Editorial: Thumbs up, Thumbs down
Beating deadlines at Hanford
The deadline performance of Hanford contractors and the Department of Energy involved in cleaning up the Hanford nuclear site is frequently in the news. Rarely is that news worth celebrating. But this news certainly is. Thumbs up to CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. They met the goal to treat 2.1 billion gallons of contaminated groundwater by Sept. 30, six weeks early. More than 75 tons of contaminants were removed from the groundwater.
The power of radical minorities
On Sept. 30, two federal programs, highly beneficial to this region, were allowed to expire. Those deaths will not reduce our taxes or improve our quality of life. It’s likely they will do just the opposite.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund has for more than 50 years used royalties paid by energy companies drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf to protect and preserve national forests, wildlife refuges, trails and other natural resources. More than a half-billion dollars have been invested in Washington state since 1964. The fund has had strong bi-partisan support for decades but, this year, not quite strong enough to overcome an entrenched radical right wing of the Republican party that managed to prevent re-authorization. Those in opposition pointed to the fact that, true to form, Congress has annually siphoned off much of those royalties for programs unrelated to the preservation of natural resources. But rather than proposing language to stop the misuse of those funds, they killed the program.
Sept. 30 also saw the demise of the Export-Import Bank, which was a valuable tool in the development of export trade for regional businesses, from giants like Boeing down to local wineries trying to break into the Asian market. The fund was not taxpayer supported. In fact, it was one of a very few federal programs that actually added revenue to the federal treasury while facilitating business between private industries and improving our global competitiveness. Opponents called it corporate welfare, for lack of a logical reason not to renew the bank. In fact, it was just the opposite.
But radical politics is a bi-partisan plague. Any doubt of that dissipates when we see a presidential candidate like Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, rise in the Democratic polls. The escalating willingness to sacrifice the good of the country for a political win is reaching a shamefully frightening point.