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The thing that’s getting more play at the DFL convention than expected is that Erin Murphy’s momentum is real and that she might win the DFL endorsement. Tonight, Murphy announced that she’d been endorsed by OutfrontAction via this tweet:


A quick glimpse at OutFrontAction’s about us webpage identifies which identity group OutfrontAction represents:

OutFront Minnesota’s mission is to create a state where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, harassment or discrimination. We envision a state where LGBTQ individuals have equal opportunities, protection and rights. We are working toward the day when all Minnesotans have the freedom, power and confidence to make the best choices for their own lives.

There’s little question whether this is an important endorsement the night before the DFL endorses a gubernatorial candidate. That isn’t the same as saying this is a winning issue in a general election. It isn’t. Compare that with the top contenders’ issue pages. Check out how substantive Jeff Johnson’s issues page is. Then compare the DFL candidates’ pages with Tim Pawlenty’s issues page.

The difference between the Republicans’ issues pages and the DFL candidates’ issues pages isn’t a fair fight. Murphy doesn’t have an issues page. Instead, she calls her page her Vision page. On that page, she talks about single-payer “health care, equity & justice, economic justice, reproductive justice, immigration and mining.”

On immigration, Murphy says this:

Minnesota must be a state where all of our neighbors are treated with respect and dignity. It’s also critical for our future; we need the hard work and bright ideas of people all over the world to build our economy. That’s why, as a state, we must unite against efforts by the federal government to attack immigrants living in Minnesota. Our communities must be strong, safe, and welcoming.

  • I support drivers licenses for all, an initiative that keeps our roads safe while ensuring that people are able to get to work or take their child to the doctor and school.
  • Our state and law enforcement must not serve as an extension of ICE, nor should Minnesota prisons be used as detention centers.

In other words, Murphy supports Minnesota becoming a sanctuary state. In terms of mining, here’s part of what Murphy says:

I’ll protect our state from corporate interests that seek to weaken our permitting process for their financial gain. We see these efforts both at the state and federal level. I’ve voted against them repeatedly, and would continue to oppose them if the science is not sound.

Although we often focus on mining, in Minnesota, we are hard on our water – with agriculture, with overdevelopment, with road salt, and with manufacturing. So it’s imperative we invest in the research already taking place at the Natural Resources and Research Institute at UMD around advanced filtration, reverse osmosis, and other ways to clean impaired waters. As governor I would ensure that we invest in that research more heavily to protect and repair water, regardless of the project.

In short, Murphy will be a friend of environmental activists. This has long-reaching effects. It affects farmers, miners, construction workers and cities building wastewater treatment plants. It isn’t a stretch to say that environmental activists would have too much influence in our lives if Murphy was elected.

After reading this article, I thought that this was another instance of regulators running wild. First, let’s establish what happened.

According to the article, it “started in February with some bicycle wheels under a slide, right where they were supposed to be. “They were tucked underneath the slide in my front yard so the kids could access them, because they do things like experiment with physics and roll them down the hill,” Giuliani said. It ended with the first correction orders she had received in 17 years of providing family child care. On top of the 55-hour weeks, the need to pursue training and do paperwork outside of that window and the emotional heft of helping children grow, there’s now a green letter posted at the entrance to Giuliani’s home, where it will echo her faults until 2019.”

Seriously? This is proof that regulators either have too much time on their hands or they have a God complex. The other possibility is that this regulator is trying to pay in-home child care providers for humiliating the union by rejecting union representation. Whatever the regulator’s motivation, this isn’t acceptable. Here’s the ‘scene of the crime’:

That certainly looks dangerous. It’s a good thing that regulators wrote Giuliani up for being a threat to the children she takes care of.

Seriously, what’s required is a culture change amongst regulators. There’s no doubt that Minnesota is overregulated. That’s why companies have either left Minnesota or they’ve expanded elsewhere. That’s why Minnesota will lose a congressional district in the next round of reapportionment in 2021. It’s that simple.

“Guilty until proven innocent,” testified Julie Seidel, membership director of the Minnesota Association of Child Care Professionals, who added the regulatory environment is “burdensome and often unattainable … and is discouraging providers from continuing child care.”

It isn’t just that laws need to be rewritten. It’s that a total culture change is required. Common sense rules have been replaced by God-like declarations. Rather than just writing Ms. Giuliani a fix-it ticket, the regulator insisted on making an example of her.

County licensors also will be required to get additional training on licensing standards, with the goal of shifting from punitive to more constructive and educational licensing inspections. Giuliani countered that’s like “sending a bully at school to sensitivity training and expecting that because they have 90 minutes of training they’re not going to go back and do what they did before.”

It’d be better to just throw out the people who’ve abused their power.

Friday morning, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources “released a draft permit to mine Friday morning for PolyMet Mining” in what’s being called “a major step forward for what’s poised to be the first copper-nickel mine in the state.” While this isn’t the final step needed to mine, “the draft permit, which includes conditions the state would place on the Canadian mining company, signals the state is comfortable the mine, as proposed, can meet environmental standards and provide significant financial assurances to pay for any needed mine cleanup.”

While that’s a major step forward, the project still faces additional hurdles before construction can start. The next step allows the public “to weigh in on the draft permit, including at two public hearings scheduled Feb. 7 in Aurora, on the Iron Range, and Feb. 8 in Duluth. The DNR will also accept formal objections and petitions for special contested case hearings on the permit before a state administrative law judge.” After that, the MPCA “also plans to release draft water quality and air quality permits, two additional major permits PolyMet needs to obtain before it could open its proposed mine and processing plant near Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes.” That still isn’t enough to open the mine:

Environmental groups have already filed four lawsuits, most challenging a proposed land exchange with the U.S. Forest Service, and more suits are expected if the state eventually grants PolyMet permits. If the DNR calls for evidentiary hearings before an administrative law judge to gather testimony on aspects of the mining plan that are disputed by environmental groups and Indian tribes, that could tack on another 6 to 9 months to the regulatory process.

A vote for a DFL governor is a vote for continuing the status quo. In this instance, this process started in 2004 with the “Initial Environmental Review.”

According to this article, which was written on “Dec. 16, 2015”, PolyMet spent $249,708,000 in its attempt to get the mine operational:

Anyone that thinks spending $250,000,000 is reasonable to get approval for a mine hates mining and miners. The DFL and their front groups (think Sierra Club, Conservation Minnesota and Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters) might think that’s reasonable but sane people don’t. If anyone wants to know why entrepreneurs are leaving Minnesota, the regulatory climate is a major reason. There’s nothing reasonable about it.

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Lately, Sen. Schumer has made a habit of saying that Republicans will rue the day the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passes. It isn’t that he actually believes this. It’s that he’s trying to spin a major loss for Senate Democrats into a smaller loss. Seriously, only Bernie Sanders is stupid enough to think that the bill won’t create jobs and get the economy running better.

Sen. Schumer issued a statement that said “Under this bill, the working class, middle class and upper middle class get skewered, while the rich and wealthy corporations make out like bandits. It is just the opposite of what America needs — and Republicans will rue the day they pass this.”

It’s important to remember that that’s coming from a man who tried protecting Sen. Franken by recommending a do-nothing ethics committee investigation. Anyone that’s willing to protect a pervert like Franken isn’t a person whose opinion I’d value. Marco Rubio, a person whose political instincts I value, though not always his policies, has changed his vote from no to yes on the bill.

Implicit in Schumer’s statement is Sen. Schumer’s admission that the bill will pass. That’s a victory for Republicans and the American people. Since President Trump was elected, the economy has surged. GDP is higher. Consumer confidence is soaring. Unemployment is at a 17-year low. Regulations that’ve been cut by this Congress and this administration have taken government’s boot off the economy’s throat. People’s 401(k)s are getting richer.

For all of Sen. Schumer’s whining, people are better off now than they were a year ago. Despite President Obama’s BS, the economy isn’t stronger because the Trump built off the blueprint that President Obama put in place. It’s flourishing because President Trump tore President Obama’s blueprint down, then rebuilt it from scratch. GDP for Q1 2017 was 1.7%. Q3 of 2017 is dramatically different, with GDP up at 3.3% with an asterisk. (That asterisk is that it would’ve been higher if not for 5 major hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast in a single month.)

This is fantastic news:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said Friday that the chamber would vote on the plan Tuesday, with the Senate vote to follow shortly thereafter.

Expect there to be a lavish bill signing ceremony at the White House either Wednesday or Thursday. Sen. Schumer’s spin won’t change the fact that the middle class will see more in their paychecks after the start of the new year.

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Thank God for President Trump’s regulators. After years of neglecting the riff-raff that serve as regulators, President Trump is installing a new breed of regulator. I’m certain it’s a shock to the environmental activists who’ve ruled the roost the last generation. That’s why it’s essential to clean out the barn and install new regulators that believe in the rule of law and the Constitution.

One of the people who’s likely to be a new regulator is a Wyoming woman named Karen Budd-Falen. It’s likely that she’ll be “the next leader of the Bureau of Land Management.” According to the article, “Budd-Falen has worked extensively for private property owners, agricultural operations and local governments.” Trent Loos, a Nebraska rancher and the host of a radio show Rural Route, said of Budd-Falen “There’s no doubt why people who oppose multiple use and following the law as it’s written would be opposed to Karen Budd-Falen. She believes in the Constitution the way it was written that guarantees multiple use. Not just rancher use but multiple use.”

Later, Loos said “It’s important to point out that she was railing on the BLM when (the Obama Administration was) against multiple use. That’s why she was raising a stink. We’ve had administrations moving away from multiple use not maintaining it. That’s why she went after the BLM so many times.”

That’s why we should expect lots of theatrics by the Democrats. Think of her as a tough-as-nails female version of Scott Pruitt. Needless to say, environmental activists are freaking out:

“This is probably one of the worst picks he could possibly come up with to head the BLM,” explained Athan Manuel, director of the Sierra Club’s Lands Protection Program. “She’s very ideological, and does seem to be completely offended by the concept of federal lands,” he added.

What’s funny is that the Sierra Club is upset that Budd-Falen is using the same tools that environmental activists have used against power companies:

But Budd-Falen’s approach was to destroy Ratner and Western Watersheds through this nuisance lawsuit accusing him of trespassing. She hardly even tried to hide her intentions, reportedly bragging in 2015 to a group of ranchers that “one of the funniest things I’m doing right now” is that she “figured out a way to sue Western Watersheds Project.”

How is that different than MCEA suing the investors of the Big Stone II power plant? Back then, Paul Aasen bragged about his tactics:

Along with our allies at the Izaak Walton League of America, the Union of Concerned Scientists and Wind on the Wires, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and Fresh Energy argued, first in South Dakota, then before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), that the new plant was a bad idea. Our message was simple: The utilities had not proven the need for the energy, and what energy they did need could be acquired less expensively through energy efficiency and wind.

We kept losing, but a funny thing happened. With each passing year, it became clearer that we were right. In 2007, two of the Minnesota utilities dropped out, citing some of the same points we had been making. The remaining utilities had to go through the process again with a scaled-down 580-megawatt plant.

These environmental parasites don’t care about the environment. They care exclusively about their extremist agenda.

They’re just upset that someone’s using their tactics against them.

It’s indisputable that past presidents have used the Antiquities Act to create national monuments. The worst presidents in terms of misusing the Antiquities Act were President Obama, President Clinton and President George W. Bush. It’s fair to say that each of those presidents misused the Antiquities Act to sidestep the original intent of the law. Rob Bishop’s op-ed highlights how past presidents have essentially ignored the law in creating national monuments.

In Bishop’s op-ed, he wrote “A few statistics can illustrate the scope of the overreach. Between 1906 and 1943, the law functioned basically as designed. Presidents respected the intent of the act. Most monuments were smaller and had clear boundaries with real antiquities inside them. By contrast, designations under the act last year averaged 739,645 acres, or more than 47 times the size of those created 110 years ago. President Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to use the act. He used it 18 times for a combined total of 1.5 million acres. President Barack Obama used it 37 times to designate 553.6 million acres of land and water.”

Chairman Bishop didn’t just complain about the problem. He’s proposed a solution:

Last week, I introduced legislation to correct these failures and permanently address my colleagues’ concerns. The National Monument Creation and Protection Act would, like the writers of the Antiquities Act intended, allow the president to unilaterally designate land up to 640 acres. Monument designations between 640 and 10,000 acres would be subject to review under the National Environmental Policy Act. Designations between 10,000 and 85,000 acres would be required to obtain the approval of all county commissioners, state legislatures, and governors in the affected area. The bill also standardizes and limits the president’s power to reshape monuments.

Chairman Bishop’s legislation is well-written and desperately needed. Unfortunately, there’s no chance it will pass. That’s because it will get stopped by the Democrats’ filibuster in the Senate. Their environmental activist friends will insist that the bill be stopped.

That’s because these environmental activists want big, unaccountable government. These activists are almost always Democrats, though a handful are Republicans. These activists have proven time and again that they prefer it when government tramples over people in favor of the ‘greater good’ of saving Mother Earth. These activists don’t like the rule of law. Here’s proof:

In 1996, prior to the designation of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah, Clinton’s then-Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality Katie McGinty stated the following, “I’m increasingly of the view that we should just drop these utah [sic] ideas. we [sic] do not really know how the enviros will react and I do think there is a danger of ‘abuse’ of the withdraw/antiquities authorities especially because these lands are not really endangered.”

If McGinty’s name sounds familiar, it’s possibly because she ran for Senate in 2016 against Republican Pat Toomey. Thankfully, Sen. Toomey defeated her. But I digress.

It’s disheartening to see Democrats trample over the law. It’s especially disheartening that Democrats do that for a few extra campaign contributions. That’s how cold-hearted Democrats are. This is what’s most disgusting:

The monument was designated in the waning months of Clinton’s re-election campaign. Its total acreage: 1.7 million — three times the size of Rhode Island. No town halls, no public meetings, and no public comment sessions were ever held in Utah. No input was solicited from local stakeholders or land managers in the area. Utah’s governor, congressional delegation, public officials, and residents from across the state all expressed outrage at the lack of prior consultation or warning of the designation. In what feels like symbolism, the proclamation wasn’t even signed in Utah; it was signed in Arizona.

That’s the opposite of transparency. That’s proof that Democrats don’t like accountable government.

There’s a fight happening in the Mountain West that people in the Midwest aren’t that aware of. Midwesterners heard about it from time-to-time when President Obama or President Clinton put federal land off-limits to mining with the stroke of a pen and the Antiquities Act of 1906. According to this report, the Antiquities Act of 1906 passed to “protect prehistoric Native American antiquities.”

As time passed, progressive presidents like Clinton and Obama started using the Antiquities Act to limit the use of federal lands. When President Obama created Bears Ears National Monument in 2017, he took “1.35 million acres” off-limits for mining. That’s half the size of Yellowstone National Park. When President Clinton created Grand Staircase-Escalante in 1996, he put 1.9 million acres off-limits. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is bigger than Glacier National Park.

Wilderness-hungry environmental activists (like Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, aka BHA) are already running ads to essentially threaten lawsuits if the Interior Department follows through with reducing the size of these national monuments:

From the reaction of many environmental groups to Secretary Zinke’s review, you would think antiquities will go unprotected. For example, a $1.4 million advertising campaign says “Mr. Secretary, don’t turn your back on Roosevelt now.” According to Land Tawney, president of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA), the organization sponsoring the ad campaign, “Our national monuments have stood the test of time, and the present review could trigger a game of political football, leaving some of our most cherished landscapes in limbo.”

In Western states like Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada and Idaho, $1.4 million is a monstrous ad campaign. Make no mistake about this. BHA’s goal isn’t to limit land usage. BHA’s goal is to prohibit land usage it doesn’t agree with.

Bears Ears could be reduced to 160,000 acres.

That’s still a ton of land. The beauty of the land would still be maintained:

It would still be breathtaking:

BHA’s vision is to “create de facto wilderness areas where backpackers displace loggers, ranchers, and miners. They do this in the name of protecting public lands, suggesting that throngs of Patagonia-clad hikers, who demand new trails, climb rock walls with holes drilled in the rock for protection, and leave dozens of fire rings around popular lakes, do no damage.”

Secretary Zinke isn’t focusing on the lawsuits that will inevitably get filed:

At issue in Zinke’s review is the phrase in the act limiting designations to “the smallest area compatible” with “the protection of objects of historic and scientific interest.”

I don’t doubt that these land-hungry environmental activists will find judges sympathetic to their causes. I’m equally certain those sympathetic judges will get slapped down in the appellate courts.

In a perfect world, the Bureau of Land Management would be seen as a positive force. These aren’t perfect times but maybe excellence is making a comeback. One of the least-reported stories in DC is how the Trump administration is cleaning out the portion of the Swamp that helped the green energy industry exist. Saying that the Trump administration’s approach is significantly different than the Obama administration’s approach is understatement.

To appreciate the difference, we need a fundamental understanding of the regulatory Swamp. This article gives some insight into who the Swamp’s gatekeepers are. How many people understand what the Bureau of Land Management’s responsibilities are? I’d bet few know. How many people would know that the “BLM manages one in every 10 acres of land in the United States, and approximately 30 percent of the Nation’s minerals?” How many people would know that these “lands and minerals are found in every state in the country and encompass forests, mountains, rangelands, arctic tundra, and deserts”?

That’s the official explanation of BLM’s responsibilities. The BLM’s political usage is nicely explained in this article, especially including Rob Bishop’s statement. (Bishop is chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources.)

On the topic of managing federal lands for both mining and protection of sage grouse habitat, Bishop said “These withdrawals were never about sage grouse conservation. It was all a ploy to assert more federal power, ignore actual data and best science, and diminish the influence and authority of states. States have proven to be more than capable of managing wildlife and conservation within their borders and will continue to be the best advocate for the species. Secretary Zinke is developing a better policy through input from states and people on the ground with local knowledge and expertise.”

The truth is that environmental organizations have used the federal government to thwart mining activity. The goal of mining regulations isn’t to protect the environment. Their goal is to halt mining while making it sound like they care about the environment:

“This administration is playing chicken with the sage grouse extinction,” said Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist and executive director with Western Watersheds Project. “The Department of Interior is now abandoning all pretense of protecting sage grouse in a stampede to ramp up commercial exploitation of public lands.”

Molvar is upset that this administration isn’t doing what he’s telling them to do.

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Citing research into sage grouse habitat, the Bureau of Land Management “canceled its Sagebrush Focal Area withdrawal application and the Department’s proposed withdrawal of 10 million acres of federal lands from location and entry under the mining law in Greater Sage-grouse habitat in six Western States.”

Acting BLM Director Mike Nedd said “The proposal to withdraw 10 million acres to prevent 10,000 from potential mineral development was a complete overreach. Secretary Zinke has said from the beginning that by working closely with the states, who are on the front lines and a valued partner in protecting the health of these lands, we can be successful in conserving greater sage grouse habitat without stifling economic development and job growth. And that’s what we intend to do—protect important habitat while also being a good neighbor to states and local communities.”

According to the BLM’s statement, “The BLM determined the proposal to withdraw 10 million acres was unreasonable in light of the data that showed that mining affected less than .1 percent of sage-grouse-occupied range.” The statement included this paragraph:

The recommendation to withdraw nearly 10 million acres from location and entry under the mining law was one of many land use restrictions proposed for a new management area designated as the Sagebrush Focal Area (SFA). However, that recommendation was unreasonable in light of the data available. In particular, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2005 “Not Warranted” decision, the 2010 “Warranted But Precluded” Decision and the 2015 “Not Warranted” decision all showed that mining—including locatable mining—was not a significant threat to sage-grouse.

The lands will continue to be managed in accordance with existing plans, programs, policies and regulations in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. They had been temporarily segregated, or closed to new mining claims for 2 years when the Department originally proposed the lands for withdrawal in 2015, while the agency studied whether locatable mineral exploration and mining projects would adversely affect habitat important to the greater sage grouse. That temporary segregation period expired September 24, 2017.

During the Obama administration, the Bureau of Land Management antagonized mining companies during its war on fossil fuels.

This article explains the BLM’s original intent:

The Bureau of Land Management, part of the Department of the Interior, was established in 1946 to administer grazing and mineral rights when the U.S. Grazing Service was merged with the General Land Office. Today it manages 246 million acres of land, mostly in the Western U.S., ranging from lush Northwestern forests to arid, oil-rich sage grouse habitat. The BLM leases federal public lands for mineral mining, oil and gas extraction, grazing, timber production and solar and wind energy development. In 2016, the agency had a budget of $1.2 billion and about 11,000 employees, including 200 rangers and 70 special agents who enforce federal laws on public lands, plus about 25,000 volunteers.

The Trump administration has taken a different approach:

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any federal agency. This land is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield.

The Obama administration’s days of mismanagement of federal lands are over. Thanks to the Trump administration’s approach, the United States has become a net exporter of fossil fuels. That approach has also super-charged that portion of the economy.

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Apparently, the MPCA, combined with the DFL, want to shut the Iron Range down permanently. According to the article, the “Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in August released a sulfate water standard to protect wild rice. This standard could be as low as 1mglL. In comparison, drinking water should be less than 250mglL. So what does this mean? The Iron Range businesses and city wastewater treatment plants will have to spend over $1 billion dollars to get into compliance.”

John Arbogast with the United Steelworkers union at Minntac, the area’s largest mine, said “This isn’t the Twin Cities. This is all we have, and they’re good-paying jobs, and these are hard-working people. They love living here, they love the fishing, the hunting, everything that comes with living on the Iron Range.” Arbogast questioned the MPCA “at a RAMS/Iron Ore Alliance meeting with the MPCA a few months ago,” asking “If the businesses and communities have to spend a billion dollars to meet this new standard, will the wild rice grow better?’ The answer from the MPCA was ‘we don’t know.'”

Talk about stupidity. The MPCA just admitted that they’re requiring $1,000,000,000 (that’s one-billion dollars) worth of infrastructure improvements in small town Minnesota, then admitting that they don’t know if this investment will improve water quality or help rice grow better.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the worst part. Doug Ellis runs a a sporting goods store in Virginia. (Full disclosure: I’ve bought things from Doug’s store. It’s a great sporting goods store with a great atmosphere. But I digress.) According to this article, Ellis is quoted as saying “My business is built on mining money. It’s what drives all these towns. So really what happens is, when the mines catch a cold, we all catch pneumonia.”

Let’s summarize briefly. The MPCA, which is part of a DFL administration, “released a sulfate water standard to protect wild rice” that they aren’t sure will protect wild rice. What’s known is that this rule will hurt mining, possibly killing several mines. What’s known, too, is that many of these cities are already suffering. What’s known, too, is that the DFL wants to inflict a major tax increase on these hard-working people at a time when they can’t afford the basics.

That’s immoral. How can the DFL and the MPCA justify this new rule and the major tax increase that’s accompanying the rule with no guarantee that it will have any positive effects? That’s like putting a gun to the Iron Range’s head and telling them that they have to commit economic suicide just so some environmental activists can feel good about requiring a new anti-mining rule.

Let’s be clear about something. The DFL has repeatedly proven that they hate miners and the supporting businesses on the Range. It’s time to defeat the DFL in 2018 and elect a pro-Iron Range GOP governor so we can restore the prosperity that the Range knew a generation ago. If Republicans don’t win this gubernatorial election, the DFL will destroy what’s left of the Iron Range.

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