To New Hampshire from Russia with love

I don’t fear invasion from the income- and sales-tax-free haven, but I still keep an eye out for unusual activity across the border. After all, I can see New Hampshire from my kitchen window.

 It was no surprise that, due to the Ukrainian conflict, the entire New Hampshire congressional delegation is supporting US sanctions on Russia. The US sanctions President Obama authorized by executive order are not broad based, mostly involve banking issues, and do not restrict ordinary trade or investment — unless a prohibited party is involved. Experts in this case (as in other cases like North Korea, Iran, and Cuba) question whether international sanctions are useful tools to achieve the desired results.

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, however, has no doubts; she’s notably more hawkish and favors widening sanctions against Putin’s Russia. She (along with Arizona’s Senator John “bomb, bomb, bomb … bomb Iran” McCain) are calling for substantial arms shipments to the Ukrainian government. Ayotte additionally recommends shaming our allies, the EU, into harsher actions.

“And the Europeans — if they aren’t willing to do the right thing, in light of this commercial plane going down and the innocent people that have been murdered — I think it’s up to the United States to really put on the pressure to shame them into stepping up their economic sanctions,” the senator declared. [added emphasis]

 So it was surprising to read that in her backyard a major New Hampshire utility is buying Russian coal. The two-football-field-length bulk carrier Doric Victory sailed 4,000 miles to sell 38,500 metric tons of coal in Portsmouth. Perhaps embarrassed, power plant owner PSNH is very tight-lipped about the specifics future of Russian coal purchases.

While the New Hampshire utility refused to say how much coal was purchased, a bill of lading showed that 38,500 metric tons of “steam coal” were delivered. “A shipment of coal was contracted from Russia that met our operational and economic needs,” was all the utility was willing to say in an email.

 Perhaps before her next trip to Ukraine, or call for arms shipments, or Fox News interview, Senator Ayottte (R-NH) might — just for the heck of it — want to take a glance out her window at New Hampshire before dishing out the shame overseas.

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