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Listen Up: The Great Minnesota Mining Debate Featuring Isaac Orr and Kevin Lee of Minnesota Center of Environmental Advocacy

Last year I participated in a debate about the future of copper nickel mining in Minnesota at the Theater of Public Policy with Kevin Lee, from the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. The debate was very civil, and then improv actors have some fun with what they learned about the issue. Audience members had strong opinions on both sides of the issue but we were able to co-exist. Since then, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency have granted the PolyMet mining project all of the necessary permits to build the mine. My performance obviously tipped the balance,...

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Peter Foster: Another Report Reluctantly Admits that ‘Green’ Energy is a Disastrous Flop

Despite being the beneficiaries of billions of dollars in subsidies, wind and solar compose just a tiny fraction of overall energy use in the United States. The pie chart below is from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and it shows that oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear power provide far more of our energy than wind and solar, which together account for about 3 percent of our total energy consumption....

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Ideas for improving the lot of American workers (open minds requested)

A new book sounds at times like the stuff of a Democratic caucus, at others like grist for a GOP one. Either way, it sure makes you think.  This op-ed appeared in the Star Tribune on January 7, 2019. Most everyone has heard about leaving your anger at the door. For the discussion that follows about a new book by Oren Cass, “The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America,” you may want to leave ideology behind, too. A senior fellow at the conservative-leaning Manhattan Institute, Cass writes from the right. But his ideas about the right...

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Shrimp Plant Picks South Dakota Due to MN Red Tape

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard didn't hold anything back in one of his last official acts in office when it came to his neighbor to the east.  Daugaard announced that South Dakota had beat out Minnesota after all for a new Tru Shrimp agricultural production facility the Star Tribune had reported would be built on the other side of the border in Luverne. It’s already generating revenue for Luverne. More than 30 employees from places like Hawaii, India and the fisheries division of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are spending some of their paychecks in town. But at the last minute Minnesota...

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Want “Carbon Free” Electricity? Promote Hydroelectric Power

Did you know that the Next Generation Energy Act (NGEA), Minnesota's law that requires the state to obtain 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030, explicitly prohibits counting electricity generated from large hydroelectric sources to measure compliance with the law? However, hydroelectric power is more desirable than wind and solar because it is more affordable, more reliable and more permanent....

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If Pelosi is so Concerned About Climate Change, Why Does She Oppose Yucca Mountain?

According to an article in Politico, Nancy Pelosi called climate change the "existential threat of our time" during her opening address as the new speaker of the House, and said Congress must "put an end to the inaction and denial of science that threaten the planet and the future. If Pelosi believes climate change is an existential threat to human existence, how can she also oppose building a permanent repository for nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain? After all, nuclear power is the only source of electricity we have that is both available 24/7 and emits zero carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, despite the billions squandered...

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Xcel Energy Property Taxes Soar 131.6 Percent Since Minnesota Began Mandating Renewable Energy – Ratepayers are Stuck with the Bill

We at American Experiment often write about how wind and solar energy cause nearly every aspect of the energy grid to be more expensive, but one aspect of this story we have not yet covered is the role wind and solar play on increasing property taxes. Property taxes constitute approximately 6 percent of your electric bill, as utility companies are allowed to pass these expenses directly on to their consumers. As property taxes rise, so does the amount you pay for electricity each month. As renewable energy sources increase on the grid, so do the property tax expenses that ratepayers are stuck...

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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...

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For Iron Range 2019 Can’t Get Here Soon Enough

It's already a Happy New Year before 2019 even officially arrives on the Iron Range, where they've already seen glimpses of what the future will bring.  After years of bureaucratic hold-ups and red tape, northern Minnesota stands on the cusp of an economic boom from a new generation of environmentally responsible mining. The Star Tribune highlighted the breakthrough on the front page of the Sunday edition that's read by hundreds of thousands statewide. “We’ve been talking for years about how to get ready,” said Biwabik Mayor Jim Weikum. “It’s been hard to keep people’s spirits up. You want people to be excited...

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