Gordon Smith's Plant Fined for Dumping Waste

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?

Discuss.

Comments

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Anybody know someone with success in suing polluters?

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    Gordon Smith really does seem to hate fish (and the people that rely on a healthy fish population in order to put food on the table).

  • vor (unverified)
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    Wow, talk about deceptive spin. From reading the B.O. take on it, one might get the impression that Gordon Smith himself is a sinister eco villain, spewing forth toxic waste across the land. Of course there is more to the story.

    A Department of Environmental Quality official called the spill "fairly minor" and did no obvious damage to the creek or wildlife. "They stopped it and cleaned it up immediately," said Duane Smith, who oversees the DEQ's water quality program in Pendleton.

    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.

    Huh. Sounds more like a minor screw up/malfunction at a food processing plant to me. If DEQ calls it a minor incident, you can bet that's all it is. Go after Gordo all you want, but some of these trumped up posts are beyond asinine.

  • Adrian Rosolie (unverified)
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    Why in the world would you take DEQ's word? Just because of who they're supposed to be doesn't mean that they actually aggressively hunt down and punish polluters.

    And, this incident may be small, but it's certainly not the first. While none of them occurred directly under Smith's leadership of the company, it's still something that's been kept off the table for various but not very legit reasons (mainly the friendly spirit of bipartisanship between him and Wyden).

    Smith is not a friend of the environment, and there's no two ways about it. He consistently votes and acts against the best interests of our natural habitats, with no remorse.

  • ws (unverified)
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    I'd just as soon see somebody else as senator, but also thought, '100 to 200 gallons of corn processing wastewater'? That's 4 50gal drums. What are the pollutants in corn processing wastewater that are so high that 100-200 spilled gallons would represent a threat to fish? Is this a common occurrence amongst food processors, making for a cumulative total spilled volume that really does threaten waterway and fish health? Does the operational dysfunction of Smith's food processing plant really indicate negligence? The goods on Gordon Smith are going to have to get worse than this if there's a chance in hell of him getting a pink slip.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    Looks like The Gord is as effective at convincing his plant managers to keep the pipes clean and the crap out of the creek as he is at convincing his Republican colleagues to reconsider their support for a war plan he said was "criminal."

    He's just not very persuasive, I guess. Almost ineffectual you could say.

  • Brett Kenney (unverified)
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    C'mon, Blueoregon, this is not newsworthy. Even the DEQ described this as a minor spill and Sen. Smith has openly acknolwedged the violation. Are you here just to throw muck at everything Smith does, or will you try to exercise some discretion? This story hurts your credibility.

  • Adrian Rosolie (unverified)
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    Actually, the waste from food processing plants can be quite dangerous. It leaks into groundwater, which means it contaminates the water supply of anyone around who gets their water from a well supply, which then in turn causes blue baby syndrome.

  • David The Troll (unverified)
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    Nope that Stupid Story Won't keep me from voting for Mr. Smith However The Vote For Hate legislation and The Votes against the War on Terrorism Just Might Do the trick If they could Find a candidate With A Couple Big ones to Buck Your System...

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    Personally, I have much better reasons to oppose Gordon Smith.

    One of them is named Steve Novick.

  • Wendy (unverified)
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    "blue baby syndrome" The chronic wrongness syndrome that leads, otherwise intelligent adults, to believing in all sorts of ridiculous nonsense and posting their hysteria on Blue Blogs. Global Warming 911 Conspiracy Smart Growth Darth Vader (Cheney) Living wage Socialism Public Employee Unions Illegal Immigration Eco-Extremism Anti-choice Public School Monopolies

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    I'm just glad that we've found a conservative who will admit that showing concern about a living wage (you know, actually paying people who work full time enough to live on)is considered "hysteria" in conservative circles.

    Thanks for your honesty, Wendy. Conservatives don't give a hoot about working people.

  • Trollbot9000 (unverified)
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    Corniest post ever.

  • Adrian Rosolie (unverified)
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    Sorry Wendy, I forgot that most righties don't believe in science. I guess if they did then they would be self-aware of their own hypocrisy and implode.

    And since BBS in this case would only really effect poor people's baby's, who really cares, right?

  • genop (unverified)
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    How bout some meat with these potatos. How did Gordo vote on the Webb legislation to increase time between tours of duty for our troops??

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    Look, if we're going to say it's appropriate that the O ran TWO tsk-tsk, finger-wagging stories on Jeff Merkley's alleged ethical breaches, you bet your ass it's appropriate that they run a story on Smith's company dumping waste. Unlike Merkley's grand "ethical" crime, this may be an actual crime. And you bet your ass we're going to mention THAT here, too.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Yeah, but Jeff... You don't want Merkley's campaign theme to be: "I'm not as bad as Gordon Smith"

  • Jack (unverified)
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    Smith supported the Webb amendment. In fact, he co-sponsored it. Where was Ron Wyden on that one?

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    When I read the story about the fine from the O, I bet myself how long it would take Alworth/Chisolm et.al. to take up the charge. Sorry, you guys missed my feeding frenzy projection by about 3 hours.

    The progressive leading suspects can be counted on just like Old Faithful. Folks, Smith has plenty of issues to defend in re-election campaigning. A 200 gallon accidental spill of food processing waste water just ain't one of them.

    But thanks for bringing some levity to my Sunday afternoon as the Seahawks beat the Bengals.

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    C'mon, Blueoregon, this is not newsworthy. Even the DEQ described this as a minor spill and Sen. Smith has openly acknolwedged the violation. Are you here just to throw muck at everything Smith does, or will you try to exercise some discretion? This story hurts your credibility.

    Hmmmm... The Oregonian found it newsworthy -- why wouldn't BlueOregon?

    I guess one difference is that we only have a front page, no B-12 on which to bury the story.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    I don't understand why this story should be off limits to BlueOregon.

    It's not like the headline said: "Gordon Smith's Plant Fined for Dumping Waste; he should be stoned to death in a public square"

    In fact, the headline was simply factual and the post highlighted the Oregonian's story without much editoeial comment. A pretty minor blurb on the part of BlueOregon.

    Readers now have the information. They can make as big or as little a deal about it was they want.

    But the idea that BlueOregon -- for some mysterious reason -- should just totally ignore this Oregonian story is silly and based on a whole lot of un-critical thinking.

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    My partner Sally was reading the comments on a thread like this recently and she said, "only a bunch of liberals like you guys would spend so much time wringing your hands about whether it's fair play to criticize Smith." True enough.

    While it's true that his company dumping 200 gallons of waste isn't in itself earth-shattering, combine it with his Klamath river shenanigans and his anti-environment stance overall, and it does become something more than a one-off.

  • Wendy (unverified)
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    Look Pat, If you or anyone else wants a living wage go work for it by increasing your education or developing skills that deserve it. Jus like I did and millions of others long before the rhetoric of a "living wage" surfaced. If you think you have a "right" to a so called "living wage" or that you show MORE "concern" for people then you are too blue.

    Conservatives would are most working people. Public employees, not so much.

    And Adrian, yeah, it's all about poisening poor babies.

    "most righties don't believe in science" ? Yeah right along with not caring abnout working people?

    Boy are you all making earlier point. Keep it up

    The story on Smith's company dumping waste isn't even a story without making up crap about Gordon poisening poor working famiuly babies.

    Oh wow "The Oregonian found it newsworthy"

    Pat says, "I don't understand why this story should be off limits to BlueOregon" "Off limits? How about of little or no interest and zero significance.

    I suspect some of you just enjoy making as big a deal about it as possible.

  • Adrian Rosolie (unverified)
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    No, we just think Gordon Smith is a terrible senator who is out of touch with the majority of Oregonians and reality in general.

    And I never said anything about Gordon poisoning anyone.

    But you really should put down the scotch before you go typing your rants, it's effecting your coherence (grammar and spelling aside).

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    Thank you, Wendy, for confirming my earlier post that conservatives don't believe people who work full time should be paid enough to live on. And that implying people who work full time should make a living wage is "hysterical rhetoric."

    I appreciate your honesty, Wendy. And I appreciate your taking time out of your busy schedule beating your kids.

    How about of little or no interest and zero significance.

    Then don't give it any ya dumb cracker. Don't you have better things to do like spying on what goes on in your neighbors bedrooms?

  • Wendy (unverified)
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    Pat, Try and be adult here.

    What makes you think everyone who works full time should get paid enough to live on? That's nonsense. I'm not implying anything. They should get paid whatever their work is worth. If the barely get by or have to roommate or get a second job too bad. That's why people work harder. It's tough being poor.

    And what's a cracker? Is that some racial slur? Special?

    I don't think you appreciate honesty at all. You're too busy making things up .

  • Traveler (unverified)
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    Does polluting the environment belong to the famous GOP family values?

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    ...everyone who works full time should get paid enough to live on? That's nonsense. ...It's tough being poor.

    Again, I'd just like to take the time to thank Wendy for her honesty.Her willingness to expose compassionate conservatism as a fraud and admit that conservatives and Republicans just don't give a flying feather about working people is admirable.

    While all the other conservatives try and hide it and reserve these kind of conversations for their country club dinners, Wendy just comes right out and admits it, she resents poor people.

    If they barely get by or have to roommate or get a second job, too bad.

    Wendy embraces her lack of compassion while other conservatives hide it.

    Fly that flag high, Wendy. If you're going to be a cold-hearted humanity hater, be the best darn cold-hearted humanity hater that you can be, by golly.

    Inspiring!!

  • Wendy (unverified)
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    You're one confused youngster, Pat. There is no fraud exposed here. I have no lack of compassion or resentment for the genuine poor or for those just starting out in the working world.
    You simply can't comprehend anything outside your narrow minded box. I came up the hard way scraping by and working hard. Just like so many people in the working middle class and now I do pretty well. I didn't have to cry for something called a "living wage". I had to work hard for years and make sound decisions. Lived clean and straight raising and looking out for my working family.
    I'll flag that flag not the one you fabricated. What's your problem anyway? Young and misguided? You certainly don't speak for the working middle class or poor people I know. Far from it they are insulted at the rhetoric you spout. As if they need you and your crap to define what they need, are entitled to, or who's compassionate for them. My guess is you wouldn't consider any of them part of humanity? Now that's compassionate.

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