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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 Would 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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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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Sunday Funnies: Rep. Omar Says PolyMet Setback Is a Victory Against Fossil Fuel Executives

Jim Morrison once said “I've noticed that when people are joking they're usually dead serious, and when they're serious, they're usually pretty funny.” This phrase was spot on this week, as my Congresswoman, Ilhan Ohmar, Tweeted out that the Minnesota Court of Appeals decision to send two of PolyMet's permits back to the Department of Natural Resources was "An important victory for the people of Minnesota!" and "This is what happens when communities come together to oppose mining projects that will line the pockets of fossil fuel exces at the expense of our planet." PolyMet will be a copper-nickel mine. The mine...

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American Experiment Policy Fellow Isaac Orr Applies for Governor’s Advisory Council on Climate Change

Governor Walz recently announced he would be establishing a Governor's Advisory Council on Climate Change that sought to bring together a diverse set of stakeholders to discuss Minnesota's energy future. For this reason, Center of the American Experiment Policy Fellow Isaac Orr officially submitted his application to be appointed to the council. You can read his cover letter below. To whom this may concern, My name is Isaac Orr, and I would like to express my enthusiasm and sincere desire to be appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Climate Change because our leaders need input from all perspectives if they are going...

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Center of the American Experiment Testifies on the Minnesota Senate’s Clean Energy First Bill in Rochester

Last night, I drove down to Rochester to testify at a hearing on the Minnesota Senate's Clean Energy First bill. As you will see in my testimony, this proposed legislation offers several significant improvements over previous legislation introduced to shape Minnesota's energy future, such as those proposed last session by Governor Walz and the Minnesota House of Representatives. However, there are still a few problematic parts of this legislation that I address later on in my comments. My testimony begins at 1:31:29 and I've pasted my comments below with additional links to provide references for my testimony. https://www.facebook.com/mnsrc/videos/477619166520895/   January 15, 2020 Testimony Clean Energy...

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