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Good News on Polymet! Minnesota Court of Appeals Rules Environmental Groups Can’t Move the Goalposts

There is good news on the Minnesota mining front, as the Minnesota Court of Appeals has rejected a challenge by anti-mining groups seeking to invalidate Minnesota's rules for non-ferrous mining. This is a big deal, because anti-mining groups, including the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, were trying to overturn the entire regulatory framework for how Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources evaluates and regulates mines that produce copper, nickel, platinum, cobalt, and other metals we depend upon every single day. Had this challenge succeeded, it would have been a massive blow to Minnesota's economic future, and a loss for the environment, as well. Minnesota...

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Why Are Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith Sponsoring Minnesota Anti-Mining Legislation?

Mainstream news outlets in Minnesota rarely tell the tale of how the Obama Administration incorrectly broke decades of protocol by cancelling mineral leases of Twin Metals Minnesota and sought a 20 year moratorium on mineral exploration in the Superior National Forest during his lame duck session. The inappropriate actions of the Obama Administration were reversed  by President Trump, but unfortunately, Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith are supporting an action that would force the National Forest Service to prevent any action that would advance mining in this area, according to documents obtained by Mining Minnesota, pictured below. While Senator Smith's position...

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WindFail: Congestion on Transmission Lines Hinders New North Dakota Wind Farms

A recent story in the Bismark Tribune states that wind developers in North Dakota are thinking twice about building new industrial wind facilities in the state because there is no room on the transmission lines needed to transport the power to population centers like the Twin Cities. Wind and solar are often built further away from the areas that use the electricity, requiring a massive investment in transmission lines that routinely cost $1 million per mile. The cost of transmission is growing even more as many wind companies seek to build wind turbines in North Dakota and South Dakota, rather than Minnesota,...

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Problems with Metro Transit Electric Buses Show the Technology Isn’t Ready for Primetime

Last week the Star Tribune ran an article entitled "Metro Transit Temporarily Pulls Electric Buses from C Line Because of Problems with Chargers," stating the eight electric buses on the newly-formed C Line would be taken out of service until defects with the charging mechanisms could be fixed. Diesel-powered buses will continue service on the line. According to the article: "The 60-foot electric buses, manufactured by New Flyer of America in St. Cloud, were supposed to charge overnight and then stop for a quick 12-minute charge at the Brooklyn Center Transit Center while in operation. But issues surfaced with the electric fleet’s...

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Problems with Metro Transit Electric Buses Show the Technology Isn’t Ready for Primetime

Last week the Star Tribune ran an article entitled "Metro Transit Temporarily Pulls Electric Buses from C Line Because of Problems with Chargers," stating the eight electric buses on the newly-formed C Line would be taken out of service until defects with the charging mechanisms could be fixed. Diesel-powered buses will continue service on the line. According to the article: "The 60-foot electric buses, manufactured by New Flyer of America in St. Cloud, were supposed to charge overnight and then stop for a quick 12-minute charge at the Brooklyn Center Transit Center while in operation. But issues surfaced with the electric fleet’s...

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As $7,500 Federal Subsidies Expire, Electric Vehicles Are About to Get More Expensive

You may not have known this, but the federal government has been subsidizing electric vehicles (EV's) to the tune of a $7,500 tax credit for every electric vehicle sold. In fact, the subsidy is a major reason why we're starting to see more Tesla's tooling around the Twin Cities, but there's a catch: the subsidy begins to disappear after a manufacturer has sold 200,000 units, and Tesla has hit this threshold, meaning the growth of Elon's EV's could slow moving forward. The phase out of the tax credits comes at a bad time for Tesla, after the EV automaker announced it would...

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Washington Post Poll Shows Most People Unwilling to Pay $2 Per Month Tax to Fight Climate Change

While the climate strike and Greta Thunberg may have the limelight this week, the unwavering truth of climate and energy policy remains: people are unwilling to pay the costs associated with reducing carbon dioxide emissions. A recent poll from the Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation shows that support for reducing carbon dioxide emissions withers under the slightest bit of scrutiny. The poll shows people favor taxing the wealthy to pay for increasing electricity costs, which is pretty much par for the course on every issue, and raising taxes on energy, even if that leads to higher prices. However, when people are asked to...

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Wind Produced 4 Percent Less Electricity Through June 2019 than Through June 2018, Despite More Turbines Online

Wind generation through June of 2019 was actually 4 percent lower than through June of 2018, according to Energy Information Administration data. This decline in output comes even though there are more turbines in operation today than there were at this time in 2018. The year-over-year decline in 2019, to date, is due to lower wind production in January, February, March, and June, compared to 2018. The decline is likely due to a variety of factors including weather, turbine degradation, and possibly curtailment of wind facilities when the grid was constrained. Weather is the most likely culprit for lower wind output year-to-date...

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