Monday, April 18, 2011

Now they'e just being mean

Governor Otter signed the bill requiring a bond if anyone wants to challenge the shipment of a megaload.  The point of the bill is to make it difficult to challenge those shipments by requiring a petitioner to put up 5% of the load's insured value.

The First Amendment to the US Constitution preserves the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.  Article I, Sec. 10 of the Idaho Constitution preserves the same right.  So it is a deeply held value that people ought to be able to challenge governmental actions.

The megaload bill goes against that value by making it more difficult to make such a challenge.  Yes, it is still possible to mount a challenge, but 5% can be a significant hurdle, easily thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

Some people object to the megaloads, for various reasons.  Since a test shipment knocked out power to 1,300 people in two towns and blocked traffic for an hour, a challenge might well be appropriate.

But, again, our legislature will tolerate no dissent or questioning of authority.  So they make it difficult for Idaho citizens to have some ability to affect the situation.  A lawsuit is difficult and expensive in the first place.  The bond requirement, which favors the huge corporations, such as ConocoPhillips*, involved in the shipments, clearly shows that the legislature favors corporate interests over those of its citizens.   Pretty clearly ConocoPhillips doesn't need the, to them, pittance represented by the bond.  It's not about helping the company, it's about keeping Idahoans in their place.Why do our legislators hate us?

*ConocoPhillips earned $1.9 billion in the 4th quarter of 2010, and ended the year with $10.4 billion in cash and short term investments.

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