McDaniel tells Griffin government shutdown hurting oil spill investigation | Arkansas Blog

McDaniel tells Griffin government shutdown hurting oil spill investigation

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PUT GOVERNMENT BACK TO WORK: That's Dustin McDaniel's message to U.S. Rep. Tim "Pipeline" Griffin.
  • PUT GOVERNMENT BACK TO WORK: That's Dustin McDaniel's message to U.S. Rep. Tim "Pipeline" Griffin.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has written U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin to urge him to get the government reopened. The shutdown is hampering investigation of the lawsuit McDaniel and the Justice Department have filed over the ExxonMobil pipeline break that inundated a Mayflower subdivision with Canadian tar sands. The damage has forced people out of their homes, two of which have been razed because of continuing contamination.

Here's the full letter. McDaniel told Griffin that shutdown furloughs have cut deeply into federally financed state work as well as federal agencies. Affected:

* 19 employees of the state Hazardous Waste Division have been furloughed, including two working on the Mayflower spill.

* 5 of 8 attorneys at the Department of Environmental Quality are no longer at work.

* The work of the environmental testing lab has been disrupted.

* Two-thirds of the federal Justice Department's civil division have been furloughed.

* The federal pipeline safety agency faces huge furloughs.

"The reality is that this shutdown is very bad for the citzens of Mayflower and for our state," McDaniel wrote.

Griffin normally would be at least secretly, if not publicly, thrilled at anything that impinges on the work of environmental regulators. He's worked against environmental protection from Alaska, as a private consultant, to the Midwest, where he hopes to see the environmentally perilous Keystone XL pipeline built. He's helped reduce federal spending on pipeline safety. After an initial opening defense of Exxon after the Mayflower deluge, he's styled himself as the defender of local people and has been cast permanently in that role by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Maybe they should give McDaniel a call now and then, too.

UPDATE: Griffin says it's Obama's fault.

President Obama this afternoon urged House Republicans to put the government back to work. Said CNN:

Obama said Congress should vote to raise the debt ceiling when it votes to reopen the government. Failing to raise the debt ceiling "would be dramatically worse" than a government shutdown, he said.

The president warned that if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling, "every American could see their 401ks and home values fall," and the country would see a "very significant risk" of a deep recession.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are still tossing out gimmicks that amount to the same thing — axe Obamacare or we give you nothing. After Obama said he'd negotiate once a continuing budget and debt limit increase was approved, Boehner said no deal.


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