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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...

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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...

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Walz Accelerates Push for Unpopular California Car Mandates in Minnesota

It appears Governor Walz is accelerating his push to circumvent the legislative process by using the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to impose unpopular California car mandates on Minnesota. These new regulations would force Minnesota to adopt California's mandates for low emission vehicles (LEVs) and zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) exactly as they are written in California. In our quarterly Thinking Minnesota poll, Center of the American Experiment found these mandates, which would increase the cost of vehicles sold in Minnesota, are deeply unpopular. The polling shows 68 percent of Minnesotans oppose the Governor's proposed California car mandates, if it would increase...

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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...

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House To Hear McCollum’s Minnesota Mining Ban Bill Tomorrow in D.C.

Tomorrow, the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a hearing on a bill that would permanently ban mining for precious metals in more than 200,000 acres in Northeastern Minnesota. The bill was introduced by Congresswoman Betty McCollum, a Democrat who resides in St. Paul. While the legislation would not affect the proposed PolyMet mine project, it would take much of Minnesota's vast treasure of copper and nickel deposits off the table for development, effectively destroying the possibility of mining companies creating up to 4,600 high-paying mining jobs in the region, forever. Last week, I attended a pro-mining event held by Congressman Pete...

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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...

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Sunday Funnies: Greta Thunberg, the Anti-Capitalist Climate Change Activist, Files to Trademark Her Own Name

Sometimes the Sunday funnies are simply reporting the news. Today is such a day. According to the New York Post: "Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg said on Instagram on Wednesday she has applied to register her name and that of the Fridays For Future movement she founded in 2018, which has gone global and catapulted her to international fame. The move would allow legal action against persons or companies trying to apply her name or the movement’s for uses that are not in line with its values, she said. “I assure you, I and the other school strikers have absolutely no interests in trademarks....

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German Electricity Prices Have Increased 2.5 Times Since 2008

Every year for the last several years, Minnesota lawmakers have piled onto a plane to visit Germany, which is supposedly a renewable energy utopia. It is amazing that so many taxpayer dollars can be used to learn so little, because Germany is a prime example of what not to do. I've written about this topic many times, but the myth that Germany's energy system is a success story never seems to go away. Over the last 12 years, Germany has spent hundreds of billions of Euro on wind and solar, and the only thing they have to show for it is...

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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...

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