Groups say lawsuit planned against PSC commissioners

2012-03-23T15:08:00Z 2012-03-23T15:13:12Z Groups say lawsuit planned against PSC commissionersBy BRIAN GEHRING | Bismarck Tribune Bismarck Tribune

Two North Dakota conservation groups say they are ready to file a lawsuit against two public service commissioners for a conflict of interest for accepting campaign contributions from a coal company they regulate.

Wayde Schafer of the Dakotah Chapter of the Sierra Club said the Sierra Club and the Dakotah Resource Council will file a 60-day notice of intent to file the suit in federal court.

Schafer said the groups will make the announcement formally at 11 a.m. Monday at the state Capitol.

Schafer said the groups sent formal letters to PSC commissioners Kevin Cramer and Brian Kalk eight months ago, asking them to recuse themselves from discussions on the South Heart Coal mining permit.

Schafer said they declined. He said the federal Surface Mining and Reclamation Act prohibits public service commissioners from accepting gifts from companies they regulate.

Reach reporter Brian Gehring 250-8254 or brian.gehring@bismarcktribune.com.

Copyright 2015 Bismarck Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(8) Comments

  1. DuWayne Hendrickson
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    DuWayne Hendrickson - March 24, 2012 7:30 am
    Only 1 way to vote for US House. DuWayne Hendrickson for Congress.
  2. Odd Man Out
    Report Abuse
    Odd Man Out - March 24, 2012 12:46 am
    If not illegal, their actions are at least unethical. North Dakota has become a one-party state, so we will keep electing the same people no matter how unethical they are.
  3. Westriver
    Report Abuse
    Westriver - March 23, 2012 9:06 pm
    They are just following the lead of Conrad, Dorgan and Pomeroy who have always said that the money they received from anyone had no influence on how they voted.
  4. gaga54
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    gaga54 - March 23, 2012 8:52 pm
    I am beginning to wonder if Jack Dalrymple accepting campaign contributions from oil men is a conflict of interest? He is the chairman of the NDIC which regulates the oil industry.
  5. Report Abuse
    - March 23, 2012 6:51 pm
    This lawsuit sounds as if it should answer some questions many of us have had about the ethical violations that appear to have been committed by these elected officials. Regardless of the outcome, the public airing of what has been going on should be a wake-up call for North Dakotans concerning campaign contributions from energy companies and employees.
  6. 77SunsetStrip
    Report Abuse
    77SunsetStrip - March 23, 2012 5:53 pm
    Saying "conservation group" and "sierra club" in the same sentence is an oxymoron. A lawsuit is all "progresives" know how to do anymore anytime they don't get their way. Going to be a lot of unhappy "progressives" after the election and they'll be suing for all kinds of imagined wrongs most of which they will have caused.
  7. HappyCamper1
    Report Abuse
    HappyCamper1 - March 23, 2012 4:41 pm
    This sounds BAD for Kevin Kramer and Brian Kalk!

    How can they NOT be in violation?

    Their actions sounds like they acted "above" the law.

    I would not want to be either one of them...
  8. fd63
    Report Abuse
    fd63 - March 23, 2012 4:26 pm
    So maybe Jaeger wasn't right when he said we don't have corruption in ND State Government?
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