An initiative to ban rail transportation of fossil fuels through Spokane is being championed, despite serious legal flaws. Initiative 2017-1 is unenforceable, calls upon false constitutional authority and conflicts with federal law. It is another example of liberals fighting for a cause that has no legal ability to be enacted – simply to create a fanfare in their favor and convince people they are victims of those greedy evil corporations.
Gunnar Holmquist, M.D. has confirmed intentions to promote Initiative 2017-1 in an effort to prohibit transportation of coal and crude oil by train in Spokane. City Council President Ben Stuckard, who has recently declared his intentions to challenge Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, is also backing the initiative despite its legal failures.
City Examiner Brian McGinn determined the initiative would be overruled by federal law. McGinn cited no modifications “to bring it into compliance with the law,” as its shortcomings are too great to be fixed.
To begin with, Holmquist and Stuckard rely on a mangled reading of the constution to drum up support for the initiative. They argue constitutional rights include the “right to a healthy climate.” Citing constitutional law is a deceitful method of garnering support – but for liberals, that’s simply par for the course.
The action proposed by initiative No. 2017-1 is in direct violation of federal law. Federal law assigns “exclusive authority to regulate transportation by rail” to the Surface Transportation Board (STB). This means any attempt to override STB authority by the initiative would be negated by federal law… meaning the initiative is useless.
Finally, Initiative 2017-1 attempts to overrule state law regarding criminal behavior associated with the initiative. McGinn explained in his examination that the initiative attempts to, “decriminalize any activity that can be characterized as “nonviolent direct action,” even though that behavior is considered a crime under state law.” As an initiative cannot override or modify Washington State law, the initiative’s attempt to decriminalize criminal behavior is invalid.