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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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In the Tank (Ep 227) Doomsday Clock Set to 100 Seconds, Trump Talks Climate Change at Davos

Heartland's Donald Kendal, Justin Haskins, and Jim Lakely are joined by Isaac Orr in episode 227 of the In The Tank Podcast. The Doomsday Clock has been set to 100 seconds, Elizabeth Warren is called out for being unfair, Trump warns of the “prophets of doom.” The In The Tank crew gives their take on all these issues and more in this week’s episode. Please subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free on iTunes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUGfggLqF9A...

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Despite Massive Wind and Solar Spending, Minnesota Carbon Dioxide Emissions Essentially Flat Since 2012

When lawmakers like Governor Tim Walz and members of the Minnesota House of Representatives call for massively increasing the amount of wind and solar on the grid, they often do so because they claim climate change is an "existential crisis." If these lawmakers truly believe this talking point, though, they wouldn't be advocating for building more wind and solar. This is because Minnesota has seen virtually no decline in annual CO2 emissions since 2012, despite the fact that we have seen wind and solar capacity increase by 50 percent during this time frame, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. The...

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California Wants to Ban Gas-Powered Lawn Equipment, Will Governor Walz Try to Ban Gas-Powered Snow Blowers in MInnesota?

California continues it's war on common sense. The latest front? The state is considering a state-wide ban on the use of gasoline-powered gardening equipment. In fact, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is laying out long-term plans to phase out gasoline-powered devices like leaf blowers and lawn mowers, saying they can produce more noxious emissions than cars, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. This year, CARB is seeking to reduce the emissions allowed for gasoline-powered lawn equipment sold in California and as early as 2022, it wants allowed emissions to drop to zero. The ultimate goal is ending the sale of...

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Study Finds Carbon Dioxide Taxes Reduce Industrial Competitiveness: Implications for Minnesota

A newly-released study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found that state-level carbon dioxide taxes and pricing schemes harm industrial competitiveness in the jurisdictions they are enacted. This has important implications for Minnesota because manufacturing is the single-largest private-sector component of Minnesota's economy, accounting for $49.2 billion in annual economic activity, which is about 16 percent of Minnesota's total gross domestic product (GDP). The NBER study concludes that enacting a carbon price of $10 per metric ton reduces employment in the regulated region by 2.7 percent, and raises employment in nearby states by 0.8 percent and the effects on...

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MIT: Organic Farming is Worse for the Environment Than Conventional Farming

If you've ever had the misfortune of meeting someone who eats organic food because they think they are saving the world from climate change, you know first hand how insufferable this situation can be. Luckily for you, you can deliver a comeuppance for their snobbery the next time you see them because a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found that organic farming is actually worse for the environment than conventional farming methods because it is less efficient. The summary of the study begins: Organic practices can reduce climate pollution produced directly from farming – which would be fantastic if they...

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