THE BLOG
03/31/2006 12:08 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Let Them Drink Sewage!

There are so many GOP scandals breaking every single moment that it is almost impossible to keep track of each and every high crime and misdemeanor.

The latest corporate welfare project, brought to you by the good folks of the urinary executive persuasion, will soon have California residents drinking sewage directly out of the faucet while the EPA twirls about like a bureaucratic half-wit. Really though, like every other important governmental oversight agency, the EPA has been gutted and a lemming has been placed at the helm to steer the SS Americana straight into the next environmental and health fiasco.

Whistleblowers allege influence peddling by members of Congress, VP in Mexico wastewater project

Miriam Raftery and Larisa Alexandrovna

An explosive report, obtained in part by Raw Story, and soon to be released by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), fingers high-level officials both on the federal and local California level in allegations of influence-peddling ensnaring members of both parties.

According to documents and whistleblowers for a San Diego wastewater treatment plant to be built in Tijuana, Vice President Dick Cheney, Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Bob Filner (D-CA) and former Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA) have advanced the project despite serious concerns from those involved.

The proposed Bajagua Project is a secondary wastewater treatment plant for San Diego, to be located in Tijuana, Mexico. Named after the company, Bajagua Project, LLC, founded solely to get the no-bid contract for water treatment, the agreement is a private-public fee-for-service proposition that will charge the federal government billions. The estimated profit forecast for the project is upwards of $600 million dollars over a twenty-year span.

Documents recently obtained by Raw Story and now also available at www.bajagua.org, a site set up by the National Security Whistleblower's Coalition, indicate Cheney met twice with Bajagua officials, on October 15, 2002 and again on September 4, 2003. Cheney is alleged to have pressured the Department of Justice and the Council on Environmental Quality to give Bajagua a pass on clean water concerns and the no-bid contract of building the treatment facility.

Perhaps a special prosecutor is in order for at least the allegations of influence peddling? Or are they all tied up with Delay's money laundering, Abramoff's version of BCCI, Frist's insider trading, Libby's indictment, various spy cases, and in general what has come to be known as the culture of corruption?

Well, at least we have the EPA!

EPA says they have done 'no assessments'

At least three different environmental assessments have been conducted on the Bajagau project, a procedure Ortega said is "not normal at all." In the first environmental assessment, the project was excluded, he recalled.

Asked if the EPA has conducted any environmental assessments of the proposed Bajagua project, Environmental Protection Agency spokesperson Dale Kemerly replied, "To my knowledge, no. It is a Mexican facility and we would have no jurisdiction."

Asked if the EPA would have jurisdiction if the Mexican plant made discharges into U.S. waters off California, he said, "If they are discharging treated wastewater that would not be a problem."

What if the facility discharged untreated wastewater into U.S. waters? "I don't know what the agency's response would be," Kemerly said.

Gulp?