Yerington is the new state champion for meanest little town in Nevada. The contest was close (see below) but the new title is richly and Richfieldly deserved.
I’m going to start a campaign to have the town revert to its legendary name, “Pizen Switch” because poison is now the official bi-partisan position of Lyon County, state government and Gov. Veto El Obtúsè.
In case you missed it (as of April 30, the story hadn’t hit Sparks-Reno), British Petroleum has decided that the people of Pizen Switch should have worse drinking water than Flint, Michigan.
I found out last week but got scooped by the Associated Press. Bueno.
BP aka British Petroleum aka ARCO aka “Atlantic-Richfield, owner of the former Anaconda copper mine, (suddenly halted) the free home delivery of bottled water it’s provided since 2004 to about 100 residences on a neighboring Native American reservation in Nevada where scientists continue to track the movement of a poisonous plume of groundwater,” wrote longtime AP northern Nevada bureau chief Scott Sonner.
“The Yerington Paiute Tribe alleges the abrupt change was retaliation for its fight against a recent move that puts the state and the company in charge of cleaning up the mine site instead of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Over the tribe’s staunch objections, the EPA in February backed off plans in the works for years to formally elevate the mine to priority status on a list of the most contaminated Superfund sites.
“ ‘ I believe that this dismissive, arrogant act means to punish us by cutting off our water in an attempt to pressure us to stop fighting for our legal rights,’ Tribal Chairman Laurie Thom told the AP…
“Tribal leaders say the water dispute underscores their concerns that Gov. Brian Sandoval has negotiated away any ability to expedite the cleanup without the teeth of the EPA. Their fears grew earlier this month when EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced he dropped the mine from a list of 21 Superfund ‘emphasis’ sites targeted for ‘immediate and intense attention,’ “ Sonner reported.
“The mine’s previous owner, Arimetco, left behind a 90-million-gallon (341-million-liter) toxic stew of uranium, arsenic and other chemicals – enough to cover 80 football fields 10 feet (3 meters) deep – when it abandoned the site in 2000, according to the EPA (which) first determined the site qualified for priority Superfund status in 1994 but didn’t formally propose the listing until 2016 – 31 years after Nevada regulators first accused Anaconda Mining Co. of discharging pollutants illegally,” Sonner wrote.
It only took two decades to clean up the infamous Love Canal. Nevada is now contending for a world championship.
Pizen Switch skulduggerers want to get their claws on a huge chunk of public land which Nevada congresscritters have been trying to score from the feds. These days, greed comes naked, cloaked neither in platitudes nor piety. The Superfund albatross would be bad for investment. Not to worry. The bird would die immediately if it landed in toxic Anaconda Lake.
It’s an update of Nevada’s Eleventh Commandment: Nothing shall impede tourism or economic development. (Please ignore all the freedom-loving Yerington racists who teach their kids to hate brown and black people.)
BP is truly a public enemy. Those wonderful folks started our post-WW2 middle middle-eastern oil patch problems and continue to befoul the Gulf Coast after cosmetically declaring the Deepwater Horizon explosion remedied.
And they vacuum your pockets daily. Ever wonder why gasoline is always the same price within pennies? As I’ve been writing for decades, ARCO pioneered the now industry-wide geographic price-fixing scheme that has flummoxed government regulators. John D. Rockefeller would be proud. (For the libretto of this danse macabre, see the Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive with the expanded web edition of this column at Barbwire.US/)
RUNNERS-UP ROGUES GALLERY: TARNISHED SILVER IN TESLA COUNTY. The height of irony has been achieved on the heights of the Comstock Lode where madcap Storey County Sheriff Gerald Cook-Antinoro doesn’t know murder from a hole in the ground. An indicted killer may go free because the Virginia City laughing stock with a star is the defense’s best witness. (Barbwire 10-31-2014 and followups) The latest twist in this bizarre B-movie aired on KRNV TV-4 (KENV-10 Elko) on April 30.
BACK TO THE BRONZE AGE. Intense competition created a three-way tie for least among us: Elko (Elko County), where they shoot Democrats on sight; Fallon (Churchill), a feudal fiefdom where your last name determines your social status, and often, your future; Minden-Gardnerville (Douglas), where, in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the DA has been accused of asserting that “it’s no big deal the word nigger is used frequently.”
Douglas and Lyon are adjacent. Looks like it’s rubbing off.
Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 49-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail <email@example.com>