DPO Responds to East Oregonian Editorial

Several days ago, the East Oregonian newspaper published an editorial criticizing the Democratic Party of Oregon's response to the news that Senator Gordon Smith's frozen foods plant had been fined for yet again polluting a nearby stream. Today, DPO Chair Meredith Wood responded to the editorial in a letter to the editor, noting that the East Oregonian omitted key facts. Wood points out that the factory's environmental record has actually improved since Smith stopped managing day-to-day operations:

As the DPO noted in an email to the East Oregonian, between 1981 and 1996, there were at least 18 environmental violations filed against Smith Frozen Foods. In 1986, officials forced Smith to line a waste pond to comply with new environmental rules, leading Smith to accept a $766,000 government bailout to pay for the project.

After this, the company was still caught violating permit conditions, including failing to test a creek running alongside company property. In 1991, a leaking pipe sent processing fluid into the creek, killing hundreds of fish and leaving Smith with a $75,000 fine.

As the DPO noted in its email, all of this was reported in the magazine Oregon Business.

What this information means is that Smith’s company actually had a worse environmental record when he was principally in charge of the plant. Since he’s left, they have polluted waterways several times. But, the recent violations are actually still an improvement over the damage done during Smith’s negligent leadership.

The letter also observes Smith's poor environmental record in the Senate:

With Smith in Washington, DC, the Pendleton area’s environment is cleaner. But, his presence in Washington, DC has meant bad news for America’s environment.

Since he’s arrived in Washington, DC, Smith has voted to support Big Oil over alternative energy, voted to drill in ANWR, amassed an environmental voting record that has earned him a lifetime score of just 26 percent from the League of Conservation Voters, and campaigned on his political coordination with the White House – coordination that caused the biggest fish kill on the West Coast in recent history.

Again, as we said in a blog post to www.StopGordonSmith.com, it’s important to explore if there’s a connection between the decades of environmental violations at Smith’s plant, and his repeated legislative attacks on the environment.

Read the rest. Will Smith's poor environment record be a factor in next year's election?


  • Brent (unverified)

    The title of the editorial was, ironically, "Let's focus Senate race on real issues."

    I think a "real issue" is Gordon Smith's terrible environmental record both in the Senate (15% rating from League of Conservation Voters in 2006)and at his company (over 20 environmental violations and fines).

    And I would have a "real issue" if the Democratic Party wasn't standing up for Oregonians and instead was letting Gordon Smith get a free ride his last year in office.

  • (Show?)
    <h2>You all realize that the local environment in Eastern Oregon will really suffer once Slick Gordy is out of the Senate and back in the factory. I hope we will have enough Green Police available to keep up with him.</h2>
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