Serving Franklin County, WA

Letters to the Editor

Congresswoman can influence Speaker Johnson

Among Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’s negative legacies she leaves, her most impactful may be on immigration. However, she still has time to improve that.

Donald Trump cares nothing about our country, just his election. Accordingly, he recently ordered all Republicans to scuttle the bipartisan, long-negotiated Senate deal supporting Ukraine and limiting immigration that would be a victory for President Joe Biden. Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, an election-denier, obeyed Trump by withholding a full House vote despite enough bipartisan votes for passage.

Having nominated Speaker Johnson and having always voiced support for Ukraine and for controlling immigration, McMorris Rodgers presumably could influence Johnson’s actions.

But her likely worst immigration legacy she can’t erase: she and then-Republican House Speaker John Boehner blocked a full House vote on comprehensive immigration reform, endorsed by then-President Barack Obama, despite enough bipartisan House votes for passage — this after the Senate passed it overwhelmingly, 68-32 on June 27, 2013.

So influencing Johnson might earn McMorris Rodgers some redemption.

Norm Luther

Spokane

House Bill 1589 cuts corruption, carbon emissions

Don’t you fact-check opinion columns? After reading State Sen. Shelley Short’s bizarre, March 8 pack of lies about Washington House Bill 1589, I see that truth is optional at Free Press Publishing.

This bill simply removes Puget Sound Energy’s obligation to hook up gas lines to new construction. It does not, as Short says, “force 900,000 Puget Sound Energy natural gas customers in Western Washington to junk their gas furnaces, water heaters and stoves.”

Nor does it make owners of old homes replace wiring, or force restaurants to refit old kitchens, as she claims. What part of “new construction” does Short fail to understand?

This bill merely pumps the brakes on runaway natural gas industry corruption, where gas companies like PSE pay rich kickbacks to builders for installing gas furnaces and water heaters in new homes they build. PSE then charges ratepayers for digging gas lines to serve those new furnaces, which is where PSE makes its money, keeping roughly 10% of project cost as profit. Note that this applies primarily to new suburbs where gas lines don’t yet exist, because the more costly the new gas line is, the more PSE makes. Ka-ching!

This is all designed to keep builders from installing far cleaner, money-saving electric heat pumps, which would reduce PSE’s revenue.

House Bill 1589 is a great bill that begins ending this crooked racket that costs us all millions in higher utility rates, plus millions more for streets and public services to the far-flung developments that PSE pushes, along with the huge carbon emissions they lock in for decades.

And, when Short says that these overdue reforms will hit Avista next, we can only hope that this time she isn’t lying.

David Camp

Spokane

 

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