Monday, October 26, 2015

Koster and EPA Tussle Over Bridgeton Landfill

Attorney General Chris Koster and the Environmental Protection Agency been involved in a back-and-forth over the state of the Bridgeton Landfill and how concerned the public should be about the “underground fire.”  Here’s the latest.

From the Post- EPA: No offsite public health concerns near West Lake Landfill

I want to assure you that we at the Environmental Protection Agency are committed to protecting public health from the radiological contamination buried at the West Lake Landfill. Numerous studies by federal and state partners demonstrate that there is no current offsite health risk.

Recently, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry completed a health consultation for EPA that confirmed there is no current offsite health risk. They also confirmed that groundwater from the site will not harm people's health. The groundwater flows away from residential areas and is not being used as a public water supply. Finally, there is no evidence of contamination along roads leading to the landfill.

Beginning in summer 2014 through June 2015, EPA conducted a yearlong air monitoring effort around the West Lake Landfill for volatile organic compounds and alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. The results demonstrate that the air quality around West Lake Landfill is consistent with the air quality of the greater St. Louis metropolitan area…

Next year, all the necessary investigative work will be completed and we will announce our proposal for a final remedy. That proposal will be available for public review and comment. The final remedy will be designed to ensure that human health and the environment remain protected from radiological contaminants. I know the community wants a solution that addresses the contamination as quickly as possible at the West Lake Landfill. I am committed to delivering a scientifically sound solution.

Mark Hague

Acting regional administrator, EPA Region 7

 

Koster’s Statement

"The Attorney General's office has said throughout this case that EPA must assess whether the ongoing fire at the Bridgeton landfill poses an imminent public health risk.  It is a relief to learn that EPA studies do not show an immediate danger to the general public.   But as yesterday's brush fire reminds us, flames can surface in unexpected places without warning.  EPA says it is moving toward a final protective remedy.  It must implement that remedy without delay.

Because the fire at Bridgeton landfill is ever changing, EPA's responsibility to update the public is a continuing one.  Therefore, EPA's recent announcement is merely one step in an ongoing duty that will last as long as the landfill fire burns.

Attorney General Koster filed suit against Republic Services Inc. to hold the company accountable for the oppressive stench caused by the burning landfill and for the pollution the landfill fire has caused to Missouri's natural resources.  While there has been much back-and-forth over the past few weeks over how dangerous the landfill might be, at least three things are certain:  The landfill is still burning, it still stinks, and Republic hasn't paid for the environmental damage it has done.  The Attorney General's office will continue to press Republic in court to ensure that the public and the State's land and water are protected."

 

Politically, Koster seems to have little to lose in a fight with a landfill company and a federal bureaucracy while standing up for public health and safety.

 

House Revises Sexual Harassment, Intern Policy

On Friday, Speaker Todd Richardson unveiled the latest draft of the House’s attempt to deal with fallout from John Diehl’s sexting scandal.

Alex Stuckey reports on the draft.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Under the proposal, sexual harassment claims made against House members or the chief clerk would be investigated by outside counsel. Richardson said Adam Crumbliss, House chief clerk, would pick the outside counsel used. The House Contingency Fund would pay for the investigation.

The question is: how would this policy have prevented or stopped Diehl’s behavior?  Will it be effective in doing so going forward?

 

MOScout GOP Primary Poll

Last weekend’s MOScout Weekly Poll looked at the Republican statewide primaries again.  See it here.

A few thoughts…

Governor’s race

Peter Kinder continues to hold a 20-point lead over the rest of the pack.  But with 42% undecided, the race hasn’t even gotten started.

Catherine Hanaway doesn’t seem to get any extra bounce from being the only woman in the race.

With little in the way of campaign contributions, it’s hard to see how Sen. Bob Dixon will move beyond his current single-digit number.

Lieutenant Governor’s race

It’s another piece of good news for Sen. Mike Parson.  He surpassed Bev Randles’ cash on-hand with last week’s report, and now numbers that show he starts with a small lead.   60% undecided means there’s a lot of voters who don’t know either.  Randles probably needs another Rex Sinquefield infusion though to move the momentum needle away from Parson.

Secretary of State

These numbers are real problem for Sen. Will Kraus.   They show the power of Jay Ashcroft’s last name.  Ashcroft has 50%, which means Kraus would need to win every undecided voter to draw even with Ashcroft.  And with no voting record, Ashcroft will be a hard target to hit.  The only possible punch seems pretty weak: that Ashcroft (because of his last name) can’t win the general election.

Attorney General

Sen. Kurt Schaefer at 19% and Josh Hawley at 12% means that this is another wide-open race.  With Hawley pulling in checks and endorsements, it’s a real race

 

Greitens Team Moves

Austin Chambers is now campaign manager.  See his Twitter hereDanny Laub is now Senior Advisor.

 

Being Passed Around

“Whither John Brunner, touting CEO credentials?”  Post-Dispatch article on Illinois governor Bruce Rauner’s “rocky start.”  See it here.

Pull Quote: Rauner vaulted into office this year on the strength of a long-held theory among conservatives: that a successful businessman with no political experience would do a vastly better job of governing than the professional politicians. Nine months later, Rauner’s state is mired in a legislative standoff and unprecedented budget crisis that has resulted in billions of dollars in unpaid bills, suspended state services, facility shutdowns and, last week, a worst-in-the-nation credit rating downgrade — a showdown, critics say, that stems largely from Rauner’s CEO-like approach to governing.  “Running the government is not like running a business,” James R. Thompson, one of two Republican former governors who have recently expressed concern about fellow Republican Rauner’s performance, said in a published interview last week.

 

Team Kasich’s MO Team

The press release from presidential candidate John Kasich

Today, former Congressman Kenny Hulshof, State Senator Ryan Silvey, and former Missouri Republican Party Chairman David Cole endorsed Ohio Governor John Kasich for President, and will all serve as State Co-Chairs of Kasich for America’s Missouri team.

Additionally, the following have been added to the State Leadership Team: Matthew Roney, former aide to U.S. Senator Kit Bond, former executive director of the Missouri House Republican Campaign Committee Aaron Willard, former State Senator Emory Melton, business leader Jim Chappell, and longtime senior Republican aide Brendan CossetteMiles Ross, a veteran Missouri Republican strategist, has been named Missouri state director, and former Missouri Congressman Tom Coleman has been named Honorary State Co-Chair.

 

Bits

Ken Blackwell endorses Josh Hawley at Townhall.com.  See it here.

 

Kirkwood School have a tax increase on the ballot next week.  Some homeowners pushing back.  See it here.

 

Gaylin Rich Carver, an attorney at Carver & Michael LLC on Capitol Avenue in Jefferson City, has received the first Rory Ellinger Award for Public Interest Litigation from Empower Missouri during the organization's 114th annual conference in Columbia, MO on October 22.

 

Kaiser Health News reports on states’ efforts to reform marijuana laws.  See it here.  They mistakenly list Missouri as “decriminalized.”

 

With the coming 2016 onslaught, Ad Age advises advertisers to get their buys in early or juts plan to sit it for a few months while political ad dominate.  See it here.

 

And – for those buying digital ads – how many of those page views are humans, and how many are bots?  See it here.

 

In the New York Times, towns paying for free Uber rides when bars close?  See it here.
In the Washington Post: Sarah Palin as the bridge to Donald TrumpSee it here.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Citizens for Conway - $5,001 from CHIPP Political Account.

MO Republican Party - $10,000 from MO Majority PAC.

Citizens to Elect Mike Kehoe - $15,000 from Grow Missouri.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $10,000 from Onder for Missouri.

Baker for Missouri - $5,100 from Hilda P Jones.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Lauren Hieger.