I Was Not Selected to Serve on the Governor’s Advisory Council on Climate Change

Last evening, I was informed that I was not selected to serve on the Governor’s Advisory Council on Climate Change. You can read the email informing of me of the Governor’s decision below.

Good afternoon –

Governor Walz will shortly announce appointments to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Climate Change. Unfortunately, you were not selected for appointment. Thank you for the time and effort you dedicated to your application and for your interest in serving the State of Minnesota. We received over 200 applicants for this Council, and the appointments were decided amongst a competitive pool of applicants. Vacancies on other boards and commissions, including those which address environmental topics, can be found on the Secretary of State’s website at https://commissionsandappointments.sos.state.mn.us/. You can also follow the State’s actions to address climate change at https://climate.state.mn.us/.

Frankly, I was surprised to receive an email, at all. I had basically assumed that it was unlikely that I would be selected to serve on the council when I applied in January. However, I thought it would certainly be worth a shot if the Governor were serious about his “One Minnesota” theme and was interested in listening to an intellectually diverse range of viewpoints on the subject and weighing the best options available.

I stressed this in my application letter, which you can read 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 to make the best possible decisions on energy policy. I know my personal and professional experience on energy issues will enhance the ability of the Advisory Council to find solutions that optimize the quality of life for all Minnesotans.

I grew up on a small dairy farm in rural Wisconsin. In fact, the house we lived in was the same house my grandfather was born in, in 1930. Many of the challenges we faced in rural Wisconsin are similar the challenges facing rural Minnesotans. I therefore believe my life experiences and background in agriculture will help fulfill the council’s desire to hear the voices rural residents, who would be disproportionately harmed by rising energy costs.

Professionally, I have specialized in researching and writing about energy and environmental policy for the last seven years, including extensive research on mining, hydraulic fracturing, electricity generation, and agricultural issues.

For the last two years, I have worked as a Policy Fellow at Center of the American Experiment. My latest study, Doubling Down on Failure: How a 50 Percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion, won the Bob Williams Award for Most Influential Research. This research, which used conservative assumptions, concluded that a grid powered by 50 percent wind and solar would raise electricity prices 40 percent in Minnesota, harming all Minnesotans, especially low-income families and senior citizens. In contrast, a grid powered by nuclear power would provide carbon-free electricity at much lower cost, while also being more reliable than intermittent sources of energy.

My time at American Experiment has also been hands on, and practical. I have had discussions with the CEO’s of Minnesota utility companies, worked with resource planners at these companies, and written more than 200 articles on the energy industry in Minnesota.

My voice may, at times, be a dissenting one. However, this should be viewed as an asset, not a liability. The checks and balances provided by opposing viewpoints are needed to ensure that we are not allowing our inherent intellectual biases to cloud our vision. In the end, we all share the same goal of moving our state forward.

For this reason, I believe it is crucially important for the Council to have a practical, free-market-oriented voice. I doubt you will find a more qualified applicant than me.

Thank you for your consideration,

Isaac M Orr

It will be interesting to see who is selected to serve on the council, and I will keep you all updated about the selections, and their backgrounds, when the names are released to the public.