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Solar “Gardens” Labeled Solar “Scam” by Economist

Solar power currently provides less than one percent of Minnesota’s total electricity generation. But the push for more solar energy production continues, and utility customers are being heavily encouraged to “invest” in “community solar gardens.” Not everyone is convinced these “gardens” are a bright idea. According to Mark Perry, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, solar gardens are the “latest solar scam.” The solar garden’s contract length, termination clause, and cost-savings claims raise some red flags. Are these “gardens” a bright spot in Minnesota’s energy future, or is the program really just full of weeds?...

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Will He or Won’t He? Plastic Bag Ban Now Up to Governor

The ordinance banning plastic bags for many commercial uses in Minneapolis takes effect June 1. So close and yet so far for the environmental special interests determined to make the cost of doing business more expensive for everyone, including consumers.  Now it's all up to Gov. Dayton. If as expected Dayton signs the jobs and economic development bill on his desk, the plastic bag ban will be stopped. A provision in the bill prohibits local governments from outlawing plastic bags, just in time to stop Minneapolis. But the Star Tribune reports business still have to prepare for the worst, just in...

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Titanium Breakthrough Could Be Bigger Than Taconite for Iron Range

Another breakthrough moment for the Minnesota mining industry occurred this week. But will it matter, given environmentalists' reflexive opposition to mining, no matter how responsibly done? The Duluth News Tribune reports ilmenite, a widely available mineral in northern Minnesota, has a bright future. Scientists say they’ve successfully turned an abundant Minnesota mineral called ilmenite into valuable titanium dioxide in a pilot-scale demonstration project on the Iron Range. The announcement Thursday comes one year after the Natural Resources Research Institute of the University of Minnesota Duluth received $600,000 in grants for the pilot project that some scientists say could lead to a breakthrough...

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Camp Ripley Takes Aim at Global Warming

Our military used to boast about its fire power. These days the brass brags about its solar power. The Minnesota National Guard has just unveiled the latest weapon in the war on global warming. It's a 60 acre solar panel farm at Camp Ripley in north central Minnesota. Row upon row of 120,000 solar panels standing in precise military formation, the biggest solar installation at any National Guard base in the country.  But as turns out to be the case more often than not in Minnesota, sunshine proved to be elusive for the occasion. There was more wind than sun at this...

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As Minneapolis plastic bag ban nears, state agency says environmental benefits of paper over plastic is a myth

A Minneapolis ban on plastic bags is set to take effect on June 1.  According to a city news release, the purpose of the ban is "to reduce the litter, waste, environmental impacts and expense of managing carryout bags." No doubt city council members feel pretty good about themselves.  But feeling good and doing good are, of course, two different things.  It turns out the plastic bag ban likely won't deliver the environmental benefits advocates claim. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently posted an article busting seven green myths,  the seventh myth being the belief that paper bags are environmentally superior...

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American Energy Will Restore Prosperity, If We Let It

To be sure, America faces many tough cultural challenges ahead, beginning with fatherless households, failing schools, and violent crime.  But economically and environmentally, the future could be so very bright, especially if we don’t allow liberal fear-mongering to carry the day. You’d think that green activists would be in a better mood after the U.S., in 2012, met its Kyoto CO2 emissions targets proposed in 1997, even though the U.S. never even ratified the treaty.  And energy-related CO2 emissions for the first six months of 2016 were the lowest since 1991, thanks to the amazing technological breakthrough of hydraulic fracturing.  So...

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State Regulators Holding Up Another Critical Oil Pipeline

Here's another case in point for those who still wonder why rural Minnesotans have largely abandoned the DFL in recent elections. The Dayton administration's heavy-handed approach to environmental regulation has already led Enbridge Energy to abandon plans to construct the $2.6 billion Sandpiper pipeline through northern Minnesota. Environmentalists won out over construction labor unions whose members and communities would have benefited from thousands of well-paying jobs and pipeline taxes. Now state regulators under the direction of scandal-plagued, scandal-ridden Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman have hit the replay button with an Enbridge replacement pipeline that should be a no-brainer. The Minnesota Department...

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After being sued for defamation, Greenpeace admits its claims are hyperbole and not factual

Greenpeace is sure singing a different tune now that they are being held accountable in court for their baseless claims by Resolute, a Canadian forest-products company.  According to Richard Garneau, Resolute’s President and CEO: A funny thing happened when Greenpeace and allies were forced to account for their claims in court. They started changing their tune. Their condemnations of our forestry practices “do not hew to strict literalism or scientific precision,” as they concede in their latest legal filings. Their accusations against Resolute were instead “hyperbole,” “heated rhetoric,” and “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion” that should not be taken “literally” or expose...

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Why ‘Yuge’ Meeting on Obama MN Mining Ban May Not Matter

There's a "yuge" public meeting in Duluth tomorrow on the planned Twin Metals copper mine being held up by a last-minute Obama administration preemptive regulatory strike. Hundreds of supporters and protesters will likely show up in a Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management spectacle that could get rowdy over the previous president's moratorium on mining and exploration on 235,000 acres of federal land. Yet some say it's not that big of a deal--the public meeting that is. There's widespread expectation on both sides of the issue that it's only a matter of time before the new administration reverses the ban,...

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