Monday, January 02, 2006
Nodler: a change in ethics?
"I have said before and I will now repeat that it is unethical for a legislator to use his or her office to interfere with an ongoing regulatory proceeding. It is also unproductive because when a legislator does that, he or she makes it less likely that the position they favor will succeed. Most regulators will bend over backwards to avoid the appearance of yielding improperly to political pressure. Most Missourians do not want to live in a state where regulators obey the orders of politicians rather than the dictates of state law."
Those are the words Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, used in a recent letter to the Neosho Daily News to explain his decision to stay out of the controversy over Moark's plan to expand its Neosho operation. Nodler did not attend meetings so as to avoid any appearance of impropriety if you accept his explanation.
Apparently, the situation with the Jasper County East Landfill must be different. My understanding is that the effort to open up the landfill is an ongoing regulatory process, but this time Nodler is meeting with Citizens for Environmental Safety, the group which is opposing the landfill plan. If it is unethical for a state senator to use his or her office to interfere with an ongoing regulatory proceeding, then is the senator now doing something he said was unethical only a few days ago?
Or has he simply met with the citizens group because he represents them in the state senate and he believes it is part of his job to listen to his constituents? If so, more power to him.
But that certainly does bring up a question. Couldn't the senator have provided the same courtesy to the citizens who oppose the Moark expansion? He did not have to agree with everything the group wanted, or anything the group wanted for that matter. All he had to do was listen.
Of course, 2006 is an election year.