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How the Fires Affected Air Quality in Minneapolis

The killing of George Floyd by a former Minneapolis police officer sparked massive, peaceful demonstrations where people aired legitimate grievances about the use of force by officers. It also resulted in riots, looting, and arson. The fires that were set in the wake of the killing destroyed numerous businesses, including many of the businesses I used to frequent when I lived in the Longfellow neighborhood in Minneapolis. They also caused a significant spike in air pollution in the area. A website called PurpleAir shows air monitoring data for several stations throughout the City of Minneapolis. PurpleAir appears to be a company...

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Are Liberal Minnesota Energy Policies Making Pollution Worse?

Improving Minnesota's air quality is often used as justification for mandating wind and solar on our electric grid, and now groups like Fresh Energy want to ban the use of natural gas for heating new buildings. However, there is a very persuasive argument to be made that these policies will actually result in making Minnesota's air quality worse. First of all, it's important to note that Minnesota's air is already very clean. The graph below is from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and it shows Minnesota meets federal air quality standards for ozone, fine particles, lead, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide,...

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Three Must-Know Facts About Governor Walz’s Plan to Impose California Car Mandates on Minnesota

On Wednesday, Governor Walz announced that he would be using the bureaucratic rule making process to impose California’s rules for low and zero emissions vehicles (LEV and ZEV) on to Minnesota car buyers. While the Governor has tried to frame this as a win for consumer choice, Minnesota families, and the environment, the facts suggest that the Governor's proposed regulations are solution in search of a problem. Three facts you need to know about this proposal are: This is not about expanding consumer choice. It will mandate the sale of smaller, lighter cars that are not as safe as bigger, heavier...

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Solar Power is Increasing Pollution in North Carolina, According to Utility Data

Wind and solar are often touted as "clean" sources of energy, but the evidence showing that this simply isn't true is mounting. From large landfills used to dispose of the (non-recyclable) blades of wind turbines, to toxic chemicals used to make solar panels, to fears about wind companies abandoning their wind turbines after they are no longer useful, the "green" veneer is fading. Now, it appears there is hard data clearly demonstrating that solar power is contributing to higher levels of air pollution in North Carolina, which has the second-most solar of any state in the country. This probably sounds counter-intuitive at...

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Burning Wood Pollutes More than Coal-Fired Power Plants and Factories in Minnesota, Should We Ban Campfires?

Most people in Minnesota probably don't realize that our air is incredibly clean. According to Minnesota Pollution Control Agency data, our air meets all federal air quality standards, which are designed to be protective of even the most vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly. In fact, none of the categories of pollutants measured (ozone, fine particulates, lead, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, or sulfur dioxide) were even a risk for exceedance. In a nutshell, it means our air is impeccably clean. Despite this fact, many renewable energy groups want to shut down our coal-fired power plants in order to reduce emissions...

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Minnesota’s Air is Great, Again

It seems like we're always being told that we are losing on the environment. Not only that, it seems like we're being told are losing even more today than we were yesterday, but this is blatantly untrue. America in general, and Minnesota specifically, is winning on the environment. One could even argue that Minnesota's air is great, again. Every year the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) releases a study entitled "The Air We Breathe," evaluating the air quality in Minnesota. The 2019 version of this study states shows that Minnesota's air quality meets all federal standards. In fact, emissions of nitrous oxide, sulfur...

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My Trip To the White House

Yesterday I made my first ever trip to the White House to hear President Trump talk about the great progress the United States has made on making sure we have clean air and clean drinking water. This point is incredibly important to make because most Americans seem to think that the environment is always getting worse, when if fact just the opposite is true. The environment in the United States has been improving for decades. https://youtu.be/4XrHi1ldxso?t=2048 President Trump mostly stayed on script, letting several cabinet secretaries talk about the achievements that have been made since the President took office. Despite claims that the...

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Trump Administration Releases Revised Clean Power Plan

The Trump Administration has released its revised version of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which was considered to be the signature climate change regulation of the Obama Administration. The new rule, called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, would give individual states more authority to make their own plans for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants rather than imposing a set of top-down policies from the federal government. The CPP was designed to fundamentally transform electricity markets by forcing coal plants to retire and require the use of wind and solar to replace. As we've already seen in Minnesota, this comes...

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