DNR: CR Tea Party Must Be Tea-Free – Updated

Anti-tax activists known as the Cedar Rapids Tea Party were hoping to channel their revolutionary Boston brethren Saturday by dumping tea into the Cedar River. They’re seeking to defeat the local option tax that’s on the ballot here Tuesday.

(UPDATE — Tea Party’s Jeremy Cobert tells his group’s side of the story below)

But, according to The Des Moines Register, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources considers tea a pollutant:

Tea, although natural and quite tasty, is considered a pollutant that can’t go into a body of water without a permit, said Mike Wade, a senior environmental specialist at the DNR’s Manchester field office.

“Discoloration is considered a violation,” Wade said.

Although not as steeped in history, the Cedar Rapids Tea Party will dump dechlorinated tap water or riverwater from buckets labeled “tea,” said Tim Pugh, the group’s founder.

“We don’t want to hurt the river,” said Pugh, 32, of Cedar Rapids.

 I’m not sure tap water carries the same symbolic potency of tea, but rules are rules. Civil disobedience ain’t what it used to be.

It’s also sort of ironic to worry about pouring a little tea in the Cedar after the muddy noxious muck  the river left in hundreds of homes. Which reminds me of the reason we need the penny tax, which is probably not what the Tea Party folks were going for.

My column on the tax issue can be found here.

UPDATE — Here’s the comment posted by Jeremy Cobert from Cedar Rapids Tea Party:

Hi,
this is Jeremy Cobert from http://www.CrTeaParty.org and the sites administrator. i cant believe how outrageously inaccurate this story is.

First of all on our website we posted back on the 17th plans to have a “SYMBOLIC TEA DUMP” symbolic being the key word. here is a link
http://jeremycobert.homeip.net/CRteaparty/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=34
and explanation that we were calling the DNR before any plans were finalized. we knew we would not be allowed to dump actual tea, but thankfully we called to confirm and have also informed everyone that they are not to dump anything but water. its easily found on our sites announcements under “TEA DUMP”
.
now to address the others on this site.
1. yes I was affected by the flood. my job was displaced. I was off work and when I went t back to work we had massive clean up. I work for the school district, and its funny that I never got attacked when I was down there in the mud getting Taylor, or the ESC back online.
.
2. yes this is a publicity stunt as we are a TRUE grassroots organization. We have very limited funds and work on this at night after we ******* work. we cant afford to hire a PR firm,televison or newspaper ad’s all we have ever asked from our supporters is for some of their time.
.
3.Tim and I have never asked for money/donation as we felt it would be inappropriate when we are calling for a thinner city budget. The other side (voteyes) has released their donors list and its no surprise who is on that list. Needless to say who benefits from a tax hike, just look on their list.
.
4. this is an emotional issue and those who do privately support our efforts can not come out and say so, without being crucified by the other side. So I’ve done my best to protect those.
.
5.the other side and those in the media like Mr. Dorman are portraying us as Kooks or that we don’t want to rebuild the city. When in fact the opposite is true. I just want the city’s officials to act more responsible with their current budget (as we all are already doing)
.
I just ask that people keep an open mind as Tim and I are probably just like you. I work, I have a family and times are tight. like many of you I have finally had enough of this city council and want to hold them accountable .
.
Sincerely Jeremy Cobert
http://www.crteaparty.org

Not sure where he got that I think they’re kooks. He also took issue with my headline, so I changed it. He says they contacted the DNR first.

I actually thought the main reason this story is interesting is because the DNR says tea is a pollutant. I wasn’t looking to poke fun at the tea party. They’re going on all over the nation this week.

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “DNR: CR Tea Party Must Be Tea-Free – Updated

  1. It is interesting that this is happening today in CR. Today “Tea Parties” are being held all over the country. I will be attending the event in Seattle. You can check it out here:

    http://nationwidechicagoteaparty.com/

  2. Jane

    This may need to be checked into. Because according to what the DNR told us, at a meeting in July, even bottled water, rain water, river water used to rinse your hands off it not allowed back in the river. Unless the DNR has different rules for different people.

  3. Mike

    I’ll start with a disclaimer that I don’t live in Cedar Rapids, so I’m not totally familiar with the situation. That being said:

    I’m confused. Wasn’t the point of the original Tea Party to demonstrate opposition against taxes that were being levied against those who had no representation? But they can vote against it right?

    So it’s not a good comparison, is it?

  4. lobosolo

    ironic…. an act that help sparked our freedoms has now become an act that will get you imprisoned.

  5. thumbsupracing

    Ironic, how mere days after a huge reorganization at the Gazette, non-stories like this in support of the coucils’ wishes flow faster than the flood waters. Dorman, you just lost all credibility with me. Go back to sharing stories about your drunk buddy. You know damn well it was never intended to dump tea, a little fact-finding before ass-kissing next time please.

  6. I am in Cedar Rapids today working at Brewed Awakenings and if I see anyone leaving here with tea I’m following them to see if they dump it in the river. I’m on it bro.

  7. sus

    More ironic (moronic?) is that we can DRINK tea and that’s ok! We can “pollute” (which tea doesn’t) our bodies but not the river. Go figure!

  8. sus

    It’s more ironic that we can DRINK tea (ingest) and that’s ok, but we can’t pour it into the river. Figure that out!

  9. tdorman

    Not sure where you’re coming from, thumbsup. Just passing along an interesting story from another publication. That sort of what blogs do from time to time.

  10. Hi,
    this is Jeremy Cobert from http://www.CrTeaParty.org and the sites administrator. i cant believe how outrageously inaccurate this story is.

    First of all on our website we posted back on the 17th plans to have a “SYMBOLIC TEA DUMP” symbolic being the key word. here is a link
    http://jeremycobert.homeip.net/CRteaparty/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=34
    and explanation that we were calling the DNR before any plans were finalized. we knew we would not be allowed to dump actual tea, but thankfully we called to confirm and have also informed everyone that they are not to dump anything but water. its easily found on our sites announcements under “TEA DUMP”
    .
    now to address the others on this site.
    1. yes I was affected by the flood. my job was displaced. I was off work and when I went t back to work we had massive clean up. I work for the school district, and its funny that I never got attacked when I was down there in the mud getting Taylor, or the ESC back online.
    .
    2. yes this is a publicity stunt as we are a TRUE grassroots organization. We have very limited funds and work on this at night after we ******* work. we cant afford to hire a PR firm,televison or newspaper ad’s all we have ever asked from our supporters is for some of their time.
    .
    3.Tim and I have never asked for money/donation as we felt it would be inappropriate when we are calling for a thinner city budget. The other side (voteyes) has released their donors list and its no surprise who is on that list. Needless to say who benefits from a tax hike, just look on their list.
    .
    4. this is an emotional issue and those who do privately support our efforts can not come out and say so, without being crucified by the other side. So I’ve done my best to protect those.
    .
    5.the other side and those in the media like Mr. Dorman are portraying us as Kooks or that we don’t want to rebuild the city. When in fact the opposite is true. I just want the city’s officials to act more responsible with their current budget (as we all are already doing)
    .
    I just ask that people keep an open mind as Tim and I are probably just like you. I work, I have a family and times are tight. like many of you I have finally had enough of this city council and want to hold them accountable .
    .
    Sincerely Jeremy Cobert http://www.crteaparty.org

  11. @ Tdorman,

    can i have a link to the site you got the story from? I would like to correct their story as well.

    its hard enough playing the part of the “bad guy” without having to fight this type of story as well.

  12. tdorman

    The link is in the second paragraph of the post. But here it is http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20090226/NEWS/90226040/1001/

    What needs to be corrected, Jeremy?

  13. Jane

    What I was saying is that the DNR, says anything poured or dumped in the river is gray water. Which is illegal!!!!! Call and talk to the DNR. They will tell you the same thing. Unless, the DNR is now giving more then one set of rules, for people that boat and those that do not. I kind of doubt that.

  14. Tricia

    The DNR won’t let tea into the river but they will allow cities to bypass their waste water treatment plants and dump untreated sewage into the river???

  15. Jane

    Tricia, you got that right. Black Water (sewage) is also not suppose to be, being put in the river. But I know of several places that to it a lot. I think DNR fines them. You would have to call and speak to the DNR.

  16. We were already made aware of this but the event will continue as SYMBOLIC

  17. I love how the entire meaning of these Tea Party events is lost on such a trivial issue.

    How about we all get back to the part where nearly every government entity around us is robbing us blind all under the guise of “saving” us. “We’re from the government and we’re here to help. All for the LOW LOW price of several trillion dollars.”

    Once that is fixed THEN we can talk about dumping tea in the pristine waters of the Cedar River.. or any other body of water for that matter.

    Cheers 😉

  18. irlandes

    I will say the rivers are cleaned up since I was a kid in the Fifties. The Wapsi above Anamosa was so dirty then, that one could not see his own hand under the water while swimming. Last time I was there several years ago, one could see the bottom from the bank.

    Still, the idea that DNR is threatening people for throwing in a few gallons of tea (which was never proposed anyway), a natural substance, does remind me of their peers in California. Ditto in Australia.

    People wanted to clear the brush around houses to avoid fires. Nope, they were told, if you do you go to jail. There are protected species out there. So, along comes a fire and burns up the brush; houses; protected species, people and all.

    There is a reason the founders of the Constitution wished to enable the public to protect themselves from the tyranny of the government.

  19. Pingback: Not just a penny, but a war « County Supervision

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