Find Out Candidates’ Position on Rock Creek Mine

What are Bonner County candidates saying about the Rock Creek Mine? One claim is the discharge will be cleaner than the river. This is false.

If constructed, the mine’s discharge requires a mixing zone because the concentration of metals in the wastewater cannot meet water quality standards without significant dilution. The Clark Fork River, which provides 90 percent of Lake Pend Oreille’s recharge, would be the recipient of this perpetual pollution.

Mining companies always claim their operations will be clean, but their track record proves otherwise. Government documents established that predictions of “little impact” to water quality for modern Montana mines were wrong 91.7 percent of the time.

Hecla Mining Co, which wants to build the mine, runs Alaska’s Green’s Creek Mine. Since components of that mine’s discharge are over 20 times the maximum concentration protective of aquatic life, Alaska authorized a mixing zone for dilution. However, subsequent sediment and marine mammal tissue sampling have shown high concentrations of lead and other metals. In 1988, the Forest Service predicted no impacts from metals leaching or acid mine drainage, but acid mine drainage was documented in 2003.

Hecla Mining Company’s CEO, Philips Baker, was labeled a “bad actor” by the state of Montana. Baker was the CFO of Pegasus Gold, which went bankrupt in 1998 leaving behind tens of millions in ongoing clean up costs at four Montana mines.

Find out what candidates are claiming about the Rock Creek Mine. Lake Pend Oreille and the economic health of Bonner County are at stake.

MARY CROWE COSTELLO

Sandpoint

Executive director

Rock Creek Alliance

McDonald’s Support of Rock Creek Mine is Troubling

November 01, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee | Direct Link to Article

Commissioner McDonald has voiced his support on the proposed Rock Creek Mine in Montana on several occasions. His rationale was that he had been told by the developers of the proposed mine (Hecla) that the water from the tailings impoundment would be cleaner than the water in the Clark Fork River, and that the EPA has a full-time office there (in fact, the nearest EPA office is in Helena, 265 miles removed).

According to the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement available from the U.S. Forest Service (fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd573773.pdf)

Treated wastewater would be discharged to either the infiltration ponds or to the permitted outfall in the Clark Fork River and would change the quality of the receiving water” (p. 4.22.5.2)

Water from the tailings impoundment would not be cleaner than the Clark Fork River. Even after treatment, Hecla still needs a permit to discharge into the river because it will still contain significant pollution. The only remedy that the mining company has purposed for the pollution is a “mixing zone” (described in the FSEIS), where the clean water of the Clark Fork River would dilute the wastewater. The pollution doesn’t go away, it just goes downstream, ultimately to Lake Pend Oreille.

It’s very disturbing to me that this misinformation has been repeated publicly by an elected official. I hope in the future that the commissioners will revisit this very important issue and consider the actual facts.

JEAN GERTH ANDERSON

Sagle

Smoke and Mirrors in the McDonald Campaign

Dan McDonald’s biggest re-election claim of financial savings supposedly made for the county is smoke and mirrors.

Claim: McDonald stated in the Bee, Aug. 30, “… approximately $18 million deficit Commissioner Jeff Connolly and I inherited, we needed to make some spending cuts.”

Fact: Every county budget is balanced every year. No red ink and no deficit. McDonald falsely implies that the previous board created a huge debt.

Fact: Dan and his fellow commissioners received a budget in the black with almost $14 million of money passed forward to FY 17.

Fact: Every year, the county clerk estimates revenue and commissioners approve budgets below revenues. McDonald’s claim that he saved the county money is nothing more than matching projected income with projected expenses as law requires. With this year’s big pay raises for officials, the budget was a challenge.

Fact: McDonald initially wanted to charge property owners for forgone taxes not levied by previous boards. Commissioner Jeff Connolly vigorously protested that and is the real hero here.

So, McDonald’s claim that he saved the county money, got it out of debt, or for the first time balanced the budget is, as my mom would say, “hogwash.” The audited statements presented on social media (https://tinyurl.com/yd23bdb6) prove what the county spent.

Dan distorts the facts about budgeting, 911 issues, the taped smelter discussion, and county employee morale. He does not represent the political leadership that Bonner County deserves.

BILL HARP

Sagle

McDonald’s Efforts Hurting Our Way of Life

October 30, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee | Direct Link to Article

Many of us living in the Selle and Samuels area purchased our property to enjoy our home and have privacy and space from encroachment.

I now understand Commissioner Dan McDonald and his cohorts are trying to change our area from rural and agricultural to something of their own designs (profit motive?). It appears Commissioner McDonald is stacking the deck to get his changes pushed through by having both Realtors and developers involved in trying to change our beautiful area. You, sir, are way out of balance and your dictatorial approach is unacceptable. Yours is a temporary job, you will not be king, or a for-life county commissioner. If your sole purpose is to reap profits for the short time you’re in office that is totally unacceptable.

You are attempting to circumvent both public input as well as trying to control the Selle/Samuels Area Comprehensive Planning Committee. Said committee lives in the Selle/Samuels area and have a vested interest in maintaining our beautiful lands in as pristine a manner as possible. Back off.

MICHAEL HARMELIN

Sandpoint

Dan McDonald has No Credibility

October 23, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee | Direct Link to Article

Last spring, I watched as Dan McDonald ignored, twisted and made up facts about wilderness to defeat the non-binding vote on Scotchman Peak. After 40 years as a forester and natural resource manager working with the science and politics of natural resource management, I noted how the misinformation was undeniable.

Fast forward to this fall and he is now claiming to have saved millions of Bonner County taxpayers’ dollars in his reelection bid for commissioner. However, reducing amounts of line items on a budget sheet doesn’t actually save money unless it’s accompanied with reduced spending.

Should we take him at his word? If you think so, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

KEN THACKER

Sagle

Despite McDonald’s Claims, YouTube Video Wasn’t Edited

Dan McDonald’s claim of people editing the YouTube audio of his racist comments about the Kalispel people is in the current vernacular, “fake news.” He doesn’t own up to his words and continues to obfuscate the issue because he is running for reelection. He lacks integrity and honesty in doing so.

I’m an independent professional audio producer with 30 years of editing experience for producing national feature stories and documentaries for National Public Radio, Living on Earth, Soundprint, National Native News, and other national and regional public radio programs. I have spent my career and thousands of hours writing, editing and piecing a multitude of stories together so that each one is a seamless, listenable whole combining many voices, narration, ambience and music. I’m doing similar work right now on contract with an audio archive preservation project for an Idaho nonprofit educational media group.

I can say unequivocally that the audio of the YouTube video has not been edited. And ironically it’s not because of the many layered voices, which make it complicated enough, but it’s the ambient sounds — the background noises that editors like me hear almost louder than the voices themselves that make this particular recording virtually impossible to edit. If it was edited, it would be very, very obvious, especially to sound professionals like myself. It is unedited. Listen with headphones at a slower speed, observing the sound waves using editing software on your computer screen, and you will agree with me.

JANE FRITZ

Sandpoint

Lockwood is Best Pick for Bonner County

October 07, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee | Direct Link to Article

My fellow citizens, recently thousands of us attended the PacWest smelter meetings held by the Washington Department of Ecology and expressed our opposition to the Canadian smelter.

When the public first learned about the smelter many went to Dan McDonald and the other Bonner County commissioners with their concerns. Dan McDonald’s response to the concerns of the public about the smelter was to trash the Kalispel Tribe and tell those who opposed the smelter to sell their homes and leave the area that the real estate market was hot.

Those of us who attended the DOE meetings noticed that Dan McDonald did not attend. My fellow citizens, this disturbs me greatly. As a lifelong Republican I am asking my fellow Republicans to vote for Steve Lockwood on Nov 6. Our very lives depend on it.

MICHAEL NAYLOR

Oldtown

Issues Show Lack of Honesty, Integrity

September 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee | Direct Link to Article

Commissioner Dan McDonald’s condescending replies to Bonner County residents are offensive and inappropriate for an elected official. I encourage readers to look at his op ed responses (Aug. 30, 23, 12 and more). McDonald states they don’t know what they’re talking about or “you’re twisting the facts.” Really? McDonald said I had my facts wrong regarding Wooded Acres. I got my facts from county employees and records. McDonald supports taking taxpayer money from deserving roads to chip seal a dead-end road (Wooded Acres). Why? Because Wooded Acres residents throw money at him (pay to play). McDonald tells taxpayers he is saving them money. How? Taxpayer money would likely never be spent on Wooded Acres; it does not meet the 300 car count. Is McDonald moving the goal post?

Why won’t McDonald implement a solution that truly addresses the problems caused by wake surf boats as Sheriff Daryl Wheeler requested? Their wakes are destroying the Pend Oreille River shorelines, environment and properties, yet McDonald has done nothing to remedy the problem. Contrary to his op ed on Aug. 28, 2018, the activity of wake surfing can be restricted. All boating activity is not treated equally – see Idaho Code, Title 3, Chapter 3-203 for precedence set with Upper Priest Lake at http://bit.ly/2pa8qI1.

My perspective is that Dan McDonald is part of the problem, not any solution. I support replacing Dan McDonald with someone who represents constituents equally, honestly and does not favor special interest.

RICHARD CRAMER

Sagle

Commissioners…

August 30, 2018 | The Reader | Direct Link to Article

Dear Editor:

With Ben’s indulgence, a P.S. to my letter last week:

Since when did Dan McDonald become the Bonner County Commission? The article in last week’s edition by Lyndsie Kiebert and the piece in the Daily Bee seems to indicate the McDonald is the only member of the commission that matters. Lyndsie’s article mentions Commissioner Connolly’s name once, Klatt three times and McDonald’s a whopping nine times. It’s all about him and what he thinks and does.

You know conservatives say that Democrats are the tax-and-spend party, but they have nothing on the conservative Republicans. The only ones they cut taxes for are the well off and corporations. Not only did the county cut spending, but they’re raising your property taxes 3 percent and gave themselves a 7-percent raise. How much, if anything, have you gotten in the way of a raise recently, let alone 7 percent?

Not only will this put upward pressure on your housing costs, but McDonald’s plan to charge other entities for dispatch services will either lead to  Ponderay and Priest River eliminating positions, or, as will more likely happen, they just raise their share of your property taxes. More upward pressure on your housing costs.

So during this fall’s campaign think about who and what you’re voting for: a party that wants a more level playing field or one that pays lip service to low taxes but in fact raises them on the average citizen either directly or indirectly.  

Lawrence Fury
Sandpoint 

Wakeboarding Needs to End on Pend Oreille River

August 23, 2018 at 5:00 am |  Bonner County Daily Bee – Direct Link to Article

Summer is winding down and Commissioner Dan McDonald is still a do nothing concerning wake boarders on the Pend Oreille River. Big joke. He doubled the fine. A lot of good that has done. Wake boarders have figured out how to get around any control. On a recent Saturday night as I sat in the dark looking at the heavens over the water, there were three wake boarders out in the pitch black with their rear spot lights on, wake boarding until almost 10:30 at night in Willow Bay. True, it is illegal, but who is going to do anything about it? There is only one solution to the wake board problem on the river. It needs to be declared illegal to wake board at any time on the river, but OK on the main lake. Wake board boats should not allowed to perform in the wake board mode at any time.

A second thought makes me wonder why any residents in Bonner County voted for McDonald as commissioner. He and his crony just sold the people of Bonner County down the river by approving the building of a new railroad bridge over the lake. Inexcusable. I have heard rumors that McDonald and the others were catered to quite heavily by BNSF. How anyone in Bonner County can tolerate a man like McDonald for a supervisor is beyond me. He needs to be recalled.

GEORGE TAYLORSON

Priest River