Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's the Low Tax Payments By Corporations and the Rich, Stupid! Worker Taxes Are Higher, But Our Benefits Are Less, Than Wealthy European Countries

There is a good deal of insightful comparative information in the following article in addition to the excerpts provided below.

Nine Countries That Do It Better: Why Does Europe Take Better Care of Its People Than America?
The world's wealthy democracies have somewhat different priorities, leading to some very different outcomes for their citizens

Or see also:

. . . .

Taking Care of the Ill: France

If you have access to the best health care in the United States, then you have some of the best care in the world. But that comes with an extremely steep price, and not everyone has that kind of access.

In 2008, the U.S. spent 16 percent of its economic output on health-care and covered 85 percent of its citizens. It was the only OECD country other than Mexico and Turkey to cover less than 90 percent of its people. We have the 37th longest average life expectancy, and a recent study found that American “life expectancy has been stagnant for much of the country and is actually decreasing over much of the Southern portion of the United States.”

France, which has a health-care system ranked number one in the world by the WHO, spent 11.2 percent of its economy to cover everyone.

There are a number of drivers of health-care costs, but one statistic stands out: in the European (and European-style) economies, upwards of 70 percent of the total health-care bill is picked up by the government, meaning that people are insured in large pools with lots of bargaining clout to hold down providers' costs. In the U.S., less than half of our health care is in the public sector, resulting in a patchwork system of private insurers with much higher administrative costs. When you plug what France pays per person for health care into our own government's fiscal projections, you get balanced budgets by around 2014, which then turn into surpluses after 2040.
. . . .

Taxing Corporations Versus Individuals: Luxembourg

The U.S. government collects less in taxes than the other rich countries, on average, but that doesn't tell us who pays what.
It's worth noting that the U.S. is tied for the OECD country that collects the lowest share of the economy in corporate taxes, at 1.8 percent of GDP (in 2008), or about half the group's average.

That means that more of the burden falls on individuals and households. Americans fork over more in personal income taxes than the OECD average as a result – we pay 9.9 percent while the OECD as a whole pays 9 percent.

Denmark leads the world in corporate taxes, and the Slovak Republic has the lowest personal income taxes, but the most “balanced” system (an admittedly arbitrary standard) is arguably Luxembourg's, where corporations were taxed at 5.1 percent and individuals and families at 7.7 percent in 2008.

Aren't They Taxed to Death in General?

What about the “economy-killing” taxes under which those crazy European socialists suffer? Well, in 2007 we paid 7.5 percent of our economic output less in taxes than the average of OECD countries, but citizens of the other wealthy countries got a lot more for their tax dollars than we did – free or very low-cost health care, college educations, better unemployment benefits, job training and the list goes on.

In the United States, we paid the equivalent of 8.2 percent of our economy more in social spending out of our own pockets than the people in other rich countries did that year. So the savings we enjoyed on our tax bills were more than offset by what we paid for those things our counterparts bought with their taxes. When private and public spending on our social welfare are added together, Americans pay just a little bit more than the other citizens of the world's leading economic powers.

But What About the Debt?

Perhaps these countries just ran up piles of debt in the course of taking better care of their people?
That's not the case; among the world's wealthy democracies only six[out of 15] – Japan, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Belgium and Italy – had a higher ratio of debt to GDP than the United States last year.

Denmark's debt level was less than half of our own.

Much has also been made of the Europeans' supposedly slower growth and lower average incomes. It is true that over the last decade, gross domestic product grew by about 1 percentage point more annually in the United States than in the core countries of the EU-15. But when we talk about “growth,” we mean a growing population as well as increasing productivity: more people making stuff means more total stuff.

The differences in population growth between the United States and the EU are stark. Since 1980, the population of the United States has increased by more than a third, compared with 7 percent in the EU (as a whole). Adding people, however, doesn’t necessarily make countries more affluent. A better standard is the growth of GDP per person. As Paul Krugman pointed out, “Since 1980, per capita real G.D.P.—which is what matters for living standards—has risen at about the same rate in America and in the E.U. 15: 1.95 percent a year here; 1.83 percent there.” That’s essentially a rounding error. . . . .

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Alternative Views on Libya & American Foreign Policy, in Black & White

Minister Louis Farrakhan and former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark State Their Views on Libya, etc.

I'm sure this will raise the hackles of many, but hopefully this is still an America where everyone gets a chance to speak their truths, and my blog actually exists to help in that regard. So. . . . here is a long video from a press conference held by Minister Farrakhan and others to do just that. Like myself, Farrakhan is getting older (He's about 77), so he confuses some names and a few facts. Unlike myself, he is obviously a religious man, and often resorts to quotes from the Bible or the Koran, to make his points, but you don't have to be religious to appreciate some of them. For those of you to young too know or remember, Farrakhan replaced the prophet Elijah Muhammed at the Muslim and somewhat Black Nationalist Nation of Islam. Brace yourself!

"But whose got the courage, whose got the strength? You're weak and cowardly, and you deserve what you get. America is ruled by special interests, not by the needs,rights and interests of the American people, and you dare to say that the Arab world that is rising wants your democracy? No!

They want liberty, they want justice, they want equity, they want a government that serves the needs, rights and interests of the people. That's what they want!"
Louis Farrakhan

Farrakhan Blasts UN, Defends Khadafy

Minister Farrakhan's Full Press Conference on US, NATO attack on Libya:

Minister Farrakhan exposed the U.S. and NATO's criminal War Libya and Africa during a June 15, 2011 Press Conference at the UN Plaza Hotel. Also presenting were former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Human Rights Activist Viola Plummer and International Activist Cynthia McKinney.

Farrakhan's Full Press Conference on US, NATO attack on Libya (June 15, 2011)

Minister Farrakhan Praises Libyan Leader and Lambasts UN-US-NATO Coalition

July 16, 2011 "Tripoli Post" -- At a press conference on Wednesday near the United Nations headquarters in New York, Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam expressed support for Libyan leader Muammar Al Qathafi and condemned the NATO-led bombing of Libya, UN-sanctioned military strikes and operations against the North African nation.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark also addressed the press and called for an end to the strikes and the war on Libya.

Minister Louis Farrakhan lambasted the U.N., the U.S., and the "coalition of demons" that he said makes up NATO. He accused them of trying to assassinate Muammar Al Qathafi, the third time they have tried to do it, he said, and promote regime change in Libya.

He drew comparisons between what the Libyan people have achieved under the Al Qathafi government and the shortcomings in most of the nations now trying to oust the Libyan leader, particularly the US, Britain, France and Italy where unemployment is high and, unlike the Libyan people, many are homeless.

Farrakhan said the United Nations and its 15-member Security Council, who he referred to as "the terror council," have no legitimate right to exist for passing the resolution that has allowed NATO to take military action in Libya.

The Muslim clergyman said he was at the conference to discuss the current state of affairs in Libya, and the actions taken by the UN with respect to the UN Resolution 1973. He said he was addressing his remarks to the United Nations and all those who have joined in destroying the Libyan leader, Muammar Al Qathafi and the Libyan Jamahiriyah.

Requesting justification for such an action by the UN Security Council, against Al Qathafi, he asked that if the resolution was taken to protect the civilian population of Libya from the so-called evil intentions of the leader in Libya, why then is NATO, under the auspices of the Security Council forgetting about humanitarian concerns and now using Resolution 1973 as a pretext to assassinate Muammar Al Qathafi and create regime change.

He went on to ask the UN why it is fostering, through NATO, armed rebellion to create civil war, knowing that in a civil war, the humanitarian concerns go out the window.

He said the actions of NATO, along with the US, Qatar, Canada, Britain, France and Italy and members of the Arab League engaging in the errant behavior are creating conditions that will ultimately bring about the destruction of the UN and all those engaged in this action, blinded by arrogance and the sense of power of these nations that they can do what they will.

Minister Farrakhan praised Muammar Al Qathafi's leadership of Libya and the revolution, that was achieved in a bloodless coup 41 years ago, when he replaced the former king who was a friend of those who were sucking the blood of Libya and nationalises oil, one must ask the question of who did his actions help, and who did his actions hurt?

He said this hurt those who for the first time had to pay a fair price for Libya sweet crude, the highest quality oil in the world, which meant that the people of Libya could, from the sale of their oil, better their quality of life.

He encouraged the Libyan leader to resist pressure from so-called friendly states, for him to step aside.

"What has Muammar Al Qathafi done to deserve what this united coalition of demons is putting on him?" Farrakhan said. "They say he has lost the moral right (to rule) because he has killed his own people. But you have never proved that charge. Check the record," he said.

A Libyan diplomat who disavowed Al Qathafi's government earl in the days of the conflict in Libya, and who attended the conference along with others who are based at the U.N. Headquarters took issue with Farrakhan's characterisation of the leader as blameless. He claimed that Libyan forces loyal to the Libyan leader had indeed killed unarmed protesters.

Farrakhan said if only China or Russia - both veto-wielding permanent members, joined the initial condemnation - had vetoed, and not were among countries abstaining when military action was authorised, "none of this would have happened."

"Has the West promised you some of what they plan to steal from Libya?" he asked of the two countries, suggesting that the developed world is interested in the country's oil as part of a plan to "recolonise Africa."

Farrakhan said Russia and China could still redeem themselves by bringing the matter back to the Security Council to halt the NATO action.

He lambasted US President Obama, who he said is "surrounded by people who are Zionist-controlled or Zionist." He also criticised what he called the "arrogance" of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for "telling Africans what to do with Africa" when she met with regional leaders this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and urged Al Qathafi's few remaining allies to sever ties with him.

Farrakhan said officials of the U.S., with its high rate of crime and poverty, had no right to judge whether Libya adheres to humanitarian principles. He said America's record stinks in the nostrils of God. You who in the name of humanitarian efforts want to save the population of Libya? Save them from whom, and from what? He asked.

He criticised the fact that the US has the nerve to put people in front of the International Criminal Court, and asked how many nations has the US seduced to sign a document that they will never bring an American before the ICC.

He went on to ask: “Is there some racism involved in who you put before the ICC, with a record like yours, with a record like Israel's? Why don't any of you and the Israelis, for what they did in Gaza, for what they did in Lebanon, why don't you bring them before the court?...because America has a veto; it will never happen.”

He repeated that there appears to be racism involved in this, since all the cases that they prosecuted are all African. “Why Aren't any of you before the ICC?” he asked once more.

Minister Farrakhan When the UN was established in 1945, it said it wanted to bring peace in the world, but there have been 65 different wars since then, and now many more are arising.

“Is this your work?” he asked, “Then why should we have a United Nations when you have failed to bring about what you said you would bring about in your charter.

“So has the United Nations lost its legitimate right to exist?

Minister Farrakhan also sent an open letter to the Libyan leader, Muammar Al Qathafi, which he read at the end of the conference. In it he also expressed his and the people of Islam's deepest sympathy for the loss of his son and three grandchildren.

Also present at the conference was former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who also been involved in human rights issues all over the world and wherever injustice has taken place. He briefly addressed the conference, saying it was absolutely necessary for the people to stand up. He iurged the UN to put up a stop to this conflict in Libya. “It has to stop, and stop right now,” he said.

Another speaker was the chairperson of the December 12 Movement, who has also been involved in human rights struggles, in America and internationally, while international activist and former Congresswoman from Georgia, USA, Cynthia McKinney talked to the conference on the phone, live from Tripoli, Libya.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bobolinks, Bitterroots & Burn Barrels

In This Edition:
[Edited 6/9/11, 5 PM]
- A Seldom Noticed but Locally Somewhat Common Bird--Bobolinks in Richland (Includes short video)

- One of Baker County's Most Interesting and Beautiful Wildflowers--The Oregon Bitterroot

-Burn Barrels Revisited

- Late Addition: Hells Canyon Preservation Council Wolf Action Alert


Bobolinks in Richland

In Baker County, the Bobolink, Dolichonyx oryzivorus (Linnaeus, 1758), is a locally common, but for the most part rare, member of the Blackbird and Oriole family. We live on the western edge of its summer range. It breeds and attempts to raise its young in the taller grasslands and meadows of eastern Oregon, but spends the winter as far south as Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay, flying up to 12,000 miles in a single year. You'd never know from watching them in their northern breeding grounds that they were strong flyers, as they seem to flutter a bit in a tentative flight. Their song has been described as "a bubbling delirium of ecstatic music. . . ." which you can listen to in the video below.

The bird in the video was one of perhaps three males hopefully breeding in a Timothy hay field at Richland, OR, on June 3rd, 2011. According to ODFW (Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife), "due to land use change and other factors, this grassland bird species is declining in Oregon." One problem it faces is early haying on its chosen nesting grassland. I can tell you that it is not very often seen in any event, but it is also sometimes observed here in the Baker and Bowen Valleys.

Bobolink-Richland, OR-06/03/11


The Oregon Bitterroot
Bitterroot along the Snake River Road

Even though Oregon bitterroot (aka bitter root, bitterroot and Lewisia rediviva) is the Montana state flower, and was "discovered" by Lewis and Clark in the Bitterroot Mountains there, one of its currently accepted common names is none-the-less, Oregon Bitterroot. From my first encounter with this white to pink petaled little treasure in Utah some years ago, it has remained one of my favorite spring wildflowers. It is a member of the Purslane Family (Portulacaceae), like, oddly enough, the common annual garden flower, Portulaca, and the weedy small yellow flowered succulent, common purslane.

Yes, the root is said to be bitter, but is rendered palatable by cooking and mixing with meat and/or berries, and some native American tribes treated it as a delicacy. One story alleges that the upper red portion of the root is effective in warding off bears, but you might want to have a back-up plan just in case.

The leaves are long, fleshy and finger-like, and they often wither back into the root by flowering. This is the case in the photo above, but not in the plant just below.
Bitterroot flowering with leaves still present near Seismograph Road.

You may find it growing in sandy terrain in Utah, but most commonly, as here in eastern Oregon, I find it in rocky areas with clay soils. Right now it is blooming on the Snake River Road south east of Richland, near Seismograph Road east south east of Sparta, and there are a few on the rocky clay hills above Forshey Creek along the East Eagle (70) Road. [6/9/11--The Forest Service just allowed the privately owned cows (see below) out on the meadow today, so God help all the wildflowers there!]
Leafless Bitterroot blooming along the Snake River Road

[Added 6/9/11 6 PM]
I was up photographing wildflowers on Forshey Meadows (70 Road to Lily White and East Eagle) today. Blooming flowers included Camas, Swamp onion, White Mules Ears and their crosses with yellow Mules ears, Big-head Clover, Orobanche uniflora, Rock Cresses, Peonies and others. The very few Bitterroot plants that remain were getting ready to bloom at any moment. As I travelled up the Sparta Road to the 70 Road, I passed through cows being herded up onto the public forest land at Forshey Meadows, and when I came back to the meadows after photographing several wildflowers there, some in bloom, some with seed, I found that the cows had arrived to trample and munch the meadow life into oblivion in our late Spring.

Cows trampling and munching the meadow life into oblivion

Privately owned cow having its way on the public's land

Too bad the Forest Service didn't let the wildflowers seed before the cows trampled them and munched the up for someone's private gain.

Burn Barrels Revisited

Ann Mehaffy's nicely done and possibly legal burn barrel, May 26, 2011 (Ann Mehaffy is Program Director, Historic Baker City)

When I was growing up in Southern California in the 50s and 60's, that portion of the state was still truly "the land of milk and honey." The landscape just outside of town was covered with citrus groves and even a few vineyards. We even had burn barrels and a few had other others brick structures for burning in the back yards. These were most often referred to as incinerators, which the neighborhoods used to burn trash and yard waste. By the late 60s, the hordes had moved in from the east and were beginning to move in from south of the border. When I flew in on an extra seat on an air force flight in the late 60s, I noticed the smog beginning to envelope a valley that had before been clear. Most of this smog had blown in from points west, like Los Angeles, only to be captured and contained in our valley by the surrounding mountain ranges. Sometime around then, due to deteriorating air quality, the burn barrels and other incinerators were eliminated. The population was just over 63,000 in 1950, but was about 107,000 in 1970. In the late 80s and during he 1990s, I lived part-time in a small rural town in western Utah. Burn barrels and more commonly, open burning, were common sights there. When I moved to mostly unpopulated and rural eastern Oregon, in 1999, I found that people still used burn barrels, and where they had sufficient land, practiced open burning of yard waste and leaves. When I arrived in Baker City in 2004, my neighbors did the same, and it didn't bother me one bit. I didn't see it as "inconsiderate," I saw it as an opportunity in an area of low population density and where the air was still clean enough to do so without causing any lasting harm. If you look carefully, you will still see many burn barrels tucked away on the west side of town, but also in many other neighborhoods as well. Many of my neighbors use burn barrels and/or practice open burning, but most of them did not know about the proposed ordinance until I informed them, and they were against it.

The population in Baker City is now even lower (a bit over 9,800) than when I moved here, and our good air quality, according to DEQ measurements, is actually getting better. Unfortunately, an apparently power hungry and somewhat ill-informed Council, eager to please certain interests, have produced a non-sensical burning ordinance that would make burn barrels useless except for the burning of dioxin polluting paper. The Councilors apparently feel this shows they are "doing something" for the comfortable city dwellers who have moved here from the more urban areas that have been ruined, and for the well-off locals who look down their noses at people who struggle or who simply like to burn their yard waste.

To justify the need for the ordinance, some people I communicate with, especially those on the Council (when I can even get them to acknowledge my existence and e-mails), want to focus on the importance of stopping the burning of household garbage and plastics, which are already banned. The main problem with that argument, obviously, is that the burning of most household garbage is already illegal. Instead of focusing on making the current ordinance enforceable, they have actually produced an ordinance that outlaws the periodic burning of much less harmful yard waste in burn barrels, in favor of the burning of paper, which releases a known carcinogen (among other things), i.e., dioxin.

To be clear about my own preferences, I don't see any public good in allowing the burning of toxics, like large quantities of dioxin producing paper and plastic coated paper, or plastics of any sort, or many other materials found in common household garbage. The EPA has made a good case for not allowing that, and the current ordinance already recognizes those facts (except for paper). What I do have a problem with is an ill thought out, over-reaching, heavy-handed and draconian ordinance which bans less problematic substances being burned in burn barrels, while at the same time promoting the burning of dioxin polluting paper, when there has been almost no attempt to educate people about proper burn barrel construction and ventilation for better burning burn barrels, and other alternatives for disposal of trash (which I have touched on in previous blogs, i.e. recycling and container sharing, etc.).

Here is a summary of the objection to the ordinance (in no particular order):

- The city has provided little low cost locally specific data to justify the ordinance, and the Council has not made much more than personal anecdotes available, even though they should be able to provide more specific information.

- Our air is clean, and has been getting cleaner. Other than enforcement issues with the current ordinance, the proposed ordinance is a solution looking for a problem.

- Most people use their barrels for burning yard debris, not household garbage and trash.  The latter is already banned. See current permit: 

"All Burning: 

* ONLY untreated wood, paper products and yard debris are permitted to be burned
* It is NEVER permissible to burn household garbage (foodstuffs, plastic, metal, diapers, etc.)"

- It seems like the ordinance will punish responsible burners for the crimes of a few. Rather that using the draconian measure of banning the most common, and least problematic use of burn barrels, i,e., burning wood and yard debris, a few measures can be taken first:

a.  Enforce current law with an ordinance that provides for that enforcement.

b.  Make a concerted effort to educate people as to how to construct a burn barrel so that it has the proper ventilation to create a hot and efficient fire, and on the health hazards associated with burning household garbage, including plastics and paper. Also, make sure people understand that they have the legal and very inexpensive option of taking plastics, oil, paper, and many other recyclables to the recycle center, and that they can use leaves and household vegetable waste for mulch and compost. They can take toxics like paint to Ace, and many others, like batteries and contaminated gasoline to the recycle center on Wednesdays. They can make other arrangements such as garbage pickup sharing with neighbors or friends for any other waste that is illegal to burn, like foodstuffs and some plastics.

- Many people affected don't even know about the ordinance. Only two of several I initially spoke with even knew about it. They don't follow city news in the Herald or Record Courier, and they will not respond to Council in any event, because they feel disenfranchised and marginalized. They know that Council doesn't care about their lives and their problems, and that the Council's priorities are aligned with downtown business interests. They will find ways to do what they think they need to do. Despite Councilor Pope's invitation, most users of burn barrels will not show up at next Tuesday's meeting, as he well knows.

- There are several references to the dioxin problems created by burning paper on state and US EPA sites. Mike Kee sent me some links to sites from densely populated eastern states that he apparently didn't read very thoroughly. 

Eg. from a link on one site:

It says:
Even burning paper today can release dioxins into the air.

Past generations burned their household trash, but it did not contain plastics, foils, batteries, paper (which is bleached with chlorine) and other materials. Even burning paper today can release dioxins into the air. Burning household trash, whether in an open pit, burn barrel or a wood stove, is illegal, unhealthy, unneighborly and unnecessary.

There are other links available that deal with the paper burning issue.

-Lastly: The Council seems to have an inconsistent standard on toxic pollution. Council defends the 24-7 mercury emissions from Ash Grove (See for example: Ash Grove files suit against EPA’s ruling | Baker City Herald & Ash Grove’s mercury wait continues | Baker City Herald). I understand why they would like to give them time to develop adequate technology to deal with their problem, but the Council then wants to come down hard on residents, many who are low income with few alternatives, without giving them the information and time to adjust their garbage disposal and burning practices.

See: February 8, 2011: Mike Kee & Council Comments on New Proposed Oregon Water Quality Standards.mp4

Here is the description of the video above and some supporting information:

Baker City is a small town of less than 10,000 people in north east Oregon and we are blessed with clean air and clean drinking water. At a time prior to now (May-June 2011), when the Council is supporting an ill-conceived ordinance that would eliminate occasional burning of wood and yard waste in burn barrels, the Council was upset on February 8, 2011, about more stringent proposed water quality rules that would help clean up our waste and agricultural drainage water and which would help protect low income, native, and minority communities dependent on the consumption of fish from those waters.

In his presentation, City Manager Mike Kee misrepresents the rules to an uninformed Council. He states that the old rule was based on "17.5 grams of fish a day that the average Oregonian consumed." According to DEQ, the standard was based on "national consumption data," not Oregon consumption, which was part of the problem. The new rules of 175 grams of fish a day take into account not national, not the "average Oregonian," but Oregon's "susceptible groups", i.e., those mentioned at the end of the last paragraph.

Mayor Dorrah says "They're nuts!" (to much laughter)

Councilor Calder: "Have they heard of catch and release?"

Councilor Bonebrake: "Are they going to require that we eat all this fish?"

Most interestingly, in the case of burn barrels, the Council is supporting an ordinance that bans less harmful burning of wood and yard debris (weeds, and etc.), in favor of allowing ONLY the burning of Dioxin (known carcinogen) producing paper. The fact is that our air quality has been steadily improving for over five years. 

Council is always very protective of business interests and their pollution, but seemingly deaf to the concerns of low income people who cut their "cost of doing business" through occasional burning of yard waste in burn barrels.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin. 
ODFW has issued a MODERATE mercury level alert for the "Snake River including Brownlee Reservoir (Snake River Zone). This means:


* Children under 6 should eat no more than one 4-ounce serving every month.
* Women of childbearing age should eat no more than one 8-ounce serving every two weeks. 

* Healthy adults should eat no more than one 8-ounce serving every week.

Many Baker County (along with out of county and out of state) residents eat fish from Brownlee and the Snake River, along with the Tribes downstream.

According to a report by the Oregon Environmental Council:
In Oregon, the major sources of industrial mercury are mercury-added products (such as thermostats, thermometers and fluorescent lamps), point sources (such as power plants that burn coal, commercial and industrial boilers, steel mills, and cement kilns), and abandoned mercury and gold mines. Additional sources of mercury in Oregon include laboratories, dental offices, health care facilities, global emissions, and erosion of native soils. The total amount of mercury released from human sources to air, water, and land in Oregon is estimated at approximately 4,500 pounds annually.

Oregon's two largest source of mercury emissions are the coal-fired power plant at Boardman, emitting an estimated 165 lbs a year, and the Ash Grove cement kiln in the Eastern Oregon town of Durkee, emitting an estimated 2,500 lbs of mercury a year. In 2004, the Ash Grove Cement plant was the third largest source of airborne mercury in the nation.

Council has been very supportive of Ash Grove in their attempts to lower the mercury emission standard for Ash Grove, but they have no qualms about eliminating the occasional use of burn barrels by primarily lower income residents who burn yard wastes (again, burning most garbage is already illegal). Why they would allow the burning of dioxin emitting paper, while disallowing much less toxic yard waste, (actually not proven to be carcinogenic, unlike dioxin.), is beyond me.

Background info:
OPB: DEQ Puts Forward Strict Water Quality Standards

Oregonian: Bills in the Legislature might water down Oregon's tough new limits on toxic water pollution


Detailed Oregon DEQ Background, Analysis and Staff Report for Revised Water Quality Rules from June 2, 2011

Changes to the proposed Water Quality Rules in response to lobbying

Previous post on the proposed burn ordinance:

MONDAY, MAY 9, 2011
War on the Poor Escalates--City Ordinance Would Add Restrictions to Burn Barrels (There is a New Burn Fee Too!)

MONDAY, MAY 23, 2011
City Council to Discuss a Revised Burning Ordinance Tomorrow Night



At this time only 17 wolves remain in Oregon.

Over this last year Oregon lost 4 wolves. Two wolves from the Imnaha pack were shot by ODFW (Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife) in response to livestock depredations this spring. Another wolf from the Imnaha pack died after being tranquilized, captured, and radio-collared by ODFW in late winter. A wolf from the Wenaha pack was illegally shot by a poacher last fall.

ODFW confirmed less than a dozen cows lost to wolves since wolves began returning to Oregon. Affected ranchers were financially compensated., yet wildlife officials killed wolves in response to all confirmed livestock losses.

ODFW just announced plans to kill 2 more Imnaha pack wolves.

See more of this article at the link above.