics in the region. The erstwhile script reading governor in CA sought political rewards for urging maximization of time delta water export pumps would be permitted to operate last year; currently the suspicion is, even with oversight, the pumps sending Sacramento water to LA and San Joaquin farms and nearby metropolises was excessive, and destroyed too many juvenile salmon for the key salmon run of the Sacramento system, the state’s largest salmon regeneration source, to remain at its historic levels, now collapsed in continuity in 2008 by recent reports. So now there are two formerly prime sources of salmon near extinction, at least until federal and states’ oversight examines all the causes and moves to implement a no-fish interegnum so the population might recover. I have some sources on the Arctic icemelt this past summer, to which I might link later, as well; as I recall, this too factors into the salmon disaster which basically began with Republican ag politics in 2002 and appears as if it will continue thru at least 2009-2010.

  3. Leen says:

    Ohio has some of the highest cancer rates in the country. The Ohio River Valley has been a place for the fat cats to make billions off of coal powered power plants for years. These fat cats call foul when citizens demand that they upgrade and meet environmental standards, or they cry we will eliminate your jobs!

    Or they may move your whole town, pay you off just enough to shut you up and make sure that you can never collect medical compensation. Check this out

  4. Sara says:

    The Republican Health Commissioner in Minnesota lost her job early last fall for holding back a finished study that is part of this Great Lakes study. Report indicated we had an epidemic of Mesophylaomia (sp??) a type of cancer caused by Asbestos on the north shore of Lake Superior, a product of waste water from Taconite processing. The study was done jointly with CDC and the U of Minn, plus the Health Department. Someone in the group dropped a draft of the report to the media, and all hell broke loose. It is interesting because more than 20 years ago we had a very lengthy Federal Law Suit tried here on just this issue, and the Taconite Company was forced to stop putting the waste water in the lake, and pipe it to setteling ponds on land. Apparently the current problem is that some of the Asbestos doesn’t settle, but when the ponds dry up a bit, the stuff flies around in the wind — and the stuff in the lake from before the Lawsuit, well that’s still in the lake. Duluth drinks that water as do most of the North Shore towns. Part of the settlement was that the EPA was supposed to test Lake Superior water, but they defunded that in the first Bush II budget.

      • Sara says:

        No, not a new mine, they are negotiating to build a steel mill, mostly owned by an Indian Firm, and also a huge coal fired electrical generating station, using Montana Coal, without, mind you, carbon controls. I believe the steel mill contemplates being powered by the electricity from the coal fired generator. They tried to get out from under MPA review, but the court shot that down. Anyway the steel would be made from local taconite, and the waste left on the shore. I really don’t think it will happen. For the most part, the Legislature has all sorts of studies indicating that off the North Shore is the best place to put a huge windfarm, and I think that will be built first. Supposedly it can do 10% of state’s electrical requirements.

        By the way, Michigan should put a windfarm on Isle Royal. All you got there now is Moose, and they are apparently diseased. So kill diseased Moose, import healthy Moose from the mainland, and build a windfarm. No reason Moose and windfarms cannot co-exist. Michigan could make a profit from it.

        lots of things changed when the Former Republican Health Commissioner was found to be hiding the study results.

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