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Supporters of coal, oil train fine initiative accused of violating Washington campaign finance laws

October 16, 2017

""The main group opposing Proposition 2, the Committee to Protect Spokane’s Economy, lists BNSF Railway, Union Pacific, Better Spokane Inc., Lighthouse Resources Inc. and Tesoro Savage as its top five donors on campaign mailers and advertisements.


The Committee to Protect Spokane’s Economy filed formation paperwork Aug. 3. They collected their first donation three weeks later, according to PDC filings.


Railroads have threatened litigation should voters approve the measure, which would impose a $261 fine on rail cars carrying uncovered coal and crude oil stored at a certain pressure. Better Spokane Inc. is a nonprofit whose board is made up of Spokane businessmen Michael Senske, of Pearson Packaging; Ryan Gee, of Gee Automotive; and Fritz Wolff, of The Wolff Co. Lighthouse Resources owns coal mines in Montana and Wyoming. Tesoro Savage is the group behind a controversial proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver that would process up to 360,000 barrels of crude per day and has been opposed by some environmental groups.


The Committee to Protect Spokane’s Economy reports contributions of $149,650 and expenses of about $8,800 through Thursday. Lighthouse Resources is the largest contributor, giving nearly $64,000 to the group.""


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