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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 3, 2015 4:00am-6:01am EDT

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today's hearing on an important issue when it comes to the epa spills and questions left to be answered and economic impacts we will be feeling not only in colorado but adjoining states as well. i would like to also extend my thanks to the small business committee on what i believe is an important issue. i am grateful for your willingness to be able to work with me to the what will be a long, complicated process to obtain a picture of the economic impacts of the epa gold king what they haved been subpar and into the future. i would like to provide context for why the way in the wake of this disaster we focus on the impacts of small businesses and why it's crucial. without question, they will be a long-term impact on farm and ranch communities in the area as well as other sectors of the
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regional economy. the program today, i will focus on one sector where we are likely to see the most impact more than any other and that is in regards to tourism. decades ago, western colorado relied on the mining and agricultural industries for economic growth. our state economy has diversified and fortunate to have you do for landscapes that stimulate tourism economy. tourism relies on our state's reputation for having unparalleled outdoor recreational opportunities and some of the finest facilities. the outdoor recreation industry booms in the winter from skiers all over the world by offering mountainous terrains to hike and explore as well as fishing, rafting, hiking and other act or -- and other outdoor activities. many of the businesses offer amenities and are found
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throughout my district, including southwest colorado, the region directly impacted by the cold king mine still. a study published earlier courtesy of the tourism office provides a detailed look at the importance of tourism to the various regions and county in the states of colorado. in 2014, travel spending totaled supporting6 billion, 155,000 jobs in over $5 billion in wages. quite the county. the first county down the string from san juan county where the gold king mine is located, relied heavily on tourism. the county of just over 350,000 people will not a share of that direct travel spending of only fashionable -- supporting about 3000 jobs and generating close to a million dollars in tax revenue. importancescount the of tourism in san juan county.
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san juan county has a population of 692 people. in 2013, taurus that for $2.2 million to san juan county, a little over $200,000 for every man, woman and child. a lot of that revenue would devastate the economy with few other economic opportunities. the epa maintains people, fromess can fly competition from economic losses. calculating a dollar amount is a difficult prospect at best. how do local businesses accurately estimate lost revenue from tourism? or the next or the one after that? almost every county in colorado has seen a year-over-year increase in tourism spending since 2009. how do you calculate the loss that would have been seen from larger increases? these are the questions we must grapple with. silverton is a
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sensible solution to clean up contamination, but what did the town residents think? shouldn't they be at the center of this the race? -- center of this debate? it should be of a national priority list. this would negatively impact the tourist economy which the town heavily depends. designating silverton a superfund site, a town which local businesses rely on seasonal visit for outdoor tourist and busiest, could severely damage the reputation and prove costly to the economy. many of the businesses in durango and silverton are small operations as are many ranches and farms in the area downstream. a small businessman myself, i know firsthand how important credit and loans are to staying afloat in the lean year, but ultimately a bank wants their money back and will not loan to a business whose customer base they believe is in decline or a farm or ranch whose access to
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clean water supply is in jeopardy. the uncertain status of animas river means many businesses that were healthy and thriving consequently struggling or feel they will be in danger. certainty, it comes in the animus drying tourists and providing crop water. a listing under the superfund could taint the area for decades to come without regard to the impact it could have on businesses. i think we can agree that tourism requires a clean environment, especially river-based tourism were people some, fish or kayak. it also depends on perception. i believe the area is contaminated with toxic waste will undeniably affect how many people will spend their money there. superfund status is a billboard announcing that the environment is not safe for humans. whether it is true or not, people look to the animus and san juan rivers and see the superfund designation and the
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site possibly to go elsewhere. superfund status does bring with it stigma, right or wrong and not to do is reality. that is a seemingly simple choice to spend vacation dollars somewhere other than southwest colorado to have a severe impact on the small business owners who rely on that tourism income. we all want the best possible solution to this devastating spill withdrawing it into a superfund designation when other equally and even more effective options could be available that has serious consequences for these communities and beyond. i have always believed local communities know what is best for themselves. they have an intimate understanding of their hometown economies and hit first and -- here firsthand from customers on why they visit. there on the ground knowledge can increase the economic in the area. we should seek solutions and put the power of funding to address the problems in the hands of the
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folks on the ground who have been working to solve these problems for years. the good samaritan approach that i have been broaching, and be able to see both of our senators from the state of colorado join with us in the concept of being able to address the problem and to make sure we are achieving a positive result, and i appreciate that support as one of the possible solutions as opposed to superfund designation. the animus river a significant source of revenue and southwest colorado and beyond, especially during summer tourism. this avoidable still will have a long-termt impact, impact and we are working with state, local and federal officials to gather information to assess the damages and get a full accounting of what transpired. as we contend with the damage inflicted on small businesses and southwest colorado in the future difficulties that they will face as a direct result of the gold king mine blowout, i urge everyone to consider options that do not ultimately
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compound the disaster. i appreciate the hearing and opportunity to testify. mr. gardner: thank you for your testimony. i know you have a vote that you can probably make no, so thank you for your time to be here. i will proceed with my opening remarks. on august fifth, 2015, the environmental protection agency released approximately they may gallons of contaminated water into cement creek north of silica, colorado. it quickly moved downstream to the animas river and flowed into the san juan river and lake powell, 300 miles down stream. it had an impact of colorado, new mexico, utah, seven indian drive, and the navajo nation. from the onset of the spill, the epa should be held to the same standard as epa would hold a private company. this means investigations must be conducted, people held
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accountable and tough questions asked. fisher closed public access to the animas river -- the sheriff" axis to the animas river and we visited four days after the spill and the epa did not have an appropriate crisis response team in place. it was not until the following day on august 10, that the epa established the command center intermingle doing good to address this bill. the river was not reopened until august 14, nine days after the surge of contaminated water. water testing shows the surface water returned to preevent levels but many remains and have questions about sediment at the the rocksom and lining the river. they contain several pollutants and you settling ponds which we hope will slow the flow of contaminants in the animas river. last month, a series of congressional oversight hearings took place in the united states senate and house of
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representatives i learned answers to some 8 -- to some inquiries of the epa hearing but questions remain on what took place in the events leading up to and following this bill and how to get communities back on track, including liability compensation. it is my hope the epa's office of inspector general report will provide transparency on the stove and then afford to the release of the assessment of the gold king mine spill. the colorado and downstream communities, there are concerns that exist that the epa must address. the epa announced that by october 14, the agency will open a temporary water treatment systems which will replace the settling ponds that constructed by the epa in on this area good news for our communities for the winter months but further litigation like epa's long-term mitigation plan and teacher monitoring for kind contamination must still be addressed. some claim the gold king mine spoke shows for broader reform which includes reform nations to the mining lobbying.
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in reality, what we have to work on is the need for legislation that would allow the mines across the west to be cleaned up by good samaritan, language that has passed before all other conversations about mining laws forward. there has been broad bipartisan support for passing good a decision in the past and i'm committed to working with senator bennett and in a bipartisan fashion to get legislation to the senate, the only way we will get good samaritan legislation to work and bipartisan fashion. i am also working with senator bennett on the need for water treatment in the upper animas river said today's hearing is important because it provides us with a different view we have added -- we have had from other viewings. we can hear from people on the ground who were present businesses and communities and represent the people of the counties affected. that is why i am disappointed that we do not have an epa representatives who could answer basic questions about the points that congressman tipton raised in his opening statement about youensation, about how do
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determine what level of competition to provide to a hotel? --ther it is a cancellation is that related to the gold king mine spell? a rafting trip? cancellation of dinner reservation, hotel room? what can we determine what costs are incurred, questions we still have alluded like to have an answer today by the appropriate representative. property damage, lost economic opportunity, and as congressman to dimension, the long-term impact. how do we get answers and compensation for these very significant issues? there will be a number of proposals for congress and i look forward to working on them with senator bennett. again, i think it is important the only way to address these issues is with bipartisan support. alternate over to senator bennett. senate -- if the panel of like to take their seat come on up.
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senator bennett: mr. chairman, let me say thank you so much for holding this hearing and including me. i appreciate it. i am not on the committee but i am deeply interested in getting to the bottom of this as you are in the answers we need, so thank you. it is my pleasure to welcome commissioner blake and miss gallegos. the blowout affected communities and businesses throughout southwest colorado and there is no denying that the epa caused this and that is unacceptable. on epa'sad hearings actions and it is appropriate we consider the economic aspects of this bill. animas river is the lifeblood and economic engine of southwest colorado. lost hear today, companies
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business, trips were canceled, tourism suffered and farmers cannot water their crops. the damages from the spill are being calculated ellie mae not know the full extent for years to come. businesses and individuals are starting to recover their losses as chairman gardner said, they deserve to be reimbursed for damages and the epa is committed to doing so. the gold king mine spill recovery act i introduced with senator tom udall will ensure the epa follows through on the promise and we continue to want to work with our colleagues to get that go rights. it requires them to reimburse businesses, governments and individuals per property damage, lost revenue and emergency expenses and calls on the epa to construct a permanent water treatment plant north of silverton to tackle this problem at the shores. the form minds in the upper animas river release more than mineillion gallons of acid drainage every year. we need solutions to address
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this pollution all across the west. that is why senator gardner and i are working on good samaritan legislation to encourage the cleanup of abandoned mines, it is long past time for us to address this issue. i think part of the issue is that people in this place are too focused on the east and west coasts and their not paying attention to the rocky mountain watersheds which, if you live downstream from the rocky mountain watersheds, which almost everybody in the united states does, you need to take an to make sure we don't have another disaster. i also believe that as part of this, we should reform the 1872 mining automation mining companies pay royalties to tax payers like everybody else on our public lands. the many other business owners and elected officials, eyewitnesses, commissioner blake and gallegos and cora understand firsthand the need to address
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legacy mining so we do not get hit with another blowout. senator gardner and i appreciate the meeting with them during our visit to durango four days after this bill. is on the four corner river supports, and outdoor commercial rafting business today, so anybody who is listening, please, though. hasa build his business and raised his family in southwest colorado and as with so many small business owners, and he depends on the animas river for his livelihood. inn the water turned orange august in the middle of the grafting season, it hits his business card and with no warning. i look forward to learning more from all the witnesses this morning. mr. chairman, thank you for inviting me to speak lately and holding this hearing. mr. gardner: thank you. colorado, from
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commissioner blake's family lived to durango in the 1930's, serving his first term on the county commission and we are pleased to have been. next up is gallegos, the executive director of the commerce,chamber of miss gallegos is a third generation silverton resident. and last, we have mr. andy owner of four core river supports in durango. it is located on the banks of the animas river which is described as the heart of during go and has been in business for over 35 years. corra can provide a first-hand experience on what it meant for the community. thank you to the witnesses for traveling so far to be here today. it is truly appreciated to shed light on questions that need to be addressed. mr. blake, if you'd like to begin. mr. blake: thank you.
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i appreciate the opportunity and i like to thank chairman bitter to speak at the small business committee and entrepreneurship concerning the impacts of the spill. my name is bradford p. blake, a business owner and commissioner and laplata county, colorado. we are very blessed to live in an area of great natural beauty from 14,000 foot peaks to desert valleys. the rivers that run through this area are beautiful and clear. the premier is the mountains of the silverton and flows through colorado and 126 miles through laplata county the city of durango, the southern indian reservation, to the mexico border and on to utah and lake powell. the mountains above silverton are rich in minerals and metals.
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the attractive miners to the area starting in the 1860's. whining support companies all of -- mining businesses support companies followed along with other businesses. some you would recognize as the renowned during go railroad. others feel might not but they encompass different types of enterprises such as tourism related businesses including rafting, hiking, and outdoor recreation. hunting, fishing, hotels, restaurants and other related support services. laplata county has considerable agricultural interests including organic farms, ranches that rely on the waters of the animus to support their operations. and there are businesses you expect to find, including retail, grocery stores, real estate offices, banks, and all other services that support our economy. all of these great businesses
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employ a few to hundreds of people and the spill has impacted all of them in some way. news of the gold king mine spread far and wide, not only .ationally but around the world the durango area tourism office conducted a media analysis for throughod of august 5 august 24 and determined that 19 million impressions were made. impressions like this that i have from the "during go harold" and this was seen around the world. i had friends call me and ask me about it. i've brought you a copy of "the durango herald" to look at this. the 164 articles about the incident had a value of more than $3.4 million. the wrong kind of advertising. summer is the height of the tourist season and it was cut
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short, first, by the visual impact of the gold king and lingering questions about the impact of this bill on the river and our community. most severely impacted with the rafting companies. their season was abruptly interrupted on august five, and six, the day of the spill. local rafting companies in laplata county that employed an excess of 150 people and they were directly impacted and had to lay off employees during the period of the river rafting company. one told me estimated losses to be $100,000. when tourism related businesses are impacted, there is a ripple the economy,hout on hotels, restaurants and retail stores. those impact the collection of local sales tax and lodgers tax, but tourism businesses were not the only ones impacted. agriculture took a hit as well.
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small and local farmers had reduced crop yields due to the lack of water, the hottest -- at the hottest and driest time of the growing season. which is that provide irrigation to farms were closed for up to 10 days. in some cases leaving farmers high and dry. one rancher reported that he lost half of his second cutting of hate which is $8,600 worth of hay. a bigall rancher, that is deal. equally significant is the impact of this bill on the reputation of the organic farms that utilize the river. how can the reputations be restored when doubts about the quality of the water remain? in another example, the entire inventory of durango mercy, local plant and tree nursery on the banks of the river, was threatened by the inability to use the water for watering purposes. owner tom bridge had to haul water at his own expense until arrangements were made for the
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water to be delivered until the river could be used again. even that could not help when customers in. tom estimates he lost $20,000 worth of business due to the decline in customers during the period of the gold king incident and sales have not recovered. tom estimates that his sales for the will be down 1.25% from his projected as a result of the bill. as news of the incident spreads, calls came into the community from around the country asking questions like -- are all the fish that? will the fumes, my family if we walk by the river? is the river ever going to recover? it is obvious that our community's image and reputation as a natural scenic and frilly mecca has been damaged as a result of this bill. whatly, we do not know yet the long-term impact of the spill and the publicity generated by it might be.
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we anticipate that could be lingering negative images of public health and safety concerns, and the decline in future visitations all of which will impact small businesses in laplata county. as a small business owner myself, i am concerned about uncertainty created for local businesses resulting from the spill and heightened awareness of acid mine drainage. --sked for you to support for your support of the expeditious reimbursement to businesses and employees impacted by the gold king mine spill. i urge your thoughtful 63, the goldn of s20 of 2000 15,ry act and i advocate for a speedy and collaborative response to this ongoing and age-old problem of metal loading in the upper animus. i urge congress to move expeditiously but thoughtfully
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to address the larger problem of acid mine drainage and animas river watershed that impacts not only laplata county would all communities along the river. although have of the citizens of laplata county, colorado, i thank you for your interest, time, and consideration. thank you very much. chairman gardner: two what, mr. blake. and without objection, the newspaper article will be entered to the record. ms. gallegos? misdiagnosed: good morning. thank you for the invitation and bringing silverton -- this gallegos: good morning. thank you for the invitation to brings over 10. my intention for my opening statements is to tell you who we are. silverton was a ruckus rumbling mining town. the pioneer spirit that brought folks to the west and the discovery of gold, silver and other minerals as to why we still exist.
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silverton was incorporated in 1874. 1882, they filled the transport change the entire area. we still depend on that 100 plus-year-old train as part of the heart of our summer economy. there are 699 of us, technically, 701, there were babies this summer, and about 520 actually live in the town of silverton. we get an influx of some residents and then they go south and there we get an influx of winter residence. the solid, hard-core number of year-round residents is around 500s. we fluctuate with depending on the season, being a tourist town. owner in sane land
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juan county is the federal government. theof our land is owned by cblm or forest service. we had 388 square miles in our county. silverton is the only municipality left standing. san juan county used to be linked and littered with many mining towns which are now ghost towns, literally ghost towns, buildings you can go in and see the past. we are the heart of the san juan mountains, right up the continental divide. i am telling you it takes an extremely hardy soul to live there. i know. being third-generation, my grandfather came after world war ii to be a minor. my father and mother met at silverton high school, were homecoming queen and king, and i should not save the year because it will pick up on the age, but
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it was in the late 1950's. and then my father started a family right away and also went into mining but moved to the city which i was born and raised in denver. i would spend all my summers in silverton as a child so now as an adult living there full-time resident, it is like reliving your childhood. silverton is a base camp for us. we lived there so we can live in the mountains. that is something that is on tangible unless you experience it and stood in the fall of that called there are, the volcano created the only level land which is where my town was built . because of that, 48% of our economy is depending on tourism. since the 1990's, when the last mine closed, the have tried to figure out -- who are weak and where are we going? but we also -- who are we and
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where are we going? heritage, aining disco we are. we offer tourism through ecology yet our ecology are extremely fragile like the tundra we live below. silverton is nestled at 9318 elevation rate, that is why folks come to visit us. repeat tourism is critical and a very stable part of our economy. as well as second-home owners and the influx of seasonal workers that come in and out of our community to help us get there are tourism season. we experienced a little over 400 inches of snow in a year. we've got one road in and one road and that is highway 550, 1 of the most dangerous highways in the united states. along highway, which separates us from services, 50 miles south
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, is 150 avalanche path. mother nature's way of shutting snow but that means we are vulnerable to being blocked in our blocked out, quite frankly. .e have the alpine loop that country experience of camping, hiking, and in that country is exactly where gold king are seated. when you go to our backcountry know, you do see the incident firsthand. you do see the blue tarps with the sediment and the activity going on. across the street from our number one employer in the winter, silverton mountain, is this remediation situation. and base camp for the pa.
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-- for the epa. we understand and acknowledge and know that we are now in a long-term relationship with the situation with the epa. we look forward for taking responsibility and being proactive in dealing with being at the top of the watershed in the old mines. again, if it was not for all of these mines, the west may not be what the west is today. heritage embrace our and our past and we are proud of the. in this situation, it has changed the way that is looked upon. talking about employers and 48% ofent, again, we are our economy on tourism.
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when you talk about the top employers in san juan county, we have no corporate entity. we do not have a big office building. it is silverton mountain at 40 employees. second largest employer in san juan county is one of our largest restaurant at 22 employees. we have a 10 month business cycle either a 12 year calendar year to make it. winter and summer are night and day. a lot of our time closes for the winter and in the summer when that train comes rolling in, we open up all our doors, cleaner windows off, and we are there to the influx of hundreds of thousands of tourists who experience as, whether it is one day, one week or four months, and we are dependent on that, thankful for that, and understand that without that,
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we, too, could have the potential of being one more ghost town. homeught my grandmother's that was moved from a ghost town in eureka in the 40's -- in the 1940's and my kitchen is slanted, walls are little, doors are tiny, but i love my house. and i love my community. that is why we are all there. that is why i am here, to stick up for them. incident, only already were struggling -- we were already struggling with the housing issue, a domino effect of we cannot house new employees, then who will work in the restaurants and shops and hotels? we were already struggling with more jobs than people in town. so we have to also because the conscientious
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of switching the seasons because the winter people come in and replace them with housing. we do not live in a normal day-to-day town. we have dead fiber in the ground . we are not connected to fiber, so when we sit around and discuss what is economic development for silverton? in one of the individuals we can bring in is someone with their own business, we don't have the infrastructure to support that. again, we go back to tourism. gentlemen, we are counting on us and to speak up for us. i know you both have been there. we had a meeting on august 12, senator gardner, that was set up before the epa incident and i tovely wanted to stick
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those issues to discuss housing, employment, tourism and waited go from here? not knowing that the train was coming down the tracks and we were tied to it. what i do know about my community is that we still embrace that pioneer spirit. therefore, we want to create a new relationship with the federal government and the epa. not status quo. awaret them, you, to be of our situation. housing is an issue. to have an influx of federal workers and subcontractors, we cannot allow the housing we already did not have for the people to be displaced because of that because who is going to be there to help these small businesses? businesses tell me that they left over $60,000 on the table this summer alone
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because of lack of employees. i have a business that can only open that days a week instead of seven, which no and one business day a month, because you literally did not have employees. we have had cancellations, real estate deals fall through, pulls pull out -- banks out the new community construction providing loans just because of this talk because of what is going on. two to remember us. we are important, just because we are the little guy and their are only 700 of us does not mean we do not matter. we are putting trust and faith in you to do so. to our. -- thank you. chairman gardner: thank you. mr. corra? corra: thank you for having
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me. and i own andy corra four corner river sports. we have been around for 35 years and employ up to 50 people in the high season. we have a retail's door, paddle school, and rafting operations. the date the gold kingsville happened, it was a hard day in durango. the river is the heart and soul of the community. it runs down the straight center of the valley and animus runs adjacent to downtown and it is important. the picture that mr. blake has of those three kayakers, those are friends of mine who found themselves surrounded by the orange sludge and they were the first ones who told us, something is going on with the river. word spread quickly in the community. i went out on the animas river trail as this boat moved toward town, and there were literally hundreds of people gathering
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along the trail in the section i was in. i understand was filling up with people. it was like a funeral that day. people were really upset. it felt really personal. there were a lot of tears shed. close familya member had been injured or hurt and it hurt the town, it hurt people's -- morley hurt the people. -- the morley hurt the people. but it woke us up to this long-standing pollution issuing animus. to wrangle invest money to make it a desirable place to live and the investment plays off. we attract businesses, entrepreneurs, small business owners, creative thinkers, telecommuters, and you can see it. our economy is strong in durango. examples of these investments -- we just completed a new $3 million whitewater park, a
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playground for rafters and kayakers, it is wonderful. the town invested $20 million in the animas river trail. one of the better examples is recently there was a hot spent sales tax marked for parks and recreation. that ballot measure passed i-69 -- of the vote, so nearly passed by 69.5% of the vote, severely -- so more than half of the town tested to tax themselves more. that is this bit of our community. 2015 was the best year we had had in a long time. we are used to adversity. we have drought years, down economies that affect tourism, we get to plan and adjust for those things. this year, sales were great, tourism, and then the river was closed.
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we did not have time to plan or adjust. i rafting company, our sister company, lost about $19,000. the paddle school was down about $8,200. rocked rentals or down about $3000. to down 20%.8% as mr. blake mentioned, one of the largest operators in town, the $100,000 he lost was in the eight days of closure, so he was down 50% for the entire month of august. the aunt those glasses, it is the 150 employees who lost their losses, ityond those is the 150 employers who lost their jobs. they were immediately out of work. while we have the problem in the business, it is those individuals that concern me. i am confident that it was senator bennett's bill, the gold king mine recovery act of 2015,
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our local community, our state, and the federal government that a lot of those people will be made whole. my greatest concern is that we address this long-term problem created from our regions mining legacy. mine pollution is not new to the animas river. the gold king mine blowout was spectacular, 3 million gallons in aange, toxic sludge matter of hours but i think it is important to know that that 200 to 500as leaking gallons of the same under every minute prior to that. that there are other contributing minds that add up to 6 million gallons a week. that is we hundred 30 million thatns of toxic water -- is 330 million gallons of toxic water every year. the gold king represents one weeks worth of that natural drainage. that is without rate should be.
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that is where energy should be directed. this is the ticking time bomb that hangs over our head. as a business owner, it makes me reluctant to invest in the future if this will happen again. the impacts, like we have said, go well beyond durango, from silverton, colorado, to grand canyon, arizona. people depend on this river. the water deserves to be cleaned up once and for all. i think everybody agrees that the epa must this one up, right? we waste a lot of our energy and anger going after these epa firefighters who were tasked with the impossible job of putting this out-of-control fire with a garden hose. clear that thes piecemeal approach of the past is not working. it is a complex problem. there are tons of mine portals, water that needs to be redirected, water that needs to be treated, and it is an ongoing
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problem. comprehensible approach to clean this up. good samaritan legislation is proposed by the last congress makes good sense. 1872 mining law needs to be reformed and brought in line with other industries. the epa needs to partner with the stakeholders and silverton. they have a lot of knowledge and they need to consult with those folks. yes, we need the water treatment plant in cement creek today and it needs to be fully funded. i want to thank the senators here for proposing that. it is a really important first step. understand that it is only a first step. all of the above post does nothing to give us money today that we need. it does nothing to plan a long-term fix for this problem. it is a complicated problem.
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there is really only one entity. if we can reinvent the wheel and get money also, great, let's do it but right now, there is one entity that can handle this. there was one entity that has the experience, technical expertise, and has the potential funding sources and that is the epa. i understand that it makes a lot inpeople nervous to invite the epa on a big basis. i get a lot of the senators may not want that kind of fix, but basinnow, and the animus of mind to the epa's superfund national priorities list is really the only clear path forward. i know there is a lot of fear around that, but i go to utah, site, it is booming, there are thousands and thousands of tourists, aspen, colorado, i don't think real this, is hurting from they are a superfund site. i think it can be done in a sensitive and direct minor.
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if there is another funding source, great, but followed the federal government and somebody came to me with a laundry list, i would say, that looks great. cap an excellent program for that, it is called the epa and superfund. in conclusion, durango and surrounding communities depend on animas river for drinking, or creation, industry, and the ongoing pollution and periodic major releases threatens our community's help and livelihood. only the full effort comprehensive approach of the epa can address these problems permanently. we appreciate your consideration and i welcome any questions. chairman gardner: thank you. we will go back and forth on questions and get to several. i wanted to start -- mr. blake, you can start and feel free miss to jump and mr. corra in. talk about experiences that you have heard from businesses in
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the two counties about how they will handle this from the cost to calculate lost revenue and how they move forward and perhaps talk about lost revenue to the county, if you have been able to make the calculation. esther blake: lost revenue to the county, we have -- mr. blake: altered up with lost revenue to the county, we have had a lot of county employees and our county manager and county attorney and all the support staff did a -- did an leading excellent job leading the apa, so there is cost there. if you want to look at taxes, larger taxes directly were affected. howre not sure quite yet much they were affected but those are taxes that would take the hit. some people have said that the epa came to town and filled up all the rooms that were not
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taken, but i will remind you that they do not pay largest tax. lodgers tax goes directly to what we were talking about, fighting against negative images that might have occurred. the durango area tourism office does a great job of putting information out about the whole four corners area and drawing people in. as far as businesses, i talked to a lot of business people from to farmers that i mentioned the real estate offices i talked to. i talked to one gal who had somebody walk away from a real estate deal, as was mentioned by miss gallegos, people are nervous about this. it really worries them. had calls from friends and family around the country that said, hey, what is going on?
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one of my cousins was extremely upset because he remembers the days when we would fish in the river. he said, i remember those days fishing and the river and how fun they were and how beautiful the river was. he was very upset about it. concerns those images, . congressman tipton mentioned perception. it really is a lot about perception. the river may have returned back or as close to normal as you can get, but it is acting where it was. people don't necessarily get that information. they are still seeing the images like i mentioned earlier and i think that is what we are looking to next year, what will be the outcome of this and maybe the following year. gardner: did the epa say they would reimburse the county for the employee time you have had and the agreement have you have had? mr. blake: they have.
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we are working with them on reimbursement and so far i think that is going along as can be expected. as far as i know, we have not funds yet. just the county. that is just the county. there are a lot of businesses that were impacted from a small amount to a larger amount and some of the businesses that were had taken af they hit of $100,000 or more, that is a problem because the 495 that epa provide this not allow for recovering what you have lost. it has a limit on what you can actually recover. chairman gardner: thank you. if i could get 495 entered into the record, that will help. the realw whether estate deal you talked about, walking away, that is a lost
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opportunity, will that be something you can submit on the claim? how do you approve that? that is a loss -- mr. blake: it would be really hard to prove -- real estate deals fall apart all the time, but -- and there was more than one. i have a personal friend who said her client walked away from the deal specifically because of that. i heard some other people mentioned similar stories but specifically say, that is it for us. chairman gardner: feel free if you want to add to that. mr. corra: my concern is the long-term impact. the media images were everywhere. we could not have asked for that but my concerne
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is the people next year. what do we do about that? an effort andg letting people know our river is cleaned up, i was in the river the day before it closed and the date opened and it was looking a little messy. it is looking better in town. and sober 10 is the same way. people are used -- and silverton is the same way. people are used to the color, that has been going on, but when i first moved to durango 35 was prettythe river dead above town. there were not many fish in the northern part. there were some but not many. and then they built a treatment plan run by one of the mining companies in the mid-1990's and the river really cleaned up and the durango section became a
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metal fishery. our status has since gone down, so that operation shutdown and that was won by a mining company. are downstream again and the ringo is not a gold-medal fishery, so not as many fish. i think it is those kind of optics and that message. we start to clean it up with bitumen plant in cement creek, i am confident we will see that cleanup. when that is a gold-medal fishery again, people will forget about this. they will remember to, silverton, the animas river as the claim river. bennett: since there are no other senators here today, i can say without contradiction that it is an enormous privilege to represent the most beautiful state in the country, colorado. feels theator gardner same way, the testimony reminds me of the expression we draw from the people we represent.
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we draw fromation the people we represent. you cannot not think about the character of the people. miss gallegos, you are talking thet taking the outlines of trail, and he conceived railroads built -- almost 14,000 feet -- by people. i always think when i am there, i think what the character must have been like, the cooperation, and how empty the political conversation with sound to the people that built silverton. the other thing you do when you travel a lot the colorado, you never stop when you are in a shop and you pick favorite place. a favorite place for me is that hotel on the banks of the animas river, the doubletree there. room on the back, you open up those doors and you can hear that river going back and there is nothing quite like it. when we first say -- as mr.
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corra was saying, this community is open for business, there is lots to do their in the winter and summer months and people should not take the wrong lesson from what we are trying to do. but we want to make it safer and that is fight we are here today. then we start with mr. corra, you mentioned this locus up in your testimony. i think you talked about the long-term issue of legacy mind pollution -- legacy mine pollution. that is heart of the issue. we need to clean up the water coming out of the minds or event -- to prevent future blowouts. i wonder if you could use the opportunity to tell us about the business community indirectly is thinking differently about this. what did you wake up to and what can congress help due to tackle this problem?
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mr. corra: i think what we woke up to, on a personal level, we woke up to maybe our river was not as pristine as we always had assumed. we woke up to the fact that my kid is splashing around in that world are -- in that water, and my comfortable with that? the reality is the water is safe. i trust the numbers from the epa and they have been confirmed and the water is safe. it does not mean that the water is pure. it does not mean it is as good as it should be. below silverton, cement creek, the river is essentially dead. there are no fish, blogs in that in that section of river. there is 50 miles of pretty water, we will take you one day, but that actually cleans it up, the medals dropout at that point. we do have a pretty clean river in town, but a lot of the
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business owners that i speak with, what they are concerned about our optics. they are concerned that we have got this tainted impression across the country. i got this info calls that brad got. you can do, we can fund some real clean up there. it needs to be done in a sense the manner. it needs to be done so it does not impact silverton and i think it can be. the mines in cement creek and not directly in the town. i think if it is done properly, like in utah and other places, that the town will benefit in the long-term. if the optic is, hey, we are taking proactive action to clean this up, i think that goes along way for the businesses of silverton and durango. senator bennett: miss geithner, you said in your testimony -- miss gallego, you said that they
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were ready for a different relationship with the epa and committed to constructing a temporary treatment plan that is not committed to finding a way to construct a permanent facility which i think both of us would like to see. tell us a little more about the way you would like it to go as we try to seek a solution? a's points arerr'a important toward the end, that the water being treated would not be right in silverton, it is north of the town. this gallegos: we are the top -- miss gallegos: we are the top of the watershed and it has been a problem, but i do not believe that we have to go status quote. i want to make a point -- i am not a politician, i have not been to every meeting with the epa for the general citizen and also part of the incident crisis
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concern hasersonal ,een lack of transparency listening and analyzing all of the hearings that have been going on. again, my personal opinion is the testimony stands for itself. it is concerning when you are inviting that into your backyard. is ak at leadville, there very well written book about leadville and the impact on the community of leadville, so just as many positive stories and there are also the horror stories. i personally see it as a way best, that is my concern. i agree with mr. corra that something needs to happen now and today. i travel up to the actual site on a regular basis and i see the
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blue tarps and i see the remediation and i see the holes, and they see the sediment. experience --l the fact that you know mccarthy has never stepped foot in my county, the fact we had to fight to get the epa to come do a thatnity meeting, the fact ourall situations work out concerning to me as a citizen, a landowner, and third-generation silver tony and -- sil vertonian. i ask if it is immediate money? when we asked the epa, they said there is a lot they would get back, i would love to trust. i would love to know for my community that it would be instead, that it would come
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right away, but i don't. hearing the real estate agency safe just the talk of the stigma , deals are getting canceled, loans are not being offered for construction loans within our new community that we are desperately wanting to build our alarming for me. do i believe that the intention is there? yes. but i am also a realist. i know what i have seen and what i have heard in our relationship with the epa. i also would like to acknowledge that we understand -- this might beware to say -- we are in an arranged marriage with the epa. we have been working with the for over 25 years. they are here. they have been here. it is this accident that they
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caused that has brought this to the forefront, that has really made us the poster child of superfund or to not. what we are concerned as a community is that it is our immediate neighbors. our definition as neighbor -- of neighbors has changed. it is the ringo to farmington to every county in town and state that touches that water. we acknowledge that, we respect that, we appreciate being brought to the table here today. what my personal experience has been is that silver 10 a lot of times has not been invited to rton has not silve been invited to the table. i have received hate mail, we have gotten cancellations, we have had tourist turndown water. there is an impression and a stigma, and again, we agreed that that is our concern for
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long-term. what is that going to look like? i am thinking long-term for us to calculate and figure out what is going to today change in the future windows of stories come in. this is only been a couple months, it feels like 10 years, but it has been less than a couple of months. what i ask, again, in that pioneer spirit -- and this is again personal -- is that we think outside of the box. is it the medical attacker -- the magic bullet? i don't know that. what does it actually mean to be on a priorities list. waitlist? immediate remediation? we as well want to see immediate remediation, to see that the work that is happening up there is wonderful.
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let's keep going. let's make it permanent. we also want a water treatment plant. it has have to be like been done since the 80's? i don't know that. we are turning over our trust to you. >> thank you. to follow up on some of the comments he made about the funding and some of the 495 -- form 95 and the claims themselves, has anybody been reimbursed for a claim that has been filed? >> no. just said it, you there is no timeline they have given for when they would be filed or have you heard that they would be made in the week, month, six months? anytime frame? >> no. >> the county actually set up meeting place where people could come with their form to get help filling it out. it is not a really friendly form
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to fill out. but the county actually was proactive in helping folks fill that out. i believe they can still get help if they need to. i think the incident command haser has kind of been -- stood down at this point but i think there is still some help. any follow-up questions or anything? >> i would just ask a question of the commission are so let me is you one question, which there more that senator gardner and i can do to be helpful to you as you try to interact with these federal agencies or think about what legislation we might want to pass? is a pretty big machine. we found that out when they came to town in force. they were at the bus silverton -- of above silverton doing some work and when they came and it pretty bigy group --
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group of folks. think that that could be something that works against them. that came, and a lot of different folks would show up every week. we would ask for certain things, the next group would come in and the ball would kind of get dropped. i think the size might actually be a detriment. i would agree that a iflaboration would be good possible, because there are a lot of experts that are from the mining industry that i've done a lot of good work up in the mineral creek drainage. they have done a lot of cleanup on their own. they do one here, when there. i think that that is a great opportunity to see the best things happen, because you get experts that have been doing it. they put bulkheads in.
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i have seen a lot of cleanup. does not haveba experts, but there are people that have been there a long time. i would agree that i think a collaboration is really the best way to go. >> i appreciate it. thank each of you for taking time to come here today. it is a long trip. things have got other you need to worry about. we are very grateful. this testimony has been incredibly helpful. office is going to continue to work with you to make sure that we put this right. >> thank you senator gardner for holding this hearing. >> and thank you for your participation. >> to the witnesses, thank you very much for your time and testimony. there is a lot work we to do following up on reimbursement, getting ideas for the timeframe. we have figure out what the timeframe is going to be, what
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types of claims are going to be accepted. fors can be filed two years. does that mean 70 next summer when they see the impact can file or does it have to be airing the time frame? we will get those answers from the epa for those questions. you have got a commitment from us to continue to work on these issues. these are things that we can no longer wait. and you are here today as part of the solution, and we truly appreciate that. thank you for your time and testimony. the chairman for allowing this hearing to be heard. we wish you safe travels back home. this committee meeting is adjourned.
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[indiscernible] >> next, democratic presidential
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candidate hillary clinton in florida. then president obama on the resignation of education secretary arne duncan, and taking reporters questions. and live at 7:00 a.m., your calls and comment on "washington journal." her,e c-span cities to working with our cable affiliates and visiting cities across the country. this weekend we are joined by comcast to learn more about the history of santa rosa, california. considering considered part of napa wine county. >> i guess you could say it's history began with wine, because the first vines planted here were at the mission in sonoma. late 1820's or early 1830's, which was a very long time ago.
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they were mission grapes, and nobody in their right mind would make wine out of them. 1990's wes and the were beginning to be better and better known. when my folks first purchased the ranch in the late 50's, they did not know it at the time but they saw quite a change in the industry happening, just in our little valley. it had not always been the quote unquote wine country. we have a wonderful agriculture history here in sonoma county. it the jackoes london house. >> this is where jack london
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lived until his death in 1960. jack london probably would have been writing longhand. books like "white fang" was published in 1906, a year after .e bought the ranch it was published while he was working here. jack london claimed that he worked two hours and a writing so he would write 1000 words a day before breakfast. but i think a lot of his time was spent because he was trying so that ite ranch could be a model. that took a lot of his time. >> see all of our programs and santa rosa today at noon eastern on c-span2 book tv and sunday afternoon at 2:00 on american history tv on c-span3. >> democratic candidate hillary
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clinton made an appearance in florida. ♪ >> good afternoon students, faculty, and guests of brown college. i'm given the it -- i have been given the esteemed privilege to introduce mrs. hillary clinton. [applause] allow me to tell you a little
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bit about myself. i was born and raised in florida like many of you here today. i come from a proud household. [applause] now when i was younger, i never took much interest in whoever was whining for president, -- whoever was running for president, because if the person was democrat, my family would receive my vote regardless. it wasn't until my 12th year of school when i met my ap government teacher, mrs. smith. she taught me what it means to research the candidates who are going to be influencing the policies, that are going to influence and eventually decide what is going to happen within the future. so with that i can proudly stand here and say that i choose hillary! [applause]
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crowd: hillary! hillary! hillary! >> there are several reasons why i choose to vote for hillary clinton. she believes in a country where everyone has a fair shot, regardless of their race, their gender, or their circumstances that they were born into. she supports comprehensive immigration reform that will allow the culture of diversity that made this country great continue. she is for student loan reform which -- [applause] >> which is for students just like you and i to get an education without paying for it for the rest of our lives. above all else, she will keep this nation safe and strong. [applause] >> in 2008, we the people made
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history and elected the first african-american to hold office as president of the united states. [applause] >> i was too young in 2008 and again in 2012 to help elect barack obama as president. but i have good news. i turned 18 this past november and now have my chance to make history by voting for hillary clinton who, with our help, can become the first female president! [applause] crowd: hillary! >> ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor and privilege to present to you my choice to be the democratic presidential nominee and our next president, hillary clinton. [applause] hillary: thank you! thank you so much! whoa! didn't he do a great job?
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i have to tell you, i am so pleased to be here at broward college. there are 30,000 students here and i want to thank darnell for introducing me. [applause] hillary: i am so grateful to him for what he said about his choice and i thank all of you for being here to help us get organized in florida so we win the primary and win the election in 2016. i think congressman ted joyce -- ted deutch is here and i want to thank all the officials. it is exciting for me to talk about this campaign and to really raise a lot of the issues that are important, i think, to the country botch future and -- the country's future and to
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all of you. but i also want to thank you for doing what darnell is doing, and that is registering to vote, being active in the campaign, working to elect your candidate, hopefully me, and -- [applause] hillary: talking to everybody can about why this election is so important. you know, there are a lot of issues to talk about. i want to say that my campaign is focused on making sure that the economy works to raise income that provides jobs to everybody willing to work hard and do your part. [applause] hillary: i am excited about that because i believe and i say this because i know the facts back me up, the economy works better for america and americans when we
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have a democrat in the white house. [applause] hillary: and certainly, you can look at all of the statistics, they go back a long way. unemployment is lower. incomes are higher, even the stock market is higher and in fact, when a republican is in the white house, you are four times more likely to have a recession. now i don't want to go all the way back to the beginning of our country to prove this, but let's just take the last 35 years. we have had five repent -- five presidents, three republicans and two democrats. i am privileged to know two of those democrats. each of them inherited economic problems from their republican predecessors. now in my husband's case, there was a little matter of the national debt being quadrupled in the last 12 years.
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from george washington, to ronald reagan, there was a lot of stuff going on, and then two terms of ronald reagan and one term of george h.w. bush and the entire debt was quadrupled and the deficit had gone way up. it look like there were problems, recession every -- recessionary problems as they say in the economy. my husband took a look at that and after he got elected, he told me it is so much worse than they told us. someone asked him, what do you think you uniquely bring to washington? he paused and said arithmetic. [laughter] hillary: we are going to get this to measure up again and at the end of eight years, we had 23 million new jobs and most importantly incomes went up for everybody, not just people at the top, people in the middle, working people, poor people.
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we ended up with a balanced budget and a surplus. well, along came another republican president and they went back to the failed policies of trickle down economics, didn't they? so at the end of eight years the , deficit was back up, the debt was back up, and we were facing the worst financial crisis since the great depression. and then they took their eye off the financial markets and the mortgage markets and you know what happened. now shortly after the 2008 election, i got a call from president-elect obama. he asked me to come see him in chicago. i didn't know why. turned out he wanted me to be secretary of state. [applause] hillary: which was very exciting and a big honor, but when i got there, it was just he and i. he goes to me, it was so much more worse than they told us. you know, i've heard that
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before, and indeed it was. we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. the auto industry was tottering on the brink of collapse. all of those jobs all the way down the supply chain. and the president-elect said, we've got problems around the world and we've got the problems here at home to get this economy out of the ditch. now that is why i said, you go deal with the secretary of state issues and i am going to focus on the economy. and that is what we did. and that is what we did. the republicans want us to have a case of collective amnesia and forget that it was their economic policies that put us in that big ditch. now we have dug our way out. we've recovered 13 million jobs.
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we have had good growth rate this last quarter. so we are standing but we are not yet running again. now i am not running for my husband's third term or president obama's third term, i am running for my first term, but i am going to do what works for the economy of the united states! [applause] hillary: we've got to get wages up again. people have to feel that their hard work is actually producing something for them and their families. no obviously, we have to raise the minimum wage. nobody who works full time on minimum wage should be mired in poverty, but we have to do more than that. we have to do more to actually incentivize profit-sharing so when people work hard and their work produces profit, those profits are shared not just with the ceos but with the workers who actually help to produce them. [applause] hillary: so i've got a whole economic plan that is focused on raising incomes. that is my mission when it comes to the economy.
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i want to also see us create some really good jobs for people again. how are we going to do that? one of the ways we are going to do that is we are going to combat climate change by transitioning to clean energy jobs and businesses and you know, if anybody should be supportive of this, it ought to be the people of florida, because you all are on the front lines of all of these weather related events. but we don't have to be pessimistic about it. let's just be determined about it. something to really already -- some states are already moving towards renewable clean energy. i spent a lot of time in iowa, as you might guess, and they are already getting 30% of their electricity from wind. i just came from massachusetts, which is not known as a sunny state like florida, and they ranked number four in the country in solar power.
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i am hoping that florida gets on track. when it comes to wind, when it comes to solar, when it comes to advanced biofuel. and the people who say, well, that might hurt the economy, or the republican candidates, when they are asked about climate change, they say, well, i am not a scientist, my response is, why don't you go talk to a scientist and actually hear what they have to say because -- [applause] hillary: -- this is an economic opportunity. it shouldn't be seen as a drag but as a way to lift our sites sights and do what we should do and actually create jobs, businesses, and make money doing it. now i've got two main take goals. as president, i want to see us by the end of my first term to install a half the billion more -- a half a billion more solar panels and i want to power every home in america.
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i'm excited by this challenge and i want everybody to really think about what you can do in your home and in your is this and working in your city and in your state and at the national level. something else we're going to do to create jobs is i want to have what i call an infrastructure bank. we have bridges that are falling apart. we have sewer lines, water lines, gas pipelines, we have a lot of work to do in this country, and it is good work. we are ignoring it. now i know probably some of you are probably from new york. [applause] hillary: a state i was privileged to represent in the united states senate and you know, a lot of our
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infrastructure is 70, 100, even 150 years old. some of the pipes are old. some of them are even exploding. you may read about that from time to time. we got to pay for it in one way or another. we've got to get ahead of it. if we are serious about growing our economy and increasing incomes, and we finally, once and for all, must make sure that women get equal pay for equal work. [applause] hillary: you know, that's right. let's break that a glass ceiling, but let's break it in every workplace in america. [applause] hillary: nobody who works should be disadvantaged. and i get letters all the time from women who are really frustrated.
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they are helping to support their families or maybe they are the subtle supporter and they -- sole supporter and they tell me their stories and they ask what to do and how they can be treated fairly and equally. i want to make this point. this is a woman's issue because women are disadvantaged, that it is a family issue and an economic issue. we will grow our economy more if we actually do what we should be doing anyway. now republicans are always saying, whenever i talk about this, there she goes, playing the gender card. the lie will tell you, if -- well i will tell you, if advocating for equal pay for equal work is paying the gender -- playing the gender card, deal me in, because that is a hand i will play. [applause] hillary: now because the economy is the central focus of what i want to do as president, everything else kind of ads up to that. education, for example. i want to make sure that we do what we must to improve elementary and secondary education and i think the best
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thing to begin is why actually listening to and respecting teachers who are in the classroom. [applause] hillary: they are the ones who are there with the kids all day, they are the ones who have the ideas, they are the ones who should be first in line and they are around any table i i'm at to help me figure out what we should do. we can't get the setup and we we will not be as competitive as we want to be if we do not have early childhood education. those first five years of life set up kids to be successful. now look, i have this amazing grandchild. we read and talk and sing to her all the time. i kid and say, her first words are going to be enough with all the singing of the talking, but
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we do it because we know that it literally builds brain cells. 80% of your brain is physically formed by the age of three. i wanted every kid to have the same shot, the same chance to be successful in school. we need a universal prekindergarten program and we need to start with kids who have the biggest challenges, who have the biggest disadvantages and obstacles to overcome so that every kid has a level playing field to climb that ladder of opportunity. i think every person should have the same right to live up to his or her god-given potential, and i think talent is universally -- universal even though opportunity isn't. so i want to make sure that our smallest citizens have a chance. we are going to make college affordable again.
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[applause] hillary: and we are going to give all of you the chance to refinance your student debt and bring down the costs you are paying. it is just not right. if you can refinance your mortgage or your car payment, why can't you refinance your student debt? i don't believe that the federal government should be making a profit off of lending you monday -- money to pursue your education. you know i am a big fan of community colleges and i'm going to do everything i can to make sure that we implement president obama's plan to make community college free so that you can afford to go. [applause] hillary: now when it comes to health care, i am going to defend the affordable hair -- affordable care act, right?
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i'm going to defend it because it is working, nearly 18 million people are getting health care and young people get to stay on their parents' policy until they are 26, which is a very big help to a lot of the families that i meet with. but you've got to bring the costs down. out of pocket costs are way too high. prescription drug costs went up 12% last year. they are skyrocketing. so i have put forth a plan to bring them down. now a lot of drug manufacturers aren't happy with me but it was kind of interesting that when i rolled my plan out it was the very same day where a guy who had been a hedge fund manager and took over a company decided to raise the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill. that is a 5000% increase. we can't sustain that.
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we have got to get a handle on prescription drug costs. we have got to make it possible for medicare to negotiate with drug companies to bring the price down. just think about this for a minute. taxpayers, you and i, we play for the unih, we pay for the fda which discovers of a drug is effective, and that we pay the highest prices for those drugs. if you are in canada, you get a negotiated price, if you are in europe, if you are in australia, but not here in america. maybe some of you are from northern the -- northern new york. when i was senator, i would see people in busloads crossing the border to buy the drugs at a lower cost. we cannot continue to pay the highest price for the drugs that
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we paid to help develop. we have got to rain this in. i have a plan to do that. when you think about the affordable care act, it is distressing to me that florida, amongst some other states, refused to expand medicaid to cover more people. in fact, i am looking here that in florida, as many as 650,000 people could have gotten coverage under medicaid. fewer people without insurance means fewer people who get preventative care. more visits to the emergency room. it makes no sense economically. i would hope that florida would reconsider that, but -- the republicans of said no. [boos]
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hillary: they said no to medicaid, no to savings, no to fairness. and because they said no, and refuse to expand medicaid, people are suffering. particularly working poor people, people of color, people who are disproportionately left out. it makes no economic sense, let me tell you. it makes none. the states that have expanded it, they are actually seen a lower insurance rate increases, and they are not seeing as many emergency room visits and other expenses and other expensive problems. so i am not going to let the republicans kill the affordable care act. they try to repeal it 54 times. i will certainly stand in their way, but i want to improve it. that is why i'm going to tackle a lot of prescription drug costs on there. there are three other issues i want to talk about. we are having a caregiver crisis in this country and it is only going to get worse, alzheimer's, autism, people need care.
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i bet some of you are or somebody in your family is. we give so little help. we need respite care. we need quality affordable day care. let's finally help the caregivers get the care they need to take care of their loved ones. [applause] hillary: and secondly, we have a substance abuse epidemic in america. opioids, heroin, meth, other prescription drugs, and people are dying. we lose 18-22 veterans a day to suicide. a lot of them came back and they didn't get the care they needed but they got handed a bunch of pills and they got hooked. so our job has to be to figure out how to get more prevention, more treatment, more support, so that people can get into recovery.
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right now, 23 million people who are addicted, only one in 10 can get any coverage. so i also think that we've got to do more to have purity with mental health. -- i also think we've got to do more to have parity with mental health. untreated mental health is an expensive problem and a lot of people and up in prison because they have mental help -- mental health problems that are not treated. so these are expensive and heartbreaking problems. but i am convinced that we can tackle them together. i am also convinced that we are going to have to stand up for our fundamental rights, our civil rights, our human rights, women's rights, gay rights, because the other side wants to pull them back. [applause] hillary: so i will defend a women's right -- a woman's right to choose and i will fight against defend in planned -- against the funding planned parenthood.
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[applause] hillary: and i will defend and fight for marriage equality and against discrimination. [applause] hillary: and i will fight for voting rights for everybody and against states that are trying to restrict them. [applause] hillary: and i will fight to overturn citizens united which has opened the doors to dark, unaccountable money. i will fight to get comprehensive immigration reform because i believe it's in the best interest of our country. [applause] hillary: i will fight for criminal justice reform and to move away from mass incarceration because black lives matter! [applause] crowd: hillary! hillary: and i will tell you that i am going to fight for new, effective gun control
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measures. [applause] hillary: i forgot to tell you -- i've got to tell you, it is just heartbreaking, it is just sickening to me, to see another massacre. people should not be afraid to go to college like this one or go to the movie theater or go to bible study. what is wrong with us that we can't stand up to the nra and the gun lobby and the gun manufacturers that they represent? [applause] hillary: you know, this is not just tragic. we don't just need to pray for people, we need to act in we -- and we need to build a movement. it is infuriating every time there is another massacre, republicans and the nra say, now is not the time to talk about guns.
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yes it is. but more than talk it is time to act. but republicans keep refusing to do anything to protect our communities. they put the nra ahead of american families. it is wrong and we need to make every politician who sides with them to look into the eyes of parents whose children have been murdered and explain why they listen to the gun lobbyists instead. now i am well aware, iowa well -- i am well aware that this is a political mountain to climb. but you don't get anything done in this country if you don't start by calling it out. and we have had too much -- many murderers, too many people who have gotten guns that should not
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have in the first place, taking out whatever their rage, their fury, their mental problems are by killing other people. and i will, as your president, never relent on trying to work on this. but we need a national movement. here's what the other side counts on. i don't think they represent the majority of americans or even a majority of gun owners. but they count on really having an intense, dedicated group that scare politicians and say, we will vote against you. and people on the other side who are heartsick, heartbroken, disgusted, they care about a lot of other issues. we care about government accountability and health care costs, and we are not single-minded voters, but each of us has to care about this
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issue. there are a lot of ways for us to have constitutional, legal gun restriction. my husband did it. he passed the brady bill and he eliminated assault weapons for 10 years. [applause] hillary: so we are going to take them on. we took them on in the 90's and we are going to take them on again and i will need your help to do that. so we have a lot of work to do. that's why we are getting started here in florida. here in broward college. i want each and every one of you to be involved in this campaign because i do think we have to have an agenda for change and then we have to reach as many people as we can to make the case for the kind of change we want to see. to build on what has worked and to take it further and not let the republicans rip away the
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progress with their out of date, out of touch ideas, and turn his back -- turn us back. [applause] hillary: now i am also well aware we have challenges around the world. that's why i think my experience as secretary of state and as a senator from new york is especially pertinent to what we are going to have to do to make sure that we remain safe and secure and to lead with our values and in pursuit of our interests. but at the end of the day i have to tell you for me, what gets me up and keeps me going is the thought about my granddaughter and not just what kind of life she will have, because we are going to do everything we can to make her life as positive as it can be. but that is not enough. what can of country will she become an adult in?
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what kind of world will be waiting for her? you know, i am the granddaughter of a factory worker. my grandfather went to work in the scranton lace mills in scranton, pennsylvania. he worked hard. he worked hard to support his family but also because he wanted his son to have a better life. and in fact they did. they all went to college. my dad was a small business owner and he worked hard and gave us a good lifestyle. here i am, third-generation, asking for you to vote for me for president. that is what is supposed to happen in america whatever your dream might be. so i don't think it is enough that my granddaughter will have opportunities. it's not enough that the granddaughter of a former president or a former secretary of state has a chance to live up to her potential. this should also apply to the
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granddaughters of factory workers and the grandsons of truck drivers and every other young person in america and if i am your president i will get up every single day, working to make sure that every child and every young person has that chance to live up to his or her god-given potential. if you help me, that is what we will do together. thank you all, very much! [applause] , c-spanampaign long takes you on the road to the white house. unfettered access to the candidates at town hall meetings, press conferences, rallies, and speeches. we are taking your comments on twitter, facebook, and by phone. and always, every campaign event we cover, is available on our website at next, president obama talking about the resignation of
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education secretary arne duncan and taking reporters questions. callede at 7 a.m. you're a comment on "washington journal." >> at a white house news conference, president obama announced he is reluctantly accepting the resignation of education secretary arne duncan. senior education department officials will oversee the department. the president also took questions from reporters on the government funding bill, dealing with gun violence, and the situation in syria. this is about an hour and 10 minutes. president obama: please be seated. good afternoon. is one of my longest serving cabinet secretaries, and
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then a friend for a lot longer than that. so it is with some regret and sorrow that i have accepted his decision to return to our hometown of chicago. after more than six years of living in washington, his wonderful wife karen and their excellent kids, clear and ryan, who are also buddies of mine, what to move back home. , in the interim, a lot of time apart. i will be honest, i pushed him tuesday. tuesday -- two -- to stay. but well i will miss him deeply he has more than earned the right to return home. let's take a look at what he has accomplished over the last six years. servinge of the longest secretary the medication in our
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history, and one of the more consequential. just in a few years they have delivered some incredible results at every stage of the education experience. intes have after investment early childcare education. every state in america has raised standards for teaching , and our high school graduation rate is at an all-time high. we have helped millions more families afford college, and more americans are graduated from college than ever before. that is just scratching the surface. he has done more to bring our educational system, sometimes kicking and screaming, into the 21st century than anybody else. america is going to be better off with what he has done. we are going to be more competitive and more prosperous. we are going to be more equal and more upwardly mobile.
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he bleeds this stuff. he cares so much about our kids. interact with him, including people who disagree with him on some issues, never question the genuineness and heart that he has brought to this job. so i could not be prouder of him, and for good measure, he also holds the record for most points scored and an mba -- nba all-star game. [applause] and he is myma: favorite partner in pickup basketball. the smartest player i know, even though he is very slow. [laughter] president obama: and has no hops. he knows it is true. thoughsay watching ryan
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that the sun will soon be surpassing the father. .his young man has got game even mind, none of this change has been easy and we still have a long way to go. one of the things about education is that it does not deliver results tomorrow or the next day. this is a decade-long or longer proposition. we plant seeds now, we make changes now, and we watch each successive class benefit from these reforms. it goes in fits and starts. we have a decentralized system. that is how our education tradition evolved. it is not easy and it is not quick, butt is not we are making progress. we are not going to stop in these last 15 months. that is why it is so important, and why i think we are very lucky, that even as he steps down we have an exceptionally
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talented educator to step in. and that is dr. john king. 'shn is already on arne leadership team. he has been an educator all his life. a teacher, a principal, a leader of schools. the new york state education chief. he is the right man to lead the department. he shares our commitment to preparing every child for success in a more innovative and competitive world. got a great team already at the department of education, which i am very very proud of. his family is equally cool and good looking. [laughter] president obama: he has equally exceptional children. we arethat together going to continue to be able to do great things on behalf of our kids. and john, i want to wish both of you hearty congratulations and good luck.
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then i want to let both of them say a few words and that i will make a few remarks before i take a few questions from the press. arne: when he asked us to come to d.c. had worked with him, that was about a one minute conversation with my wife. necessarily that we wanted to leave chicago, i just wanted to be on his team. i believe so much in what he stood for. and 7.5 years later, my admiration is only greater. it is important for you to know that every hard decision, his only question was what is the right thing to do for the kids check out -- what is the right thing to do for the kids check out -- what is the right thing to do for the kids? his passion and commitment has been absolutely extraordinary. it is the moral leadership.
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i just can't tell you, mr. president, personally, what an unbelievable honor it was just to spend some time. from folksou see it who watched him last night, talking about the horrendous gun massacre in oregon. we need that moral leadership. so our team, the team you have at the white house, it has been extraordinary to work with these people. i don't say this lightly, i think our team at the department of education is stronger than it has ever been. you never know, first 7, 8 years how those teams go. i think we have the a-team. sean, sylvia, anthony. we had a team in place. i am just extraordinarily hopeful and confident about what they can do together. emma and ted and the rest of the crew. for all of us this work is very very personal.
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was one of those kids who probably should not be in a room like this if you look at the stereotype. not the easiest time growing up, lost his parents at a very early age. but he had an amazing teacher who saw something in him and kept them going. and today he gets to stand here with the president. so my time as i think we as a society right off kids who look like john. i think that is what drives us. we know there are so many kids we can reach. i deeply set to be leaving, i am extraordinarily happy and thankful that john is going to carry on this work. i think everyone for their hard work. i just quickly want to thank my parents as well. my dad was a lifelong educator at the university of chicago. he taught there all his life. my mother started a tutoring
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program before we were born and raised all of us as part of that program, and that change our lives. all our life we saw what kids can do when they were given a chance, and that is why we do this work today. see what she did and now have a chance to try to have an impact around the nation , this man given the chance -- this man gave us the chance. i can't tell you how much it means to us. just to my family, i love this work. i love the team. i love the president. to serve. chance delia thing i love more if you guys and i can't wait to come home and see a couple more track meets. maybe have some or dinners and go to a movie. that would be great. [laughter] arne: it has been too long. it has been an amazing journey. i feel so proud and so lucky to
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have been a part of this team. president, thank you for giving all of us here at the chance to have the impact we did. we can never repay the debt of gratitude. they do so much. i will turn it over to john. [applause]
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john: thank you for the very kind words. thank you mr. president or the opportunity to serve and for the faith that you have placed in me and the team that we have at the department. i am deeply honored by the chance to serve and also deeply arne'sby following in footsteps. he is a tremendous leader who i have watched fight for kids and what is best for kids, but also he has been willing to listen to folks and to make adjustments, and to make sure that everything we do every day is towards the goal of greater equity. haveresident, you and arne laid out an ambitious agenda, from strengthening early childhood education and expanding access, to raising
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standards for teaching and k-12, ensuring that more americans have access higher education. to ensuring that we support our teachers and that we invest in our teachers and provide the best preparation and leadership opportunities for them. it is an incredible agenda and i am proud to be able to carry it forward with the amazing team that we have at the department. gave a this week arne speech to the national press club. be the, education can difference between life and death. i know that is true because it was for me. i growth in brooklyn. i lost my mom and i was eight, my dad when i was 12. my dad was very sick before he passed. i moved around between family and mark -- family members and schools. the new york city public school teachers are the reason i am alive. there are the reason that i became a teacher. they are the reason i am standing here today.
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they created a major -- amazing educational experiences but also gave me hope about what is possible for me in life. i know schools cannot do it alone. there is work we have to do on economic development and housing and health care, but i know that my parents, who spent their lives as new york city public school educators, believed that school is at the heart of our promise of equality and opportunity for all americans. that is what they believed, that is what the president believes, believes, andrne that is what i feel very privileged to work on. every child in the united states, every college student, every disconnected youth, every working parent who just want a few more credit in order to improve their position at their job -- everyone deserve the kind of opportunity that i had. every child deserves the kind of opportunity that my beautiful daughters have.
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the kind of education their grandparents worked to provide. i am so grateful to my very supportive wife, melissa. so grateful to the secretary for the opportunity he gave me to join his team, and incredibly grateful to the president for the opportunity to work with a wonderful group of people at the education department to try to expand opportunities. thank you. [applause] president obama: two good menma: doing really important work. i'm am lucky to have them both
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his colleagues and get more good work done in the next coming months. we have some other business to attend to. all of you who are here to celebrate our lucky enough to now have to sit through a little bit of a press conference with me. [laughter] president obama: make yourself comfortable. [laughter] president obama: i warned the kids ahead of time. i said "try not to look completely bored." i will take a couple of questions from the press, but first, a few additional pieces of business. that we'veearned created another 118,000 new jobs in september, which now means we've had 67 straight months of job creation. 13.2 million jobs in all. the unemployment rate has fallen from a high of 10% down to 5.1%


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