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Sinking into the tar pits 

It would appear that the SLO County Planning Commission has an eating disorder. Force-feeding this community the idea that gluttony is a virtue is sick and demented. Freeport [McMoRan] was given a conditional use permit to operate and that permit not only expired, but Freeport failed to meet the conditions under which it was issued.

The Underground Injection Control program was one of the conditions. Freeport was never signed off on the UIC. Violate a condition and that permit gets revoked.

Freeport has been operating without a valid permit for at least 10 years, dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into the ground and releasing toxic gas into the atmosphere. And, just to be clear, there is no such thing in any of the codes or regulations about applying for an extension on an expired permit. 

The Planning Commission was dead wrong in extending an expired permit and failing to revoke the permit when conditions were not met. And dead wrong for failing to bring Freeport into compliance with the new emergency drought mandate and UIC program with a new permit.

And the commission took it one step further and wined and dined Freeport by waiving the one-person three-minute rule at the hearings. Freeport was allowed to present its opinions above and beyond the three minutes allowed every other person and paraded 10 to 15 paid employees to speak on the company’s behalf. 

Having 10 to 15 employees speaking for Freeport would be like me getting back in line to speak 10 to 15 times. A very pathetic display of reckless disregard and disrespect for the safety and health of this community by a governing board. But there is a lot of that going around these days—think about Flint, Michigan.

-- Jeanne Blackwell - San Luis Obispo

-- Jeanne Blackwell - San Luis Obispo

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