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Sad News: Closure Dates Announced for Boswell Power Plant

Earlier this week, Minnesota Power announced the utility would be "coal-free" by 2035 by shutting down Unit 3 of the Boswell Energy Center in 2030 and converting Unit 4 to another fuel that is not yet specified in 2035. As we detailed in our Spring 2020 issue of Thinking Minnesota, Boswell is the backbone of the Iron Range economy. It provides the electricity needed for Minnesota's iron mines and paper mills to run smoothly. It would presumably be the source of electricity for the PolyMet mine should it ever emerge from legal purgatory. In my opinion, the national security implications of losing these...

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Seven Energy and Environment Takeaways from the Minnesota Elections

Based on information from the Star Tribune's election coverage, it looks like the State Senate may remain in the hands of the Republicans, while the State House of Representatives will remain in the hands of the Democrats. Republicans maintaining an advantage in the Senate has important implications for energy and environmental policy in the state. Here is how the election results affect the seven biggest energy and environment topics in Minnesota. California Car Mandates: The retention of the Senate does nothing to change the Walz Administration's attempt to force Minnesotans to comply with California's car mandates. I would expect the announcement of these...

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Local View: After Summer Internship, I’m a Believer in PolyMet

The following article was originally published in the Duluth News Tribune. It is the story of Mikayla Mellesmoen, who is studying environmental science at Mankato State University. Ms. Mellesmoen had a summer internship with PolyMet, where she worked closely with the environmental compliance team taking water samples, monitor gas vents, and assess the water levels in the area surrounding the mine. When you hear “PolyMet,” what comes to mind? Growing up in Embarrass, I heard the mining company’s name in conversation quite frequently but never beyond that it might open the first copper-nickel mine in Minnesota. With little foundational knowledge of...

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Trump Issues Executive Order to Support American Mining

Last week, President Trump issued an executive order designed to support the American mining industry and support the processing of these minerals in the United States. The administration released the following fact sheet: SECURING SUPPLY CHAINS: President Donald J. Trump is taking further action to ensure that our economic prosperity and national security do not depend on imports from our adversaries. Today, President Trump is signing an Executive Order and declaring a National Emergency to expand the domestic mining industry, support mining jobs, alleviate unnecessary permitting delays, and reduce our Nation’s dependence on China for critical minerals. The Order begins the...

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Study: Mining Supported 11,600 Minnesota Jobs in 2019

A newly released study from the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) has found that mining supported 11,600 jobs throughout the state of Minnesota in 2019. These jobs come from direct jobs in the mining industry, indirect jobs, which are jobs in industries that provide supplies and services to the mining industry, like supplying radiators and enormous tires for mining equipment, and induced jobs, which are created when miners spend their paychecks in the local economy at hospitals, grocery stores and auto dealerships. According to the study, most of the mining jobs in Minnesota come from the iron ore industry, which should...

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What’s Wrong with Wind and Solar?

Regular readers of Center of the American Experiment understand that wind and solar are expensive, unreliable, and they require massive amounts of metals to generate just a fraction of the energy that we derive from oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear power. Mark Mills of the Manhattan Institute is one of the leading researchers exploring the environmental impacts of wind and solar, and the amount of mining that would be required to be conducted if we were to try and implement the Green Dream, or whatever it's called. Enjoy the video from PragerU. https://youtu.be/RqppRC37OgI...

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DFL State Central Committee Formally Supports A Moratorium Banning Copper-Nickel Mining in Minnesota

Last weekend, the DFL State Central Committee officially adopted a resolution calling for a moratorium banning copper-nickel mining projects in Minnesota, according to the DFL Environmental Caucus's Facebook page. The move is the latest sign that the policies endorsed by the party are moving further toward the agenda's of urban environmentalists and further away from the rural roots of the party that support farmers and laborers. The move is also the latest sign the energy and environmental policies of the party are moving further and further away from reality. Not only does the party platform now officially oppose copper-nickel mining, something mining...

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Pro-mining DFL senator ousted in August 11 primary

Pro-mining DLFers in Minnesota lost an ally yesterday, as State Senator Erik Simonson lost his primary race to anti-mining political newcomer, Jen McEwen. The results of this primary, along with the replacement of Senator Tom Bakk with Susan Kent as the DFL minority leader, clearly show that the party is moving further away from its roots in rural farming and labor issues, toward favoring urban environmentalists. According to the Duluth News Tribune: The debate over whether copper-nickel sulfide deposits should be mined in the Northland has loomed large in the campaign. "I've tried to come at this from a practical, common-sense standpoint and...

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How Much Metal Would A Minnesota Green New Deal Require? Part Two

Last week I wrote about how converting Minnesota's electrical grid to a combination of nearly 100 percent wind, solar, and battery storage would consume enormous quantities of copper, nickel, cobalt, iron, and steel. While that analysis determined that huge amounts of these metals would be needed for "green" electricity, it is important to remember that electricity is only part of the energy equation, and if we wanted to completely get rid of fossil fuel from our energy economy, it would require much more metal. The pie chart below was created using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. As you can see,...

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