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Talk About Bad Timing: McKnight Foundation Announces Big Green Giveaway One Day Before Jamie Long Scandal Breaks

Talk about bad timing if you’re a green-energy profiteer.

Just one day before the scandal that led to the resignation of Representative Jamie Long (DFL) from his hand-crafted job at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Energy made headlines, the McKnight Foundation announced they would be doubling down (the Stribs words, not mine) on the grants to green groups, increasing their contributions “from $15 million to $30 million over the next couple of years,” according to the Star Tribune.

Apparently, that also meant a $50,000 grant for Representative Long’s ethically dubious position at the University.

The McKnight Foundation’s involvement in funding a position for Representative Long is notable because the foundation is probably the single-largest source of funding for renewable energy special interests in Minnesota. According to the McKnight Foundation’s website, recent grants to Minnesota renewable groups include:

$1,375,000 to Fresh Energy in 2018: American Experiment readers are well aware of how Fresh Energy has been intentionally misleading Minnesotans on energy issues for years. Check out our series specifically addressing Fresh Energy’s misleading arguments by clicking here.

$1,000,000 for the Great Plains Institute in 2019: The Great Plains Institute commissions green energy studies that vastly underestimate the cost of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, including the woefully unrealistic Solar Pathways Analysis, which we debunked here.

$650,000 for the Citizens Utility Board of Minnesota in 2018: The Citizens Utility Board advocates for policies that increase the cost of electricity for Minnesota families. CUB tried to refute our work on energy in an article in the Duluth News Tribune, but it was riddled with erroneous statements that are demonstrably false, as I wrote here.

$600,000 for Conservation Minnesota in 2019. Conservation Minnesota opposes copper nickel mining in Minnesota and lobbies for a Minnesota Green New Deal. The organization also funds the Minnesota “Conservative” Energy Forum, which co-opts conservative-sounding language to intentionally mislead conservatives on energy policy.

$600,000 for the Sierra Club in 2019. The McKnight Foundation gave money to the Sierra Club to fund renewable energy advocacy efforts in Minnesota and other Midwestern states. The Sierra Club is one of the main groups working to shut down affordable, reliable coal plants in our state.

$530,000 for the Center for Environmental Advocacy in 2018. The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy has filed numerous lawsuits to stop the PolyMet and Twin Metals mines and has lobbied in favor of a Minnesota-styled Green New Deal at the capitol. As I wrote earlier this week, their insistence that mining companies lobby for renewable energy mandates is just their way of trying to make it too expensive to mine in Minnesota.

$500,000 for Wind on the Wires in 2018. Wind on the wires now operates under the name of “Clean Grid Alliance,” Before that, it was one of the larger wind lobbying groups in Minnesota.

$433,000 for the University of Minnesota Foundation in 2019 for funding the Energy Transition Lab, which is part of the Institute on the Environment, where Jamie Long was briefly employed. Former DFL Senator Ellen Anderson was the head of the Energy Transition Lab until the Long scandal broke and has since been reassigned. Man, it must be nice to have a job where such misconduct only results in a slap on the wrist.

$350,000 for the Center for Energy and Environment in 2018. Center for Energy and Environment is one of the leading proponents of the “Clean Energy First” bill that greatly increases the difficulty of building new fossil fuel plants. This is an incredibly bad idea, considering it was too cold for wind turbines to blow during the polar vortex, solar panels were covered in snow and it is “too expensive” to clear them off and more than a hundred households lost natural gas service.

CEE also advocates for policies like decoupling, which Mitch Rolling has noted will simply make it easier for government-approved monopoly utilities to raise your electricity prices.

$315,000 for Climate Generation in 2018. Climate Generation is a group that is encouraging kids to skip school on September 20th in the name of climate change. Is it any wonder test scores continue to decline?

$300,000 for Minnesota Public Radio in 2019 to engage the MPR audience on climate change. This grant is probably one reason their coverage of the polar vortex was so poor. In fact, the climate reporter at MPR said Minnesota’s near disaster natural gas shortage would be less of a problem in the future because we’re building more wind turbines that could generate electricity which could be used for home heating. This is incorrect because wind turbines cannot operate at temperatures below -20 degrees F, meaning wind won’t work during the next polar vortex.

$300,000 for Clean Energy Economy Minnesota in 2019. Clean Energy Economy Minnesota is the group that generates the “clean jobs” report that John Phelan and myself have rebuked numerous times. The group also funds the “Conservative” Energy Forum.

$200,000 for the Conservative Energy Network in 2017. The Conservative Energy Network is the umbrella organization for all of the so-called “conservative” energy groups, like the one in Minnesota, who take liberal money and push for liberal energy policies.

$200,000 for MN350 in 2019. MN350 is a group that has been trying to stop the replacement of the Line 3 pipeline. They also lobbied for the Minnesota-styled Green New Deal last session.

$80,000 to the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation in 2019, a group that is desperately trying to keep the growing divide between the labor wing of liberal politics and the environmental wing of liberal politics from widening. However, given the fact that liberal environmentalists oppose environmentally responsible mining and building new oil pipelines, this honeymoon between labor and environmentalists is likely over.

Do you notice a pattern here? The only organizations that the McKnight Foundation gives money to are the organizations that have pushed shoddy research that intentionally misrepresent the very negative consequences renewable energy have pertaining to the cost and reliability of our electric grid.

The McKnight foundation is a private entity and they can distribute their grants however they see fit. However, the fact that they are so heavily involved in funding advocacy on just one side of the energy debate makes any claim that Representative Long’s position was not to toe their energy line dubious.

Like I said Monday, it’s a testament to the work we do at American Experiment that the McKnight Foundation wanted to launder $50,000 dollars through the University to make sure the Representative Long was fully employed by trying to debunk our research.