Episodes

CD205: Nuclear Waste Storage

For 38 years, the United States government has been trying to figure out what to do with the radioactive nuclear waste that was created when the Defense Department developed nuclear weapons and the nuclear waste that continues to be created by nuclear power generation. In this episode, learn the history of this on-going dilemma and listen in on the debate as it currently rages in the 116th Congress. 


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Hearing: Nuclear Waste Storage, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, June 27, 2019.  

Watch on C-SPAN

Witnesses:
  • Maria Korsnick – President and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute
  • Steven Nesbit – Nuclear Waste Policy Task Force Chair at the American Nuclear Society
  • Geoffrey Fettus – Senir Attorney at the National Resources Defense Council
  • John Wagner – Associate Director at the Idaho National Labratory’s Nuclear Science & Technology Directorate Watch on YouTube
Transcript:

0:50 Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK): Beginning with the passage of the Nuclear Waste policy Act in 1982, congress has attempted several times to address the back end of the fuel cycle. In an effort to resolve an earlier stalemate, the federal government was supposed to begin taking title to use fuel and moving it to our pository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, beginning in 1998.

Manchin waste must be buried.aiff 5:30 Sen. Joe Manchin (WV):Since the National Academy of Sciences 1957 report recommending deep geologic disposal for highly radioactive waste, it is clear what we need to do with the nuclear waste. The prudent and responsible thing to do is to bury this waste deep in the earth, to protect the environment and public for generations to come. Unfortunately, the path to achieve this is not entirely clear.

7:45 Sen. Joe Manchin (WV): Failing to act means the federal government is racking up more liability to be paid to the utilities to store this waste in their own private storage facilities adjacent to the reactors. So the taxpayer is on the hook here to the tune of about $2 million a day with an estimated overall liability of $34.1 billion.

11:15 Maria Korsnick: Currently 97 commercial nuclear power plants in 29 states provide nearly 20% of the America’s electricity and more than half of the emissions free electricity.

12:00 Maria Korsnick: The US nuclear industry has upheld its end of the bargain at sites in 35 states around the country. Commercial used fuel is safely stored and managed awaiting pickup by the federal government, which was scheduled for 1998.

13:00 Maria Korsnick:But let me be clear. Congressional action is necessary and three important points must be addressed. First, we need to answer on the Yucca Mountain license application. DOE submitted the application to the NRC more than a decade ago, and Congress directed the NRC to issue a decision in 2012. This deadline, like too many was missed because DOE without basis, shut down the Yucca mountain project for the sake of the communities holding stranded used fuel wishing to redevelop their sites. We must move forward and allow Nevada’s concerns with Yucca mountain to be heard by NRC’S, independent administrative judges. This will allow a licensing decision to be determined based on its scientific merits rather than politics.

13:50 Maria Korsnick: Second, as a licensing process of Yucca mountain moves forward, interim storage can play an important role in helping move spent fuel away from reactor sites. Moving interim storage in parallel with the Yucca Mountain project helps to alleviate state and local concerns that interim storage will become a defacto disposal facility.

14:30 Maria Korsnick: And finally, the nuclear industry and electricity consumers around the country have paid their fair share to address the back end of the fuel cycle. But as 1234 was originally drafted prior to the court mandated prohibition on the fee, and I want to strongly convey the importance of not prematurely reimposing the nuclear waste fee, especially given the substantial balance and large investment interest, which accrues annually.

24:30 Steven NesbitIn addition, the money from the nuclear waste fund, the federal government has many means for providing infrastructure improvements, federal land, educational opportunities, and other means of support to states and communities interested in exploring a partnership on the management of nuclear material. Make those potential benefits abundantly clear from the beginning.

27:45 Geoffrey Fettus: The years of wrangling over what standards should be set for cleanup and are massively contaminated nuclear weapon’s sites, such as those in Washington or South Carolina is made exponentially worse by DOE self regulatory status, which the Atomic Energy Act ordains with these exemptions. The same is true with commercial spent fuel, where any state that is targeted to receive nuclear waste looks to be on the hook for the entire burden of the nation’s spent fuel. State consent and public acceptance of potential repository sites will never be willingly granted, unless and until power on how, when and where waste is disposed of is shared, rather than decided simply by Federal Fiat. There’s only one way consent can happen consistent with our cooperative federalism. Specifically, Congress can finally remove the Atomic Energy Acts. Anachronistic exemptions from our bedrock environmental laws are hazardous waste and clean water laws must include full authority over radioactivity and nuclear waste facilities, so that EPA and most importantly, the states can assert direct regulatory authority. Removing these exemptions will not magically solve this puzzle and create a final repository. But I think it can work faster than what we have now, because it will open a path forward that respects each state rather than offering up the latest one for sacrifice. The Texas and New Mexico events of the last several weeks demonstrate this.

33:15 John Wagner: First and foremost, I want to be clear from a technical standpoint. Spent nuclear fuel storage and transportation is safe as evidenced by more than 50 years of safe and secure operations by the public and private sectors. We do not have a spent nuclear fuel safety crisis in this country.

46:35 Geoffrey Fettus:The actual waste issue, honestly Senator, has not, and is not what is holding up nuclear powers ability to compete in the market. What is holding up nuclear powers ability to compete in the market are it’s gigantic upfront capital costs. The South Carolina reactors that are now a $9 billion hole in the ground at summer and Vogel now, I think is now pushing 28 billion for two new units. The likelihood of building new nuclear power is vanishingly unlikely in this [inaudible].

47:40 Sen. Joe Manchin (WV): We’re decommissioning some nuclear plants? Maria Korsnick: That’s correct. Sen. Joe Manchin (WV): Are they-, have they run their life cycle? Maria Korsnick: Not all of them. No. Sen. Joe Manchin (WV): Could they be-… Maria Korsnick: They’re being shutdown, because in the marketplace right now, the marketplace does not recognize the carbon free attribute of nuclear. It’s competing…. Sen. Joe Manchin (WV): So there’s no value to carbon free nuclear? Maria Korsnick: Not in the marketplace there’s not. There should be. And that would help. And-… Sen. Joe Manchin (WV): Are any of these plants in basically controlled PSE’s, or basically they’re all merchant? Maria Korsnick: The ones that are shutting down for the most part are merchant, not all, but for the most part.

50:40 Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN): Yeah, we have four places that we could-, four tracks we could follow to do something. We could have a Yucca mountain open, we could build a new Yucca Mountain, we could have a public interim site, or we could approve a private interim site.

54:05 Geoffrey Fettus: Texas and New Mexico would both be barred from the consent process. Clearly by the terms of the bill. Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN): And I assume from your testimony, you think they should be? Geoffrey Fettus: We think that would put us in precisely the same stalemate. It’s put us here for-…

54:20 Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN):Your testimony, you thought the private sites are because of the promise they have ought to have priority, is that correct? Maria Korsnick: We do think they should have priority. The challenge with the private sites right now, is they don’t want to be the defacto longterm storage, which keeps it connected to a long term storage answer.

59:00 Sen. Martin Heinrich (NM): What should consent look like? Geoffrey Fettus: Consent should look like regulatory authority, as simple as that. To the extent that there has been acceptance in New Mexico of the WHIP-… Sen. Martin Heinrich (NM): right… Geoffrey Fettus: …Transuranic Geologic Repository, the only operating one in the world. Sen. Martin Heinrich (NM): Why do we have that? Why do we have consent for-… Geoffrey Fettus: The only consent-, Well, it’s a little complicated and it’s not nearly the consent that needs to be there and it’s not the full regulatory authority-… Sen. Martin Heinrich (NM): But the state has…. Geoffrey Fettus: But the state has hazardous waste permitting authority, and that state can shut the place down and set terms by which it can operate after it had a fire and an explosion that shut it down and contaminated it for several years. Sen. Martin Heinrich (NM): And we reopened that facility, which I will repeat, is the only, only deep geological repository, um, that’s been successfully built that I’m aware of in this country, because of the state’s involvement.

1:02:35 Sen. Mike Lee (UT): Dr. Wagner mentioned several small reactors. How much more efficiently would these smaller reactors use fuel than reactors in past decades, and could you describe how these new forms of generating nuclear energy could possibly change our need for nuclear waste storage going forward? Maria Korsnick: Yeah, so, I guess as you look forward, there’s a variety of different types of small modular reactors that can be built, but some of the types of small modular reactors that can be built would actually be interested in using a different type of fuel. And some of that fuel could be in fact what we consider used fuel today. So in any solution set that we put in, we should remind ourselves that we want it to be retrievable. There’s 95% still good energy in what we call used fuel. It’s just in a different form. And some of these reactors that are being looked at for tomorrow, will be able to harvest that energy. Sen. Mike Lee (UT): And will be able to use it far below that 95% threshold that you described? Maria Korsnick: That’s correct. Sen. Mike Lee (UT): How low would they go? Maria Korsnick: They should be able to use the majority of that good energy. I would say, you know, you’ll be down to maybe the four to 5%, that’s left, that would then need to be stored.

1:04:40 Maria Korsnick: Sort of goes back to when we said there’s 95% still good energy in the, what we call, used fuel. It’s transformed, and so instead of being, say, uranium 235, it’s turned into uranium 238, or it’s turned into plutonium 239. So those isotopes can still release energy, but they, not in the current way in our current lightwater reactors. So in recycling, what you do is you essentially take the fuel apart and you isolate what’s good and can be used again. So that uranium, that plutonium,- it can then be mixed and you can use it in current reactors, that’s called “Mox” fuel, or you can use it for other types of reactors. So, again, it sort of closes the fuel cycle, if you will. You’re left with a very small amount that is not useful in a fuel. And France as an example, reprocesses their fuel, they turn that into a glass and then you store that inert glass. Sen. Mike Lee (UT): So the glass is inert? It’s not [inaudible] at that moment. It’s not emitting?… Maria Korsnick: It’s radioactive, but it’s not useful for fuel. So it’s stored in accordance with,-. It would it be in a deep geologic situation, but it will be a very small amount. Sen. Mike Lee (UT): No, it reduces the overall volume of what’s produced. Maria Korsnick: That’s correct. Sen. Mike Lee (UT): So why wouldn’t we do that? Maria Korsnick: So in the United States, we’ve chosen not to. We’ve chosen the fact that, and this was made in the Carter Administration, days that the fact of reprocessing, they look at it as a potential proliferation, even though there are many processes and things you could put in place to ensure that it’s done, without any kind of proliferation concerns. But that’s why the United States doesn’t currently go for reprocessing today. Sen. Mike Lee (UT): So if that decision was made in the Carter administration, when we’re talking about 40 years ago or more… Maria Korsnick: That’s correct. Sen. Mike Lee (UT): What has changed since then that might cause us to need to reconsider that? Has the technology changed in such a way that, you know, what was perceived as dangerous would no longer necessarily be deemed, made dangerous? Maria Korsnick: Well, I mean, I think we’ve proven on a lot of fronts that we are, we have the capability of managing a significant things. The government manages plutonium on a regular basis, so it obviously can be done and can be done safely.

1:07:45 Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (NV): In 1987, I believe it was, Tennessee was able to successfully remove the Oak Ridge facility as an interim storage facility changed the law. And now in this bill, Tennessee has equally, the opportunity to say no, like every other state, except Nevada. That’s all I’m looking for in my state, is those similar opportunities.

1:08:25 Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (NV): Section 306E requires a potential host state to veto or approve a site before they are fully informed of a site’s local impacts, prior to initiating a review licensing process. That essentially leaves Yucca mountain as the default sole repository. Section 506A gives parody to all other states, yet allows Yucca Mountain and other states in New Mexico, Texas, and Utah to be kept on the list without requiring their consent. And section 509 eliminates the legal 70,000 metric ton limit of waste to be stored at a repository, so if no state wants to be a host, this guarantees all the waste goes to Yucca Mountain.

1:11:00 Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (NV): Under this act, would the NEI support this act if the NWA walked away, and walked away from the Yucca Mountain project and demonstrated that a new repository project could be done more efficiently and rapidly than Yucca Mountain, would you support that? Maria Korsnick: I don’t see how another process could be done more rapidly with all of the analysis that’s already been done on Yucca. But if you found such magic place, yes, we could be supplying…. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (NV): Well, I, DOE studies have shown that walking away from Yucca Mountain and starting over with a repository in salt or shell could save billions of dollars over the life of the facility. So, and this is the challenge I’ve had, we’ve had a stalemate over the last 32 years and we have offered the opportunity to come in and work with us and find a solution for it, and I think you have that today. But unfortunately, what I see from the industry is this same old playbook and not willing to even admit there’s an opportunity to move forward. There’s not even a willingness to talk about potential new technology that can be utilized to address this safe storage, and that is my concern.

1:23:55 Sen. Angus King (ME): But if the main Yankee site is safe, why not a larger similar site that has the same technology? You’re telling me everybody says it’s safe. As an interim step until we’ve figure out what, what the best pr-, I don’t understand why we have to go from 80 temporary to permanent? Um, isn’t there a step in between that with technological…. Maria Korsnick: Well, that’s what consolidated interim storage is. Sen. Angus King (ME): That’s what I’m talking…. Maria Korsnick: Yeah, and the challenge is nobody wants to sign up for consolidated interim storage. You mentioned New Mexico. The governor just recently wrote a letter. The last New Mexico governor was in support of interim storage. The current New Mexico governor not, and the challenge is because they don’t want to become the long-term repository, and until there is an idea of a long-term repository, anybody that raises their hands for that consolidated interim storage is defacto the long,-term… Sen. Angus King (ME): I think that’s a good point because are these temporary sites are now the defacto long-term sites.

1:27:55 Maria Korsnick: If you decided today on a long term repository site, by the time you license it, let’s just select Yucca since we’ve talked about it, that would still be another three to five years just to license it today, cause all of the analysis has been done and there’s additional hearings that have to happen. Nevada has to have their say….. Sen. Joe Manchin (WV): Well, if we’re not capacity, why would we have an interim site? If you just want to carry three to five years…. Maria Korsnick: That’s just to get your license. It’s going to be another decade to build it. Alright, so you’re already talking, you have 15 years if you were on “go” today. 35 billion is what your obligation is today and in 15 years it’s going to be closer to 50 billion. So you have to manage the liability that you are building on a daily basis and the best way to help manage that liability is that interim storage, because once you start taking that fuel off site, eventually that judgment fund comes down because you don’t have to pay the judgment fee because you’ve taken the fuel in an interim state. Sen. Joe Manchin (WV): How far along are we on permitting the interim sites? Maria Korsnick: You’re nowhere. Sen. Joe Manchin (WV): So, whether we started today with interim or permanent, it’s the same timetable? Sen. John Barrasso (WY): There’s two sites that have applications in, but you know, whether they will actually go forward and construct those sites, is an open question.

1:34:40 Sen. John Barrasso (WY): American rate payers have now paid about 12, I’m sorry, $15 billion, to site, to study and to design a repository for the Yucca Mountain site and thus funding $200 million that was paid to the state of Nevada to develop their own scientific and technical analysis. So, Ms. Korsnick, why is it important for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to complete the independent safety review of the proposed Yucca mountain repository? Maria Korsnick: Well, you just mentioned the significant money that has been expended. We should have a fair hearing and quite frankly, give Nevada a chance to have their hearing. The process will require that it goes through the judges, et cetera, through the licensing process and for all this money that has been expended. Let’s understand the science and the licensing process and work ourselves through it. In the future, we might need another long-term repository. So let’s learn everything that we can and understand the science and the licensing process for the one that’s so far along.

1:45:10 Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (NV): I think we should learn from the science from Yucca Mountain because there are no natural barriers or manmade barriers that make it safe. But we keep hearing that all the time. So let me ask you this, if we were to learn from the science of Yucca Mountain, which would require still 40 more miles to, of tunnel to be, to dig the tunnel, to bury the canisters, which, by the way, the same canisters that are utilized for Yucca Mountain in the study can’t be utilized because the industry doesn’t use the same type of canisters. But what I’m told, it is so hot once it’s stored, and it leaks like a sieve because the hydrology shows already in the exploratory tunnel that it leaks like a sieve, that once the canisters are there, titanium drip shields will have to be created to put over the canisters. And by the way, those titanium drip shields would not be placed in that facility once the canisters here till 90 years later, and it cannot be placed by man in there, so you have to build the robotics to put the pipe Titanium drip shields to protect the water that goes down into the canisters that would go into the aquifer below. Is that the science that you’re saying that you would learn from that you should not have in any other repository? Steven Nesbit: What I was referring to senator, was completing the licensing process and having the concerns such as you just expressed evaluated by a panel of experts and ruled on in a manner that we can learn from them, if indeed we go on to develop other repositories elsewhere. That’s all I talked about… Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (NV): We already have the information, and that’s my point….. Steven Nesbit: Well Senator, I don’t agree with your terms…. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (NV): You spent $19 billion on a five mile exploratory tunnel to study the geology and hydrology. We know that because it’s a volcanic tuff and there’s fractures through the rock, that it’s going to leak, so that’s why the titanium drip shields are part of your plan for the canisters that will be placed there. So that’s why I’m saying we’ve already had the information that shows it’s not safe, so why are we going to waste another 30 years with 218 contentions by the state and lawsuits that I know I was part of, this attorney general against your department or, excuse me, against the Department of Energy, and instead of looking forward in a comprehensive approach and utilizing the science to help us understand, and moving forward, and the new technology that is out there, that’s all I’m looking for, and I’d love the industry to come to the table and work with us on that, so thank you. Steven Nesbit: The key question at Yucca Mountain is not whether it’s built in volcanic tuff, but whether it can or cannot comply with the very conservative environmental standards that were laid down to protect the health and safety of the public, and that’s the question that would be resolved in a licensing hearing before fair, impartial and qualified judges. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (NV): I disagree, but now that I have more time, let me add a little bit more to this. Because I think, for purposes of science, we really are. And I would ask the scientists here, isn’t the intent here to decrease any type of unexpected opportunities with respect to science? So you want an, you want a place that is safe, that you are going to decrease any vulnerabilities with respect to that deep geologic site, instead of adding to those vulnerabilities by manmade, alleged safety barriers or natural safety periods, you’re going to decrease those kinds of vulnerabilities. And isn’t that what you’re really looking for, for any type of site, a deep, geologic site and, maybe Mr. Fettus, I don’t know if you have a response to that? Geoffrey Fettus: I couldn’t agree more Senator Cortez Masto. The idea behind any geological repositories to find geologic media that can isolate the waste for that length of time, it’s dangerous. And the problem that the Yucca Mountain project has repeatedly run into is, whenever it ran into the technical challenges that you so accurately described, the response was to weaken the standards, to allow the site to be licensed. So we don’t look at the upcoming atomic safety and licensing board proceeding, if it were to ever go forward as as a full exercise and having the state have a fair say.


Advanced Nuclear Technology: Protecting U.S. Leadership and Expanding Opportunities for Licensing New Nuclear Energy Technologies, Committee on Environment and Public Works: Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, June 4, 2019

Witnesses:
  • Chris Levesque – CEO at TerraPower
  • William Magwood – Director General at the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency
Transcript:

26:35 William Magwood: About 30 companies around the world are vying to develop game changing technologies, most of them working in gen four concepts. While ithere is great hope and enthusiasm at each of these companies, it’s important to note that developing a new light water technology and shepherding it through regulatory approval costs at least a billion and a half. Generation four technologies will cost substantially more, and this is before billions are spent on demonstration facilities. The typical company working to develop an innovative nuclear technology today has perhaps a dozen engineers and scientists devoted to the technology efforts and access to tens of millions of dollars. In comparison, I recently visited the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, which is developing a molten salt reactor technology. Molton salt reactors are a gen four technology that is high interest to several private sector companies because it represents the path of extraordinarily safe and efficient nuclear reactors. They have the potential as consume waste rather than generate it. The project in China has currently over 400 scientist and engineers hard at work developing this technology with plans to build a demonstration reactor the next decade.

31:20 Chris Levesque: Demonstrating new nuclear technologies is the most important step to jumpstart an advanced U.S.nNuclear industry and compete globally. No company can commercialize advanced nuclear technology until it is demonstrated. Federal supportive demonstration efforts has driven down costs for technologies like solar, wind, and hydraulic fracturing. We need a similarly ambitious effort to demonstrate a portfolio of advanced nuclear reactors. This will take increased public private cooperation, and we need to start this now.

54:00 Chris Levesque: One thing the government and specifically this committee has done very right, I think, is the passage of NIMA because that really empowers our safety regulator to entertain these advanced reactor designs. So thank you for that support. And one area where improvement is needed, I think, and the committee has already focusing on this is with NELA, the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act. We really need a demonstration project. We need multiple demonstration projects in the U.S. where we actually design, build, and demonstrate advanced technologies. Otherwise this will all be talk and we won’t realize this, this new technology in the United States.

59:00 Sen. Mike Braun (IN): So you mentioned computer modeling as a difference. Give me some other differences so I can easily understand what generation one and two is then what this miracle might be if we ever see it. Chris Levesque: Yeah. So this is leading to some of the benefits of advanced reactors. And this applies to many of the technologies. These are now low pressure systems. They’re systems that have inherent safety, meaning we don’t need a lot of extra mechanical and electrical systems.Sen. Mike Braun (IN): Can they store fuel onsite when it’s spent? Chris Levesque: Well, they do require onsite fuel storage and some of them require a future geological repository which the U.S. government is working on. But many of these technologies like Terra Power’s also because of the computer modeling, they have very advanced physics to the core that generate much lower waste at the end of the fuel cycle, up to an 80% reduction in that waste. And so that’s why China and Russia, even though they’re building plants that are much like what we developed in the U.S, they have their eyes on these advanced reactor designs and really the U.S, because of our national lab complex and our legacy from those plants I mentioned… Sen. Mike Braun (IN): But they’re not built yet? They’re still in the developmental stage? Chris Levesque: We are really the best poised… The U S has a leadership opportunity here that if we don’t take it, China and Russia will. But we are best situated today to take leadership on advanced reactors. And if we don’t, China and Russia will in a very short period of time. The time to act is now, as in this year, we need to begin work on demonstration of advanced reactors.

1:05:30 Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI): And Mr. Levesque, one of my earliest exposures to Terra Power involved the proposition that the technology had the promise of allowing us to go back through the currently just sitting there, nuclear waste stockpiles that we have for which we have no plan and actually be able to utilize that and repurpose it as fuel and turn, as I said in my opening remarks, a liability into an asset. Is that still a focus of Terra Power? Will it remain a focus of Terra Power? Is that a focus of the industry? And what can we do to help make sure it remains the focus of the next gen or gen four industry? Chris Levesque: Senator, you’re pointing to a very, a major capability of, of advanced reactors. Today’s reactors only use about 5% of the fissile material before the reactor has to be shut down and the fuel is removed. It’s just the way the physics work. Advanced reactors, including Terra Power’s design, much more completely uses that fuel. Now, Terra Power’s designs today plan on using depleted uranium, which is the waste product of the enrichment process. We can use either depleted uranium or natural uranium to fuel the traveling wave reactor. hHowever, this entire new family of advanced reactors does offer the potential to go and look at spent fuel. Of course, we, you know, we’re waiting for the U S to develop a geologic repository for spent fuel. But advanced nuclear technologies do allow you the opportunity to go look at what amount of fissile material is remaining in that spent fuel and is there a way to utilize more of it? So that’s yet another benefit of advanced reactors.

1:07:30 Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI): If I may make a comment, Mr. Chairman, I know that you made from a very strong business background and if we were running United States incorporated, the liability of all that nuclear waste we have stockpiled all around the country and dozens of sites would show up when your auditors came and when you did your financial reporting to your shareholders, they would say here on the debit side of the column is this liability that you have for having to deal with this nuclear waste at some point, and if it was a $500 million liability, you’d have an incentive to spend up to $499 million to clean it up. But because we’re the United States of America, not the United States incorporated, there is no place where it shows up in our balance sheet and so we really don’t have that persistent economic incentive that a corporation would have to deal with it as a national issue. There’s a bit of a carbon price flavor to the point I’m trying to make, but there’s also, this is like the reverse of it. There’s this liability and there’s no way in which, as I can see it, that a Terra Power or somebody else can say, okay, there’s a $500 million problem, that means I can come up with a $200 million solution and then we can split the difference and we’re making like $150 million and my business sense gets motivated. My innovation juices start to flow to solve that problem. Instead of just sits there and the stuff has sat there for decades and we’re waiting for the magic solution to go put it in Yucca mountain or someplace. But I don’t see that happening without a revolt from Nevada. So we need to, I think there’s an economic solution here as well. If this was a pure business proposition, there’d be a lot more energy in solving it because there’d be this account that was dragging on our balance sheet saying, fix me, fix me, fix me.


Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials, June 1, 2011.

Witnesses:
  • Peter Lyons – then Assistant Energy Secretary for Nuclear Energy
  • Gregory Friedman – then Energy Department Inspector General
  • Martin Malsch – Attorney representing the State of Nevada.
  • Christopher Kouts – Former Acting Director of Civilian Radioactive Waster Management at the US Department of Energy
Transcript:

20:00 Rep. Shelley Berkley (NV): Thank you for inviting me to testify today. Let’s get right to the point. Nevadans had been saying no to Yucca Mountain for decades and we will continue shouting “No” at the top of our lungs until this effort to shove nuclear waste down our throats is ended. I don’t know who you met with, but I can tell you the latest poll polls show that 77% of the people of the state of Nevada don’t want nuclear waste stored at Yucca Mountain. Why? Because we don’t want our home turned into a nuclear garbage dump and we oppose more wasteful spending on a $100 billion dinosaur in the Nevada desert that should have gone extinct years ago. I know members of this committee will hear today from others who will say that Nevada’s efforts to stop the dump is all political and it’s nothing to do with science. Hogwash! The truth is that Nevada’s opposition has always been based on the danger that Yucca mountain poses to our state and our nation. Make no mistake, the Yucca Mountain project was born of politics starting with the infamous 1987 Screw Nevada bill. And why was it politics? Because the state of Nevada had a very small delegation at that time and we were unable to protect the state from the 49 others. You want to talk about science? There’s no radiation standards that currently exist because there’s no way to create radiation standards to protect the public from nuclear waste with a 300,000 year half shelf-life. Originally, they were going to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, then they realized there were groundwater problems, so we were going to store it in containers with a titanium shield to protect it from the dripping water. Then they realized that wasn’t enough, cause the titanium shields were going to erode. So then they were going to build concrete bunkers to contain the titanium shields that contain the canisters. And then, the last secretary of energy in the Bush administration actually said he was going to create an army of robots that were going to go down to Yucca mountain because man can’t go down there, and to be able to protect us from the, the nuclear waste leakage. This legislation, the Screw Nevada bill, did away with any pretense of science when it eliminated every other site under consideration as a dump location. At the same time, the nuclear industry and its allies have worked for years to silence Nevada’s criticism and to minimize the fact that the proposed dump is located smack in the middle of an active earthquake zone. This is an area that has been rocked by violent earthquakes in the recent past and we know the risks it creates. Proponents of the dump have also sought to dismiss scientific finding, showing that water will enter Yucca mountain causing rapid corrosion of waste canisters and resulting in release of dangerous radioactive materials. And dump backers have worked tirelessly to downplay the risk to millions of Americans living along the transportation routes from decades of waste shipments barreling down our nation’s roads and railways, with each canister a potential terrorist target or accident waiting to happen, whether caused by human error, mechanical failure, or a deliberate 911 style strike, a massive release of these deadly materials threatens to kill or injure Americans to release radioactive contamination and to shut down major portions of our interstate highway system and rail system. When it comes to plans for Yucca Mountain, the fact remains that you can never eliminate the risks that will accompany shipping nuclear waste across more than 40 states, through communities utterly unprepared to deal with radioactive contamination. We’re talking about shipments, passing homes, hospitals, schools, every single day for four decades, and even more incredible, at the end of those 40 years, there will even be more waste in the cooling ponds than there were when the shipments began, and that’s because as long as the plant is operating, some amount of nuclear waste will always remain at the nuclear facility, and that is why the threat posed by Yucca Mountain must be weighed against the availability of dry cask storage as an affordable solution to this problem and it’s available today. Using this method, we can secure waste at existing sites and hardened containers, where they can remain for the next hundred years until we figure out what to do with this garbage. The nuclear industry is already utilizing dry cask storage at various locations around the U.S.. There’s no reason we should not require plans to begin moving waste right now from cooling pools into hardened containers. In conclusion, Nevada remains in case you don’t already know, opposed to more wasteful spending on a failed $100 billion project that threatens lives, the environment and the economy of my community and others across the nation. I will lay my body down on those railroad tracks to prevent any train that has nuclear waste in it from going to Yucca Mountain. I make that pledge to you and the people I represent. Nuclear waste can remain on existing sites and dry cask storage for the next century, giving us time to find an actual solution to replace the failed Yucca Mountain project and if anybody watched what was happening in Japan, and still has the audacity to suggest this for the people of our country, shame on us all! And Germany just announced that they were ending their nuclear program because they have no way to safely store nuclear waste. If Germany can figure that out, by gosh, the United States of America should be able to figure that out too. I yield back the balance of my time.

29:00 Rep. Doc Hastings (WA): What is truly not workable is the uncertainty that faces our commercial nuclear power industry, as they look to a future that may require them to house spent nuclear fuel on a site for decades because there is no geological repository ready to accept it.

30:15 Rep. Doc Hastings (WA):My district is home to the Hanford nuclear site. Part of the top secret Manhattan project that developed and constructed the first atomic bomb. The work done at Hanford helped win WW II and later provided the nuclear deterrents that helped defeat communism and end the Cold War. Today, Hanford is the world’s largest, the world’s largest environmental cleanup project, and the high level defense nuclear waste at Hanford is slated to be shipped to the national repository at Yucca Mountain. Right now, the Department of Energy is building, right now, a building, a critical $12 billion plant that will treat 53 million gallons of high level defense waste currently stored in underground tanks at Hanford and turn it into safe, stable glass logs that are scheduled to be stored at Yucca Mountain. The waste treatment plant, which is a $12 billion plant, which is over halfway done, is being built to beat specifications designed to match the geological structure and makeup of Yucca Mountain.

32:00 Rep. Doc Hastings (WA): Delaying or abandoning Yucca Mountain means that Hanford will be home to high-level defense waste even longer. The federal government’s legal commitment to our state won’t be kept, and clean up progress at Hanford will be jeopardized. With more defense waste slated to go to Yucca mountain than any other state in the union, the stakes for my state of Washington cannot be higher and the risks could be not more, not more real.

32:30 Rep. Doc Hastings (WA): In addition, Richland, which is just south of the Hanford project, is the home to Pacific northwest only commercial nuclear power plant, the Columbia Generating Station. The spent nuclear fuel from this plant is also slated to go to Yucca mountain, but without Yucca opening, the spent fuel will have to be kept onsite for an unknown amount of time, at great expense to the taxpayers and rate payers.

1:33:00 Rep. Jay Inslee (WA): This is very disturbing on a couple of bases. One is, in my state, the state of Washington, we have people very diligently trying to follow their obligations legally and in their profession, getting this waste ready to ship to Yucca. They’re going to be ready to ship 9,700 canisters to Yucca. They’re doing their job, but the department’s not doing its job. Now that’s on a local concern, but on a national concern, I just think this situation is one of a failed state. You know, they talk about fail states around the world? This- because of the failure to follow the clear law here, this is the equivalency of a failed state. We reached a national decision. It is unpopular in one local part and a beautiful part of the country, as it will be in any part of the country that we ever have this decision made and yet we can’t execute a decision. Now this, this sort of flagrant statement that social acceptance is now a legal criteria, I don’t understand. I just ask Dr. Lyon, how are we ever to build anything like a nuclear waste repository anywhere in the United States if social acceptance is a mandatory criteria to build something? Dr. Peter Lyons: I use the example in my testimony of the waste isolation pilot plant in New Mexico, which has the strongest local acceptance, and I noted that there are a number of international examples where with careful education, with transparent processes, there has been strong acceptance of repository programs.

1:35:00 Rep. Jay Inslee (WA): And obviously in the decision making of the department based on the best science and geology and hydrology, we decided Nevada was the best place. But now you’re telling me we’re gonna maybe look for a less scientifically credible, less geologically stable, less hydrologically isolated place because we might get a little better social acceptance. That is a failed policy by a failed state and I have to just tell you, regardless who the administration is, in an abject failure to follow federal law here is most disturbing and it’s unacceptable. And I don’t really want to think I want to belabor you with too many more questions. I just want to tell you it’s unacceptable by any administration of any party to make a decision when we’re dealing with this number of curies of radiation based on social acceptance is an, is just a, not a, a winner for this country.

1:41:43 Gregory Friedman: Approximately 10% of Yucca mountain was designated as I am, as I recall, for a high level defense waste and spent nuclear-, defense spent nuclear waste. My understanding is that the current inventory of waste in that category exceeded, exceeds even the 10% of the Yucca mountain that was set, reserved for that purpose originally.

2:07:00 Martin Malsch: The original 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy act forsaw many of the problems which that now afflict the Yucca mountain program. Among other things, it sought fairness and redundancy by requiring multiple sites from which to choose ultimate locations for repositories and it’s strove for regional equity by setting up site selection programs for two facilities, one in the west and one in the east. However, all this was scrapped in 1987. Congress decreed that all repository development efforts must focus now on just one site in Nevada and it did so not withstanding incomplete scientific information and the fact that now spent reactor fuel and high level waste from every region in the country would now be sent to a single western state with no nuclear power plants or high level waste generating facilities. After 1987, there was only one possible site and inevitably as more and more dollars were spent, it became progressively more difficult to admit that the selection of Yucca Mountain had been a mistake. But we know now things we did not know in 1987. We now know that groundwater will reach the wastes at the site in about 50 years, not the hundreds or thousands of years it had been originally thought. We now know the Yucca Mountain is not dry. Total of water seepage into the tunnels where the waste will be located will be as much as 130,000 kilograms per year. These and other serious problems led to even more exotic and doubtful engineering fixes. When it appeared likely that the Yucca Mountain site could not satisfy certain EPA and NRC licensing requirements, the requirements were simply eliminated. These actions by Congress and then by EPA DOE and NRC destroyed the credibility of the program.

2:18:00 Christopher Kouts: Because the development of Yucca mountain has been such a contentious and protracted process, it is being suggested that only consensual siting of these facilities should be pursued. I would submit to the subcommittee that the U.S. and international experience in this area proves otherwise. In my discussions over the years with the directors of repository programs abroad, they have consistently expressed their concerns that due to the very long time frame to repository programs take to develop, any political consensus at the beginning can evaporate with one election, just as it has in the U.S. with Yucca Mountain. At the end of the day, implementing a repository program requires steady, consistent national leadership.


Nuclear Waste Storage, House Energy and Commerce Committee, April 18, 2002

Witnesses:
  • Jim Gibbons – then Representative followed by Governor of Nevada from 2007 to 2011
  • Spencer Abraham – Secretary of Energy from 2001-2005
Transcript:

41:45 Rep. Jim Gibbons (NV): The disposal of the nation’s high level nuclear waste has been and remains an important issue for many Americans. However, for the past 20 years it has been the single most important issue for the state of Nevada. And just as a historical note, Mr Chairman, the Nuclear Waste Policy act of 1982 as amended in 1987, selected Nevada and Yucca Mountain as the sole site to be studied for consideration of a nuclear repository. It’s very important to note Mr Chairman, under this law and its subsequent amendment, a finding that the site is suitable to become a high level waste repository for the next 10,000 years would require and I repeat, would require that the site be determined “geologically sound”. Mr Chairman, as the person who holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Nevada in geology, I’m probably one of the few geologists in Congress, but I can tell you having looked at this, Yucca mountain is not, nor will it ever be geologically sound. If the site is geologically sound, why so much cost on the engineering aspect of this project? The answer is, you cannot spend enough money to make a mountain geologically sound. What will the DOI, DOE realize is that they can spend enough to make the manmade engineering barrier sound? The problem is that is not what the law requires. If you look at the fine print and if you look hard enough, you’ll see that the DOE has failed to prove Yucca mountain’s geologic suitability and they have made promises that they cannot keep. How do I know this and how do the American people know this? Because once DOE started digging and actually studying Yucca Mountain, they realized they would have to change the rules in order to meet the suitability standards mandated by Congress in the act. And what the DOE found out was this,-one, rates of water infiltration into the mountain are on the order of 100 times higher than previously thought. Two, credible studies indicate a significant presence of Basaltic volcanism in and around Yucca Mountain. Three, with Nevada ranking third in the nation in seismic activity, it has been determined that there have been nearly 700 cases of earthquake or seismic activity of 2.5 magnitude on a Richter scale or more near Yucca Mountain since 1976, that’s 700 occurrences. In fact, about 10 years ago, a 5.6 level earthquake occurred less than 10 miles from Yucca Mountain and actually caused some damage to nearby DOE facilities. So what has been the DOE response to these findings? Findings that even the DOE themselves acknowledge? They retroactively changed the rules for site suitability. They moved the goalpost. You see, the DOE cannot prove Yucca Mountain’s capability of serving as a longterm high level nuclear waste repository that is geologically sound. Their response? Adopt new rules, permitting the agency to rely entirely on man-made waste packages. Mr Chairman, I ask, is this what Congress intended? I don’t think so.


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Thanks-giving Crisis Averted

A “thank you” bonus episode featuring another last minute government funding law (with a Patriot Act dingleberry), a date for this year’s Christmas Crisis, and an update on your favorite dizzy podcaster who will soon be looking like Lady Millhouse on a daily basis.


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CD204: Why Brexit the EU?

The European Union is a partnership of 28 countries that the United Kingdom has been trying to escape from since 2016. In this episode, we examine the European Union in order to understand the decision the citizens of the UK were asked to make and learn why the United States has become a theme in the Brexit debate.


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Parliment Meeting: House Of Lords, Parlimentlive.tv, October 19, 2019

Speakers:

  • Lord Newby
  • Reid of Cardigan
  • Baroness Ludford
  • Lord Rooker
Transcript:

10:33:00 Lord Newby: My Lords, and your Lordship’s house is sitting on a Saturday today for the first time since 1983, and only the fourth time in 80 years. These occasions have typically been to debate a serious foreign threat to the vital interests of the United Kingdom, the outbreak of the second world war, Suez, the Falklands. Today we sit on a Saturday to try to resolve a serious internal threat to the unity and future of the conservative party. There is no reason other than the prime minister’s macho commitment to leave the EU by the 31st of October for the government’s decision to recall parliament today. Such a timetable is a complete abuse of the parliamentary process. It doesn’t allow the appropriate impact assessments to be made, it doesn’t allow the relevant select committees to consider the proposals, and it doesn’t allow the commons in your Lordship’s house to give proper consideration to the withdrawal bill. It barely gives us time to read and compare the documents. The withdrawal agreement itself, some 535 pages, was available for the first time from Nobel — to pick up from the printer paper office just this morning. And so we certainly have not had time to identify and work out what some of the changes mean. For example, the sections in the political declaration on dispute settlement and the forward process had been substantially rewritten. Why? Parliament today is being asked to approve these changes with no effective ability to question the ministers on them. It is a disgrace.

10:39:00 Lord Newby; And the impact on the union with Scotland is also clear. Northern Ireland will have freer access to EU markets than Scotland. Scotland, understandably, we want the same, and the only way they can get it is by independence. This deal is a further recruiting Sergeant for the —

11:07:00 Reid of Cardigan: And to those who say, but we can rely on our allies bailing as out economically, I didn’t know –, particularly the president of the United States, because he’s a reliable man — once. I suggest you have a word with the Kurds and see whether you want to reflect upon them.

11:14:00 Baroness Ludford: No — the leader spoke of the wonderful perspective of international trade deals. President Trump has just imposed a 25% tariff on imports of single malt whiskey. Smaller independent whiskey producers face having their quote “feet taken out from under them”, said one. Compare this with how the EU has used its clout to leave open markets in Asia for scotch whiskey that were previously heavily protected by tariff walls. We cannot trust president Trump.

12:02:15 Lord Rooker: The push for a free trade agreement with America, the food poisoning capital of the West, where food poisoning rates are 10 times in the UK per head of population, will have consequences. And on a very minor point of detail, I realize that, research published in the UK only last year proves that chlorine washing of food does not kill all the bugs. And that’s the microbiology society. And given the United States of America has over 400 people a year die of salmonella compared to none here, it seems to be the case we’re heading for very serious consequences of life and death.


Parliment Meeting: House Of Commons, Parlimentlive.tv, October 19, 2019

Speakers:

  • Boris Johnson
  • Jeremy Corbyn
  • Kier Starmer
Transcript:

9:49:00 Boris Johnson: Speaker: I have complete faith in this house to choose regulations that are in our best tradition of the highest standard — of the highest standards of environmental protections and workers’ rights. No one, no one anywhere in this chamber believes in lowering standards. Instead, the loss of gesticulation, the statement by the prime minister, must be heard, and it will be. The prime minister — no one believes in lowering standards; instead we believe in improving them, as indeed we will be able to do, as we will be able to do, and seizing the opportunities of our new, freedoms, for example, free from the common agricultural policy. We will have a far simpler system where we will reward farmers for improving our environment and animal welfare. Many of whose provisions are impossible under the counter agents. Instead of just paying them for their acreage and free from the common fisheries policy, we can ensure sustainable yields based on the latest science, not outdated methods of setting quotas. And these restored powers will be available not simply to this government, but to every future British government of any party to use as they see fit. That is what restoring sovereignty means. That is what was meant in practice by taking back control of our destiny.

9:59:00 Jeremy Corbyn: This deal, Mr. Speaker, what inevitably and absolutely inevitably lead to a Trump trade deal, forcing the UK, forcing the UK to diverge from the highest standards and expose our families once again to chlorine washed chicken and hormone treated beef.

10:02:00 Jeremy Corbyn: And if anyone had any doubts about this, we only have to listen to what their own honorable members have been saying. Like the one yesterday who rather let the cat out of the bag saying members should back this deal, as it means we can leave with no deal by 2020. The cat has truly got out of the bag. So can the Prime Minister confirm whether this is the case and that if a free trade agreement has not been done, it would mean Britain falling on to world trade organization terms by December next year with only Northern Ireland having preferential access to the EU market? No wonder the foreign secretary said this represents, and I quote, “a cracking deal for Northern Ireland.” They would retain frictionless access to the single market. It does beg the question, Mr. Speaker, why can’t the rest of the UK get a cracking deal by maintaining access to the single market?

12:30:00 Kier Starmer: But it’s obvious where it leads because once you’ve diverged, once you’ve moved out of alignment with the EU, trade becomes more difficult. I will just finish the point, trade becomes more difficult and the EU is not seen any longer as our priority in trade and the gaze goes elsewhere to make up. I’ll finish this point, if I may, I will finish this point. Because once you’ve moved out of alignment, you don’t move back. And the further you may move out, the less easy it is to trade with the EU 27. And once you’ve done that, you’ve broken the economic model we’ve been operating for decades. And once you’ve done that, you look elsewhere. Once you’ve done that, you look across to the United States. I will finish this point and then I’ll give way. The gaze goes across to the US and that’s a different economic model. It’s not just another country, it’s a different economic model, a deregulated model. In the US, 10 days is the holiday entitlement. Many, many contracts at work, I’ll pull contracts at will. Hugely powerful corporate bodies have far more power than the workforce. So this is a political direction of travel, not a technical decision on the EU, that takes us to a different economic model, one of deregulation, one of low standards, one where the balance between the workforce and corporate bodies gets far worse than it is now.


Interview: Christine Lagarde: The “60 Minutes” interview, CBS NEWS, October 20, 2019

Interview:

  • John Dickerson – Interviewer
  • Christine Lagarde

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A “thank you” bonus episode featuring an unfortunate resignation, an “impeachment inquiry” update, a Facebook censorship battle, and an business model ethical dilemma. Thanks for supporting the show!

 


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CD203: Scattering Interior

Public land belongs to all Americans and the bureaus of the Interior Department are responsible for balancing conservation and resource extraction on our land. The Trump administration is making some major changes to this important agency which few Americans are aware of. In this episode, learn what their plans are, how those plans are being implemented, and who stands to benefit from the changes. Spoiler alert! Fossil fuel companies will be pleased.


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Full Committee Hearing: THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR’S FAILURE TO COOPERATE WITH CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT REQUESTS, Committee on Natural Resources, September 26, 2019

Watch on YouTube: DOI’s Failure to Cooperate with Congressional Oversight Requests

Witnesses:

  • William Perry Pendley – Deputy Director for Policy and Programs at the Bureau of Land Management
  • Tony Small – Vice Chairman of the Ute Indian Tribal Business Committee
  • Edward Shephard – President of the Public Lands Foundation

Hearing: BLM DISORGANIZATION: EXAMINING THE PROPOSED REORGANIZATION AND RELOCATION OF THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT HEADQUARTERS TO GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO, Committee on Natural Resources, September 10, 2019

Watch on YouTube: BLM Disorganization EventID=109893

Witnesses:

  • William Perry Pendley – Deputy Director for Policy and Programs at the Bureau of Land Management
  • Tony Small – Vice Chairman of the Ute Indian Tribal Business Committee
  • Edward Shephard – President of the Public Lands Foundation
Transcript:

21:30 William Perry Pendley: We need to have the energy, mineral and realty management experts, who are now in Washington, out in the field with the state offices to work hand in glove with tribal leaders on tribal lands to ensure their ability to develop the resources. Congress passed last year, in 2018, a change to that law to permit more of these agreements. We’re working aggressively with the BIA to have those agreements, and I’ll be a very, very strong advocate for tribes being able to enter into those agreements to take over the oil and gas leasing functions on their land if that’s their decision to do so.

52:15 Rep. Rob Bishop (UT): Grand Junction is not necessarily where everyone is going to go. We’re also moving people to New Mexico. You’re moving people to Arizona, to Nevada, over to Utah, up to Idaho, where their function can be better enhanced by being in those local particular areas. So this is not just a wholesale move from at stadium to Grand Junction. You’re covering the entire West, and you’re going to allow a greater expertise and a greater experience throughout the entire area in which you find BLM lands, right?
William Perry Pendley: That’s absolutely the case. We have 74 people going to various state offices to perform SAIDI office functions. We have 222 people going to state office to perform headquarters’ functions. Nearly every, well, not nearly, every Western state will benefit from the infusion of experts.
Rep. Rob Bishop (UT): We all will benefit, and I appreciate that. Yes, sir.

55:40 Rep. Jody Hice (GA): How will the American people be able to visualize and experience some of the, how they themselves, how Americans are going to be better served, if the leadership and the resources are moved closer to the actual places that are impacted and involved with BLM. William Perry Pendley:Congressman, I think one of the ways is better decision making earlier in the process. None of us like the logjam that we’ve seen, for example, with national environmental policy act, where we have endless litigation, and makes it difficult for things, rubber to hit the road, and whether we’re doing a recreational project or grazing renewal or oil and gas operations, whatever we’re doing, they get bogged down. And one of the things the secretary has done is forced those decisions out into the field with sectoral or 3355 to shorten our NEPA process and get it done right. And one of the ways we can most effectively do that is having our top people in the field.

1:04:30 Rep. Dianna Degette (CO): 35 of those people said they’re going, of the 177 you have now, they said they’re not going to move to the West. Do you have people in the West who are qualified who say they’re going to take that job? William Perry Pendley: If I could slightly correct the statement, that is an estimate that our policy budget and management people made, calculating that typically 25%… Rep. Dianna Degette (CO): The find 25% that want to go there? William Perry Pendley: No, no. It’s simply a rough calculation, okay, we’ve got to make some numbers. We’re going to try to get a number to provide Congress. What’s our PHCS code? Rep. Dianna Degette (CO):Understand. Did they get the number on the other side of how many more people would want to come in? Do you have that number? William Perry Pendley: I don’t have that number. Rep. Dianna Degette (CO): Thank you very much.

1:33:30 Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC):Would you, to this committee, promise to have before this committee, a survey of staff so that the committee will have information on how many will refuse and how many will be glad to move to Grand Junction? William Perry Pendley:We’re going to be meeting with people one on one. We’re going to be meeting with family members. We’re going to be asking their personal needs and be responsive to those needs. I don’t think we can provide that information because that’s going to be a one-on-one employee to employee discussion.

1:54:15 Tony Small: Moving BLM to Grand Junction will impact energy permitting on our lands. No one is talking about moving the White House or Congress to Grand Junction or any other agencies involved in energy permitting on Indian lands. Moving BLM will reduce coordination, drain expertise, eliminate accountability. Rather than drain the swamp, BLM will become a tool of special interest and will lose focus on its national missions, including trust responsibility to tribes. Grand Junction is in our original homelands. In 1880 we entered into an agreement with United States to give up millions of acres and to resettle along the grand river, near modern day Grand Junction. These lands were rich with water resources, but the United States forces us at gunpoint further West into what would become Eastern Utah. In this rocky desert, a 1.9 million acre reservation was established for our benefit. Ever since, our Kopavi reservation in Utah has been under attack. First, non Indians overgraze lands intended for our stock, and today BLM permits energy development on our lands. — have been made and energy leases and royalties on our own Kopavi reservation. BLM splits this money with the state. We have never been paid for the use of our lands. Year after year, the United States forces us to go to court to protect our lands and enforce treaties, agreements, and trust responsibilities. This must stop.

2:34:15 Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC): If this proposal were to go through, there would be virtually no headquarter staff, and there would be, it would be the only agency that did not have a headquarters staff present here in the nation’s capital. It is an extreme proposal to put it mildly.

2:35:45 Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC): And you reference that there had been past reorganization efforts, that they had been problematic, and even ultimately reversed. I wonder if you have any detail you could offer the committee on prior reorganizations of any kind. Edward Shephard: I can. One example that I can give from my personal experience, when I was back on forestry staff here in Washington DC, is we moved a lot of folks West to, what we call, centers of excellence. And when they went out to the West they became a part of that state. Whether it was intended to or not, that’s just human nature. They became part of that state organization and a lot of the knowledge of what went on, if you went to Oregon, you didn’t know what was going on in Utah, Colorado, because you were in that state, you concentrated on that state. And you also, the way this reorganization was, you won’t even have, and that way in ’91 also you don’t have the benefit of going over, if you’re a forester and you’re making a decision on a policy level thing, you can’t walk over to the wildlife staff that also does policy because they’re not there. And that’s an issue that’s gonna happen with this reorganization. You need to work together between interdisciplinary teams and it won’t be there when they’re spread out all over the place.


Full Committee Hearing: WHEN SCIENCE GETS TRUMPED: SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY AT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, Committee on Natural Resources, July 25, 2019

Watch on YouTube: Full Committee Hearing EventID=109850

Witnesses
  • Andrew Rosenberg, PhD – Director at the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Joel Clement – Senior Fellow at the Arctic Institute
  • Daren Baskst – Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation
  • Maria Caffrey, PhD – Former partner of the National Park Service
Transcript:

34:00 Andrew Rosenberg: Some examples of attacks at the Department of Interior selected from our research are as follows. The Fish and Wildlife service bowed to political pressure and circumvented our comprehensive assessment of impacts on endangered species of a proposed city size development in southeastern Arizona. Department suppressed 18 memos from staff scientists raising concerns about proposed oil and gas operations in the Arctic National Wildlife refuge, and they defunded landscape conservation cooperatives effectively censoring climate change adaptation information for state and local governments. Department of Interior published an analysis of gray wolves that was riddled with errors, scientific errors, as identified by peer reviewers and that analysis then extensively supported removing endangered species act protections for this species. And DOI officials blocked the release of a comprehensive analysis on potential dangers of widely used pesticides for hundreds of endangered species, as the chairman noted, 1400.

39:05 Joel Clement: As Director of the Office of Policy Analysis, it was my job to understand the most recent scientific and analytical information regarding matters that affected the mission of the agency and to communicate that information agency leadership. I never assumed that agency leadership would make their decisions based entirely on that information, but I did assume they’d taken into consideration. And that proved true for the first 6 years of my time at Interior. It all ended with the arrival of the Trump political team, which as I’ll describe later on, has sidelines scientists and experts, flattened the morale of the career staff, and by all accounts has bent on hollowing out the agency. Now the career staff at interior are not partisan in the work. They have a job to do, they do it well. Of course, they know that an incoming Republican administration is likely to favor resource extraction of a conservation. The vice versa is true, but they’ve pledged to support and defend the constitution, advance the mission of the agency regardless of their beliefs. But what if their leaders are trying to break down the agency? What if their directives run counter to the agency mission as directed by Congress? What if the political appointees are intentionally suppressing the science that indicates that doing more harm than good and putting American’s and the American economy at risk? These days, career staff have to ask themselves these questions nearly every day, or at least decide where their red line is. For me, the Trump administration crossed it by putting American health and safety at risk and wasting taxpayer dollars. Here’s how that went down. Science tells us that rapid climate change is impacting every single aspect of the agency mission, and it was my job to evaluate and explain these threats. For example, as the federal trustee for American Indians and Alaska natives, Interior is partially responsible for the wellbeing, uh, but with over 30 Alaska native villages listed by the government accountability office, as acutely threatened by the impacts of climate change, it should be a top priority for Interior to help get these Americans out of harm’s way as soon as possible. I was working with an inter-agency team to address this issue, speaking very publicly about the need for DOI to address climate impacts, and I paid that price. Uh, one week after speaking at the U.N, uh, on the importance of building climate resilience, I receive an evening email telling me had been reassigned to the auditing office that collects royalty checks from oil, gas, and mining industries. I have no experience in accounting or in auditing. It was pretty clear to me and my colleagues that this was retaliation for my work highlighting Interior’s responsibilities as they pertain to climate change and protecting American citizens. So I blew the whistle. I was not alone. Dozens of other senior executives received reassignment notices in that night’s purge. The ensuing inspector general investigation revealed the political team had broken every single one of the office of personnel management guidelines for reassigning senior executives, and they left no paper trail to justify their actions.

41:50 Joel Clement: There are many more instances of the agency directly suppressing science. Among them, reports that Secretary Bernhardt ignored and failed to disclose over a dozen internal memos expressing concern about the impacts of oil and gas exploration on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Former Secretary Zinke, canceling a national academy study on the health impacts of coal mining, right before lifting a moratorium on coal leasing. Zinke again, instituting a political review of science grants led by an old football buddy that was, that has bottle-necked research funding and led to cancelled research and the U.S. Geological survey eliminating their entire climate change mission area. The list goes on and on. Not only does this group ignore science and expertise, they crossed the line by actively suppressing it at the expense of American health and safety, our public lands and the economy. They’re intentionally leaving their best player on the bench.

1:08:10 Rep. Deb Haaland (MN): Who took over the work that you were doing for those Alaska native communities, that incredibly important work. Who took that over after you were gone?
Joel Clement: They’ve never replaced me and that work ceased. Rep. Deb Haaland (MN): They’ve never replaced you? Joel Clement: No. Several months later they found a political appointee to sit in the office, but he has since moved on upstairs.

1:10:05 Rep. Deb Haaland (MN): Why do you believe this reassignment was done out of retaliation and wasn’t simply a policy decision by leadership? Joel Clement: I don’t see any chance that that was a policy decision. I think it was purely punitive and retaliatory for two reasons. One, of course, to take the climate adviser and put them in the office that collects royalty checks is clearly an indication they want, they wanted me to quit. But also, the very next week, Secretary Zinke came to the hill and testified during a budget hearing, that indeed he did want to use reassignments to trim the workforce at DOI by 4,000 people. I don’t think he realized the reassignments don’t trim the workforce unless you’re getting people to quit, and that’s unlawful.

1:45:30 Rep. Paul Gosar: I don’t think anybody denies that, that climate is always changing. I think there is nobody that will say that, but I think the priorities is what can man do and what cannot man do? Like i.e., the Sun. Would you agree with me that the Sun has more implications on our weather and climate than does man? Joel Clement: The uh, the climate has certainly always changed, there’s no question about that. The climate has not changed at this pace and to this extent during the course of human civilization. Rep. Paul Gosar: Oh, well, has the earth changed dramatically before man? Joel Clement: It certainly has. During the time of the Dinosaurs, of course, they were wiped out by a very dramatic change. Rep. Paul Gosar: It did.


Full Committee Hearing: U.S. Department of the Interior Budget and Policy Priorities for FY 2020, Committee on Natural Resources, May 15, 2019

Watch on YouTube: U.S. Department of the Interior Budget and Policy Priorities for FY 2020

Witness
  • David Bernhardt: Secretary of the Interior
Transcript:

1:36:45 Rep. Mike Levin (CA): Yes or no? Is there any doubt that you have a legal obligation to take into account the needs of future generations and manage the public lands to prevent unnecessary or undue degradation, now and in the future? David Bernhardt: We certainly have a need to take them into account. We are taking them into account.
Rep. Mike Levin (CA): Yet when we met, you claimed that Congress hasn’t given you enough direction to address climate change. David Bernhardt: What I specifically said is you haven’t given me any direction to stop any particular activity and if you want to stop it, you need to give us that direction. The reality is we comply, we are compliant with NEPA. Rep. Mike Levin (CA): Mr Bernhardt, Secretary, what type of direction would you want Congress to give you to make it in every year? David Bernhardt: Whatever you think you can do to stop it, if that’s what you want to do, go for it. But, but that should happen in this body. That’s not something the Department of Interior does with the magic wand.

2:39:40 Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA): So I was reading the newspaper this week and it hit the headlines that two days ago, that carbon dioxide levels hit 415 parts per million, which is the highest in human history, the highest in 800,000 years. Did you happen to see that secretary? David Bernhardt: I didn’t see that particular fact…. Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA): Well that was on the front page of USA Today, and I’ll ask unanimous consent that the article titled “Carbon Dioxide levels hit landmark at 415 parts per million, highest in human history”, be made part of the record. And that was of course when there were no humans the last time it, it hit that kind of level and so my question for you is on a scale, and this is a number question, I’m looking for a number secretary. On a scale of one to 10, how concerned are you about that? David Bernhardt: Well, what I will say is I believe that the United States….. Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA): …And 10 being the most concerned and one being the least concerned, what’s your number? David Bernhardt: I believe the United States is number one in terms of decreasing CO2. Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA): Did you hear me all right Secretary? I’m asking you what’s your number of your level of concern about that? On a scale of one to 10, 10 being the most concerned, what’s your number for how concerned you are about us hitting 415 parts per million of carbon dioxide? David Bernhardt: I haven’t lost any sleep over it.


C-SPAN Broadcast: Interior Department Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request, Mother Jones, May 7, 2019

Watch on YouTube: APPROPRIATIONS–DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Committee on Appropriations

Witness:
  • David Bernhardt: Secretary of the Department of the Interior
Transcript:

27:35 David Bernhardt: I recognize that climate is changing. I recognize that man is a contributing factor.

29:00 David Bernhardt: Are we going to stop Welland Gas Development because of this report? The answer to that is no. Congress, you all have the ability to decide whether we do anything on federal lands and you’ve decided the lands that we manage. You’ve decided a whole host of different range of things. On some things you’ve decided that it’s wilderness and should be enjoyed for the solitude and enjoyment of people and untrammeled by man. On other things, you’ve decided that this is a national park and it should be managed that way. And on other areas you’ve decided that the land is for multiple use. We go through a planning process. That planning process can result in some areas that are for solitude, other areas are for multiple use, but at the end of the day we also have the Mineral Leasing Act. And if you have a view on what you want to happen, we’ll carry it out when you execute it. And that is my position.

44:45 David Bernhardt: If I were to ask for a Lexis or Westlaw search, and for somebody to give me the number of times that the secretary is directed to do something, you’d find that there are over 600 instances in law that says, I shall do something. There’s not a “shall” for “I shall manage the land to stop climate change” or something similar to that. There’s a “shall” that tells me to provide people to work on reports. There’s some authorization, but there’s no “shalls”.

53:40 Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ): Obviously I want to talk to you a little bit about drilling off the coast. Democrats and Republicans, we kind of agree on this issue. There were in opposition to drilling off the coast of Atlantic, so our state has been very concerned about this administration’s proposal to open up the outer continental shelf to drilling. I certainly was pleased to hear that those plans are on hold, but it’s very concerning that the administration is planning to proceed with the seismic air gun testing. A practice that causes extreme injury to marine animals, including dolphins and whales. Considering the harm to wildlife, what is the justification for engaging in seismic testing when there is a little prospect of offshore drilling anytime soon? David Bernhardt: Well what we do is we receive these applications and we process them. I don’t think we’re at a stage where any have been approved. But we go through the process.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ):

What applications are you talking about? David Bernhardt: The seismic applications. And my view would be that there’s seismic that occurs out there for other things already that don’t need a permit from a bone. But we’ll go through and we’ll do our analysis. We’ll make our decision and I think the way the regulations written, if we say that there’s a problem with the permit, then we need to explain how their application could be corrected. My own view is, we shouldn’t be afraid of information, if we can do it lawfully and it can be done responsibly. The data itself is not something that we should be afraid of.

1:02:15 David Bernhardt: On my first day as deputy, the secretary pulled me into his office and said, “your first job is to deal with Sage-Grouse. And I’d spent my entire career avoiding Sage-Grouse both at the department and the private sector.

1:05:00 Rep. Mike Simpson (ID): I’m not anti Sage-Grouse. It’s a species we’ve got to make sure it doesn’t get on the listing and our language to prevent listing in the past has been so that there’s progress can be made outside of the courts, frankly. Because it’s going to be done by the Department of Interior, by the states, by the local communities, and not by a judge.

1:08:25 Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI): The oversight committee on natural resources are investigating whether your staff has been complying with transparency and record keeping laws, including whether records related to your daily schedule was deleted or withheld from disclosure. On March 28th, the committee sent you a joint letter requesting transcribed interviews with four employees familiar. It has been over five weeks since the committee issued the letter and the Interior has not scheduled the interviews or allowed the employee to contact. What are you doing and when do you plan on scheduling these witnesses for interviews? David Bernhardt: Well, I think we’ve sent the committee tens of thousands of pages of documents. They’ll see every single calendar entry made from the day. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI): But we’re talking about…. David Bernhardt: We have every single document. You have so much to review. We’ve offered a briefing…. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI): But we as Congress asked for them to come and, last time I checked, you don’t determine how we get our information. I appreciate what you sent, but the issue on the table is scheduling the witnesses for interviews and you sir, are the person who’s responsible to set the tone. So I want to know, when do you plan on scheduling these witnesses? David Bernhardt: I want to be very clear here. We have offered additional briefings. We’ve offered material and at the right, we think it’s not the appropriate time for interviews. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI): So your position is that you have the right to tell Congress when and what, how the information will be…. David Bernhardt: Of course not, but we do have a right to have a process that’s fair and responsive and know…. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI): So you think the process isn’t fair and responsive? David Bernhardt: In all candor, you sent these secretaries requests and they obviously have to make their choice, but you’re talking about individual employees that have been long standing employees within the department and when you want to shoot at me, that’s comes with the territory. But these are people, we have wonderful career employees here that are very, they’ve never had this happen to them in their career and I just think people ought to think about that for a minute.

1:13:00 Rep. Mike Quigley (IL): Four days into your tenure, the inspector general opened an ethics investigation into a “wide assortment of questionable conduct on your part”. So, spare us that we’re coming after your career employees, as you say, this is about you and the questions raised, leaving meetings with questionable private interest off your public calendar and changing your public calendar, which may violate federal record laws, rolling back endangered species protections to benefit your former clients, engaging in illegal lobbying activities and blocking scientific study on the impact of certain pesticides on several endangered species to benefit the makers of these pesticides.

1:28:15 Rep. Betty McCollum (MN): Does the DOI have a comprehensive plan for the proposed reorganization? And some of this I know you’re probably going to get back to me on, so I’ll read the others. David Bernhardt: I, um…. Rep. Betty McCollum (MN): Because the committee today has not received anything. David Bernhardt: I think I committed to you months ago that if this moved forward, you’d get a detailed plan. And I think you can say that you don’t have a detailed plan. We have a spend plan that we brought today. I’ll give you, but I know for a while that we need to have a plan that will pass muster for you.

1:30:10 Rep. Betty McCollum (MN): So, let me tie that back to what is going on with tribal consultation. Mr. Cameron’s statement also in the Committee on Oversight and investigations, and I quote for him. “After much input from the department’s career senior executive staff, Congress, governors, and external stakeholders, including consultation with Indian tribal leaders, a map was finalized in the unified regions, took effect on August 22nd 2018”. According to your website, the unified regional boundary map was published on July 20, 2018, however; the first tribal consultation occurred on June 30th and the final consultation occurred on August 23rd. So it’s clear from the timeline that the tribal consultation was, it appears to be an afterthought to the reorganization and…

1:34:00 David Bernhardt: Let me be very, very clear. We are not reorganizing as part of the unified regions in any way. The BIA or BIE, they wanted out of it.

1:58:15 Rep. Mike Quigley (IL): Tell us how the things I talked about, like reducing tests to key equipment such as blowout preventers is a compromise? David Bernhardt: The fact of the matter is the more you test equipment, also leads to the greater likelihood that it will fail and… Rep. Mike Quigley (IL): When you take that, so the logical conclusion, we’ve never tested theirs.


Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing: NO ROAD MAP, NO DESTINATION, NO JUSTIFICATION: THE IMPLEMENTATION AND IMPACTS OF THE REORGANIZATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, Committee on Natural Resources, April 30, 2019

Watch on YouTube: Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Hearing

Witnesses:
  • Scott Cameron – Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget at the Department of Interior
    • Worked at the Interior Department during the GWB administration.
    • Between his Interior gigs for GWB and Trump, Cameron spent four years working at Dawson and Associates, a lobbying firm that represents lots of companies in the fossil fuel industry.
  • Harold Frazier – Chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
  • Michael Bromwich – Founder and Managing Principle of the Bromwich Group
    • Former Justice Department Inspector General and U.S. Assistant Attorney
    • Has investigated and helped reform police departments and conducted investigations of the FBI, returning damning results.
    • Was one of the prosecutors of Oliver North in the Iran-Contra scandal.
  • Jamie Rappaport-Clark – President and CEO at Defenders of Wildlife
    • Former Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service during the Clinton administration
Transcript:

9:45 Rep. T.J. Cox (CA): One of the first things Ryan Zinke did after becoming secretary was try to implement massive solution in search of a problem. The weakness in that approach to reorganizing the 70,000 employee department of the Interior, It became clear early in the process. We have not seen data to show that there is a problem. We’ve not seen data to prove that every organization was the way to solve the problem, nor have we seen a cost benefit analysis or workforce planning data, no measurable goals, no comprehensive plan, and that’s worth repeating, a massive reorganization and we have seen no plan.

11:20 Rep. T.J. Cox (CA): The actions that have been taken so far in the name of the reorganization have already had significant impacts. Starting in 2017, dozens of the most experienced, the most effective employees were moved out of their positions into positions for which they had no qualifications or interest, and with very little notice.

12:35 Rep. T.J. Cox (CA): To try to uphold our constitutional prerogative to provide oversight on this major undertaking, this committee has repeatedly sought information from interior. We’ve been repeatedly denied.

19:55 Scott Cameron: Uh, the departments where reorganization is in response to President Trump’s 2017 executive order to reorganize the executive branch to better meet the needs of the American people in the 21st century. Our Agency’s reform plan highlights the need to modernize and plan for the next 100 years of land and water resource management. The first and very significant step we took toward reorganization was to create 12 unified regions that aligned most of our bureaus with within shared geographic boundaries and more importantly, shared geographic perspectives. After much input from the departments, career senior executive staff, Congress, governors, and external stakeholders, including consultations with Indian tribal leaders, the map was finalized and the unified regions took effect on August 22, 2018.

22:35 Scott Cameron: We have also proposed moving elements of the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Geological Survey headquarters operations west, to bring them closer to the public that they interact with most frequently.

24:25 Harold Frazier: Now when this reorganization happened, um, as tribes in the Great Plains area, and I’m sure throughout the United States, we were never properly consulted. When they come to the region, the Great Plains region, we were given a picture of a map. That’s all we were given. We weren’t given any plans over the purpose of, -how, or why this change is needed or how it’s going to benefit our people. It was never done. That’s all we were given.

29:10 Michael Bromwich: My testimony will focus on the first principles that should guide a significant government reorganization and how they were applied to the reorganization we undertook at interior following the oil spill. First, a bit of background. In late April, 2010, Deep Water Horizon rig was conducting exploratory drilling in the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico. The rig experienced a violent blowout that killed 11 people and injured many others. It was a human tragedy of major proportions, but also an enormous environmental tragedy. In early June, 2010 I was asked by President Obama to lead the agency responsible for the oversight of offshore drilling. At the time, known as the Minerals Management Service or MMS. We took immediate steps to modify the rules governing offshore drilling, but we also looked at whether the government’s organizational structure for managing it was the right fit for the risks that it posed. We ultimately concluded that it was not, but not before we developed a detailed understanding of the way the agency operated and the costs and benefits of changing that structure. The agency was responsible for three very different missions, collecting royalties and revenues for the offshore program, making balanced resource decisions and developing and enforcing regulations governing offshore activities. These three missions conflicted with each other and the history of the agency demonstrated that revenue collection was emphasized at the expense of the other missions. By the time I arrived at DOI, six weeks after the initial explosion, discussions had already begun about reorganizing MMS to eliminate its structural conflicts, but I was given the discretion to decide whether or not to do it. I don’t take reorganizations lightly. I have a bias against them. They are disruptive, expensive, frustrating, and they tend to depress morale. They create uncertainty and divert resources. They frequently fail to achieve their objectives. Reorganizations are too often undertaken for reasons of executive vanity. They are developed and implemented in haste, inadequately vetted based on inadequate analysis and insufficient consultations with stakeholders, including the personnel responsible for implementing them. They are a way for a new executive or executive team to put their imprint on an organization, whether the changes make any sense or not. Those are bad reasons for undertaking a reorganization, but those are the reasons that many are undertaken. In the case of MMS, we became convinced that a reorganization was necessary and appropriate, but only after careful study and consideration of less disruptive alternatives. I want to emphasize that when we began the process, there was no preordained outcome. We did not decide on the reorganization that was ultimately implemented and then work backwards to justify it. Instead, we undertook a detailed process together with outside consultants who are experts in organizational diagnosis and reorganizations. We considered a number of less sweeping changes, including changes to staffing levels, enhanced training, and other organizational tweaks. In the end, our analysis and discussions pointed to a broad reorganization and my prepared statement goes into detail into the various steps we took during the process. Throughout the process, we were extraordinarily open about what we were doing. We were open with the agencies personnel, with DOI, with the congress, and with the public. We spoke frequently about what we were doing and why we were doing it. The broad contours and most of the specifics of the reorganization were embraced by members of Congress of both parties. In the more than seven years since the reorganization was completed, its wisdom has been demonstrated. I’ve just told in very abbreviated form, the story of a rare species, a successful government reorganization. As I said at the outset, I know very few of the details of the proposed and far broader DOI organization that is the subject of this hearing, but I gather I’m not alone because the details of the reorganization have not been shared widely with agency personnel, the Congress, or the public, including local stakeholders, communities, and Native American tribes. That’s a problem. I’m aware of no internal or external studies of any kind that have made the affirmative case for the proposed DOI reorganization. I am aware of no analyses or studies that have presented the anticipated benefits of the reorganization and balanced them against anticipated costs.

34:05 Jamie Rappaport-Clark: With more than 20 years of service with the federal government, I have personal experience with reorganization initiatives and with leading mission driven organizations. I believe the administration’s current effort to reorganize Department of the Interior distracts from its vitally important mission. Waste scarce, fiscal and human resources disrupts the essential and lawful functions of interior bureaus, reduces staff capacity and seriously undermines employee morale. To succeed, there must be clarity, not only on the problems posed by the existing structure, but how the proposal will measurably improve performance. Impacts to personnel and operations must be explicitly considere and transparency and public engagement across all affected sectors, vitally important. The administration has not satisfied these fundamental criteria. Their plan suffers from a lack of crucial details, transparency, accountability, and public engagement. They have never really described a compelling need for reorganization. Consideration of critical questions about the scope, purpose, impacts, benefits, and risks of such a radical transformation have not been reconciled.

35:45 Jamie Rappaport-Clark: A unified military command is fundamentally inappropriate for coordinating interior bureaus. A distinct mission and responsibility for each bureau are established by law. Those missions sometimes align, but sometimes diverge or even conflict, and that’s by design. Certainly bureaus can and should coordinate their actions better to achieve timely outcomes, but they cannot be legally subordinated to the control of a single unified regional directorship. The administration’s proposal of 12 unified regions cut through watersheds, they cut through states and even individual public lands units, confounding management and complicating relationships with partners, overlaying new regions atop current agency boundaries or fracture relationships developed with stakeholders over many years.

37:00 Jamie Rappaport-Clark: Given this administration’s agenda of energy dominance on the public domain and continuous attacks on our conservation laws and regulations, it’s fair to question whether their purpose is to support their policy priorities and weaken the effectiveness of conservation programs rather than to achieve objectives of efficiency and public service in carrying out the Interior department’s complex and multidimensional mission.

42:30 Scott Cameron : Because we respect the sovereignty of Indian tribes, we were not willing to impose, if you will look, the involvement of BIA and BIE in the reorganization effort on the tribes and since the tribes have not been particularly enthusiastic about the notion of their bureaus being part of the reorganization, we in fact have not included them.

45:20 Scott Cameron : Essentially, the reorganization has three parts, the unified region, a concept which has already initially deployed, if you will. There’s a notion of saving money to invest in Indian schools and other departmental services by pursuing shared services and our back office administrative functions to get some efficiencies there. And the third prong is the notion of moving the headquarters elements of the BLM and the USGS West, to be closer to where the preponderance of those bureaus activities is taking place.

50:15 Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ): I was thinking if there was an instruction manual on how to fundamentally weaken an agency. This is what I think I would recommend. Start by creating a crisis for key agencies. Move them as far away from Congress as possible to minimize contact with appropriators and authorizers. Undermine those relationships, separate them from the nonprofit community that helps them make informed decisions. Then make it clear to the workforce that they are not valued. Create a culture of fear to demand total loyalty. Transfer them to jobs in which they have no qualifications or interest. Send them to new parts of the country. Uproot their families and lives. Quietly close or cut programs throughout the agency. Take away their decision making authority and voice within the department and put it in the hands of political appointees.

51:40 Jamie Rappaport-Clark:It is incredibly destabilized. Focus is not on the task at hand. Employees are confused. Stakeholders are confused. Communication is not flowing and there’s a culture of fear in the Interior department, clearly in the fish and wildlife service given the reckless nature of senior executive reassignments with no justification, with no information, with no conversation. Another round is expected to be coming. This is an agency I believe in crisis, which diverts its talent. It diverts its responsibilities. It diverts its attention to addressing species extinction, land management needs, climate change, all of the water management, all of the very important natural resource values that that department’s trusted to oversee and take care of.

58:40 Rep. Rob Bishop (UT): Mr. Cameron, Let me also ask you, you talked about benefits of, in your written testimony of relocating and DOI from Washington D.C., can you just simply explain some of the longterm savings that a relocation would actually realize? Scott Cameron: Yes, Mr. Bishop, so there are a number of types of savings. For one thing, the rental cost in most cities in the West is a lot cheaper than in the main interior building or in Washington D.C. more generally. Travel costs, travel time. Most of the airplane trips are from the east coast to the west coast. If we had the geological survey headquarters and the BLM headquarters out west somewhere, there be a lot more one hour plane trips instead of four hour plane trips. Cost of living for our employees is a lot cheaper out west in most locations, than it would be here and there is a list of a dozen or so variables that we’re looking at.

1:04:00 Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ): And what are the steps of accountability? Scott Cameron: We will be working on individual performance standards for the person who is charged with being an Interior Regional Director, each one of the regions. And there will be specific expectations in terms of what that person’s scope is or is not on a region by region basis. And they would be reporting to the deputy secretary in Washington. So we will have an accountability, but we will be not cutting out the bureau directors and the assistant secretaries, but traditional chains of command will also apply.

1:06:40 Rep. T.J. Cox (CA): Can you provide any type of legal justification whatsoever withholding the plan? Scott Cameron: Sir, For once, I’m glad I’m not an attorney, so I won’t dare to go outside of my area of expertise. So I cannot provide that.

1:07:00 Rep. T.J. Cox (CA): Any evidence at all that this reorganization strategy or plan is going to strengthen agency decision-making? Michael Bromwich: Well if there is, we haven’t seen it. And it’s up to the agency to provide it. I looked at the reorganization website that DOI sponsors, there’s been nothing posted on it since November one. One of the key elements of a reorganization if it’s going to succeed, is to continue to push information out to all of the stakeholders who are affected by it. Most particularly, the employees in the agencies that are going to be affected. And you can read through everything that’s on the DOI reorganization website in less than half an hour. And as I say, it hasn’t been updated in five months since November one. So you can’t handle a reorganization that is a mystery shrouded in another mystery. You need to be open about it. You need to provide the details of what you’re doing. You need to lay out the costs and benefits that will be accomplished through the reorganization. None of that has been done. Mr. Cameron has done a very good job of talking in generalities, but there are only generalities and without having the kind of analysis that undergirds a real and potentially successful reorganization, it’s simply not going to work. If the reorganization that has been described by Mr. Cameron and has previously been described by Secretary Zinke were submitted to a board of directors of any major company in this country, it would be rejected flatly, for lack of detail.

1:21:40 Rep. Rob Bishop (UT): What does SES mean? Scott Cameron: Um, Senior Executive Service. Rep. Rob Bishop (UT): And did you not have one of the SES, a two day conference with those people on this plan? Scott Cameron: We did Sir, more than a year ago. We brought in all the regional…. Rep. Rob Bishop (UT): Did it have the recommendations? Scott Cameron: We spent two days chatting with them. They gave us lots of ideas and we modified our original conception of the plan based on their feedback. Rep. Rob Bishop (UT): So you have implemented those types of things? Scott Cameron: Yes Sir, we’re in the process of implementing them. Rep. Rob Bishop (UT): And as you go and talk to interest groups, whatever they be, you have implemented those changes? The changes from the county lines to state lines. Was that pushed by the states? Scott Cameron: It was pushed by the Western Governors Association in particular.


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References


Sound Clip Sources

Committee on Oversight and Reform Full Hearing: Oversight Committee: Full Hearing H.R.1 “Strengthening Ethics Rules for the Executive Branch”, Oversight Committee, YouTube, February 6, 2019
Speakers:
  • Representative Elijah Cummings (MD)
Transcript:

1:43:00 Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD): One year ago today when my mother’s dying bed at 92 years old, former sharecropper, her last words were, do not let them take our votes away from us. They had fought, she had fought and seen people harmed and beaten, trying to vote. Talk about inalienable rights. Voting is crucial, and I don’t give a damn how you look at it. There are efforts to stop people from voting. That’s not right. This is not Russia. This is the United States of America, and I will fight until the death to make sure every citizen, whether they’re Green party, whether they’re Freedom Party, whether they’re Democrat, whether you’re Republican, whoever has that right to vote.


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Thanks For Retiring

A “thank you” bonus episode featuring information on a congressional resignation, a long list of future congressional quitters, dizzy spells, and a disappearing airline.


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CD202: Impeachment?

Donald Trump. Ukraine. Joe Biden. A phone call. Election Interference. Impeachment!

What the hell is going on?

In this episode, an irritated Jen gives you the backstory that you need to know about the impeachment drama, including what the steps to impeachment are. Prepare yourself: Everyone devoted to the Republican or Democratic parties will be pissed off by this episode.


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Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes

CD167: Combating Russia NDAA

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CD067: What do We Want in Ukraine

CD068: Ukraine Aid Bill

CD190: A Coup for Capitalism

CD176: Target Venezuela Regime Change in Progress


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Sound Clip Sources


Interview with Mitch McConnell:, CNBC, September 30, 2019

Speakers:
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Transcript:

Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY): Yeah, it’s a, it’s a Senate rule related to impeachment that would take 67 votes to change. So I would have no choice but to take it up. How long you’re on it is a whole different matter, but I would have no choice but to take it up.


President Trump Meeting with Ukrainian President, C-SPAN, 74th U.N. General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York City, September 25, 2019

Speakers:
  • Donald J. Trump
  • President Zelensky
Transcript:

1:45 Volodymyr Zelensky: It’s a great pleasure to me to be here, and it’s better to be on TV than by phone.

3:30 Volodymyr Zelensky: My priority to stop the war on Donbass and to get back our territories, –- thank you for your support in this case, thank you very much.

6:40 Volodymyr Zelensky: And to know when, I want world to know that now we have the new team, the new parliament, the new government. So now we – about 74 laws, new laws, which help for our new reforms, land reform, — law about concessions, that we – general – and we launched the – secretary, and anti-corruption court. As we came, we launched the anti-corruption court, it began to work on the 5th of September. It was, you know, it was, after five days we had the new – So we are ready, we want to show that we just come, and if somebody, if you, you want to help us, so just let’s do business cases. We have many investment cases, we’re ready.

12:00 Reporter: Do you believe that the emaiIs from Hillary Clinton, do you believe that they are in Ukraine? Do you think this whole — President Trump: I think they could be. You mean the 30,000 that she deleted? Reporter: Yes. President Trump: Yeah, I think they could very well, boy that was a nice question. I like, that’s why, because frankly, I think that one of the great crimes committed is Hillary Clinton deleted 33,000 emails after Congress sends her a subpoena. Think of that. You can’t even do that in a civil case. You can’t get rid of evidence like that. She deleted 33,000 emails after, not before, after receiving the subpoena from the U.S. Congress.

16:00 Translator for Volodymyr Zelensky: During the investigation, actually, I want to underscore that Ukraine is an independent country. We have a new –- in Ukraine, a hired, professional man with a western education and history, to investigate any case he considers and deems —


Speaker Pelosi Announcement of Impeachment Inquiry, C-SPAN, September 24, 2019

Speakers:
  • Nancy Pelosi

0:40 Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA): Shortly thereafter, press reports began to break of a phone call by the President of the United States calling upon a foreign power to intervene in his election.

4:30 Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA): And this week, the President has admitted to asking the President of Ukraine to take actions which would benefit him politically. The action of the Trump, the actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable fact of the President’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections. Therefore, today, I’m announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. I’m directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry. The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.


House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) talks with CNN’s Erin Burnett, CNN, August 8, 2019

Speakers:
  • Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY)
Transcript:

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY): This is formal impeachment proceedings. We are investigating all the evidence, we are gathering the evidence, and we will at the conclusion of this, hopefully by the end of the year, vote to, vote articles of impeachment to the House floor, or we won’t. That’s a decision that we’ll have to make, but that, but that’s exactly the process we’re in right now.


Council of Foreign Relations: Foreign Affairs Issue Launch with Former Vice President Joe Biden, Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Speakers:
  • Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
  • Michael R. Carpenter
  • Presider, Richard N. Haass
Transcript:

6:00* Joe Biden: I think there’s a basic decision that they cannot compete against a unified West. And I think that is Putin’s judgment. And so everything he can do to dismantle the post world war two liberal world order, including NATO and the EU, I think is viewed as they’re in their immediate self-interest.

52:00 Joe Biden: I’ll give you one concrete example. I was—not I, it just happened to be that was the assignment I got. I got all the good ones. And so I got Ukraine. And I remember going over, convincing our team and our leaders, that we should be providing for loan guarantees. And I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time to Kiev. I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor, and they didn’t. So they said they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I’m not going to—or, we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said—I said, call him. (Laughter.) I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.

54:00 Joe Biden: But always worked in Kiev because, as I said, look, it’s simple proposition. If in fact you do not continue to show progress in terms of corruption, we are not going to be able to hold the rest of Europe on these sanctions and Russia is not going to roll across the inner line here and take over the rest of the country with their tanks. What they’re going to do is they’re going to take your economy down. You’re going to be absolutely buried and you’re going to be done, and that’s when it all goes to hell.

56:00 Joe Biden: It’s a very difficult spot to be in now, when foreign leaders call me, and they do, because I never, ever, ever would say anything negative to a foreign leader, and I mean this sincerely, about a sitting president, no matter how fundamentally I disagree with them. And it is not my role, not my role to make foreign policy. But the questions across the board range from, what the hell is going on, Joe, to what advice do you have for me? And my advice always is to, I give them names of individuals in the administration who I think to be knowledgeable and, and, and, and, and committed, and I say, you should talk to so and so. You should, and what I do, and every one of those times, I first call the vice president and tell him I received the call, tell him, and ask him whether he has any objection to my returning the call. And then what is the administration’s position, if any, they want me to communicate to that country.


Interview, ABC News, March 30, 2015

Speakers:
  • Mike Pence
  • George Stephanopoulos

8:00 George Stephanopoulos: One fix that people have talked about is simply adding sexual orientation as a protected class under the state civil rights laws. Will you push for that? Mike Pence: I will not push for that. That’s not on my agenda. And that’s not been an objective of the people of the state of Indiana.


Transcript of leaked Nuland-Pyatt call, BBC News, February 7, 2014

Speakers:
  • Victoria Nuland
  • Geoffrey Pyatt

Watch on YouTube

Victoria Nuland: Good. So, I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea. Geoffrey Pyatt: Yeah, I mean, I guess. In terms of him not going into the government, just let him sort of stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I’m just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead, we want to keep the moderate Democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok and his guys, and I’m sure that’s part of what Yanukovych is calculating on all of this. I kind of— Victoria Nuland: I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. What he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know? I just think Klitsch going in—he’s going to be at that level working for Yatsenyuk; it’s just not going to work.

Victoria Nuland: So, on that piece, Geoff, when I wrote the note, Sullivan’s come back to me VFR, saying, you need Biden, and I said, probably tomorrow for an “atta-boy” and to get the deets to stick. Geoffrey Pyatt: Okay. Victoria Nuland: So, Biden’s willing. Geoffrey Pyatt: Okay, great. Thanks.


Senator John McCain on Ukraine, C-SPAN, Atlantic Council of the U.S., December 13, 2013

Speakers:
  • John S. McCain III

Watch on YouTube

Transcript:

16:45 Sen. John McCain: Finally, we must encourage the European Union and the IMF to keep their doors open to Ukraine. Ultimately, the support of both institutions is indispensible for Ukraine’s future. And eventually, a Ukrainian President, either this one or a future one, will be prepared to accept the fundamental choice facing the country, which is this: While there are real short-term costs to the political and economic reforms required for IMF assistance and EU integration, and while President Putin will likely add to these costs by retaliating against Ukraine’s economy, the long-term benefits for Ukraine in taking these tough steps are far greater and almost limitless. This decision cannot be borne by one person alone in Ukraine. Nor should it be. It must be shared—both the risks and the rewards—by all Ukrainians, especially the opposition and business elite. It must also be shared by the EU, the IMF and the United States. All of us in the West should be prepared to help Ukraine, financially and otherwise, to overcome the short-term pain that reforms will require and Russia may inflict.


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Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)

 

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CD201: WTF is the Federal Reserve?

The Federal Reserve system: Most Americans know it’s important but most Americans don’t know exactly what it is. In this episode, discover the controversial and disturbing history of the Federal Reserve and learn how it has allowed bankers and politicians to create money out of nothing, taking value out of your bank accounts for over 100 years. 

 


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Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes

CD191: The Democracies of Elliott Abrams

CD174: The Bank Lobbyist Act

CD167: Combatting Russia (NDAA 2018)

CD102: The World Trade Organization

CD Team Members Only (Patreon): Inside CSPAN

Books

The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin September 2010

Fed Up: An Insider’s Take on Why the Federal Reserve is Bad for America Booth by Danielle DiMartino February 2017

Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World by Nomi Prins 2018

Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud by David Dayen May 2016

Articles/Documents

Resources

Sound Clip Sources

Press Conference aired on CNBC: Powell on Trump: ‘The law is clear that I have a four-year term, and I fully intend to serve it’ June 19, 2019

Reporter: Clarify what you would do if the president tweets or calls you to say he would like to demote you as fed chair? Jerome Powell: I think the law is clear that I have a four year term and I I fully intend to serve it.


Tweet: Kyle Dunnigan, #LeavingNevreland March 6, 2019


Fox News Interview with President Donald Trump October 16, 2019

President Donald Trump: Give me zero interest rates right now and you take a look at our numbers. It’d be the greatest economy in the history of the world. Nobody would be able to compete with it.

President Donald Trump: And I fully get the whole thing, the Federal Reserve, I get it as well as any president who’s ever been here. I get it really well.


Joe Biden Speaks that Council on Foreign Relations January 23, 2018

Joe Biden: I’ll give you one concrete example. I was—not I, it just happened to be that was the assignment I got. I got all the good ones. And so I got Ukraine. And I remember going over, convincing our team and our leaders, convincing them that we should be providing for loan guarantees. And I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time to Kiev. I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor, and they didn’t. So they said they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I’m not going to—or, we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said—I said, call him. (Laughter.) I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.


Hillary Clinton Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations November 2015 Watch on C-SPAN

Hillary Clinton: So we need to move simultaneously toward a political solution to the civil war that paves the way for a new government with new leadership and to encourage more Syrians to take on ISIS as well. To support them, we should immediately deploy the Special Operations Force President Obama has already authorized, and be prepared to deploy more, as more Syrians get into the fight. We should retool and ramp up our efforts to support and equip viable Syrian opposition units. Our increased support should go hand in hand with increased support from our Arab and European partners, including Special Forces who can contribute to the fight on the ground. We should also work with the coalition and the neighbors to impose no-fly zones that will stop Assad from slaughtering civilians and the opposition from the air. Opposition Forces on the ground, with material support from the coalition, could then help create safe areas for them from the country instead of fleeing toward Europe.


Ron Paul speech at the Campaign for Liberty: End the Fed September 18, 2009

Ron Paul: But, there’s a moral argument, against the, the Federal Reserve because, we’re giving power to a few individuals to create money out of thin air and have, have legal tender laws that says, you must use the paper money. You can’t use gold as the constitution tells you you should, but you must use, paper money. And then that gives the central bank the Authority to counterfeit money, and always for good reasons, of course, to maintain a stable economy.

Ron Paul: The mandate and the Federal Reserve Act for the Federal Reserve was to maintain the value of the dollar and to have full employment, and maintaining the value of the dollar means stable prices. Well, they fail. They flown, they get an AF. They’re destroying the value of the dollar. And we have perpetual increases in cost of living and they say, oh no, it’s not all bad inflation. We’re only destroying the money at 2% per year. But it’s a lot worse than that. But 2% it’s evil too. You know, under sun money, your value of your money goes up, costs go down, cost of living goes down and you get more. And that’s how we become more prosperous. But they have totally failed in maintaining the value of the dollar, giving us stable prices. Nobody wants to talk about the inflation in Eh, in a medical care. Yes, pricing. People are unhappy because they can’t afford it or they can’t afford it because their dollar doesn’t buy as much. You say, oh no, we don’t have inflation. The government says the CPIS only going up 1% – 2%. But the cost of medicine goes up much more rampantly. But, when you create new money, the cost goes up differently for different areas. If everybody’s wages went up at the same rate as the money supply would go up, and everybody’s cost would go up the same, it would be irrelevant. But it doesn’t work that way. Your wages and your income never keep up and certain prices go up faster than others. Some people suffer more than people who get to use the money. First benefit. The people who get the money, use the money last, the average person in the middle class, they use the money and they get stuck. If you’re in retirement, you might suffer more than others. But you know, they come up with these figures and they say, oh, prices went up 2% last month. But if you exclude for food and energy, they only went up a half a percent. So it wasn’t so bad. But for some people, food and energy crisis go up and it means a whole lot.

Ron Paul: And there wasn’t time, you know, the Federal Reserve was required to have gold behind the expansion of money. So they were restrained and as bad as they were in inviting problems, they still had some restraint up until 1971. But even though the Federal Reserve Act gave the power to the Fed to buy corporate debt, they really never did that until just recently. It used to be gold and silver that they used as reserve. And then after 1971, they just used treasury bills, which was bad, but still there was some restraint on that, that depended on the amount of debt that we had. But of course, that gave license to the congress to run up unlimited amount of debt. But today what backs our dollar is derivatives. All the worthless access, the toxic access assets that we were required to buy are now held by the Fed. And we don’t know exactly how much and what they have bought. And that, of course, is why we’re arguing for the case of auditing the Fed.

Ron Paul: The other associations that I talk about in the book are the associations with the Federal Reserve Board chairman. I’ve had a few of those. And a matter of fact, just for a month or so, when I first went into congress, Berns was still the chairman. I didn’t really get to know him and it was such a short period and he was in poor health. But the one that I got to know the best in your years was a Paul Volcker. And, I gave him a little bit of a plus as far as the various members, various chairman that I’ve met because, he seemed to be more willing to discuss things on a one to one basis. Actually there was one time when we were working on the monetary control act in the early 1980s, which gave a lot more power, regulatory powers, to the Federal Reserve and to monetize debt. And I was arguing one case in the committee, that it was a dangerous thing because the Federal Reserve was given too much power to inflate endlessly and didn’t have to have any reserves whatsoever and could take interest rates down to zero or whatever. And, he was disagreeing with me and he says, look, what I’d like you to do is come over and have breakfast with me. And, that wouldn’t happen with Bernanki or Greenspan. They didn’t do that. So I did. I went over to the Federal Reserve and we had the discussion. He tried to, you know, convince me differently, but I felt like I won the argument with them because as I was leaving, he says, yes, you may be right about this, but he himself, that I may be right on the interpretation of the legislation, but he himself would not inflate. He wants this so that he has the power to restrain monetary authorities rather than to expand monetary powers. But it turns out that yes, I said, you might not want to use these powers to rapidly expand the money supply, but someday somebody else might want to do it. And of course, I make the comment, I think that some day is right here when you see what Bernanki did, you know, within a few months, doubling the monetary base. So, his authority was getting granted back at that time.

Ron Paul: He wants to know what a sound currency would look like. I think you could probably go to the period of time in the 19th century when they had sound money and gold coins circulated and certificates should circulate and could circulate. It’s the trust factor that would have to be there and you could still have electronic money and whatever. People could measure the value of the currency by something that should always be convertible. You should have a gold coin standard, and that is that you don’t have to carry the coins around, but if the government is guaranteeing – which they are supposed to be doing – guaranteeing that any certificate would be convertible into coin, and that’s better than a — standard, that means that if you have $5,000 and you’re getting worried about the government, you get to vote against the government saying, look, I want my gold coins in my pocket. And then they then would have to give you the gold coins.

Ron Paul: It’s a sinister tax is what it really is. Governments: There’s enough of a coalition together that wants to see government grow. Whether it’s for the welfare reasons here at home, or if it’s for the ideas of promoting our goodness around the world. It has nothing to do with protecting oil or anything else, but we need a military presence around the world. But if you had honest money and governments couldn’t counterfeit, these ideas would still float around, but they would be forced to pay for it immediately. If we could ever get this whole notion that you shouldn’t even allow the government to borrow, and they would have to tax us directly and say, look, if you want to do A, B, and C, we’re going to take money from you and we’re going to pay for it. This would slow things up. But there’s a convenience for those who want big government to have the tax be an inflation tax. That is to vote for all the welfare programs. Vote for all the warfare programs. Don’t be a responsible for this, morally responsible or economically responsible. Just pass the programs. And if you find your coalitions, you get reelected. And this is work to, you know, running as Santa Claus is a lot better than running against Santa Claus. And that’s been done for many, many years. But that’s coming to an end. That’s why there’s a difference right now because this system is in the process of failing.


Hearing: The Federal Budget and the Economy March 3, 2009 Senate Budget Committee

Witness

  • Ben Bernanke – Chairman of the Federal Reserve

58:00 Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT): I wrote you a letter and I said, hey, who’d you lend the money to? What were the terms of those loans? How can my constituents in Vermont get some of that money? Who makes the decisions? Do you guys sit around in a room? Do you make it? Are there conflicts of interest? So my question to you is, will you tell the American people to whom you lent $2.2 trillion of their dollars? Will you tell us who got that money and what the terms are of those agreements? Ben Bernanke: We explain each of our programs. In terms of the terms, we explained the terms exactly. We explained what the collateral requirements are. We explained… Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT): To whom did you explain that? Ben Bernanke: It’s on our website. Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT): Yeah. Okay. Ben Bernanke: So all that information is available in our commercial paper… Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT): And who got the money? Ben Bernanke: Hundreds and hundreds of banks. Any bank or that has access to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s discount… Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT): Can you tell us who they are? Ben Bernanke: No, because the reason that is counterproductive and will destroy the value of the program is that banks will not come to the… Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT): Isn’t that too bad? Ben Bernanke: Sorry. Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT): In other words, isn’t that too bad? They took the money, but they don’t want to be public about the fact that they received it.


 

 

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Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)


 

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Thank You for the Hiatus

We’re changing up the format a bit and making the thank you’s a separate episode. In this thank you segment that compliments CD201: WTF is the Federal Reserve?, Jen gives you an update on some matters of war and thanks all of the wonderful souls who supported the podcast during the production hiatus. 

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Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes

CD195: Yemen

CD191: The Democracies of Elliott Abrams

CD190: A Coup for Capitalism

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