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Rob Port: Xcel’s Coal-Free Plan is Politics Not Reality

The article below originally appeared in the Inforum, and it's spot on.  Xcel's decision is about padding its ratebase, and thus its corporate profits, and if they have to team up with the environmental groups, then so be it. MINOT, N.D. — “Xcel Energy plans to shutter its two remaining coal plants in the Upper Midwest a decade earlier than scheduled — a move that will make the utility coal-free in the region by 2030,” Mary Divine reported for the St. Paul Pioneer Press this week. That’s big news. All the more so because it’s not the full measure of Xcel’s ambition. The...

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Pollution Control Equipment Has Greatly Reduced Emissions at Minnesota’s Clean, Beautiful Coal Plants

Some renewable energy advocacy groups claim that Minnesota should aspire to have cheaper and cleaner electricity by using more wind and solar. Of course, this logic makes no sense because wind and solar increase the cost of electricity in Minnesota, but it is worth looking at whether coal-fired power, which is among the most affordable ways to generate electricity in Minnesota, is actually dirty. According to data from the Energy Information Administration, it isn't. When most people think of coal, they probably think of the smog-filled skies of 1950's Pittsburgh or scenes from modern-day Beijing, but advanced pollution control technology at coal-fired...

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While Liberal Environmental Groups Delay MN Mining, Canada Approves Another Mine

While liberal environmental groups continue to file lawsuits and obstruct permits for non-ferrous mining in Minnesota, Canada has approved another mine. The latest mine approved by our friends to the north will develop gold resources approximately 100 miles north of International Falls, Minnesota. It is unfortunate that groups like the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness eschew responsible mining in Minnesota in favor of an "abstinence only" mining policy. Doing so deprives thousands of hardworking Minnesotans of good-paying, family supporting jobs while also forcing mining to areas of the world where there are no protections...

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Appeals Court Ruling Will Delay Line 3 Replacement, Again

On Monday the Minnesota Court of Appeals stated an environmental review of Enbridge’s controversial Line 3 oil pipeline was “inadequate” because it did not consider the effects of an oil spill in Lake Superior’s watershed, according to the Duluth News Tribune. The ruling is the latest delay in replacing aging oil pipeline, which is operating at half of its potential capacity due to safety concerns. The ruling is bizarre because new pipelines, like new cars, are much safer than their older counterparts. In fact, according to data from the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), since 2010 there have been 1,300...

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Duluth News Tribune: In Response: Judging Twin Metals Now is Premature, Purely Speculative

Last weekend the Duluth News Tribune ran an editorial from Dean DeBeltz of Twin Metals which argued that anti-mining groups who say Twin Metals cannot operate responsibly are basing these claims on speculation and not science. He could not be more correct. Twin Metals has yet to submit a mining plan, which means anyone who opposes the mine now is not objecting to any potential technical shortcoming in the design of the project, but rather they are opposed to mining in general, and are projecting this opposition onto the Twin Metals project. Unfortunately, this is par for the course. Anti-mining groups like Friends...

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Sam Rockwell is Incorrect on Cars, Climate

Sam Rockwell, who is the President of the Minneapolis Planning Commission, recently wrote an oped in the Star Tribune entitled "To Save the Planet, We Have To Get Over Cars," where he espoused his vision for a future where we must give up our cars and drastically reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled in order to save the planet. Fortunately, I firmly believe Mr. Rockwell's vision of the future is one which few others will find desirable. Mr. Rockwell's article was actually a response to another article, which advocated for more Minnesotans to switch to electric cars. I think this is...

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Senator Osmek Unloaded on House DFL Energy Proposals, and It Was Glorious

Senator David Osmek (R-Mound), who is the head of the Minnesota Senate energy committee, recently unloaded on the incredibly bad proposals brought forth by the DFL-led House of Representatives, and it was glorious. Soon after the video starts, Senator Osmek calls the energy section an abomination and an absolute failure. The video gives us a glimpse into the negotiations that occurred as the House and Senate attempted to reconcile the differences between their energy priorities. Throughout the negotiation process, both the House and Senate had the opportunity name legislation that would be a "non-starter" to be taken out, but it turns out...

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Xcel’s Plan to Close Coal Plants Early Is Bad News for Minnesota Families and Businesses

Last week, Xcel Energy announced their desire to shutter the last of their coal-fired power plants a decade earlier than previously planned. If approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the plan would increase electricity costs for Minnesota families and businesses and produce zero measurable reductions in global temperatures. It would, however, result in handsome corporate profits for Xcel Energy, which would be a direct wealth transfer from everyday Minnesotans, who are forced by the government to buy their electricity from Xcel, to the company's shareholders. Minnesota's coal plants provide some of the lowest-cost electricity in the state. The graph below...

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