STUMP DUMP: It's government's problem, an expensive one. Twitter/40/29

Am I alone in detecting a bit of irony in the dilemma about extinguishing a dump fire in Northwest Arkansas? Republican Benton County has its hand out for state and federal money to fix a problem locals created. And its millionaires will have hands out to share in a whopping income tax cut for the rich this legislative session.

The Bella Vista Property Owners Association operated the dump for 13 years, through the end of 2016. Monitoring was lax. A tree service owns the property. A fire began underground at some point. The cost to extinguish the fire and clean up the site has been estimated as high as $39 million.

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Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has already chipped in $1 million.  The state environmental agency is at work digging a trench to limit growth of the fire. The Forestry Commission is cutting a fire break. Air and water monitoring by government agencies is ongoing. Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Womack of Benton County is seeking federal help.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article doesn’t mention if anyone has asked the property owners association to pitch in to clean up its smoldering dump.

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This is a big disaster, of a magnitude that we understadably look to government to fix, as in hurricanes and tornadoes. I just wish for a little more consistency from Arkansas Republicans on financing kindly Uncle Sam through taxes and congressional appropriations. Remember when U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton voted against disaster funding for the Northeast?

I’m reminded of an episode from my own past. I inherited several acres of Louisiana marshland many years ago. A patch of high ground near a highway was turned into an illegal dump. Eventually, the parish government cleaned it up They sent me and other absentee owners of the property the bill. We paid it. Maybe I should have called my congressman.

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