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Sen. Bakk has a reputation of being a smart political strategist. After reading this post, though, I have to consider updating my opinion on that. Here’s what he said that’s forced me to reconsider my opinion:

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk offered a sharp rebuke of the House Republican budget targets unveiled this week that would offer $2 billion in unspecified tax relief and mostly hold the line on spending. “It’s really not a place we’re gonna start negotiating. I think they’ve gotta get a little more serious with the budget proposal before we’re gonna actually start trading nickels back and forth,” said Bakk, DFL-Cook.

Senate DFL budget targets will be released Friday at 9 a.m. Bakk reiterated that the Senate would spend more than the House GOP proposal, but less than the budget plan of Gov. Mark Dayton, while putting more money in reserve than either.

Bakk said DFL Senators have received emails from health care and education groups this week, worried the House budget targets would slow spending below inflation and require program cuts. “The governor raised a lot of expectations of the advocacy groups, so some of them are gonna be a bit disappointed, but I expect they’re gonna feel better than they felt when the House targets came out,” Bakk said.

A DFL politician promising the special interests the world isn’t surprising. That’s a DFL tradition. What’s surprising is that Sen. Bakk admitted that in an on-the-record situation.

Frankly, that isn’t the brightest thing to do.

Sen. Bakk thinks that handing out goodies to all of the DFL’s special interest groups is good politics. To a degree, it is. To a large extent, though, it’s foolish. Doing things that help families is a smart thing. Promising handouts to special interests, though, tells families that they aren’t important to the DFL.

If Republicans were smart, and the jury’s still out on that, they’d start asking their neighbors if they want their politicians favoring special interests with their hands out or if they’d rather support politicians who worried about their neighbors and co-workers.

The DFL is the party of the special interests. That’s their identity. It’s time for Republicans to force the DFL to defend their habit of supporting the special interests, especially when the DFL’s special interests are hurting Minnesota’s economy.

Let’s ask Minnesotans if they think it’s ok for a sitting congresswoman to say that it’s ok to hurt an entire region’s economy. Similarly, let’s ask Minnesotans if they’ll continue supporting a political party that’s more attuned to the wants of the special interests rather than families’ needs.

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Terry Stone’s LTE highlights what’s wrong with how transportation issues get settled. Here’s what happens that inevitably leads to chaos:

Currently, state transportation planning is done by various counties, cities and the Met Council. Then the Metropolitan Airport Commission, the Port of Duluth, the Port of St. Paul and a slug of lobbying groups chime in. Minnesota Department of Transportation and the University of Minnesota have their own ideas and the Legislature has theirs. The federal government uses money to push its own agenda. Intelligent planning for efficient pipelines and safe, efficient railroad infrastructure are largely left to the private sector.

When the transportation suggestions from this gaggle of transportation planners hit the Legislature, the lobbyists descend upon St. Paul like a hungry horde of locusts. Frequently, the special interests with the most effective lobbyists end up with the transportation projects they want.

What could possibly go wrong with so many people wanting their slice of the transportation pie? This isn’t a failure of too few dollars to meet Minnesota’s transportation needs. It’s that there’s too few dollars to fund the special interests’ wish list items and too little time spent prioritizing Minnesota’s transportation needs.

Why isn’t the DFL putting the highest priority on fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges? Why is the DFL paying any attention to increasing transit funding? What proof do we have that transit ridership is increasing dramatically?

The DFL had complete control of Minnesota government in 2013 and 2014. They could have created a state planning agency to develop a plan for building and funding transportation intelligently. Instead, they chose the politically expedient status quo. Now we are being herded and asked to believe that only massive tax increases can allow Minnesota to perform a core function of government; building and maintaining roads and bridges.

I’ll just add that we’re being railroaded into thinking that our transportation needs have dramatically increased since the DFL held total control of government in 2013-2014. In 2008, Steve Murphy pushed through a massive tax increase that was supposed to solve this problem. At the time, Sen. Murphy bragged that he wasn’t “hiding anything. There’s lots of taxes” in his bill.

At the time, the DFL, with Sen. Murphy leading the way, told Minnesota that our roads and bridges were crumbling and only a massive tax increase could fix the situation. It’s 6 years later and the DFL is telling us that our roads and bridges are crumbling and only a massive tax increase will fill the potholes and fix Minnesota’s bridges.

When I went back to my original post about Sen. Murphy’s quote, I noticed something that I’d forgotten. Sen. Murphy wanted the gas tax increased, then indexing the gas tax with the CPI. Before another step is taken, the first thing that needs to happen is determine what Minnesota’s transportation needs are. I’m totally disinterested in what’s included in the lobbyists’ wish lists. I’m just interested Minnesota’s roads being in good repair and Minnesota’s bridges being safe.

This is great advice:

It’s time to think twice before buying into this transportation panic scenario. The Minnesota House has a thoughtful, calm plan to fund roads and bridges without raising a dime of new taxes. The plan deserves our careful consideration.

The DFL’s manufactured transportation crisis should be ignored. The DFL had the opportunity to fix Minnesota’s highways and bridges last spring when they controlled all of the levers of political power. They didn’t get it done. In fact, they adjourned several days before the constitutional deadline.

It’s time to focus solely on roads and bridges. Everything else is a nicety.

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Scott Brener’s op-ed in this morning’s St. Cloud Times introduces some important questions into the transportation debate at the state legislature. Here’s an example:

In 2012, the Transportation Finance Advisory Committee projected we needed $250 million a year to “maintain” our state roads and bridges. Today, Gov. Dayton says we need $400 million.

Gov. Dayton’s math is terrifying. What he’s saying is that the cost of maintaining Minnesota’s roads and bridges cost 60% more now than they did 2 years ago. High school math says that that’s a 30% increase per year.

That isn’t an estimate. That’s fiction. It’s insulting, too.

Here’s another piece of data that needs to be introduced into the transportation conversation:

In 2012, TFAC projected we needed $210 million a year to build out the Twin Cities transit system. Today, Gov. Dayton says we need $280 million.

That’s a 33% increase in 2 years. Forgive me if I’m skeptical of Gov. Dayton’s estimates. This is worthy of debating, too:

Someone must ask: Are other government services any less long term and in need of stable funding than transportation? If the answer is “no,” then why is it appropriate to fund, say, health care services with those dollars but not transportation? Thirty-three states use the general fund to supplement financing for state roads and bridges. This also could force everyone to redouble efforts to redesign the delivery of all state programs and services.

There’s nothing in the state constitution that prohibits using general funds on repairing roads and bridges. Neither is there anything in Minnesota state statutes that prohibits using general funds on repairing roads and bridges.

There is something, however, in the DFL’s DNA that prohibits them from using general funds to repair roads and bridges. The DFL is reflexively opposed to using general funds to repair roads and bridges because the DFL insists that general funds be spent to pay off their special interest allies.

Each session, the DFL enters with the mindset that they need to increase spending to pay off the environmental activists, the farmers, the nonprofits and the bureaucrats that form their political base. This isn’t about fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges. Move MN, Gov. Dayton and the DFL constantly talk about transportation. The DFL has consistently talked about raising the wholesale gas tax, the license plate fees and the metro sales tax. At this point, only the gas tax can be used for road and bridge repair projects.

Kurt Daudt has talked consistently about fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges. He’s ruled out funding the SWLRT. Period. Move MN’s agenda includes lower priority items:

Accessible Transit Statewide
Transit is important to every community in Minnesota. Move MN supports closing a sales tax loophole by dedicating all of the sales tax from leased vehicles to suburban highways and Greater Minnesota transit.

The Twin Cities metro’s sales tax would be increased by ¾ cent and extended to the seven county metro area. It would fund improved transit connections in the metro area, increasing transit service hours and coverage. Ten percent would be set aside for bike/walk connection planning and implementation.

In short, Move MN’s agenda isn’t rural Minnesota’s agenda. Hell, it isn’t event exurban Minnesota’s agenda.

Move MN’s agenda is the Twin Cities DFL’s agenda. The Twin Cities DFL’s agenda includes “bike/walk connection planning and implementation.” If that’s true, then they can take a hike on raising taxes.

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Now that Gov. Dayton has thrown another of his temper tantrums, it’s time to let some of the DFL’s front organizations to step forward with wildly foolish proposals. This time, Move MN is the DFL front organization that’s proposing to raise taxes without thinking things through:

Senate Transportation Chairman Scott Dibble, D-Minneapolis, said he will release his plan in coming days, but unlike the GOP it is expected to include a transit component. It likely will include some form of a gasoline tax increase and a Twin Cities tax for transit.

Dibble said his plan will look a lot like one Dayton has sketched out and that transportation advocates in Move MN propose. The Move MN plan mixes a wholesale gasoline sales tax increase with higher vehicle license fees. Also included is an additional tax in the Twin Cities to fund transit needs there.

According to KSTP’s reporting Sunday, Move MN’s plan would raise taxes and fees by $8,500,000,000 over the next decade. That’s approximately $1,700,000,000 this biennium. That’s on top of the $2,400,000,000 increase in taxes and fees from the 2013 session. That might be the most frightening news of the article if not for this:

Estimates for transportation needs in the next 10 years range from $2 billion to $6 billion.

That’s frightening! I don’t want estimates on what Minnesota’s transportation needs for the next decade are. I want a detailed list of aging roads and bridges that need repair. I want that list prioritized by which roads and bridges are oldest, which roads and bridges that have the highest expected traffic over the next decade.

That ‘estimate’ sounds more like a lobbyist’s wish list than it sounds like a responsible list of high priority project that Minnesota needs. A responsible estimate would say Minnesota’s transportation needs are between $2,000,000,000 and $2,400,000,000. A reckless estimate, like the kind I expect from Gov. Dayton and the DFL, would estimate Minnesota’s transportation system needing between $2,000,000,000 and $6,000,000,000.

Then there’s Move MN’s estimate. Move MN’s estimate that Minnesota’s transportation system needs $8,500,000,000 is what I’d expect if I grabbed a pedestrian off the street, got him drunk, put him in a blindfold, then told him to throw darts to determine what Minnesota’s transportation system needs are. That’s likely to be just as accurate as Move MN’s estimate.

I’ve never accused the St. Cloud Times of highly rational thought. Our View editorials like this one guarantee that there’s no chance I’ll change my opinion on that anytime soon:

Then there was the Fifth Avenue Live project, which touted condos and apartment living along Fifth Avenue. Indeed, housing did happen along Fifth Avenue South. However, it turned out to be student housing. For the 2013-14 school year, occupancy was at 74 percent.

Now we have a new proposal for downtown housing on the site of the old Dan Marsh Drugs building at 523 St. Germain St., across from Herberger’s. Here is hoping it becomes a reality. Let’s hope it is only the first of several housing proposals for downtown.

The Times editorial board isn’t too bright if they think this is worthy of serious consideration. The former Dan Marsh Drugs building is less than 100 yards from 5 major bars (the Red Carpet, the Press Bar & Lounge, DB Searles, The Office and MC’s Dugout). There are other restaurants and delis within a stone’s throw from where Dan Marsh used to sit. All of these businesses are open well past midnight.

Why would anyone aspire to live that close to businesses that will keep them up well past midnight?

Here’s the title to the Times article:

Our View: Downtown needs upscale condos, apartments

I’ve lived in St. Cloud almost 60 years now. It’s always been a blue collar city. It’s never tried to be anything but that. With tons of farms within 10 minutes of downtown St. Cloud, it’s difficult to picture St. Cloud changing its identity anytime soon. In this instance, the definition of anytime soon is 30-50 years.

St. Cloud had better hurry because a very attractive downtown with a grocery store, drug store, fitness facility, restaurants, coffee shops and stores is settled across the Mississippi River in Sauk Rapids. That city may indeed attract new, upscale housing.

The odds of Sauk Rapids attracting “new, upscale housing” is roughly equivalent with me getting hit by lightning while holding 2 winning lottery tickets. Within 5 miles of downtown Sauk Rapids are literally thousands of acres of farmland.

Downtown housing is included in the city’s 2003 Comprehensive Plan. The city is starting to assemble information for an update in 2015 to the plan. Downtown housing must be included and moved up the list as a priority.

In terms of priorities to the city, downtown housing wouldn’t make it into the top 100 projects. If investors thought they could make money on this type of project, they would’ve already jumped at the opportunity. It’s insane to raise taxes or authorize TIF financing or make this a bonding priority.

If a local businessman or woman proposed this type of project, I’d ridicule them mercilessly. If a politician proposed including such a project in a bonding bill, I’d work for their defeat.

In 2007-2008 St. Cloud was told that a study showed a need for upscale apartments for SCSU students. I questioned that then. People insisted that that was a market just waiting to be tapped. That project was included in either the 2007 or 2008 bonding bill (I think 2007 but I’m not 100% certain.) Today, those upscale apartments are only 70% full. St. Cloud State is set to lose another $1,300,000 on those apartments this year.

Spending money on projects like this is foolish. It’s time for the Times to pull its head out of its ass and think things through for a change.

In 2012, the Republican Party of Minnesota (RPM) accused the DFL of ignoring Minnesota state campaign finance laws when it filed a complaint with the Campaign Finance Disclosure Board. Here’s part of the Board’s Findings of Fact:

Lit Happens is a political media consulting company based in Minneapolis, MN operating as a sole proprietorship of Vic Thorstenson. Lit Happens was retained by the Senate Caucus Party Unit to design, produce, and distribute communications advocating the elections of Vicki Jensen, Alan Oberloh, and Tom Saxhaug.

The Pivot Group, Inc. (Pivot) is a political media consulting company based in Arlington, VA. Pivot was retained by the Senate Caucus Party Unit to design, produce, and distribute communications advocating for the elections of Jim Carlson, Kevin Dahle, Kent Eken, Melisa Franzen, Laurie McKendry, and Matt Schmit.

Compass Media Group, Inc. (Compass) is a political media consulting company based in Chicago, IL. Compass was retained by the Senate Caucus Party Unit to design, produce, and distribute communications advocating for the election of Greg Clausen, Alice Johnson, Susan Kent, and Lyle Koenen or the defeat of their opponents.

The reason why this is important is because these expenditures weren’t attributed to the “Senate Caucus Party Unit.” The disclaimer on the mailers said that they were paid for by “the DFL Central Committee Party Unit.” Here’s what happened:

Lit Happens either took photos during the candidate’s door knocking event with the Senate Caucus Party Unit or when the candidate was in St. Paul on other business. In each case, someone acting on behalf of the Senate Caucus Party Unit contacted the candidate or a representative of the candidate to arrange for the candidate to be at a location where Vic Thorstenson would take the photographs. The candidates followed all direction, if any, provided by the photographer.

In other words, DFL Senate candidates worked with the Senate Caucus Party Unit on mailers sent out by the “DFL Central Committee Party Unit” and paid for by the “Senate Caucus Party Unit.” This information is important, too:

In the cases of those candidates about whom literature pieces were prepared by Compass and Pivot, Senate Caucus Party Unit campaign staff contacted the candidates or the candidates’ campaign managers or other representatives to arrange schedules for the photo shoots with the photographers. Each candidate agreed to a schedule involving multiple locations for the photo shoots and arrived at the specified starting location at the scheduled time.

In connection with the photo shoots taken by Compass and Pivot, the candidates were asked to bring wardrobe changes so that different looks could be obtained in different settings. Each candidate who was asked to bring wardrobe changes did so. All candidates followed the photographers’ directions regarding wardrobe changes and other matters relating to the photo shoots and fully participated in the photo shoots.

That’s what’s known as coordination and it’s illegal under state and federal election laws. Coordination between candidates and state party units or independent expenditure groups is prohibited. Of the 13 candidates that coordinated their activities with the DFL Central Committee Party Unit and/or the Senate Caucus Party Unit, 11 were elected. That gave the DFL a majority in the Senate.

In short, the DFL paid a $100,000 fine in exchange for their Senate majority. I’m betting that Alida Messinger, Mark Dayton and Tom Bakk think that that was a wise investment. Thanks to the DFL’s lawlessness, they passed a horrific budget that benefitted the DFL’s special interest allies in the Twin Cities but did little or nothing to help the regular folks in outstate Minnesota.

I’m betting that the DFL’s ends-justify-the-means attitude towards elections won’t play well in 2016. The DFL’s willingness to do whatever it takes to acquire and maintain power isn’t an attractive attribute.

Mary Lahammer interviewed Ryan Winkler for last night’s Almanac. During that brief interview, Rep. Winkler gave us the DFL’s mantra for the next 2 years:

REP. WINKLER: Divided government and gridlock and the type of divisiveness that we’re already starting to see is not the way we move ahead and they’re going to send Democrats back in to get things done.

That’s stunning. The new legislature hasn’t even been sworn in and Rep. Winkler thinks he’s Carnac. Before the first bill is submitted, Rep. Winkler thinks that Republicans are being divisive and sowing the seeds of gridlock. That’s world class chutzpah.

A couple themes are developing already. First, Paul Thissen is questioning whether Republicans will stand up to their big corporate special interests:

Will Republicans be willing to stand up to their big Twin Cities corporate donors and make sure to continue DFL investments in education that are closing the funding gap between rural and suburban school districts rather than handing out corporate tax breaks?

As I wrote here, that’s what chutzpah looks like. First, Republicans didn’t propose any tax breaks for corporations. Thissen knows that. Thissen doesn’t care because the DFL’s communications aren’t based in honesty. The DFL specializes in repeating outright lies. Second, Thissen and the DFL didn’t fight for Main Street.

When it was time to fight for miners on the Iron Range, the DFL didn’t.
When it was time to fight for women operating in-home child care businesses, Thissen & the DFL sided with AFSCME instead.
When it was time to fight for small businesses in outstate Minnesota, Thissen and the DFL raised their taxes instead.

Rep. Winkler, I’ve had enough of your dishonesty and chutzpah. I’m especially disgusted with your reckless assumptions. It’s reckless and dishonest to accuse Republicans of being divisive a month before the 2015 legislative session has even started. Further, it’s dishonest to say that Republicans having honest policy disagreements with the DFL is automatically considered gridlock.

That’s a clever Alinskyite tactic but it’s deceitful. Before the DFL started employing Alinskyite tactics, expressing honest policy disagreements on the House floor or in committee were what’s known as debates.

Further, it’s dishonest and deceitful to think that all DFL ideas are great solutions to Minnesota’s problems or that Republicans’ ideas are automatically doomed to failure. If Rep. Winkler honestly thinks that, then he’s a narcissist who thinks of himself as intellectually superior.

Considering the fact that he once called a black man an “Uncle Thomas”, then insisted that he didn’t know that that was a pejorative term, there’s reason to think that he’s just a lefty bomb thrower who’s prone to shooting his mouth off.

During the 2013 session, the DFL voted to hurt some small businesses with major tax increases and hurt other small businesses with forced unionization. Repeatedly, the DFL showed their hostility with small businesses. Many of the businesses hurt with the DFL’s tax increases were in outstate Minnesota.

Despite those indisputable facts, the DFL is insisting that disagreeing with them leads to gridlock that hurts Minnesotans. The DFL’s policies are what hurt Minnesotans. No catchy, dishonest mantra will change that truth.

Paul Thissen’s op-ed in Friday night’s St. Cloud Times is breathtakingly dishonest. Here’s a prime example of Thissen’s dishonesty:

On the campaign trail, Republicans like Daudt attacked these accomplishments as inadequate, attacks ironically financed by enormous contributions from big Twin Cities corporate special interests. So it seems fair to ask:

Will Republicans be willing to stand up to their big Twin Cities corporate donors and make sure to continue DFL investments in education that are closing the funding gap between rural and suburban school districts rather than handing out corporate tax breaks?

I frequently wrote about the Democrats’ dishonest claims that Republicans supported “handing out corporate tax breaks.” To be fair, most of those claims were made against Torrey Westrom’s and Stewart Mills’ congressional campaigns but Thissen’s claims are dishonest just the same. One of the DCCC’s ads accused Torrey Westrom of shutting down the government “to give tax breaks to his wealthy friends.”

First, Republicans haven’t written any legislation that would “hand out corporate tax breaks. Thissen knows that’s verifiable fact but he doesn’t care because he’s utterly dishonest. Soon-to-be Minority Leader Thissen can clear this all up by citing which legislation the Republicans authored would’ve given corporations tax breaks.

Most importantly, though, let’s focus on who funded the DFL’s legislative campaign. In St. Cloud, the DFL paid for most of the campaign mailers. I don’t recall getting any mailers from Dorholt’s campaign proper. I also got mailers from a pro-union group called Working America Minnesota Political Fund. This is one of their mailers:

Will Minority Leader Thissen “be willing to stand up to [his] big Twin Cities” special interest allies in the next legislative session? Will he stand up to the environmental activist wing of the DFL? Will he tell Alida Messinger that he’ll steadfastly support mining on the Iron Range?

History shows he won’t. When AFSCME and SEIU insisted that the DFL impose forced unionization on small businesses, then-Speaker Thissen didn’t think twice. Rather than siding with the hard-working ladies who run in-home child care facilities, Thissen and the DFL voted with Eliot Seide and Javier Morillo-Alicea instead.

When convenience stores told him not to raise the cigarette tax because that’d hurt their businesses, Thissen didn’t just ignore them. He raised the cigarette tax $1.50 a pack. Thanks to Thissen and the DFL, convenience stores in Greater Minnesota got hurt.

Will a Republican legislature respond to the unique economic challenges that have made it harder for our economic recovery to be felt from border-to-border?

Unlike the DFL of the last 2 years, the GOP House will respond to Greater Minnesota’s economic needs. The GOP didn’t ignore small businesses’ calls to not start applying the sales tax on business-to-business transactions. In the House, the DFL voted for raising those taxes. After they got an earful from businesses after the session, the DFL knew that they’d overreached.

Sensing that their majority status in the House was in jeopardy, the DFL quickly moved to repeal the B2B sales taxes that they’d passed just months before.

Paul Thissen wasn’t the only DFL legislator who displayed hostility to businesses. That’s why he’ll soon be the House Minority Leader rather than getting another term as Speaker.

Britta Arendt’s article tells the story of a fantastic candidate making an impressive closing argument:

With his signature spark of energy, McFadden lit up the room during his stop at the Sawmill Inn as he raced in for a brief visit. “I love to be here in Grand Rapids where there’s the convergence of mining and timber,” said McFadden.

A vote for Mike McFadden is a vote for building pipelines and opening mines. A vote for Al Franken is a vote for more IRS investigations and being the environmental activists’ friend.

It’s a vote against mining and logging jobs. It’s a vote against farmers getting their crops to market.

Most importantly, a vote for Mike McFadden is a vote for the most qualified candidate in the race. Al Franken knows government’s nooks and crannies. Mike McFadden understands health care policy, energy policy, regulatory policy and foreign policy.

It isn’t just that we can do better. It’s that we can’t afford 6 more years of Sen. Franken’s partisanship and not getting important things done. Sen. Franken hasn’t done anything constructive to make PolyMet a reality. He’s done nothing to grow Minnesota’s companies.

That’s because he’s spent too much time doing what he’s told by President Obama, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer. That trio don’t have Minnesota’s best interests at heart. They definitely don’t have the Iron Range’s best interests at heart.

If he’s elected, Mike McFadden will hit the ground running in DC. It’s apparent that he’ll find natural allies in the Senate in Ron Johnson, Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst and Cory Gardner.

When asked of his thoughts regarding the proposed federal listing of the long-eared bat as an endangered species because of the threat of the white-nose syndrome which could potentially shut down summer logging and timber operations, McFadden said “It’s a false choice, environment or jobs. I reject that.”

Continuing on the environment topic, McFadden addressed the proposed PolyMet mining project and said, “Science needs to be based on facts not emotions. Extreme environmentalists can cause decisions to be caught up for years in regulatory review and, in the meantime, people lose hundreds of jobs. I am running against someone who has done nothing to expedite the PolyMet project.”

Al Franken is one of the Environmental Left’s best allies. He’s repeatedly gone to bat for them, albeit quietly so he can pretend to be the miners’ friend.

Al Franken won’t fight against environmental extremists because he’s one of them. Mike McFadden will fight against the environmental extremist base of the DFL because he doesn’t owe them anything and because he he’d rather see all Minnesotans prosper than pander for special interest contributions for his next campaign.

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This editorial, from the Mesabi Daily News Editorial Board, insists on getting the Sandpiper Pipeline project built:

Symbolic meetings by elected officials being held on the rail delays that are severely affecting transportation of products and goods to market, including iron ore pellet deliveries from the Range to the Duluth-Superior Port, are feel-good nice and make for good photo opportunities.

Yes, it’s good to push for improvement of the U.S. rail system, even though the politicians are coming late to the issue, not dealing with it until it has reached a crisis level.

But what is really needed is a bipartisan meeting of all Minnesota office-holders along with business and labor leaders to endorse more urgency in getting oil pipelines up and running. Pipelines are the proven safest and most expedient way to get the liquid gold of our domestic self-sufficiency boom from the oil fields to refineries. And, pipelines also mean jobs.

Yet, it’s delay and delay and delay and a lot of political posturing when it comes to allowing and constructing pipelines. Meanwhile, some politicians put out news release after news release on the all sides of the issue, except, of course, advocating for getting pipelines built and operational.

Whether it’s the XL Keystone pipeline that would go from Canada’s western slope to Gulf states or the $2.6 billion Sandpiper pipeline through northern Minnesota to carry North Dakota oil to a terminal in Superior, Wis., that feeds refineries across the Midwest, both are hung up in unnecessary regulatory delay.

Enough of the political rhetoric. Let’s get at the core of the issue.

Enough’s enough is right. Environmental activists are doing everything to prevent the Sandpiper Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline projects from getting built. It’s time they grew up. It’s time for DFL politicians in Minnesota and Democrats nationwide to reject the consequences of these extremists’ policies.

Their goal isn’t to put in place technologies that make fossil fuels safe. These environmental activists want to eliminate the use of fossil fuels:

Sierra Club Programs
Priority Campaigns

Beyond Coal
Beyond Oil
Beyond Natural Gas
Our Wild America

The DFL agrees with the Sierra Club the vast majority of the time. Gov. Dayton’s appointees to the Public Utilities Commission, aka the PUC, apparently agree with the Sierra Club. They took the unprecedented step of proposing a different route for the Sandpiper Pipeline. That step means a delay of years, not months.

That’s time farmers and miners don’t have. Farmers already have difficulty getting their crops to market. Miner have difficulty getting iron ore pellets shipped to the ports of Duluth-Superior.

Here’s how serious the Sierra Club is about ending mining, fracking and drilling:

It’s time for Minnesotans to reject the environmental extremists’ agenda. Their agenda is about stopping the fracking revolution that’s lowering gas prices and increasing the supply of natural gas, which lowers Minnesotans’ heating bills.

If the DFL wants to stand with the Sierra Club, let them explain to Minnesotans why it’s better to pay high prices to heat their homes while not creating good paying jobs on the Iron Range.

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