Dang—either Dusty Johnson is running for higher office next year, or the PUC is realizing we South Dakotans really do need to make stronger demands of TransCanada to protect our natural resources from the short-term thinking of Big Oil.
Commissioner Johnson checks in to register his displeasure, not so much at the fact that I give him heck even when the PUC does something I like (and he would be entitled to that complaint as well), but that I would accuse him of putting political games above the law:
I'm more than a little disappointed you insinuate my votes on legal matters are based on political calculation, rather than on what the law says.
I haven't given you an reason to think so little of me, you know. We've had an open and honest exchange of ideas when we've spoken. I know it's fun to play politics, but I expected more of you.
The truth is that the PUC has never (when I've been around) ruled that information on decommissioning was inadmissable or wasn't subject to discovery. We've taken that view with Keystone, with windfarms, with natural gas power plants, and with everything else. Additionally, whether or not information is subject to discovery is a technical legal issue. I know it's more fun for bloggers and political operatives to presume that politics is the big engine that powers all decisions made by anyone, anywhere, but that isn't the case.
When the law is on DRA's side (and it was most of the time on Tuesday), they'll win. When it isn't, they'll lose. Pretty simple, actually.
- Dusty Johnson [2009.09.26]
Commissioner Johnson makes a perfectly sensible complaint. He says the same thing that I've said, essentially, about my positions and proposals on the Lake Herman Sanitary District board: that my decisions are strictly in accord with the law and good public policy. I get owly when folks (including my fellow board member Larry Dirks) have imputed selfish motives to my public policy-making actions; Commissioner Johnson's owliness is justified (and he doesn't make a ruckus in the library to do it).
This scolding reminds me of things I've said about Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. I've not been kind to her this summer. I've criticized her for votes that look like they are more in the interest of campaign donors than the general public. She has elsewhere called such accusations "ridiculous."
Are we bloggers too cynical? Are we too quick to ascribe the worst intentions to our elected officials? Are we just playing word games, taking digs to stir controversy where good public servants are just doing their jobs? I welcome further discussion....
By the way, you can get the straight poop on South Dakota energy policy from Commissioner Johnson Tuesday in Mount Blogmore's first ever live chat.