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Ringing in the New Year with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Energy and Environmental Policy for 2019

Happy New Year, everyone! You may or may not be recuperating from last night’s events, but here is a short post on the upcoming, good, bad, and ugly happenings for energy and environmental policy in 2019.

The Good: PolyMet

PolyMet’s NorthMet mining project has cleared all of the regulatory hurdles needed at the state level, leaving a wetlands permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the final remaining substantive approval. Thankfully, we have a President in the White House who understands the importance of mining and will not delay the project as long as possible in the regulatory morass, like President Obama was wont to do with pipeline projects.

PolyMet will operate a surface mine that will produce roughly 1.2 billion pounds of copper, 170 million pounds of nickel and a trove of other metals over 20 years.

The Bad: A Looming 50 Percent Renewable Energy Standard

The newly-elected Governor and House of Representatives for Minnesota want to double down on failure by enacting a 50 percent renewable energy standard for our state by the year 2030. This will be massively expensive, which will drive up electricity prices for Minnesota families and businesses. We’ll be on top of this as it develops, though.

The Ugly: The Upcoming Chaos For Line 3

Building new pipelines that are safer and more efficient should be celebrated, not sabotaged, but that’s not currently the world we live in. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has rightly approved Line 3, but that doesn’t mean the pipeline protesters will not try to stop it at any costs. So far, they have destroyed construction equipment, interrupted an improv comedy show to intimidate Public Utility Commissioners, and they have threatened a Standing-Rock style occupation of the pipeline path if they don’t get their way.

Last session, Republican legislators tried to get a bill passed that would increase the penalties for people who attempt to block or sabotage critical infrastructure projects, but the bill was vetoed by Governor Dayton.

This post may seem more gloom and doom than I actually feel about the future. I’m rationally optimistic that things will get better despite, not because of, whatever happens in St. Paul.

Remember, elected officials generally follow public opinion, they do not craft it. That is why organizations like ours play an important role in changing the hearts and minds of people all over the state. Please consider starting the New Year off with a contribution to American Experiment.

 

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