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Published February 05 2012

Forum editorial: Spurge to budget whiners

LEAFY SPURGE: To partisans who continue to bleat the falsehood that Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., has never produced a budget that passed Congress. Even a few North Dakota legislators, apparently confused by the bitterness of their partisanship, continue to mouth the lie. Fact is, Conrad, who is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, was involved in the bipartisan Budget Control Act, which contained a federal budget; the act was passed with bipartisan support by the Senate and House. It received strong support from Democrats and Republicans, including all three members of North Dakota’s delegation. So when Republican state lawmakers are tempted to repeat phony party boilerplate about Conrad and the federal budget, they might want to check with their Republican brethren in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House.

PRAIRIE ROSES: To Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and his U.S. Senate colleagues who are sponsoring legislation to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline, thus going around President Barack Obama’s decision to stall the project. Hoeven joined 43 other Republicans and one Democrat on the bill, which is modeled after legislation that led to the Alaska pipeline in the 1970s. The Keystone pipeline, while not crossing into North Dakota, would run from Alberta to Texas and carry mostly tar sands crude oil. But agreements are in place or being negotiated that would permit a spur to the main line from the Bakken oil play in North Dakota. More North Dakota crude oil moving by pipeline would reduce tanker truck and rail traffic. There’s no guarantee the legislation will win approval or pass constitutional tests. But Hoeven and his colleagues are right to send a strong message that the pipeline is the right project at the right time.

LEAFY SPURGE: To officials of the city of Jamestown’s Public Works Department for trimming boulevard trees with all the skill of a backwoods clear-cutting logger. Residents of the affected neighborhoods described the work as having “butchered” the trees. Apparently that perception was accurate because the city engineer’s office offered written apologies to property owners where the trees were – well – pruned. Too late. The damage is done. If anything good can come out of such clumsy work, maybe it’s renewed sensitivity to the value of mature urban trees.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.