fbpx

Latest Posts

Home

Facebook

Twitter

Search
About

Suburb Poised to be First to Withdraw From Controversial GreenStep Program

The suburb of Victoria would become the first Minnesota city to withdraw from the controversial GreenStep Cities program overseen by the state Pollution Control Agency under a resolution Mayor Tom Funk plans to introduce at tonight’s city council meeting. The MPCA program urges local governments to factor environmental sustainability and reducing their “carbon footprint” into everything from budgets to ordinances, land use and long-range planning. Yet a growing network of citizens and local elected officials view GreenStep as an unnecessary drain on city resources, risk to taxpayers and threat to local control. “They make it sound like it’s really good but what...

Continue reading

Pollution Control Agency Steps in It on Cow Emissions, Shows They Have No Business Regulating Greenhouse Gases On the Agriculture Industry

Last year, I wrote about how the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA), a group that opposes mining and reliable natural gas and coal-fired power plants, sued the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) at the Minnesota Court of Appeals for not considering the impact that expanding a dairy operation would have on greenhouse gas emissions during the permitting process. Surprisingly, the Court of Appeals agreed with MCEA and sent the permit back to MPCA to determine  the greenhouse gas emissions that would be generated from expanding the farm. MPCA has now released its supplement to its Environmental Assessment Worksheet, and it contains...

Continue reading

Federal Data Show Walz’s Line 3 Delay Has Been an Anti-Science Charade

On Monday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted in favor of three key approvals for the Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project, a revised environmental review, a certificate of need, and a route permit by a three to one margin. Although this is very good news that should allow the replacement of the aging pipeline to begin this year, federal data from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) show the delay should have never happened in the first place. During the Gubernatorial campaign, Tim Walz expressed his support for replacing the aging Line 3 pipeline, which transports crude...

Continue reading

Our Perspective: Xcel Quarterly Profits up 35 Percent, Buoyed by Rate Increases

The Star Tribune published a bombshell story last Thursday entitled "Xcel Quarterly Profits up 35 Percent, Buoyed by Rate Increases," which reported Xcel Energy's quarterly profits for the last quarter of 2019, but unfortunately, unless people understand energy policy in Minnesota, they would have no idea why this story is so explosive. According to the Star Tribune article: "Xcel Energy’s fourth-quarter profits rose 35% and beat Wall Street forecasts, aided by rate increases in several states." Higher electric and natural gas profit margins, primarily due to rate increases, added 37 cents per share in 2019, said a report Thursday by Travis Miller, a...

Continue reading

On the One Year Anniversary of the Polar Vortex, Wind Was 0.16 Percent Productive

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the Polar Vortex, which enveloped the state in an arctic cold that pushed our energy system to the max. You'll remember that our friends at Xcel Energy sent out an emergency request that all 460,000 of their natural gas customers turn their thermostat down to 63 degrees to make sure there was not a widespread natural gas shortage, and there was virtually no wind on the system because of low wind speeds and because at -24 degrees Fahrenheit, it was too cold for wind turbines to operate. Well, history repeated itself yesterday, at least in...

Continue reading

The “How Do We Make This Bill Less Ugly?” – Proposed Changes to Improve Clean Energy First

The last two days I've reviewed The Good and The Bad parts of the proposed Clean Energy First legislation currently circulating in the Minnesota States Senate. Today, in sticking with our Sergio Leone theme, I'll talk about a few ways to make the bill less Ugly. 1. Instead of Granting Cost Recovery for Prematurely Retired Assets, Require Utilities to Sell the Plants on the Open Market to the Highest Bidder Why should Minnesota families and businesses be forced to continue to pay for a coal plant that is going to be destroyed before the end of its useful lifetime? This should be...

Continue reading

Plymouth City Council Rejects Controversial GreenStep Cities Agenda

After a passionate discussion before a big crowd, the Plymouth City Council on Tuesday voted 4-to-3 against participation in the controversial GreenStep Cities climate change program overseen by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The outcome in Minnesota’s seventh largest city was being closely monitored by cities throughout the state as a bellwether of the program’s appeal. The MPCA program urges local governments to factor environmental sustainability into everything from budgets to ordinances, land use and long-range planning. A growing network of grassroots opponents, however, views GreenStep as a drain on city resources, risk to taxpayers and threat to local control. American...

Continue reading

The Bad: Senate’s Clean Energy First Bill Would Probably Be A Blank Check to Xcel Energy

Yesterday, I wrote about The Good aspects of the Minnesota State Senate's Clean Energy First bill. Today I'll talk about The Bad aspects, and tomorrow I'll suggest ways to amend the legislation to make sure Minnesota families and businesses are not paying higher costs as a result of the bill. The Bad As a result of legalizing new nuclear, large hydro, and carbon capture and sequestration technology, the Clean Energy First bill could reduce more emissions for less cost than wind, solar, and battery storage. While this sounds great in theory, the legislation also contains problematic provisions that will essentially be a blank...

Continue reading

The Good: Senate’s Clean Energy First Bill Could Reduce More Emissions at Lower Cost than Walz/House Proposals

I recently posted my testimony from Rochester on the Clean Energy First (CEF) bill currently circulating around the Minnesota State Senate. Today, I'll elaborate on the good parts of the Senate's Clean Energy First Bill, tomorrow, I'll talk about the bad parts, and Wednesday, I'll propose some amendments that would improve the bill. The Good The most important improvements offered in this bill, compared to the version put forward last session by Governor Walz and the Minnesota House of Representatives, is the classification of large hydroelectric dams as a “renewable” or “carbon free” resource, the bill legalizes new nuclear power plants, and...

Continue reading