I am reposting this because there were a lot of technical defects in my original post several days ago.
Judge: Bush Official Faces Contempt of Court. By Jeff Bernard. Washington Post.
“If found in contempt, Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, who oversees the U.S. Forest Service, could go to jail until the Forest Service complies with the court order to do the environmental review.“
Rey, a former timber lobbyist, is the boss over the Chief of the Forest Service. He failed to produce a report U.S. District Judge Donald W. Malloy in Missoula had ordered about impacts of dropping ammonium phosphate on streams. This fertilizer is the main ingredient in fire retardants. Many fish have been killed.
A stint in jail for Rey is being requested because the Forest Service is legally immune to fines. There has to be some penalty to make Bush officials obey the courts. They just seem to think laws, orders from judges, orders from Congress, etc. are all optional. There’s the US Government and then there is the Bush Government.
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The Sierra Club had plenty to say about Rey.
August 23, 2007
Firestorm at the Fire Service
By Josh Dorner
The Bush administration seems to have mastered the dark art of making the cure worse than the disease. Take people who were the victims of natural disasters and put them in trailers that will make them sick and even possibly kill them; send people to Ground Zero and the surrounding area without proper protection after 9/11 and then lie about the health consequences (and then later lie to cover up the your first lies); or maybe, you know, take away our civil rights in order to “protect” us.
After championing the Healthy Forests Initiative — whereby we are to make our forests healthier by cutting them down — Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, who oversees the Forest Service, has busied himself with breaking some of our nation’s most fundamental environmental laws — the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Of course this is hardly surprising, given that Rey was a timber industry lobbyist prior to being appointed to oversee our forests. Rey is yet another classic case of Bush appointing a fox-guarding-the-henhouse-style hack. At this point, I’m pretty sure that the bobblehead on my desk is more qualified than most Bush administration appointees.
Rey’s latest shenanigan involves the use of ammonium phosphate — a fertilizer known to kill fish — as the primary ingredient in the flame retardant dropped on wildfires. Indeed, the killing of 20,000 fish by the chemical in 2003 in Oregon prompted the Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics to file a lawsuit. Way back in 2005 a federal judge agreed with the group that the government had at least violated the ESA and NEPA by not having a public process to asses the risk. A full 16 months ago, the judge told the Forest Service they had until August 8 of this year to comply with the law. Like so many college professors, he admonished the government not to wait until the last minute to ask for an extension if they weren’t going to meet the deadline.
And like so many lazy college students, the government didn’t do anything and waited until the very last minute — indeed the due date itself — to ask for an extension. The judge called this a “not too funny game.” Of course since Rey himself had personally blocked efforts at compliance and it was looking increasingly likely that he would continue to do so, the judge decided to direct his fire at Rey personally. The judge has ordered that unless the government fully complies by October 15 — highly unlikely — Rey will have to personally go to jail until it does so.
Since the administration seems to have burned through its deck of get-out-of-jail-free cars, it looks no amount of toxic chemicals can protect Rey from this particular firestorm.
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Here is more from the Goat Blog on High Country News. ‘Green’ judge is sick of Bush’s Forest Service and clouds of wildfire retardant killing fish
By Ray Ring.