Pavlov named most conservative, nominated Michigan Senator of the Year 


Please. Spare us the sanctimony. He cannot name one piece of legislation he’s written, co-authored or supported which reduced the role, power or authority of State Government to dictate to Local Governments what they should or should not be doing. Not one.  A true political conservative is not all about “smaller government” – that is a total misnomer. A true political conservative is all about a less powerful government which exercises limited authority over truly smaller governments such as counties, townships, cities, villages and public school districts. A true political conservative does everything in his/her power to support smaller governments such as counties, townships, cities, villages and public school districts through direct empowerment, local-control and autonomy and revenue-sharing. Direct democracy IS political conservatism.  – JLS

  • By Chris Aldridge Tribune Staff Writer

UPPER THUMB — Sen. Phil Pavlov says he listened to the first few minutes of a podcast naming Michigan’s senator of the year. Then the phone rang.

Had he ignored the call and kept listening, he would have learned his name was tossed in the ring.

“I’m usually on top of things, (but) this is the first I’ve heard of it,” the St. Clair Republican told the Tribune Tuesday.

Reporters at MIRS — the Michigan Information & Research Service, a Capitol news service — in a “MIRS Monday” podcast, Dec. 28, took turns naming their choices for both Michigan’s senator and freshman senator of the year.

Getting the first nod for senator of the year was Pavlov.

“I don’t think any other legislator had as much influence on what came out than Senator Pavlov,” MIRS reporter Jacob Kanclerz said, calling Pavlov’s teacher evaluation bill — SB 103 — “one of the biggest pieces of legislation that moved through.”

“Besides teacher (evaluations) … he is chair of the (Senate) education committee, he stays pretty involved. He’s doing a new series not just focusing on the financial difficulties of schools but the academic side.”

Along with Pavlov, MIRS reporters considered Sens. Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge and Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekoff, R-West Olive. Meekoff would take the honorary title.

Although not dubbed Michigan’s senator of the year, Pavlov still sees honor in the nomination.

“When you do go to Lansing, you are working,” he said. “People don’t always see what I do in Lansing every day. It’s a great honor to be viewed by people who follow Lansing government (in this way.)”

Pavlov, too, called his teacher evaluation bill big and an “important piece of our education policy.”

“When you look at education in the state of Michigan, to me the most important function is the teacher in the classroom,” he said.

He said the bill creates a way to fairly and accurately assess teachers’ performance. The effort was “big” too, he said.

“We took a lot of input, from unions, school management, lobbyists, teachers, superintendents, principals, administration, school boards,” Pavlov said. “We’re evaluating everybody in the system. It’s so important to get it right.”

Days before the holiday, the senator who represents Huron, Sanilac, St. Clair and a small portion of Macomb County, would, however, take a different crown: MIRS named Pavlov the most conservative senator in Michigan.

In a review of 50 select roll call votes, MIRS reported Pavlov never missed a vote in 2015 and voted conservatively 92 percent of the time, more than any other senator.

Without going back to check himself, Pavlov said that sounded right.

“My philosophy is, government is too big,” he said.

He says being conservative is “interesting.”

“What we’re trying to accomplish here is slow down the size of our government and make sure the government is working for our people,” Pavlov said. “Voting for state government expansions is not in the best interest of those in the Thumb.

“I think voters are fed up with liberal politics. You’ll see that because voters have sent majority Republicans to the Senate, House, governor’s office, Supreme Court, Attorney General. The people I work for in the Thumb are fed up with the way that spending is being pushed on them. They want a more responsible government in place.”

Go here for the rest of the story: Pavlov named most conservative, nominated Michigan Senator of the Year | News |

Looking back at the 1990 Times Beach Settlement | Will EPA investigators be in Flint, Detroit soon?

EPA » Times Beach Settlement Reached

EPA press release – July 20, 1990]

A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit concerning the cleanup of Times Beach and other dioxin-contaminated sites in eastern Missouri.

The consent decree between the United States, the State of Missouri, and the Syntex entities implements the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Record of Decision, which was issued September 29, 1988. This decision calls for incineration at Times Beach of dioxin-contaminated soils from 28 sites, including Times Beach, in eastern Missouri. Times Beach has been a ghost town since 1983, when it was purchased by the State of Missouri, using Superfund monies.

Morris Kay, EPA Region 7 Administrator, said, “The settlement with Syntex will result in the permanent destruction of dioxin and the return of Times Beach to beneficial use.

The Bush Administration has taken a strong enforcement stance to assure that private parties potentially responsible for environmental problems are held accountable for the cleanup. The agreement announced today underscores our commitment.

The Department of Justice, EPA and the State of Missouri believe the Record of Decision sets forth a safe and effective plan for the comprehensive cleanup of the dioxin-contaminated sites in eastern Missouri. EPA is committed to continue pursuing the remaining potentially responsible parties and to assure implementation of the remedy as outlined by the Record of Decision.”

The agreement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, calls for Syntex to implement the remedy set forth in EPA’s Record of Decision.

Syntex will demolish and dispose of non-contaminated structures and debris in uncontaminated areas of Times Beach. That activity is scheduled to begin after the consent decree is entered by the court.

Syntex also agreed to design and construct an incinerator at Times Beach to destroy all dioxin-contaminated soils from the 28 sites in eastern Missouri. At the conclusion of the incineration project, Syntex agrees to dismantle the incinerator and ancillary buildings, remove them from Times Beach and restore the area. The Record of Decision estimates that the work will take five to seven years. Syntex also agreed to reimburse the United States for a part of the government’s costs by paying $10 million.

EPA Administrator William Reilly commented on the settlement: “This Administration has redirected Superfund emphasis toward an ‘Enforcement First’ program to encourage private parties to clean up contaminated sites. The announcement today exemplifies this approach.

Last fiscal year, the government reached 49 settlements with potentially responsible parties, a 53 percent increase over the previous. Last year’s settlements were estimated to be worth $620 million. We are very serious about enforcement of cleanups under Superfund.”

According to the Record of Decision, incineration is the only proven method of permanent dioxin destruction. The thermal treatment facility at Times Beach will be temporary, treating contaminated soils from the 28 dioxin sites in eastern Missouri only.

Once the dioxin cleanup is completed, the thermal treatment facility will be removed.

There will be a 30-day public comment period on the consent decree.

Source: Times Beach Settlement Reached | About EPA | US EPA

The Love Canal Tragedy | Are their lessons here for lead poisoning of Flint, Detroit water systems?

The Love Canal Tragedy

by Eckardt C. Beck
[EPA Journal – January 1979]

Quite simply, Love Canal is one of the most appalling environmental tragedies in American history.

But that’s not the most disturbing fact.What is worse is that it cannot be regarded as an isolated event. It could happen again–anywhere in this country–unless we move expeditiously to prevent it.It is a cruel irony that Love Canal was originally meant to be a dream community.

That vision belonged to the man for whom the three-block tract of land on the eastern edge of Niagara Falls, New York, was named–William T. Love.Love felt that by digging a short canal between the upper and lower Niagara Rivers, power could be generated cheaply to fuel the industry and homes of his would-be model city.

But despite considerable backing, Love’s project was unable to endure the one-two punch of fluctuations in the economy and Nikola Tesla’s discovery of how to economically transmit electricity over great distances by means of an alternating current.By 1910, the dream was shattered.

All that was left to commemorate Love’s hope was a partial ditch where construction of the canal had begun.In the 1920s the seeds of a genuine nightmare were planted. The canal was turned into a municipal and industrial chemical dumpsite.Landfills can of course be an environmentally acceptable method of hazardous waste disposal, assuming they are properly sited, managed, and regulated.

Love Canal will always remain a perfect historical example of how not to run such an operation.In 1953, the Hooker Chemical Company, then the owners and operators of the property, covered the canal with earth and sold it to the city for one dollar.It was a bad buy.In the late ’50s, about 100 homes and a school were built at the site.

Perhaps it wasn’t William T. Love’s model city, but it was a solid, working-class community. For a while.On the first day of August, 1978, the lead paragraph of a front-page story in the New York Times read:NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y.–Twenty five years after the Hooker Chemical Company stopped using the Love Canal here as an industrial dump, 82 different compounds, 11 of them suspected carcinogens, have been percolating upward through the soil, their drum containers rotting and leaching their contents into the backyards and basements of 100 homes and a public school built on the banks of the canal.

In an article prepared for the February, 1978 EPA Journal, I wrote, regarding chemical dumpsites in general, that “even though some of these landfills have been closed down, they may stand like ticking time bombs.” Just months later, Love Canal exploded.The explosion was triggered by a record amount of rainfall. Shortly thereafter, the leaching began.

I visited the canal area at that time. Corroding waste-disposal drums could be seen breaking up through the grounds of backyards. Trees and gardens were turning black and dying. One entire swimming pool had been had been popped up from its foundation, afloat now on a small sea of chemicals. Puddles of noxious substances were pointed out to me by the residents.

Some of these puddles were in their yards, some were in their basements, others yet were on the school grounds. Everywhere the air had a faint, choking smell. Children returned from play with burns on their hands and faces.And then there were the birth defects.

The New York State Health Department is continuing an investigation into a disturbingly high rate of miscarriages, along with five birth-defect cases detected thus far in the area.I recall talking with the father of one the children with birth defects.

“I heard someone from the press saying that there were only five cases of birth defects here,” he told me. “When you go back to your people at EPA, please don’t use the phrase ‘only five cases.’ People must realize that this is a tiny community.

Five birth defect cases here is terrifying.”A large percentage of people in Love Canal are also being closely observed because of detected high white-blood-cell counts, a possible precursor of leukemia.

When the citizens of Love Canal were finally evacuated from their homes and their neighborhood, pregnant women and infants were deliberately among the first to be taken out.

“We knew they put chemicals into the canal and filled it over,” said one woman, a long-time resident of the Canal area., “but we had no idea the chemicals would invade our homes. We’re worried sick about the grandchildren and their children.”

Two of this woman’s four grandchildren have birth defects. The children were born and raised in the Love Canal community. A granddaughter was born deaf with a cleft palate, an extra row of teeth, and slight retardation. A grandson was born with an eye defect.

Of the chemicals which comprise the brew seeping through the ground and into homes at Love Canal, one of the most prevalent is benzene — a known human carcinogen, and one detected in high concentrations. But the residents characterize things more simply.

“I’ve got this slop everywhere,” said another man who lives at Love Canal.

His daughter also suffers from a congenital defect.

On August 7, New York Governor Hugh Carey announced to the residents of the Canal that the State Government wold purchase the homes affected by chemicals.

On that same day, President Carter approved emergency financial aid for the Love Canal area (the first emergency funds ever to be approved for something other than a “natural” disaster), and the U.S. Senate approved a “sense of Congress” amendment saying that Federal aid should be forthcoming to relieve the serious environmental disaster which had occurred.

By the month’s end, 98 families had already been evacuated. Another 46 had found temporary housing. Soon after, all families would be gone from the most contaminated areas — a total of 221 families have moved or agreed to be moved.

State figures show more than 200 purchase offers for homes have been made, totaling nearly $7 million.

A plan is being set in motion now to implement technical procedures designed to meet the seemingly impossible job of detoxifying the Canal area. The plan calls for a trench system to drain chemicals from the Canal. It is a difficult procedure, and we are keeping our fingers crossed that it will yield some degree of success.

I have been very pleased with the high degree of cooperation in this case among local, State, and Federal governments, and with the swiftness by which the Congress and the President have acted to make funds available.

But this is not really where the story ends.

Quite the contrary.

We suspect that there are hundreds of such chemical dumpsites across this Nation.

Unlike Love Canal, few are situated so close to human settlements. But without a doubt, many of these old dumpsites are time bombs with burning fuses — their contents slowly leaching out. And the next victim cold be a water supply, or a sensitive wetland.

The presence of various types of toxic substances in our environment has become increasingly widespread — a fact that President Carter has called “one of the grimmest discoveries of the modern era.”

Chemical sales in the United States now exceed a mind-boggling $112 billion per year, with as many as 70,000 chemical substances in commerce.

Love Canal can now be added to a growing list of environmental disasters involving toxics, ranging from industrial workers stricken by nervous disorders and cancers to the discovery of toxic materials in the milk of nursing mothers.

Through the national environmental program it administers, the Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to draw a chain of Congressional acts around the toxics problem.

The Clean Air and Water Acts, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Pesticide Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act — each is an essential link.

Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, EPA is making grants available to States to help them establish programs to assure the safe handling and disposal of hazardous wastes. As guidance for such programs, we are working to make sure that State inventories of industrial waste disposal sites include full assessments of any potential dangers created by these sites.

Also, EPA recently proposed a system to ensure that the more than 35 million tons of hazardous wastes produced in the U.S. each year, including most chemical wastes, are disposed of safely. Hazardous wastes will be controlled from point of generation to their ultimate disposal, and dangerous pratices now resulting in serious threats to health and environment will not be allowed.

Although we are taking these aggressive strides to make sure that hazardous waste is safely managed, there remains the question of liability regarding accidents occurring from wastes disposed of previously. This is a missing link. But no doubt this question will be addressed effectively in the future.

Regarding the missing link of liability, if health-related dangers are detected, what are we as s people willing to spend to correct the situation? How much risk are we willing to accept? Who’s going to pick up the tab?

One of the chief problems we are up against is that ownership of these sites frequently shifts over the years, making liability difficult to determine in cases of an accident. And no secure mechanisms are in effect for determining such liability.

It is within our power to exercise intelligent and effective controls designed to significantly cut such environmental risks. A tragedy, unfortunately, has now called upon us to decide on the overall level of commitment we desire for defusing future Love Canals. And it is not forgotten that no one has paid more dearly already than the residents of Love Canal.

Beck was Administrator of EPA Region 2, 1977-1979.

Source: The Love Canal Tragedy | About EPA | US EPA

When It Comes To Open Carry Or Concealed Carry, Neither Protects You At All.

by mikethegunguy

open carry

Considering the fact that Texas now joins 44 other states in allowing its residents to openly carry handguns into public venues like restaurants, shopping malls and so forth, why has the Texas open-carry issue become such a big deal?

I’ll tell you why.

Because the argument over the bill was loud and intense, and the opponents of the new law have vowed to vigorously pursue an opt-out strategy into the new year.

The Texas law, as opposed to other states, gives merchants and other property-owners the right to post a notice saying that open-carry is not permitted on their premises, and a new website

has just popped up that carries an impressive list of businesses that want the open-carry nation to leave their guns at home.

Most of the now-45 states that have passed open-carry laws do not… (follow the link below for the rest of mikethegunguy’s post.

Source: When It Comes To Open Carry Or Concealed Carry, Neither Protects You At All.