Saturday, July 9, 2016

Your legislature at work — in their own interest

Posted By on Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 8:32 AM

Please read Leslie Newell Peacock's story posted earlier this morning about the threat to water quality posed by development-based sewage treatment plants on the western outskirts of Little Rock.

If a development is allowed with its own treatment plant and it's poorly operated, what then? This passage deserves closer inspection:

Ross Noland, the lawyer working with the Nowlin Creek property owners, told the association that it will be up to the residents of Mountain Valley to maintain the plant. Should residents be negligent, there is a state trust fund that would provide assistance for repairs. That trust fund, which contains only $20,000, was created in 2015 under a bill by state Rep. Andy Davis, R-Little Rock, to remove “burdensome” financial requirements of permit holders. Previously, permit holders had to have insurance to cover the plant maintenance and operation and post a surety bond. Those requirements are gone. Davis is an engineer who owns a private sewage treatment plant business.

Andy Davis? Gee, where has the name of the West Little Rock Republican come up before — besides in recent advocacy of anti-gay legislation to allow psychiatric counselors to avoid serving LGBT people if it troubles their religion?


*The time Andy Davis passed legislation to wreck regulation of pollutant discharge in waterways. The override of EPA regulation prompted EPA retaliation, as all knew it would, and his pro-pollution bill had to be repealed.

* This is the Andy Davis who was cited 21 times in three years for releasing contaminated water from sewage treatment systems his company operates. (Don't know if he plans to sell the systems for the developments contemplated in WLR.)

* This is the Andy Davis who sponsored legislation to amend the sewage disposal act.

* This is the Andy Davis who sponsored legislation to assist in collection of delinquent sewer utility bills (owed to operators of sewage treatment facilities like .....)

* This is the Andy Davis who attempted unsuccessfully a seemingly unconstitutional bit of legislation to impose court rules to make it harder to sue engineers. (Did I mention? Davis is an engineer.)

In other words, taxpayers pay Republican Davis a hefty salary and expenses as legislator to spend a great deal of his time working on legislation that helps his private business. I talked to him about this once. His core response: Who better to introduce legislation regulating sewage treatment plants than a builder and marketer and operator of sewage treatment plants?

Who indeed?

Call me crazy. I might rather vote for a dastardly, pointed-headed environmental activist. But the folks in Chenal Valley and environs, the area that Davis represents, seem to prefer Davis' approach.

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