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PolyMet Granted Key Permits from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency!

Great news! The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has granted the final permits for the PolyMet copper-nickel project in northern Minnesota to move forward. According to PCA: "The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today issued the final air and water permits for PolyMet’s proposed NorthMet project in northeastern Minnesota. “Issuing these permits comes after a years-long process that saw the most thorough environmental review any construction project has ever had in Minnesota,” MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine said. “We are confident the requirements in these permits will protect the environment and human health over the long term.” The MPCA developed draft permits and released them...

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Wisconsin Sports Stadiums Cleaner Than Minnesota’s

"ESPN’s Outside The Lines published an exhaustive report on food safety at every major North American sports venue. None of the four Twin Cities sports venues on the list fared well," wrote the Star Tribune. None of the four Twin Cities sports venues on the list fared well. The worst of the bunch, per OTL’s reporting and methodology, was U.S. Bank Stadium — home of the Vikings, which opened in 2016. High-level violations were found at nearly 60 percent of inspection points, ranking U.S. Bank Stadium 90th out of the 107 venues. In contrast, the facilities in Wisconsin fared much better. Miller Park...

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Massive Protests Erupt Across France as Government Ratchets Up Fuel Taxes

Thousands of French police fired tear gas and used water cannons against demonstrators who have been protesting French President Emmanuel Macron's new taxes on diesel fuel, the most popular fuel in France, and gasoline, since the weekend of November 17th. More than 280,000 protesters took to the streets to protest the deeply unpopular tax on its initial weekend. The tax has been a flashpoint because French motorists already pay the equivalent of nearly $7.06 per gallon of fuel, but under the new gas tax championed by the deeply unpopular French President, fuel prices would initially raise diesel prices by 30 cents per gallon, with...

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Another One Bites the Dust: Wisconsin Wind Farm Decommissioned After Just 20 Years

An industrial wind facility in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin has been decommissioned after just 20 years of service because the turbines are no longer cost effective to maintain and operate. The decommissioning of the 14 turbines took many people by surprise, even local government officials and the farmer who had five of the turbines on his property. Why Are We So Surprised? What's really surprising about these wind turbines being decommissioned after 20 years is the is the fact that people were surprised by it. You'd be astonished at how many people I talk to that have no idea that wind turbines only last for 20...

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When Will Fair Trade Coffee Drinkers Embrace Fair Trade Cobalt?

Copper, nickel, and cobalt mining is a controversial topic in Minnesota, but is it more controversial than child labor? Like it or not, we all use these metals for nearly every aspect of our modern lives, and if we do not mine them in Minnesota, where we have strong protections for workers and the environment, we will import these metals from countries that don’t....

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A Little Math Shows Switching to Natural Gas Will Probably Increase Fuel Costs for Minnesota Ratepayers

It's a common refrain for energy policy: it is cheaper to generate electricity from natural gas than coal. In some respects this is true, but power plant efficiency and fuel prices are important variables we should consider before we completely shutter Minnesota's coal fleet in favor of renewables and natural gas. Combined cycle natural gas plants are more efficient than coal plants because they use the heat produced as gas is burned to make 50 percent more electricity. It's hard to explain, so I've included a video below. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ4yp_0Djvc#action=share[/embed] However, not all natural gas plants are combined cycle plants, and many of the...

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High Electricity Prices Cripple Australian Manufacturers, Is Minnesota Next?

Companies throughout Australia are reconsidering whether they will indeed bring manufacturing jobs back from China after experiencing enormous increases in electricity prices as a result of the closure of an enormous coal-fired power plant and government regulations that mandate the use of "green power." For example, according to the Financial Review: Hardware manufacturer Alchin Long Group in Sydney's west has had to agree to a near-doubling of its electricity price, said Graham Lee, national operations manager. The price of the new two-year contract from Origin Energy has surged from $55.30 per megawatt-hour to $109.70 . Aluminium scrap processor Weston Aluminium, which uses about...

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Fracking, Not Renewables, Is the True Energy Revolution of Our Time

Fracking shows what a technological disruption in the energy truly looks like, a rapid adoption of new technology that lowers prices for consumers regardless of the hurdles placed in front of it by governments and attempts to squash it by vested players in established industries like OPEC.  Fracking also shows us what technological disruptions don't look like, and wind and solar fit this bill. Despite decades of subsidies and tens of billions of squandered taxpayer dollars, and state laws requiring their use, these sources of energy simply cannot compete in terms of reliability or affordability of fossil fuels. ...

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High Industrial Electricity Prices Harm Manufacturing Sector

We often hear from so-called progressives that we must fight income inequality and move toward renewable energy, but the problem is these two goals are incompatible with each other. This is because intermittent sources of renewable energy like wind and solar make electricity more expensive, and expensive electricity hurts the blue-collar industries like manufacturing and mining, which use an enormous amount of electricity. Just look at California, which has enacted a 100 percent carbon-free energy mandate that will continue to send electricity prices soaring. In fact, industrial electricity prices in California are nearly twice as high as in the rest of the...

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