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Linda Weiss, Belfield, N.D., Published October 26 2012

Letter: Illegal, scornful behavior on PSC

When farmers, ranchers and local business owners disagree with a politician, it calls for some investigation of the reasons.

When South Heart Mining Co. proposed a coal strip mine and power plant near South Heart, N.D., neighbors obviously thought they should investigate.

They found that the strip mine and plant would damage their livelihoods and dramatically hurt their quality of life.

These are longtime, hardworking North Dakotans. They joined groups such as the Dakota Resource Council to work together. They spoke out about how the ranching community around South Heart was not the right place for a strip mine and power plant.

Meanwhile, the chief executive officer and principals in the mining company were contributing more than $16,000 to Public Service Commissioners Kevin Cramer and Brian Kalk, who have the authority to rule on the mining company’s permit. The contributions are explicitly against federal law and over a year ago the local people asked the commissioners to come clean.

Unfortunately, Cramer’s and Kalk’s response to taking illegal campaign contributions has been to scornfully dismiss the North Dakota ag producers and business people as a bunch of radical, militant environmentalists. It is certainly past time for people to know that Cramer and Kalk are way off base.

We really should expect a great deal more from our elected officials than side-stepping, overly partisan, illegal and scornful behavior.