Are you familiar with the duties of a Public Utility Commissioner? For review, from their website:
The commission regulates investor-owned electric, natural gas and telephone utilities. The PUC ensures utility companies in South Dakota provide safe and reliable service and that investor-owned companies do so with just and reasonable rates. It plays a more limited regulatory role with respect to wireless communication companies and cooperative, independent and municipal utilities.
The PUC has authority to issue permits for the construction of energy conversion, AC/DC conversion, wind energy and electric transmission facilities as well as certain pipelines, including those designed to transport coal, gas, liquid hydrocarbon products or carbon dioxide.
The Public Utilities Commission is a quasi-judicial panel which hears utility and pipeline matters, and is supposed to make unbiased decisions after weighing testimony and evidence, a system which has worked well for the commission for decades.
Which raises the strongest concerns when one of the candidates for the office notes publicly that he’s going to be heading north to an encampment of protesters of a pipeline that the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has, in part, jurisdiction over:
Gloria (Wife of Democrat PUC Candidate Henry Red Cloud) said that she and her husband are planning to conduct workshops on sustainable building and energy production at the water protectors’ camp at the Cannonball–Missouri confluence this week. They’ll demonstrate straw bale construction and provide other useful information to the tribes who have gathered there to fight the Dakota Access pipeline.
We can mobilize to fight the predations of big fossil fuel projects on our water and our sovereignty (don’t forget: eminent domain!). We can chain ourselves to bulldozers, risk dog bites and pepper spray, and create spontaneous protest towns with thousands of vocal residents.
And electing a man like Henry Red Cloud would bring those principles into the conversations and the regulatory decisions of the Public Utilities Commission.
The liberal fringe in South Dakota is cheering that they have a PUC candidate who is aligned with opponents of fossil fuel projects, and the candidate’s spouse is apparently telling anyone who will listen that they’ll be participating with and giving seminars at the protester’s camp.
For a candidate who is running for a quasi-judiciary position, and will sit in judgement of projects that may be proposed to transport fossil fuels to and through South Dakota, it beggars the imagination that Henry Red Cloud would be taking up such a hyper-partisan position as participating with protesters, some of which have regularly been in the practice of committing felonies and destroying millions of dollars wth of equipment to make their point.
So much for Henry Red Cloud offering governance according to the rule of law.