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Limits on Obama, coal

The Feb. 23 article “Coal quandary” was interesting. The discussion of the economics of coal did need elaboration.

The comment that national policy might soon focus on the “dirty aspects” of coal-fired electrical energy, with the result that less would be available, stems from President Obama’s orders to the Environmental Protection Agency to find coal a polluting source and force coal-burning utilities to switch to other sources.

When Obama instituted these instructions to the EPA, he stated, “Under my plan electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket.” The problem with this is that the agent for this will act as a tax on the offending utilities, and the executive branch of the government is not empowered to levy taxes; that is for the legislature, and Congress has not moved on this.

Coal is responsible for about 40 percent of electrical production, so this is no small matter. Obama may not get away with this power grab. The U.S. Supreme Court is now hearing some key cases that are challenging these unlawful presidential actions. This is another Obama threat that, “If Congress won’t act, I have my telephone and my pencil.” And, as he suggests, “I can get away with what I want.”

Robb Peterson

Spokane


 

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Editorial: Washington state lawmakers scramble to keep public in the dark

State lawmakers want to create a legislative loophole in Washington’s Public Records Act. While it’s nice to see Democrats and Republicans working together for once, it’s just too bad that their agreement is that the public is the enemy. As The Spokesman-Review’s Olympia reporter Jim Camden explained Feb. 22, lawmakers could vote on a bill today responding to a court order that the people of Washington are entitled to review legislative records.