August 15, 2012 | LXXII, No. 20

Our stance slightly misunderstood

After publication last week, I realized too late that reader John Overby’s thoughtful letter mistakenly attributed my editorial stance July 11 — encouraging the community to contact federal representatives in support of federal funding of local school construction — in part to a statement written in a letter by a member of Congress.

Authority to act was not cited from anyone’s letter, but from the very law Overby referenced in his letter.

In the third from the last paragraph, The Coulee Dam Community Act of 1957 gives the secretary of the Department of Interior the authority to do whatever it takes to make Interior’s functions regarding the Grand Coulee Dam more efficient and economic.

It is no stretch at all to understand that that should include assuring that schools meet the standards expected by current and prospective employees and their families -- employees without whose contributions of labor and expertise the dam would cease to function. Given that the very reason it is impossible to raise the money through normal means is the abnormally high land holdings of the federal government, it is in the interest of the Department of Interior to contribute to the schools, so it can attract high quality employees.

From the act’s Section 11:

“(b) The Secretary is authorized to enter into contracts with the municipality whereby either party might undertake to render to the other such services in aid of the performance of activities and functions of the municipality and of the Department of the Interior within or near Coulee Dam as will, in the Secretary’s judgment, contribute substantially to the efficiency or economy of the operations of the Department of the Interior.”

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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