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I got a letter from Sen. Orrin Hatch in response to my request that he oppose Rio Tinto’s proposed open-pit Pebble Mine in Alaska. He said that there was nothing he could do about the Pebble Mine because it was in Alaska, and I should contact Alaska state officials or their congressional delegation with my concerns.

Hatch’s claim that he has no authority over mining in Alaska—because he represents Utah in Congress—is false. Hatch is owned by big corporations and his other filthy-rich benefactors—the mining industry among them.

Second, the inherent “states’ rights” claim in Hatch’s letter is actually a current project of the American Legal Exchange Council (ALEC), which represents, and is funded by, Hatch’s big corporate and other filthy-rich benefactors.

This ALEC project takes advantage of the fact that most states are far more easily controlled by the filthy rich than is the federal government (though probably not for long). The first step is to transfer ownership, or at least control, of those federal lands and other assets to the individual states in which they sit. The second step is to then transfer (“privatize”) these and other state-owned lands and other assets to big corporations and the other filthy rich to exploit as they please—without regard to any environmental protection or the prior use and enjoyment rights of the public. And the corrupt government officials doing these transfers are rewarded handsomely for betraying and stealing from the people, all in the name of states’ rights.

In other words, “states’ rights” mean the rights of mostly multinational businesses to corrupt any individual state government so they can do whatever they want in that state purely for their profit, not for the benefit of the people of the state, let alone the country.

All Republican officials—elected and otherwise, including federal, state and local—are corrupt lackeys of these filthy rich. Hatch has always been among the most corrupt.

Stuart McDonald
Salt Lake City

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