Oklahoma County is being honored for its work retooling the former General Motors assembly plant.
District 3 County Commissioner Ray Vaughn got word recently that the county had been chosen the Phoenix Award winner from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 6. The awards are given around the country for brownfield development.
The state Department of Environmental Quality nominated the local project, which over five years transformed the former GM plant into an engine repair and maintenance facility for the U.S. Department of Defense.
The local project will be honored at a banquet next week in Atlanta, where it’ll be in the running for the grand prize or people’s choice awards. Kudos.
Another day, another pointless protest along the route of the Keystone XL pipeline’s southern leg. Meantime, Americans remain supportive of the more controversial northern leg.
Protesters in Oklahoma (but not necessarily from Oklahoma) this week continued their childish antics of fastening themselves to construction equipment, getting arrested for it and — no doubt — tweeting about their heroics. Monday’s protest came on the final day of the U.S. State Department’s formal comment period for the project.
Also this week, the Environmental Protection Agency weighed in with the dog-bites-man news that it has major concerns about Keystone’s link between Cushing and Canada’s vast oil sands reserves. And a survey was released showing that nearly 75 percent of Americans support the project. This exceeds the 68 percent support registered in Canada.
While the Obama administration continues to dawdle on the northern leg, the route from Cushing to the Gulf Coast has the blessing of Barack Obama himself. He made a campaign stop near Cushing last year to announce his approval of the project. Yet the protesters keep showing up in southern Oklahoma to take a stand.
This week marked the fifth such effort. One protester said he came from Ames, Iowa, to defend the Red River. Really? Defend it from what? A Texas invasion?
The remark illustrates the mindlessness of this effort. Irrelevant comparisons to a pipeline break in Arkansas are about the only thing the protesters have going for them. We suggest that the Iowan head home and help defend Mississippi River towns from an extant flooding threat.
That would be productive and heroic.
The Keystone XL pipeline protesters who’ve been idiotically chaining themselves to construction equipment should perhaps consider chaining themselves to railroad tanker cars. But that would be dangerous. Instead, they take the safe and easy method outlined in the protest manuals supplied them by environmental groups.
Two Oklahomans were arrested this week on the Keystone route, the latest in a line of protester arrests. The new chant for anti-pipeline activists is “Remember the Mayflower!” This is a reference to the rupture of an aging pipeline in Arkansas in recent days. Keystone is a state-of-the-art pipeline being built between Cushing and the Gulf Coast.
Nary a peep was heard from the greenies when a train derailed last month, spilling thousands of gallons of crude oil in western Minnesota.
Here’s the truth that protesters need to chain themselves to: If oil isn’t piped underground, it will be transported over land in trucks and trains. This is a much riskier proposition for the environment. For the protesters, though, Keystone has the cachet they need to get attention for their pointless behavior.
Nancy Zorn, 79, of Warr Acres used a bicycle lock to attach herself this week to a piece of equipment being used to build the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline in Hughes County. Zorn was jailed when she refused to leave.
A group that opposes the pipeline quoted the woman as saying she couldn’t sit still while “toxic tar sands are pumped down from Canada into our communities.” Zorn’s hope was that she might inspire others to join the fight.
She shouldn’t hold her breath.
Oklahomans strongly favor construction of the Keystone pipeline. They understand that building the pipeline means jobs, and that worries about pipeline safety are red herrings offered by anti-fossil fuel zealots.
Zorn is left with a story to tell her grandchildren, but not much else. The pipeline is coming, and it should.
The ongoing drought has generated similar proposals in Oklahoma and Texas.
Locally, legislation creating a $10 million Emergency Drought Relief Fund has gained House committee approval. The fund could pay for cleaning or building ponds, water conservation, water for livestock, rural fire suppression, getting rid of Eastern red cedar trees and other drought-relief activities identified by the governor.
In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry has called for tapping the state’s Rainy Day Fund to pay for water conservation projects. His plan may draw opposition from some tea party elements on the political right while also needing Democratic support on the left to get the two-thirds vote required — no sure thing.
So far, the Oklahoma proposal has received unanimous bipartisan support. Here’s hoping Oklahoma discussions remain centered on policy. This proposal should live or die based on merit and careful analysis, not the political version of inside baseball.
Mitt Romney got a chuckle at the Republican National Convention when he mocked Barack Obama’s 2008 promise that future generations could look back at his presidency as the time “when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Obama’s adoring fans weren’t laughing. They turned the remarks back on Romney, oblivious to the fact that candidate Obama’s high-sounding words had no connection to reality.
Nevertheless, Obama promised that the weather would be warmer at his second inaugural than his first. It was. An Associated Press writer took this too seriously — and too subjectively for a news reporter: “While his policies can lessen or worsen future projected global warming in a large scale, they cannot do anything about Washington’s daily temperature on Jan. 21.”
Just how does one affect something that’s not necessarily happening but is “projected” to happen? Does far-reaching government policy change the thing or the projection of the thing? For Obama and his fans, there’s no difference. He said it and that’s all that matters.
Moses never made it to the promised land. Matt Damon’s movie “Promised Land” hasn’t crossed the river into profitability. In fact, it’s going further into the wildnerness by the day.
On its third weekend of release, this movie designed to raise awareness about hydraulic fracturing averaged only $774 per screen. By contrast, “Argo” averaged $2,021 per screen even though it’s been out for 14 weeks.
“Promised Land” has grossed less than $7 million to date, which is less than half of what it cost to make the movie. And that figure doesn’t include extensive marketing costs. No doubt, Damon won’t express regret for doing this regrettable movie and it won’t cost him more than money.
One of the Ten Commandments of Hollywood is to sometimes mix social awareness with all the big-budget movies whose characters ignore that “Thou Shalt Not Kill” thing.
Gov. Mary Fallin is seeking federal Environmental Protection Agency approval for the state Department of Agriculture to handle EPA’s role in permitting concentrated animal feeding operations. Naturally, environmental groups are up in arms.
David Ocamb, director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Sierra Club, says “water is our state’s most precious resource” and claims animal feeding operations threaten water quality.
But large-animal feeding operations also depend upon a clean water supply. Without it, dead carcasses and diseased animals start to stack up and massive financial losses accrue. Agriculture producers in general are far more reliant on clean water than the average citizen.
It’s nonsense to claim the Department of Agriculture — or the agriculture industry as a whole — would turn a blind eye to potential water pollution. Environmentalists prefer the EPA not because it’s for clean water, but because its knee-jerk positions are often simply anti-business.
Weather trends that set records are sometimes cited to advance political causes such as anti-climate change initiatives. The word “record” is relative because recorded weather data only go back so far. Thus, the 113-degree day in August was a record high for Oklahoma Citybut not necessarily the hottest it’s ever been here and not necessarily an indication that people are making things hotter.
Here’s a “record” you may not be aware of: No tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma from June 1 through the end of September. That’s happened only once before, in 2003. But then the records date only to 1950. Before that, who knows?
Amid all the bad news about the weather this year, we can at least be thankful that the tail end of the spring tornado season wasn’t all that newsworthy.