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Old 09-25-2003, 01:31 AM   #1
Aackman
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Environmental Groups Want Records of Meetings with Polluters
t r u t h o u t | Statement
Sierra Club

Wednesday 24 September 2003

Bush Administration Nearing Deal To Weaken Clean Air, Toxics Protections For Communities Near Factory Farms.
Environmental Groups Seek Records From Bush Administration's Closed-Door Meetings With Agricultural Polluters.
Washington, DC- Newly obtained documents from the Environmental Protection Agency reveal that the Bush Administration is formalizing a back-room deal with the livestock and poultry industries that would let giant factory farm polluters off the hook for violations of the Clean Air Act and the Superfund hazardous waste law that have protected communities for decades. With this new incriminating evidence in hand, the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment filed a lawsuit today under the Freedom of Information Act, demanding that the Bush Administration divulge information about its closed negotiations with the meat industry.

"Be it Vice President Cheney's Energy Task Force or this back-room deal for the meat and milk industries,the Bush Administration continues to let polluters write the rules while leaving the public out of the process," said Ken Midkiff of the Sierra Club.

In May, environmental groups obtained an industry letter documenting clandestine negotiations with the Bush Administration to shield giant factory farms from the requirements of the Clean Air Act and Superfund hazardous-waste laws. Since then, the Bush Administration has been working on a deal that would allow factory farms to continue polluting without any threat of prosecution.

The Bush Administration has rebuffed environmental groups' requests for information about the closed-door meetings, claiming that it has "not entered into any 'safe harbor' agreement." However, environmental groups recently obtained a copy of the supposedly non-existent agreement. According to that draft, the Administration would allow the meat and milk industries to ignore clean air and hazardous waste laws indefinitely, asking only that industry "monitor" its emissions.

The Bush Administration has persistently refused to address pollution from factory farms, which concentrate thousands of animals in a single location and release enormous quantities of harmful pollutants. And Utah Mike Leavitt, nominated by President Bush to head the Environmental Protection Agency, has a history of favoring polluting agricultural interests; as governor of Utah, Mr. Leavitt helped to pass a law preventing citizens from bringing state suits against agricultural businesses.

"Exempting animal factories from basic environmental laws like the Clean Air Act would put thousands of communities at risk," said Brent Newell of the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment. "Instead of protecting those communities, the Bush Administration is working to protect polluters from the laws that safeguard the public welfare."

A copy of the draft agreement, the meat industry's memo proposing the amnesty agreement, the environmental groups request for enforcement actions, as well as other relevant documents can be found at:
http://www.sierraclub.org/pressroom/...afo_papers.asp
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Old 09-25-2003, 01:39 AM   #2
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I know, I am a tree hugging liberal.

Fishy Policies

By Rebecca Wodder, TomPaine.com
August 25, 2003

While President Bush is busy raising funds in the Northwest, conservationists are busy taking him to task for failing to keep the promises he made the last time he was in town. On the campaign trail, Bush said, "Washington faces important challenges, and there's no greater challenge than to save salmon... . For all of us, those fish are a wonder of nature and they must be preserved." Too bad his administration's policies don't match Bush's concern for the salmon population.


The Bush administration cannot use the spike in salmon runs in recent years as proof their policies are working – as their campaign rhetoric seems to imply. Favorable ocean conditions, not the Bush administration's salmon recovery policies, explain the high salmon returns in the Columbia and Snake rivers over the past several years. The majority of this year's returning salmon are not wild fish – they were raised in hatcheries.


Far from contributing to healthy salmon populations, the administration's policies actually threaten wild salmon and the local economies that depend on them. The scientific evidence reveals clearly that the increase in salmon returns is due primarily to a cyclical change in ocean conditions. This change is known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation – a pattern that increases survival rates for most species of salmon during their years at sea.


Unfortunately, both state and federal scientists say that wild salmon and steelhead are still very much at risk. Further, misguided administration policies will only accelerate the decline of wild salmon in the Columbia and Snake rivers when the notoriously cyclical ocean conditions take a turn for the worse. The region continues to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on various measures without any clear sense of whether they will be effective.


Breaching the four dams on the lower Snake River would be the single most effective way to bring back wild salmon. In light of the administration's failure to deliver a valid recovery plan that keeps those dams in place, dam removal planning should commence now so that action can be taken soon if the federal government again fails to demonstrate that salmon can be protected with the lower Snake River dams in place.


In its 2002 study, the RAND corporation determined that the lower Snake River dams could be removed without harming the Northwest's economy. Rather than dismissing this salmon recovery action out of hand, the Bush administration should take an honest look at the costs and benefits of lower Snake River dam removal.


But instead of working toward constructive solutions to improve river health while protecting local economies, the Bush administration has generally ignored science, instead formulating its policies to benefit a handful of special interests. The fish kill in the Klamath Basin illustrates the tragic consequences of the biases of this administration. Earlier this summer, the Wall Street Journal reported that Bush adviser Karl Rove pushed the president's political agenda at a 2002 meeting where Bureau of Reclamation managers were deciding how to distribute Klamath River water. The decision to make full water deliveries to farmers – at the expense of river and wildlife health – was followed by the largest fish kill in U.S. history. The state of California, among others, said the 33,000 salmon died at least in part because of low river flows. One NOAA Fisheries biologist who worked on the Klamath salmon plan has sought whistleblower protection. This summer, conditions in the Klamath are ripe for another fish kill.


Salmon in the Northwest are also threatened by the Bush administration's proposed roll backs of Clean Water Act protections. The mining, logging and development industries have an interest in relaxing these protections. If the administration eliminates clean water protections for wetlands and small streams, the effects will be devastating not only for salmon and other wildlife, but also for water quality and public health throughout the Northwest. Removing protections from small streams undermines protection throughout the watershed. Whatever is dumped in these smaller streams will eventually reach our larger streams and rivers.


Finally, the administration's forest policy proposals threaten salmon and water quality. The administration is seeking to gut salmon protection rules in the Northwest Forest Plan. The so-called Healthy Forests Initiative will affect salmon habitat by allowing extensive logging through national forests and Bureau of Land Management lands in the name of forest fire prevention.


A healthy Northwest economy depends on healthy salmon. President Bush should commit his administration to doing everything in its power to restore abundant harvestable wild salmon. Absent a credible alternative, this must include removing the four lower Snake River dams. On this point, conservationists and the commercial and sportfishing industries agree.


Rebecca Wodder is president of American Rivers, a non-proft conservation organization.
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Old 09-25-2003, 09:11 AM   #3
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Endangered Fish Policy May Have Cost Firefighters' Lives

Firefighters struggling to contain a blaze in central Washington State that ultimately killed four of their own were hampered in their efforts by a federal policy to protect endangered fish, Fox News has learned.

Firefighters were unable to douse the deadly fire in Okanogan National Forest in Winthrop, Wash., in July because of delays in granting permission for fire-fighting helicopters to use water from nearby streams and rivers protected by the Endangered Species Act, according to sources close to the fire.

Firefighters Tom L. Craven, 30, Karen L. Fitzpatrick, 18, Devin A Weaver, 21, and Jessica L. Johnson, 19, burned to death while cowering under protective tents near the Chewuch River, home to protected species of salmon and trout. Seventeen other firefighters survived the ordeal.

Forest Service policy in the Northwest requires that special permission be obtained before fire helicopters can dip into certain restricted rivers, lakes and streams. The fear is that the dippers could accidentally scoop up protected species of fish.

A 17-member team from the Forest Service and other federal agencies is now investigating whether the four firefighters died as a result of the policy.

Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Forests & Forest Health, said the committee is also looking into allegations that environmental policy and bureaucracy were factors in the deaths.

Testifying before the committee Tuesday, USFS Fire Chief Dale Bosworth said that under standard procedure, firefighters would have used the Chewuch water to fight the fire and addressed any environmental violations or restrictions after the fire was extinguished. He said he was investigating why dispatch waited for approval before sending the helicopters.

"We get the water where we can get it and ask questions later," Bosworth said.

Forest Service District Commander John Newcom told Fox News last week that the Chewuch River’s population of salmon, steelhead trout and bull trout are all considered when fighting fires, but insisted helicopter permission was never delayed or denied because of the policy.

But the USFS reversed that position Tuesday with the release of a timeline of events that depicts the harrowing plight of a band of very young, inexperienced firefighters waiting desperately for helicopter relief that never came.

According to the timeline, the first team of firefighters, an elite crew called "Hot Shots," had contained what came to be known as the "30-mile fire" by the very early morning and requested a helicopter water drop at 5:30 a.m. However, they were told one would not be available until 10 a.m.

At 9 a.m., the Hot Shots were replaced with a young "mop-up" crew expecting helicopter relief to arrive within the hour. When the mop-up crew inquired about the missing helicopter just after noon, the dispatch office told the crew field boss that helicopters could not be used in the area because the Chewuch River contained endangered fish.

Final permission to use Chewuch water wasn’t granted until 2 p.m.

Jan Flatten, the environmental officer for the Okanogan and Wenatchee Natural forests, confirmed that environmental concerns caused crucial delays in dispatching the helicopter.

"At 12:08, the dispatch office ordered the helicopter," Flatten told Fox News. "However, because there are endangered species in the Chewuch River, they wanted to get permission from the district in order to dip into the river."

However, the dispatch office could not reach anyone at the district with the authority to approve the helicopter drop. Flatten said those authorities — Newcom, Fire Manager Peter Sodoquist and the Methow Valley biologist — were actually meeting during that time to approve an exemption to the policy.

"That time lag of about two hours was when they were trying to locate someone with the authority to tell them they could go ahead and take water out of the Chewuch River," Flatten said.

The USFS did not explain why the intra-agency team required to approve an exemption did not convene until 12 p.m., two hours after firefighters had been told the helicopter would be available.

Two former USFS firefighters familiar with the Thirty Mile Fire said getting permission to dip into the Chewuch caused the delays that led to the death of their colleagues.

"(The crew) were told that (the Chewuch River) was a protected water source and they needed to go through channels to use this water source," one of the former firefighters told Fox News.

The first load of helicopter water was dumped on the fire around 3 p.m., but the fire was by then out of control. An hour later, air tankers had to be turned back and the ground crew fled on foot to the river where they deployed their survival tents. The crew was completely surrounded by the flames with no avenue for escape.
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Old 09-25-2003, 12:32 PM   #4
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Got a source Flub?
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Old 09-25-2003, 12:59 PM   #5
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He is consistant.
Clear Skies Initiative Clouds the Issue

By Kari Lydersen, AlterNet
September 17, 2003

During a visit to the Detroit Edison coal-burning power plant in Detroit on Sept. 15, President Bush tried to make it sound like his new energy policies would be the savior of both the economy and the environment.


But as he has done with the Healthy Forests Initiative and the No Child Left Behind Act, critics recognize his classic doublespeak for what it is, and point out that the proposed Clear Skies Initiative and the recently enacted changes to the New Source Review provision of the Clean Air Act really represent a serious threat to air quality and public health.


The Detroit Edison plant in the town of Monroe, about 20 miles from Detroit, is one of the three largest coal-burning power plants in the country. It is also one of the antiquated but still in-use plants that are known as the country's worst polluters. Built before the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, these plants were grand-fathered in and have never had to meet the emissions standards laid out in the act. The thinking at the time was that they wouldn't be operating much longer. But here it is 26 years later, and plants like this are still chugging along all over the country.


"Nobody thought they'd last this long, but they're still here," said Ken Rosenman, a physician and professor of medicine at Michigan State University who has studied the effects of the Detroit Edison plant.


The pollution these plants create has been linked in numerous studies to increased premature deaths and cases of asthma and cancer. Studies using methods approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have blamed the Detroit Edison plant for 293 premature deaths and 5,740 asthma attacks per year, according to the group Clear the Air. Likewise two old coal-burning plants in Chicago, the Fisk and Crawford plants run by the company Midwest Generation and producing electricity for Com-Ed, were held responsible for 41 premature deaths, 550 emergency room visits and 2,800 asthma attacks in a 2001 study by the Harvard School of Public Health. Numerous out-dated plants in other states cause similar problems.


The Clean Air Act does include a provision, New Source Review, which stipulates that when major repairs or expansions are made to the plants, they must upgrade their equipment to meet modern emission controls. Power plants have long been trying to find loopholes in this provision, however, often passing major repairs and expansions off as standard maintenance. But then the Bush administration made changes which took effect in late August essentially gutting New Source Review and letting these antiquated power plants off the hook for eternity.


"It makes sense to change the regulations," Bush told the crowd in Monroe. "The rules put up too many hurdles. And that hurt the working people. We trust the people in this plant to make the right decision."


Following a common Bush administration theme, he implied that regulating the industry would result in plant closures and job losses. Especially in an area like Detroit which has seen industry after industry close its doors, this message probably hit home with many people.


"When we talk about environmental policy in this Bush administration, we not only talk about clean air, we talk about jobs," he said.


Angela Ledford, director of Clear the Air, said that based on Department of Energy and EPA data, a coalition called the Clean Air Task Force estimates that the new loopholes in New Source Review will mean at least 20,000 additional premature deaths per year and at least 12,000 additional cases of chronic bronchitis around the country.


"The Administration is once again doing the bidding of the coal and energy industries, at the expense of public health and the environment," she said in a statement.


The rollbacks in the New Source Review came just as some utility companies were being ordered by the courts to get up to par.


"It's ironic that at the same time the EPA was winning cases against some of these companies, Bush is weakening the regulations," said Rosenman. "It's like an end run by the utility companies to get around having judges enforce the laws."


Power industry executives have often claimed that bringing old coal-burning plants up to Clean Air Act standards would be financially impossible and result in plant closings. But clean air proponents say the technology to do it is available and feasible to implement, if the companies settle for just a little less profit.


"Midwest Generation paid a lot of money for these plants and they want to recoup it," said Brian Urbaszewski of the American Lung Association in Chicago, where he is involved in a campaign to force the Fisk and Crawford plants to clean up their acts. "The way to do that is to run them as cheaply as possible. The problem is, there is always a cost. Does the company pay the cost for cleaning up the plant, or does the public pay the cost in increased health costs, pain and suffering?"


The New Source Review roll-back in policy won't actually increase pollution, it will prevent improvements from being made which would have been mandated under the old policy. Besides power plants, it also applies to about 17,000 other industries including paper mills, steel mills and incinerators.


"It won't make [the plants] dirtier per se, because they are already spewing out lots of stuff," said Rosenman. "But it will increase the time before any clean up is done." The same will be true if Congress passes the proposed Clear Skies Initiative, which has been introduced but stalled largely because of public opposition. It is possible Congress will vote on it this fall, though opposition may continue to cause delay. There is bipartisan opposition to the initiative in Congress, from those who want stronger legislation covering various pollutants, and over 1,200 environmental and community groups around the country have signed a letter opposing the initiative.


The administration has claimed that the Clear Skies Initiative would reduce emissions by 35 million tons more than the Clean Air Act by 2012. But they reached this figure through a sort of circular logic, using a "baseline" number in which it is assumed that under the Clean Air Act pollution will remain at current levels; basically they assume the Act won't be enforced at all over the next 10 years. Proponents of the Clean Air Act note that if it is enforced, industries would have to reduce their total emissions by 21 million tons more than Clear Skies will force them to do by 2012. By 2020, this differential would reach about 42 million tons. Among other things the Clean Air Act requires a much more stringent reduction in soot and smog pollution through the reduction of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides over the next decade.


"I would feel much more comfortable with our current law [the Clean Air Act]," said Rosenman. "The Clear Skies Initiative gives years before anyone has to do anything. And 10 years later someone could come along and give them another break."


The Clear Skies Initiative was developed out of a proposal made by the EPA in August 2001 which would have reduced mercury, sulfur and nitrogen emissions almost in compliance with Clean Air Act standards. But thanks to lobbying from the power industry, the White House converted the EPA proposal into a much more industry-friendly program.


"The Bush administration is hoping that with the Clear Skies, it will look like there are reductions when really it's just a gift to his corporate supporters and the industry," said Levengood.


She said that the Clean Air Act demands the Detroit Edison plant reduce its emissions of sulfur dioxide from its current level of over 100,000 tons per year to 10,000 tons by 2020, while Clear Skies would require no such reduction.


"Even with the flaws in the Clean Air Act, the way it stands we'd see a 90 percent reduction," she said. "We need to make sure the Clean Air Act is left intact to make sure we have the tools to enforce reductions. The biggest source of pollution is these grand-fathered coal-burning plants. If we leveled the playing field and made them all adhere to the same standards as brand new plants, we wouldn't have a problem."


Rosenman noted that with the Detroit Edison plant, much of the pollution will actually make its way to Canada because of prevailing wind currents. Meanwhile pollution from the Fisk and Crawford plants in Chicago is known to make its way across Lake Michigan and affect the air in Detroit. "It's always hard to make a link between air pollution and any one person's case of asthma, but we are seeing some pretty drastic pollution here," said Megan Owens, field director of PIRGIM, the Public Interest Research Group In Michigan. "The laws that the nation has relied on for the last 30 years to protect our air, water and public land are being undercut without much regard for what the public actually wants. And unfortunately the White House is very good at coming up with names like Clear Skies which obscure the truth. The more we're able to get the truth out, the stronger chance we'll have of fighting them."


Kari Lydersen, a regular contributor to AlterNet, also writes for the Washington Post and is an instructor for the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in Chicago. She can be reached at karilyde@aol.com.



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Old 09-25-2003, 01:13 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bumbleroot
Got a source Flub?
FoxNews.com...it was mentioned in the article.
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Old 09-25-2003, 01:39 PM   #7
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I stopped reading when I saw Sierra Club. I wonder how many Car dealerships and apartment complexs they have burned down this week?
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Old 09-25-2003, 01:39 PM   #8
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So the answer is no, he doesn't have a source.
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Old 09-25-2003, 01:50 PM   #9
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That from the guy who posts things from slate.com.
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Old 09-25-2003, 01:53 PM   #10
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http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/wenatchee/ne...re-report.html

However, after reading your report, I can conclude that the environmental policy did not cause these young firefighters deaths. Ignorance caused it. The Chief stated clearly that they save the firefighters first then ask questions about the environment later. I believe that Fox is trying to demonize environmentalists for being extreme when in fact it was ignorance that caused this.
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Old 09-25-2003, 01:54 PM   #11
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Here I will help flub out since he's busy.

Here is your source gentlemen..

Click here for Enviromentalist Wacko Truth

Truly sad...and trust me guys if Flub posts something you can pretty much bank on it. He may be a crusty booze hound, but you won't find a more honest straight shooting individual on these boards.
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Old 09-25-2003, 01:56 PM   #12
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Funny, if you read the first paragraph it clearly states that they had to wait for approval to draw water from a federally protected water source...

Call a spade a spade if it is one Bumble..don't try to dance with the facts when people lost their lives over it..that's just shitty.


Policy caused these deaths..nothing more.
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Old 09-25-2003, 02:25 PM   #13
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Funny, if you read the first paragraph it clearly states that they had to wait for approval to draw water from a federally protected water source...
Unfortunately you saw where it was because some idiot in the firefighting chain of command did the wrong thing. The environmental law did not say to not scoop up the water did it? It was clear that the firefighting chief said that the protected water wasn't an obstacle or that it shouldn't have been. Had the lines of communication been clear it would have been done right.
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Old 09-25-2003, 03:42 PM   #14
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Flub: Except I don't publish things from Slate as statements of fact, unless they've linked in the evidence. You seem to think that simply because FAUX stated it, it must be true. Not only does the evidence contradict such an assumption, it's idiotic.

Trith: Frankly, I'll accept the word of the people in charge and the Forest Service, over partisans that don't think we should do anything about the environment except strip mine it for all we can get out of it. So both FAUX and "Restoring America" (Barf) are dead wrong.

Forest Service policy is to rescue firefighters first, and worry about environmental issues later. If someone screwed up, which is what the committee concluded, that's hardly the fault of environmental policy.
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Old 09-25-2003, 03:52 PM   #15
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Ofcourse it is Raed. Everything you post should be taken as being non-partisan and factual.

What is idiotic is your attitude, like most of the elite left, that what you say or post is beyond reproach.

/yawn

CNN is not a liberal news media becouse you, a liberal (along with most other liberals) say it is not. The NYTimes is not liberal becouse you, a liberal (along with most other liberals) say it is not.

/yawn
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Old 09-25-2003, 03:59 PM   #16
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Flub: But it's that same reasoning that you use to claim that FAUX isn't biased and conservative, so why aren't we able to say the same.

Finally, where did I claim my statements aren't partisan?

And I'm not a liberal. The world is not black and white.
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Old 09-25-2003, 04:08 PM   #17
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Everytime someone say anything about CNN you jump their ass about how it is not liberal. You then bash anything that comes from a conservatice news source.

I atleast admit that FoxNews has conservative leanings.

If you are not a liberal, you should stop sounding like one. I personally believe the world is black and white. Grey is what is destroying this country.
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Old 09-27-2003, 08:48 AM   #18
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"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
- Governor George W. Bush
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