Grand Forks Herald Smears Republican House Candidates With Environmentalist Innuendo

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The Grand Forks Herald – the same publication which took an editorial position in favor of legal double standards for oil companies – is backing the play of two far-left environmental groups that have filed a plainly political lawsuit against two Republican House candidates.

The lawsuit in question was filed by the Dakota Resource Council and the Sierra Club against Public Service Commissioners Brian Kalk and Kevin Cramer. The lawsuit claims that it was improper for Kalk and Cramer to accept campaign contributions from coal industry interests in advance of ruling on a permit for a new coal mine in the state. To be clear, the contributions Cramer and Kalk took were 100% legal and were disclosed to the public as required by law. What’s more, neither Kalk nor Cramer have even had an opportunity to rule on permit request in question.

What’s more, as you can see from this Sierra Club timeline on the issue which dates back to 2007, the Dakota Resource Council has filed multiple complaints with the Office of Surface Mining over the North Dakota Public Service Commission’s handling of the South Heart coal project, and every one of those complaints have been rebuffed or dismissed.

Which illustrates what this lawsuit is really about. It’s not about political corruption. It’s about stopping the development of fossil fuels and, as an added bonus, giving Kalk and Cramer’s Democrat opponent Pam Gulleson a talking point for her campaign.

But the Herald gives the DRC and the Sierra Club the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the political maneuvering. Because in the editorial opinion of Forum Communications publications, environmentalists are almost always right and oil/coal interests are almost always wrong. Forget about collusion between Kalk/Cramer and coal industry interests (for which there is no evidence aside from perfectly legal and 100% transparent campaign contributions). What about collusion between the Gulleson campaign and these far-left environmental interests?

You really can’t overstate just how hostile these publications are to the state’s non-green energy industry. Which is unfortunate, because there are legitimate environmental issues to debate in the state. But when the environmental activists and their apologists in the media are so blatantly unfair and political in their activism, it’s hard to have an honest debate.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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