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Iron Range Up in Arms Over State’s Latest Environmental Overreach

Iron Range mining, union and community leaders have their backs against the wall again, thanks to environmental activists and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. They say an unenforceable proposed MPCA regulation aimed at raising water quality standards for wild rice could decimate industry and cost local taxpayers millions for upgraded water treatment facilities. The Iron Mining Association website puts it this way: The proposed standard has not been proven to protect or increase the health of wild rice. Moreover, the proposed standard predicts the wrong outcome up to one in five times. This is unacceptable when the costs of implementation are estimated...

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Time for Minnesota to update 1970s-era pipeline permitting process

A series of public hearings started yesterday on whether there is a “need” to replace the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline that carries crude oil from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin.  The first hearing took place in Thief River Falls and, according to TRF Radio,  supporting testimony “far outweighed those against.” To gain approval, oil pipelines have been required to acquire a certificate of need at least as far back as 1974.  State law requires oil pipelines to follow essentially the same procedure to demonstrate need as electric power generating plants and high voltage powerlines. Considering how these laws date back to an...

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Who should Trump appoint to the Fed?

Earlier this year I wrote a piece (Government, Not Wall Street, Caused Financial Crisis) that showed that the Trump administration was right to call the Dodd-Frank legislation passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis a “massive government overreach. The crisis was not caused by greed, Wall Street risk-taking, and lack of private sector regulation, as is the dominant narrative advanced by the Democrats and the media. Instead, the crisis was set up by well-intentioned but reckless government housing policies going back to the 1990s, and the crash was triggered by blunders of historic proportions by the Treasury Department and...

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Why Do Apple, Facebook and Twitter Oppose Internet Deregulation?

Another multi-national corporation has fallen in line with Facebook, Twitter and Google, admonishing the Federal Communications Commission to drop plans to deregulate the internet. Apple has come out in favor of so-called net neutrality, warning the Obama administration regulations represent the last bulwark against censorship by big internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon. It's the talking point used by liberals and their allies to preempt discussion of an issue that in many ways boils down to this: Do you want more or less federal government regulation of the internet? Twitter apparently has it out for anyone not towing the...

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Dayton Accused of Secret Deal with Tribes on Mille Lacs Walleye Limits

Gov. Dayton may be even less welcome around Mille Lacs now than when a flotilla of sportsmen and residents interrupted his photo op earlier this summer on what used to be the nation's best walleye fishery.  Anglers have endured an extended ban on walleye fishing interspersed with catch-and-release restrictions this summer, due to what critics view as mismanagement of the resource by the Dayton administration. Now the co-chair of the Mille Lacs Fishery Advisory Committee has accused the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Dayton of cutting a secret deal with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibway and other tribes on...

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Rural Broadband Providers Back Trump’s Move to Scrap Net Neutrality

Net neutrality may be one of the most intangible issues in the public arena. Hard to explain, hard to understand, hard to get too worked about about. Yet it's often presented as an epic battle of good versus evil in the Star Tribune and other media outlets. A move to undo federal regulations meant to uphold an open, free internet for all users has pitted providers like Comcast against online giants like Facebook — and millions of their customers — in a debate about protecting the First Amendment in a high-tech world. But the more you read, the more the issue boils...

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 Out-of-Control State Agency to Pay Nearly $1 Million in Botched “Investigation”

A botched investigation has not only cost the Minnesota Department of Commerce its reputation for impartiality but also nearly $1 million in court-ordered legal expenses to be paid to the auto glass replacement company victimized by the state agency's discredited tactics. The $941,534 judgment comes as the latest development in a series of missteps at the regulatory agency that critics have characterized as an “unconstitutional attack on Minnesota consumers and businesses.” A key member of a legislative oversight committee who's called on Gov. Dayton to fire Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman repeated her concerns over the agency's abuse of power and rogue regulators. "On...

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Last Call As Twin Cities Suburb Privatizes Liquor Sales

The number of Metro Area cities still in the liquor business continues to decline, the result of stiffer than ever competition. Many "munis" find it difficult to compete on a level playing field, under the price pressure from private sector superstores like Total Wine. Despite cutting costs and prices, suburbs like Edina have seen their profits plunge by hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The latest state audit of 2015 Minnesota Municipal Liquor Store Operations puts it bluntly. The overall decline in net profits between 2014 and 2015 appears to primarily be the result of increased competition from private liquor stores resulting in lower...

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Iron Range to Trump: We Need More Mining

Northern Minnesotans sent a message to the Trump administration this week in the Iron Range city of Virginia. Hundreds of residents spilled into the streets to make sure Washington understands they support mining, according to the Duluth News Tribune. A large crowd of supporters of copper-mining projects near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness rallied on Tuesday afternoon at Field of Dreams Park in Virginia, calling for people to speak as “one Range, one voice” and to “stuff the box” with pro-mining comments on Tuesday evening during the U.S. Forest Service’s public hearing on its plan for a two-year moratorium on...

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