Thursday, December 11, 2008

One thumb's up, one thumb's down for Sen. John Barrasso

Wyoming's Sen. John Barrasso had a very busy day today. On the plus side, he stood up for clean water. Here's a bit of the press release on his web site:

Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo) is demanding the Department of Defense own up to its role in contaminating Cheyenne’s water wells.

Barrasso fought for the results of the tests in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report. The report outlines the possible sources of trichloroethylene (TCE) found in Cheyenne’s water supply. A nearby nuclear missile site where TCE was once dumped is currently being cleaned up under the Superfund laws by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Barrasso called for the DoD to take direct responsibility for the contamination during a speech on the Senate floor. “The Army Corps over the last few years has looked to blame almost any other entity it can for the contamination in the city’s wells. Such claims have included that there might have been a train derailment carrying the contaminant in the area. They have also blamed a handful of nearby oil rigs, and a local shooting range. Anyone but themselves.”

Barrasso noted the clear connection between the nuclear missile site and the nearby Cheyenne water wells.

Applauding the city of Cheyenne and the state of Wyoming for their successful efforts to protect the folks of Cheyenne, Barrasso said, “Let me be clear, the city of Cheyenne’s water is safe.” Barrasso said that Wyoming taxpayers should not foot the bill. “Untold thousands of local taxpayer dollars have gone to keep TCE out of the water supply. The Army Corps and the U.S. Government has a responsibility to fund the clean up. They have a responsibility to fix the problem. It is time to do so.”

Ranking Member of the Superfund and Environmental Health Subcommittee, Barrasso pushed for testing between the one mile area of the nuclear missile site and the city of Cheyenne’s wells this year.

I live close to the nuke sites. But my neighborhood has been more worried about contamination from the adjacent Wyoming Air Guard Base. The feds have been drilling test wells in my neighborhood to measure TCE contamination. One was right at the edge of my lot. No contamination found, which is relief to us parents and gardeners. It is good to know that your U.S. Senator cares about your drinking water.

On the other hand, Barrasso voted against the so-called bailout of the U.S. auto industry. Unlike some of his hypocritical Republican colleagues, he didn't blame the auto workers for the sad shape of the industry. He issued this terse statement:

Taxpayer money alone cannot solve the problems that the auto industry created for itself.

I will not ask Wyoming taxpayers to subsidize failure.

The time has come for these companies to undergo substantial restructuring on every level without putting taxpayer dollars at risk.

Republicans have a lot of gall to denigrate working stiffs when the auto company CEOs and shareholders and investors were busy raking in the dough. They've been subsiding failure for eight years under Bush. Failure of the investment banks. Failure of mortgage lenders. Failure of two wars. One failure after another.

Is this the course they'll follow for the years under the Obama administration? They'll be outnumbered in the both the House and Senate. It won't be a veto-proof majority in the senate, but the Democrats can make very miserable for them -- and I hope they do.

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