Senator Gordon Smith's frozen foods processing plant in Pendleton has been fined yet again for dumping waste into a stream running past the plant.
From the Oregonian:
Smith Frozen Foods, the Pendleton-area processing plant owned by U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, has paid a $3,000 fine for discharging wastewater into a nearby creek in late July.
It marks at least the third time since the early 1990s that the company has been fined for polluting Pine Creek, which runs past the plant located a few miles from the city.
The fine is small, but the timing could be a spot of bad news for Smith, who is gearing up for a re-election campaign expected to be among the toughest in the nation.
So what exactly happened?
On July 30, according to a DEQ news release, Smith Frozen Foods told the agency it had discharged around 100 to 200 gallons of corn processing wastewater from the Weston plant into Pine Creek. The spill occurred when workers allowed a clog to develop in a pipe.
"Unauthorized discharge of wastewater to state waters can be a public health hazard and a serious violation of Oregon's environmental law," the DEQ news release states. Corn processing wastewater is high in pollutants that can harm fish by reducing the amount of dissolved oxygen in the creek, according the release.
In his first bid for the U.S. Senate against Democrat Ron Wyden, Smith came under fire by environmental groups for the way he ran his processing plant and for previous spills into Pine Creek. The plant's record could become a factor in next year's election as well, said Marc Siegel, spokesman for the Oregon Democratic Party.
"It doesn't look good," he said about the fine. "If your charge is to make laws, and you are charged with breaking laws, you've put yourself in a bind."
Read the rest. How many times can Smith's company pollute Pine Creek, and could the company's poor environmental record affect the election?