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Jeremy Cahil, Fargo, Published April 05 2012

PSC members have a problem

An enlightening article from Teri Finneman in Tuesday’s (March 27) Forum: Two Public Service Commission officials may be sued over a denial to a request that they recuse themselves from a coal company’s pending permit request. Apparently, the two commissioners have received campaign donations from the coal company.

I gathered from the responses from the PSC officials, Kevin Cramer and Brian Kalk, that they either did not understand the gist of the lawsuits or were practicing their obfuscation skills should one be successful in their campaign to succeed Rick Berg in the U.S. House seat. Both commissioners cried foul and addressed the timing of the possible lawsuits, as well as the propriety of the donations.

I think if they have a problem with the timing of the permit applications, they should address that with the coal company. Perhaps the company might postpone the application until after the upcoming elections.

The real problem with their responses is that the lawsuit is not about the legality of the donations but the possibility of a conflict of interest. Both commissioners have demonstrated their partiality toward businesses when deciding public service issues.