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Key Legislators Make the Bipartisan Case for met Council Reform, Again

Distrust of the council arises from a governance structure that allows this unelected body to exercise power over 3.5 million metro residents with little to no accountability. The council, reporting only to the governor, now controls all federal and state resources for metro transportation, transit, subsidized housing, water treatment, parks and airports. ...

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Xcel Reveals Solar Garden Power Costs Double Other Sources

The Minneapolis City Council's recent approval of two more community solar gardens led to glowing coverage in The Journal, a community newspaper. But the report also appears to contain a bombshell from an Xcel Energy executive about the true cost of solar power, a disclosure that solar costs Minnesota ratepayers tens of millions of dollars more than conventional electricity. At face value, the new community solar deal "saves" Minneapolis $28,000 a year on electric bills, while helping Xcel Energy meet the state mandate to produce 1.5 percent of Minnesota's electricity through solar. Community solar gardens allow utility customers in Minnesota to support...

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Taxpayer and Ratepayer Subsidies Squandered as Suburb Dismantles Solar Project

There were no dignitaries on hand, ribbons to cut or speeches on sustainability to commemorate the latest chapter in solar power at the Maplewood Community Center (MCC). Five years after a massive $310,000 subsidy from taxpayers and Xcel Energy ratepayers, the St. Paul suburb now has nothing to show for the supposed model renewable energy project—except for 216 obsolete solar panels and 198 reflector panels headed for storage and, more than likely, oblivion. The Maplewood Community Center’s rooftop solar system was one of dozens of green projects in Minnesota rolled out with little scrutiny under the 2009 federal stimulus program (ARRA), meant to put...

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EPA Cleans House After Obama-Era Advisers Pocket $77 Million in Grants

"Political science" took on a whole new meaning under the Obama administration. Now we're finding out just how politicized and cozy the relationships were between the environmental agency under the previous administration and the ostensibly objective scientists advising it. The Environmental Protection Agency has identified tens of millions of dollars in government grants that were awarded to scientists at the same time they were serving on three of the powerful agency's advisory boards. In other words, numerous scientists on advisory panels were deciding on national environmental regulations even as their pet projects received funding from the EPA--a textbook conflict of interest. But...

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Dayton Must Not Allow Militant Enviros to Suppress Pipeline Debate

Why has the Dayton administration enabled militant activists to suppress public hearings on one of the most economically and environmental critical infrastructure projects to ever face Minnesotans? American Experiment economist John Phelan explores the implications of state regulators allowing a mob of activists to shut down a public hearing in Duluth, leading to the cancellation of two more public hearings last week. You can also read John's op-ed "Don't let pipeline protesters silence Minnesotans" in the St. Cloud Times. Don't let pipeline protesters silence Minnesotans The Enbridge Line 3 pipeline, which ships crude oil 1,100 miles from Alberta to Wisconsin, is five decades...

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Here’s What Would Happen Without Deer Hunting & What Does Happen With It

What would happen if we didn’t hunt deer? WCCO News posed this question to its readers and answered it in anticipation of Minnesota’s firearms deer hunting season that begins next weekend. …[I]f more than half-million Minnesota deer hunters decided to give it up, the impact would be as noticeable as a 12-point buck. “There would be very significant consequences,” said Steve Merchant, who manages the Minnesota deer population program for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He says hunting is the main way we manage deer, and no hunting would mean a dramatic spike in numbers. Merchant says they would eat themselves out of...

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MN Taxpayers Fund Controversial Anti-Pipeline Video Game

A controversial new video game that industry critics claim supports eco-terrorism by directing players to destroy pipelines, oil trucks and other industry infrastructure was developed with $3,290 in taxpayer support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Artist Elizabeth LaPensee, who formerly lived in Duluth, received a total of $7,000 from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, including an unspecified amount of taxpayer financial support from the state's general fund. Now a professor at Michigan State University, LaPensee maintains the "Thunderbird Strike" game was designed to empower indigenous people, not provoke violence. But the revelation that taxpayer funds were spent on such a...

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State Agency Bows to Militant Activists Canceling Pipeline Hearings

State officials have abruptly cancelled two public hearings on the $2.6 billion Enbridge 3 pipeline construction project scheduled in St. Cloud today due to "logistical and safety issues." The cancellation follows the contentious curtailment of a Duluth public hearing last week in which a mob of about 15 activists disrupted the proceedings before a stunned standing-room-only crowd. American Experiment posted video of the confrontation in which police largely stood by as militant activists forced an early end to the Duluth hearing. A group of about 15 militant activists hijacked the proceedings, trading turns shouting barbs at [Administrative Law Judge Ann] O’Reilly and...

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Bipartisan Support for State Wolf Management Angers Enviro Hardliners

[caption id="attachment_8112" align="alignleft" width="300"] Calf Injured by Wolf-mnfarmliving.com[/caption] The federal program to control problem wolves that prey on livestock in northern Minnesota had to shut down last week. The Itasca County-based unit had already caught and killed more wolves than usual by mid-October, as noted by the Duluth News Tribune. But it ran out of funding. That's a big deal to farmers and cattle ranchers who can no longer defend their livestock themselves, following the intervention of a Washington, DC federal judge in 2014. With a rising population of wolves and more of them attacking livestock and pets, a federal program to trap...

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Video: Police Let Militants Shout and Shut Down State Pipeline Hearing

Media coverage of the Enbridge 3 pipeline hearing this week in Duluth virtually glossed over the intimidating tactics used by militant protesters to shut down the public meeting.  It's almost as if the threatening incident was an afterthought in the Duluth News Tribune version of the orchestrated chaos. Video posted on social media from later in the evening hearing showed a disruption of the proceedings, with some pipeline opponents shouting "shut it down." Duluth police said there were no citations and no arrests. The paper glossed over the bullying behavior that allowed about 15 pipeline opponents to wrest control of the Minnesota...

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