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Coal Ind. / Baker / Conflict of Interest #253052

CBS Evening News for Friday, Jul 01, 1977
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(Studio) Along with incrd. use of coal is controversy over needs with regard to use and environment With this comes controversy affecting Senator Howard Baker and possible conflict of interest.
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite

(DC) Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) power plant at Kingston, Tennessee, emits 3 1/2 times amount of sulfur dioxide allowed. Baker says it's too expensive for plant to meet standards and proposed amending clean air law, allowing some plants to operate without meeting standards. Measure failed, and Baker proposed relaxing standards only for Kingston plant; what proposal doesn't say is that it means eastern Tennessee coal mines could continue selling bulk of coal to Kingston plant. Coal in mines is of kind Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) might not buy anymore if standards enforced. Baker doesn't mention connection with 1 of coal companies Details of financial dealings with company noted. Baker says legislature, which would affect company, isn't conflict of interest. [BAKER - has nothing to do with buying and selling company is involved in and blind trust that his interest is in is for this purpose. Says purchasers of his interest have paid and still owe him balance. If payment depended on coal mining operation, would be different, but it doesn't. Shouldn't have told Senator of former connection with company, because it would have violated meaning and purpose of blind trust.] Senator passed measure without debate; it now goes to conf. committee Issue of Baker's former interest in coal company not raised.
REPORTER: Robert Schakne

Cronkite, Walter;
Schakne, Robert

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