Well, opening day has come and gone. I understand there is some sort of basketball bracket contest going on, but it's all about baseball for me. There's nothing like picking berries, cleaning salmon or fishing off my dock while I listen to Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett call the games on the radio.
I'm two down and 160 to go for the season but there's someone ruining my baseball buzz. It probably wasn't his intent, but Scott Pruitt is ruining baseball and well, our planet. I can't concentrate on Mookie Betts' batting when I'm worried about just how bad Pruitt is at his job as director of the Environmental Protection Agency.
It's not a shocker that Pruitt's mission is to dismantle the EPA. When he was the attorney general of Oklahoma, he sued the EPA more than a dozen times. This didn't slow down Sens. Murkowski and Sullivan during confirmation.
Like so many in the Trump administration, Pruitt seems to have taken the job to line his own pockets. He has some confusion about the term "public servant" and thinks the public exists now to serve him. He spent $120,000 of taxpayer money on a trip to Italy. He insisted the $7,000 ticket for the fancy seat was because he couldn't possibly sit in coach because people might know who he is. Oh, and they might not like him. The horror! It is even plausible that they might yell at him so, it's either private jet, military jets or fancy-class for him.
What a snowflake. A very precious and expensive snowflake who lives high on the hog thanks to the American worker.
This week we found out Pruitt has gotten a sweet-as-candy deal on the swanky rental he and his daughter have been sharing. How sweet? Well, the owners of the apartment are neck-deep in lobbying for oil and energy companies. I'm sure they are just friends. Right? That's not how it's supposed to work. People might think it's corrupt.
The EPA is getting ready to roll back fuel efficiency standards because everyone wants to burn more gas than they need to while commuting. Oh, wait, no, that would only help people selling fuel.
This administration wants to shrink national parks and open them for resource extraction. I have a problem with that. Good grief. Parks are for camping. That shouldn't be hard.
OK, so we've established that Scott Pruitt isn't good at his job, which seems to be what qualified him. How is all of this ruining baseball for me?
This week the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it's preparing an environmental impact statement for the Pebble Mine. Yes. The Pebble Mine is like a zombie and every time Alaskans say it isn't welcome they find some outsider to bring it back around. It's getting really old. The Corps said they'd open up comment for one month. ONE MONTH. In comparison, the Obama administration studied the Pebble Mine vs Wild Salmon issue for several years.
Alaskans agree that Pebble is the wrong mine in the wrong place. We passed a ballot initiative in 2016 that did something no other measure has ever done. It passed in every single precinct in the state. We're solid on this. We don't want to trade our salmon, our lives for a giant hole in the ground that does nothing for our state but make it worse. Thanks anyway.
So the EPA is in charge of monitoring mining project waste. Sometimes they fail. Remember the spill in Colorado a few years back? Here's a reminder, "A 3 million gallon wastewater spill from a Colorado gold mine, saying an EPA cleanup crew rushed its work and failed to consider the complex engineering involved, triggering the very blowout it hoped to avoid." That fail fouled rivers in three states. Oops.
The EPA is in charge of abandoned mines and the "water and surrounding watersheds where extraction, beneficiation or processing of ores and minerals has occurred," according to its website. We already have enough superfund sites without making a new one at the headwaters of Bristol Bay.
So Alaskans will have to show up and weigh in AGAIN with the Corps. It's time to tell the foreign owned companies who are pushing Pebble Mine on us that the game is over. It's time for them to go home and leave us to fish, hunt and listen to baseball.