- Associated Press - Thursday, August 13, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, Aug. 12, 2015

N.D. needs to fight federal plans

There are times when states can’t allow federal action to go unchallenged. North Dakota’s involved in two cases where federal plans could have adverse impacts on the state.

North Dakota, along with 12 other states, are asking a federal judge to block a rule that gives federal officials jurisdiction over some state waters. And Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is considering a stand-alone lawsuit over the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan because of how the plan treats the state and the lignite coal industry.

In the first case, North Dakota filed a lawsuit June 29 to the keep the Obama administration from enforcing a rule that gives federal agencies authority to protect some streams, tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. Stenehjem argues the “Waters of the U.S.” rule by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is “unnecessary” and “unlawful.” North Dakota landowners fear the rule would allow the agencies to regulate everything down to a puddle and turn farming and ranching into an administrative nightmare.

Stenehjem hopes a judge will approve a hearing on an injunction within a few days.

Stenehjem also may file a lawsuit over the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan intended to cut carbon dioxide emissions nationwide by 30 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030. The state feels the plan treats the lignite industry too harshly. For the state’s seven coal-fired power plants, the cut in carbon emissions increased between the draft rule and final rule, from 11 percent to 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2030.

Some states already have challenged the plan but North Dakota may go solo. Stenehjem says it appears North Dakota has been singled out for harsh treatment that could hurt North Dakota’s economy and threaten the plants.

North Dakota has worked hard over the years to be a good citizen. The state and industry have taken steps to reduce emissions and maintain the quality of air. Industry has poured substantial sums of money into this work. The draft rule of 11 percent was considered workable, but the 45 percent proposal is too strong.

Business, agriculture groups and others in at least eight U.S. district courts have filed dozens of lawsuits against the Waters of the U.S. proposal. The EPA and corps want the lawsuits consolidated in a single district court, but Stenehjem opposes this on the grounds that North Dakota’s situation is unique.

In both cases the federal government wants to extend its control over the states. In the Waters of the U.S., the government appears to want control over some small bodies of water. This could allow them to dictate how the water is maintained and used. The EPA’s leadership has made no secret that it’s conducting a war on coal and this is reflected in the Clean Power Plan.

North Dakota needs to fight both proposals vigorously to protect our economy and to maintain the right to decide our destiny.


Minot Daily News, Minot, Aug. 11, 2015

Bombs the lesser of evils

No human being with an ounce of compassion in his or her soul would deny that what happened 70 years ago this week - the only hostile use of atomic bombs in history - was a horrible event. At least 129,000 people and as many as 246,000 perished when the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima, Aug. 6, 1945, and Nagasaki three days later.

But claiming the United States acted inappropriately in using the weapons continues. Historical revisionism proceeds. For example, one press report on the 70th anniversary stated the bombings “were credited at the time for helping end the war with Japan.” That implies there is some question now as to whether the attacks ended the war.

There is none. Period.

Had U.S. officials not decided to use the bombs, the war would have proceeded, probably for months. Beyond any reasonable doubt, many Americans and others fighting the Japanese would have perished needlessly. And it is probable more Japanese than died in the bombings would have been killed.

No one in their right mind wants to see nuclear weapons used again. But rewriting history is, if anything, a surer path to that than acknowledging the lessons of the past.


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