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California Democrat: Working Families Should Not Subsidize Renewable Energy

Democrats in California are starting to wake up to the reality that wind and solar mandates are some of the most regressive policies we can enact in a society. Liberal wind and solar groups like Fresh Energy pretend to care about concepts like "environmental justice," but the policies they advocate for are a driving force behind income inequality. These policies, which increase prices for energy, hurt low-income households the most. These groups pay lip service to helping low-income communities while advocating for policies that make their life harder every single day. California Assemblyman Jim Cooper, a Black Democrat from Elk Grove, California...

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U.S. Approves First Small Commercial Nuclear Reactor

The future of nuclear power looks a little brighter now that U.S. officials have approved a design for a small commercial nuclear reactor for the first time in the nation's history. According to the Associated Press: "The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Friday approved Portland-based NuScale Power’s application for the small modular reactor that Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems plans to build at a U.S. Department of Energy site in eastern Idaho. "The small reactors can produce about 60 megawatts of energy, or enough to power more than 50,000 homes. The proposed project includes 12 small modular reactors. The first would be...

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California Blackouts: A Reality Check for Minnesota’s Wind and Solar Ambitions

The following article was written by Isaac Orr and originally appeared in the Faribault Daily News:  Millions of California families and businesses recently lost their electricity during a record-breaking heat wave. The blackouts occurred because of bad decisions by California politicians to shut down many of the state’s reliable nuclear, natural gas, and coal-fired power plants, resulting in an overdependence on unreliable energy sources like wind and solar. As a result, the state was unable to generate enough electricity to meet demand when it was needed most. California’s rolling blackouts should be a reality check for the Minnesota lawmakers, utility executives, and...

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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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Illegal Mining Threatens Gorillas in the Congo

In November of 2019, the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an opinion piece by the Strib Editorial Board "Not This Mine, Not This Location." The piece sought to lay out why Twin Metals Minnesota should not be allowed to develop the large deposits of copper, nickel, and cobalt because the proposed underground mine would be in the same watershed as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which is simply so special that we must not try to manage the environmental risks of mining, we should reject them altogether. Whether the editorial board realizes it or not, their position is the epitome of...

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How much metal would a Minnesota Green New Deal require?

There is an interesting paradox among liberal environmentalists. One the one hand, they want a Minnesota Green New Deal where all the electricity in the state is provided by a combination of wind turbines, solar panels, and battery storage. On the other hand, they oppose mining for copper, nickel, cobalt, and other metals needed to build these energy sources, even though Minnesota has some of the largest undeveloped reserves of these metals in the world. Today, we'll conduct a rough estimate of how much metal would be needed to be completely reliant on wind, solar, and battery storage for electricity generation. Assumptions It's important...

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Global wind turbine fleet to consume over 5.5 million tons of copper by 2028

Fans of renewable energy are often against copper-nickel mining in Minnesota, even though Minnesota contains some of the largest undeveloped copper-nickel deposits in the world, and massive quantities of both of these metals are needed for wind turbines. A new analysis by Wood Mackenzie estimates how much copper would be needed over the next eight years to build wind turbines. Relying on wind power is still a bad idea due to its high cost and low reliability, but those who do advocate for building more wind turbines should be forced to acknowledge the inherent contradiction of their pro-wind/anti-mining position. The following article...

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Northeast Minnesota Has Lost 10,500 Tourism-Related Jobs Since March 16th

Mining opponents in Minnesota often argue that instead of developing some of the largest undeveloped deposits of copper and nickel in the world, Northeastern Minnesotans should instead focus on creating jobs in the tourism industry. Unfortunately, this is an argument for widespread unemployment in the era of COVID-19, because according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (MNDEED), the Northeast economic planning region has seen 10,500 job losses in sectors of the economy that are the most related to the tourism industry, including food and beverage service workers, retail sales workers, cooks and food preparation workers, and other service...

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Bureau of Land Management Moves To Prepare Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Twin Metals Project

On Tuesday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that the agency will prepare a detailed Environmental Impact Statement to thoroughly analyze the potential environmental impacts of the proposed Twin Metals mine, which would produce copper, nickel, cobalt, and other precious metals. According to the BLM press release: “Under President Trump’s leadership and direction from the Secretary, this proposed mine may reduce the vulnerability to disruption of critical mineral supplies. If the plan of operation is approved, you can rest assured knowing that development and production of critical minerals is done in an environmentally responsible, regulatory-consistent, and economically feasible manner,” said William...

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