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Wayne F. Fisher, Published January 16 2011

Was PSC’s Kevin Cramer bought for $9,800 donation?

Will a campaign contribution of $9,800 to Kevin Cramer, a Public Service commissioner, affect any future decision-making process?

On Oct. 26, The Dickinson (N.D.) Press reported a campaign contribution of $9,800 to Cramer from Corbin Robertson. Robertson is a managing partner of Quintana Capital Group, which is the owner of Great Northern Power Development. South Heart Coal LLC, which is a subsidiary of GNPD, has applied for a coal-mining permit near South Heart. The LLC seeks approval of this permit from the Public Service Commission.

Will Cramer base his decision on this $9,800, or will he consider all the potential problems, risks, discrepancies and impacts of this future coal mine? The problems include uranium, erionite, mercury, dust, water and other hazards. But a recent letter in the Dickinson Press dated Dec. 3 from the PSC gives the impression that the commission will approve this mining-permit application. It just needs a little more lipstick on the application.

Will money be the primary motivator to endorse this application? A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling declares that money is free speech, giving the PSC the green flag to consider campaign contributions with any future PSC decision. Whatever became of the U.S. Constitution preamble stating, “We the People of the United States …”? Has it been transformed to “We with the Money in the United States …”?

Will Cramer’s soul and conscience know the truth?