Stream Protection Rule Defeated in U.S. Senate
Posted by Mary Catherine Dunphy (+2897) 4 years ago
Most of those onerous environmental regulations the Trump Administration complains about are there to protect citizens (some of whom are farmers and ranchers and their land) from the devastating effects of polluted air, water, toxic chemicals, etc. The Stream Protection Rule was recently defeated in the U.S. Senate by a 54-45 vote. It seems the coal industry is more important than the effects of polluted water on the agriculture industry. What is really ironic is that the coal industry is in decline due to free market forces and yet we will always need clean water and land in order to produce food.

Mark Fix, a local rancher, wrote this letter in praise of Senator Jon Tester's vote in favor of protecting Montana's clean water and its farmers and ranchers. It was recently published in the Miles City Star.

Dear editor:

I am writing to thank U.S. Sen. Jon Tester on his vote for the Stream Protection Rule. Sen. Tester has always been a friend to agriculture and his vote to protect the water below and downstream from coal mines is a testament to that. I live on the Tongue River and I irrigate with the water from the Tongue. This water is polluted by the Decker coal mine near the state line. The salts added to the water will destroy my soils over time, hurting my ability to make a living and damaging my neighbors’ livelihoods as well. The Stream Protection Rule would have helped protect the water quality for agriculture, Montana’s No. 1 industry.

The rule took seven years to write, with thousands of comments, meetings and hearings, not to mention extensive scientific review, to ensure that it was balanced to work best for everybody. But the Senate tossed it out right away with very little deliberation or discussion.

Sen. Tester knows that agriculture is the backbone of Montana and was here long before coal mines were permitted. As Sen. Tester pointed out, “Coal can be mined responsibly and still protect the water quality.” Our state works better when industries are good neighbors and play by rules that allow other people and industries to thrive, too. The coal mines in Montana should want to protect the water and should have embraced the Stream Protection Rule.

The defeat of the Stream Protection Rule shows me that many coal companies do not want to protect the water for downstream agricultural users and do not respect the rights of agriculture to have clean water to irrigate. It’s a shame that the overall Senate voted to get rid of these commonsense protections and make it easier for companies to pollute.

Mark Fix
Miles City, MT

Read more about the Senate vote at:
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14970) 4 years ago
Mary Catherine, with all due respect, I know you mean well with your posting. However, the truth is unless you take the time to reframe the topics you are posting about, you are actually helping the other side. If you don't understand what I mean by "framing", then I would encourage you to take a few days off from posting here and read "Don't think of an Elephant" by George Lakoff. After reading this book you will have a better understanding of how to frame issues and why not using the words of regressive's is so critical.

The truth is, people don't vote based on facts. They vote based on values and emotion. Facts alone will NOT set us free.

For example, let's take the stream protection issue and reframe it to explain what actually happened. Regressive's likely cheered at your headline. In fact, your headline is misleading. The stream protection rule wasn't defeated. The bill was not about protecting streams. It was about the exact opposite. Words carry meanings which trigger certain frameworks of understanding.

Water, especially surface water, is a public resource. The law signed today removed long-standing protections of water resources. The cost of cleaning that water for human consumption was just transferred from private polluters, in this case coal companies, to the public. The public is being forced to subsidize private industry. Because of the transfer of those costs, our individual freedom is being infringed upon because we all will have to bear the costs which rightfully belong to a private entity. The private polluters are being legally dismissed from the responsibility to care for a public resource. This is an immoral action.

"Regulation" is a chamber of commerce buzz word used to imply a penalty or cost to business. In actuality, when reframed, most regulation is concerned with protection of public resources to ensure the costs of damage are covered by the private users. The private always depends on the public. The public needs to stand up and demand private industry bear the costs for their activities. If we did this, coal is not a cost-effective commodity.

In reality, the bill signed into law today is largely symbolism over substance. The truth is coal is not longer competitive with cleaner fuels like natural gas or with alternative clean energy like solar. In most cases, solar is with in 3-4 cents/KWH of coal and is becoming less expensive. Coal is in rigor mortis.

"Climate change" is another buzz-phrase progressives should stop using. I prefer the term desertification or "degrassification" (my word). The phrase "climate change" was actually focus-group tested by the pollster Frank Luntz. Luntz wrote a 16 page recommendation to then President George W. Bush. https://nigguraths.files....onment.pdf When you hear the word "climate" most think of a balmy Palm Springs setting. When you hear the word "change" most think weather, and the weather is always changing. And because of this, the anthropological causation is doubted or removed.

The facts are our planet is warming. The causes of the warming are due to man's impact.(Not necessarily all fossil fuels fault.) The results of planetary warming are easily observed in desertification of semi-arid landscapes.

Honestly, as a progressive, if you are not going to take the time to reframe the issue, you would be better off not posting about it and we'd all be better off not talking about the issue until it can be reframed. Facts alone will not set us free. We MUST reframe issues to appeal to the values of voters who appreciate clean air and clean water. We MUST reframe to appeal to the basic morality of people being responsible and respectful with our natural resource. If we take the time to reframe, we will win most augments. Progressives lose when they allow regressive's to speak using their frames or we inadvertently use regressive framing.

[Edited by Richard Bonine, Jr. (2/17/2017 10:15:27 PM)]
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Posted by DJ4 (+186) 4 years ago
Mary Catherine Dunphy, I for one would like to thank you for posting this issue. I am directly affected by this action, as I irrigate from the tongue river. This will affect my livelihood, as well as many others. New jobs created, old jobs lost. An ironic twist.