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Mail for March 22, 2017

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Cleaning Up

This past fall, the largest utility-scale solar projects in the entire Pacific Northwest came online near Boise. Since then, several other solar power plants have brought jobs and tax revenue to Idaho while generating enough electricity to power more than 50,000 homes annually. Recently Idaho Power announced plans to close its Valmy coal plant at least seven years early.

The coal-to-clean energy transition presents an enormous economic opportunity for Idaho, a state that today relies on importing more than 1/3 of its electricity from out-of-state coal plants. Municipal leadership in places like Boise and other Idaho communities will be key to advancing our clean energy economy and creating prosperity across our state.

In February, Pueblo, Colo., joined 22 other cities that have committed to transition to 100 percent renewable energy—proving that no matter who is in the White House, municipalities will continue to lead the way on clean energy.

In 2015, the city of Ketchum adopted energy conservation goals that include targets for 100 percent renewable energy for city operations and 50 percent renewable generation community-wide by 2030. Boise Mayor Bieter signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, and the city continues to advance innovative and aggressive conservation initiative. Also this past fall, Boise commissioned a comprehensive study to establish a renewable energy strategy and to identify citywide renewable energy goals.

The Idaho Chapter Sierra Club appreciates Idaho's cities for their leadership. We hope to see our capitol be the first in Idaho to commit to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

—Zack Waterman

Idaho Chapter Sierra Club

Pols: Grow a Spine

America cries out for leadership, yet the cries of Lady Liberty fall on the deaf ears of Idaho Sens. Risch and Crapo and Reps. Simpson and Labrador. These four naively think the political debate of 2017 is about Democrats vs. Republicans. Instead, it is about the United States vs. Russia, and sadly, they come down on the side of the KGB, Vladimir Putin and the current occupant of the White House.

Instead of standing up to the dangerous thug in the Oval Office, Risch, Crapo, Simpson and Labrador sit by as weak ducklings. Nary a peep from them as they let hard-working Congressmen like Adam Schiff do their work for them.

Risch is on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which could be a powerful position these days, rather, he yields to Schiff on the House side to demand a deposition from Christopher Steele, the British spy who has uncovered much of the truth about America's Russian sympathizer. By remaining unconcerned that the ideology of Russia has taken over America, Messrs. Risch, Crapo, Simpson and Labrador are complicit in its takeover.

Sen. John McCain gets it—in a recent speech after The Childish One went on in one of his 6 a.m. tweets about the media, McCain stated, "That is how dictators get started."

It's sad the greater part of the Party of Lincoln now embraces the likes of Stalin, Lenin and Putin. The GOP no longer stands for the Grand Old Party; rather, it has become the Government Of Putin.

I implore Risch, Crapo, Simpson and Labrador to develop a backbone and save our republic.

—Rod Couch

Boise

For the Kids

The Idaho Legislature is currently considering bills that would determine protections for children in anti-medical-care religious groups. Tragically, more children die of "faith healing" medical neglect in Idaho than in any other state. This has to stop, because the Idaho Constitution prohibits this form of medical neglect.

The Constitution clearly guarantees religious liberty, yet it also places restrictions on such freedoms. For example, people may not engage in religious practices if they are "inconsistent with morality or the peace or safety of the state." In stating this restriction, Idaho's Constitution aims to protect Idahoans according to values that may or may not coincide with religious doctrines.

Parents may not deny a child an education, even if they believe their religion requires them to do so. Members of the Followers of Christ church believe their religion requires them to only pray for their sick children. Despite the fervency of their beliefs, this form of medical neglect is immoral, and, therefore, prohibited by the Constitution. Yet lawmakers refuse to change the laws so those parents who deny their children life-saving medical care can be prosecuted.

Unlike the Followers of Christ, lawmakers are legally mandated to uphold standards of morality in passing legislation. To abide by the Constitution, government must restrict the religious liberty of every citizen equally, so that no child or adult is victimized by immoral acts—including acts committed in the name of religion.

It's time to correct the laws so morally based restrictions of religious liberty apply to all Idahoans equally.

—Janet Heimlich

Child-Friendly Faith Project

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