Archive for the ‘Regulations’ Category
When he served in the legislature, Mike Beard was my go-to guy on energy and environmental issues. Two things impressed me about Mike. First, his understanding of energy and environmental issues is outstanding. The only thing more impressive than Mike’s understanding of energy and environmental issues was the fact that Mike Beard’s integrity was unassailable. This morning, Mike teamed with Roger Moe to write this op-ed on energy issues for the St. Cloud Times. Here’s the chief point Beard and Moe drove home:
To help ensure we continue to have a reliable source of electricity in Minnesota and throughout our region, we recently signed on as the honorary co-chairs of the Coalition for a Secure Energy Future, an organization that advocates for preserving a balanced, all-of-the-above approach to electricity that includes traditional sources like coal-based power plants in both Minnesota and North Dakota.
Lignite is a grade of coal that might not sound familiar, but the electricity North Dakota lignite generates is regularly transmitted to us in Minnesota.
Lignite is different from the coal found in the Appalachian regions of the eastern United States, or other coals that must be shipped long distances by train. Because it is mined at the surface, rather than underground, lignite coal mining is safer than other heavy industries such as construction and manufacturing. It is also consumed at power plants adjacent to the mines, which virtually eliminates costly transportation charges and the need to burn diesel to transport coal.
The regional coal industry takes great pride in its ability to generate this low-cost source of electricity while simultaneously reducing emissions. In fact, North Dakota, with its eight coal plants and Minnesota, with its 11 coal plants, enjoy great marks from the American Lung Association. This prime ALA rating should serve as a reminder that electricity from coal can be economically beneficial and environmentally sound.
Mike’s goal, whenever I spoke with him, was to educate people about Minnesota’s energy needs within the context of keeping Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, streams and air as clean as possible. That’s what this paragraph is about:
But when looking to the future, we can’t forget about the present. The diverse set of energy resources we use includes intermittent resources like wind and solar, as well as sources of always on, reliable power such as coal, nuclear, biomass and hydropower.
While it’s important to keep Minnesota’s air and water as clean as possible, it’s imperative that we don’t reach past the tipping point of clean air and affordable electric bills for families. This op-ed highlights how lignite coal gets good grades from the American Lung Association while providing reliable energy at a cheap price.
The first dirty little secret is that solar and wind power can’t replace coal because you can’t run factories on wind or solar power. The other dirty little secret is that the federal government wants to expand its regulatory reach beyond where the CWA is authorized to reach:
The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers recently released a draft rule to significantly broaden the scope of their authority under the Clean Water Act by expanding the definition of “waters of the United States.” The guidance would reverse U.S. Supreme Court decisions setting limits on the federal government’s authority to regulate waters without Congressional action.
The CWA is one of the most abused laws in the federal government. The Obama administration hopes to use it to increase its regulatory authority into areas currently governed by state and local jurisdictions. It’s imperative that this overreach is stopped before it hurts the U.S. economy.
Elizabeth Warren, the hardline progressive who took Ted Kennedy’s seat, won’t be the Democrats’ presidential nominee. If she ran, however, she’d be pounded mercilessly for statements like this:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) went straight after Republicans, blasting the GOP on deregulation and trickle down economics during a Center for American Progress event on Wednesday.
“The Republicans have a pretty simple philosophy: they say if those at the top have more, more power for Wall Street players to do whatever they want and more money for tax cuts than somehow they can be counted on to build the economy for everyone else,” Warren said. “Well, we tried it for 30 years and it didn’t work. In fact the consequences were nearly catastrophic.”
That’s rich considering the fact that the economy created more full-time jobs in 6 months under President Reagan than have been created during President Obama’s administration. If high taxes, overregulation and big spending were the right elixir, the Obama economy would be creating 2,000,000 high-paying full-time jobs each year.
The truth is that Obamanomics’ cornerstone policies don’t work. They’ve never worked in creating robust economic growth that helps everyone. In President Obama’s America, the well-connected get special breaks, Wall Street gets monthly bailouts and the middle class, what’s left of it anyway, takes it in the shorts. If Sen. Warren wants to fight for President Obama’s policies, be my guest.
Sen. Warren’s policies are tired:
“We tested the Republican ideas and they failed, they failed spectacularly. There’s no denying that fact,” Warren said. “We know the importance of accountability on Wall Street, the benefits of having a better educated work force. The advantages that come from investments of high speed rail and medical research.”
‘Investing’ in high speed rail is a boondoggle. As for a well-educated workforce, the American people have been getting ripped off by government schools, aka public schools. Unions have hurt public education. Charter schools, while not being the sole elixir to the problem, are definitely a positive step.
This is positively rich:
“People across this country get it. Sure, there’s a lot of work to be done and there’s a long way to go before Democrats can reclaim the right to say that we’re fighting for America’s working people, that we’re fighting to build a future not just for some of our children but for all of our children,” Warren said. “No, we’re not there yet but don’t forget the good news. Our agenda is America’s agenda.”
The masses aren’t clamoring for a green economy. They’re shouting for a robust expansion of fossil fuel exploration. They’re insisting on limiting regulations on sources of energy that heat homes and power factories.
If Democrats want to run on Obama’s policies, which they’ll be forced to do, they’ll get soundly defeated in 2016. Moving further to the left won’t grow their party. It’ll set the Democratic Party back a decade or more.
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.
Catherine Richert’s Poligraph article needs to be factchecked. This statement is especially egregious:
During the three-way gubernatorial debate between Dayton, GOP candidate Jeff Johnson and Independence Party candidate Hannah Nicollet, Johnson repeatedly said that Dayton’s administration hasn’t given enough money and attention to greater Minnesota.
That statement isn’t accurate. Here’s what Jeff Johnson said:
“Greater Minnesota in many ways has become an afterthought in this state, whether you’re looking at where we spend our transportation dollars, whether you are looking at K-12 funding formulas, whether you’re looking at some of the regulations that are killing our farmers, our miners and our loggers in this state,” said Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner.
Gov. Dayton’s reply (Richert called it pushback) was a non sequitur:
Gov. Mark Dayton: “The facts don’t support what Commissioner Johnson alleges. The bonding bill last year, 38 percent went to greater Minnesota, 28 percent to the Metro. The rest was statewide projects.”
Jeff Johnson didn’t mention the Bonding Bill in his statement. Johnson talked specifically about transportation spending, the K-12 funding formula favoring the metro over outstate Minnesota and how the Dayton administration’s regulatory overreach that’s hurting loggers and miners in northern Minnesota and farmers throughout Minnesota. Here’s Richert’s verdict:
Dayton’s claim is accurate.
It’s the most accurate non sequitur answer I’ve heard in a debate. The important point to take from Gov. Dayton’s statement is that he didn’t deny that the K-12 funding formula is weighted in the Twin Cities’ favor. Gov. Dayton didn’t deny that overregulation is hurting farmers, miners and loggers. Gov. Dayton didn’t deny that there’s a disparity in transportation funding between the Metro and outstate Minnesota.
Gov. Dayton’s defense of this egregious disparity was that the DFL threw some crumbs to outstate Minnesota in the Bonding Bill. Finally, Gov. Dayton didn’t offer proof that the economy in outstate Minnesota was strong.
Building a civic center or arena in a small agriculture town won’t help farmers make money. Commissioner Johnson is right that the outstate economy isn’t strong because it’s getting hurt by regulations on the major industries in outstate Minnesota.
I rate this Poligraph article misleading.
Wednesday night, Jeff Johnson highlighted the differences between his main street governing approach and Gov. Dayton’s metrocentric governing approach. This video highlights that difference:
Here’s the transcript of Commissioner Johnson’s response:
There was an increase in local government aid last year under the all-DFL government we have but there was also the largest portion, I believe, that we’ve ever seen of local government aid going to Minneapolis. That’s at the direct expense of communities in Greater Minnesota. And that has been a pretty common theme in the Dayton administration. Greater Minnesota, in many ways, has become an afterthought in this state, whether you’re talking about where we’re spending our transportation dollars at, whether you’re looking at K-12 education funding formula, whether you’re looking at some of the regulations that are killing our farmers and our miners and our loggers in this state or whether you’re looking at LGA. There’s a very metrocentric philosophy at the Capitol right now.
That reply exposed the DFL’s metro-first governing philosophy while highlighting Commissioner Johnson’s prioritizing Greater Minnesota. A vote for Gov. Dayton isn’t just a vote for reckless spending. It’s a vote for the DFL to ignore Greater Minnesota for another 4 years.
This was the biggest jaw-dropping moment of the debate:
Earlier in the day, Gov. Dayton said that he hasn’t lost sleep over MNsure in his attempt to sound like MNsure’s problems are fixed. They definitely aren’t fixed. Here’s the next bombshell that Commissioner Johnson dropped on Gov. Dayton:
Saying that he’ll “fire the entire MNsure board and top staff because they’re incompetent” was definitely unexpected. It’s definitely justified, though. When Pat Kessler says that he thinks that people at MNsure lied to him. Jim Nobles, the Legislative Auditor, is auditing MNsure.
I didn’t notice this initially but it’s noteworthy because it’s Gov. Dayton’s government-knows-best moment:
This won’t hurt Gov. Dayton within the DFL but it might hurt him with women. It’s possible that they’ll say that they know what their families need and that they don’t need government telling them what they need.
It took more than 40 minutes but they finally got to the Dayton-DFL economy before jumping into PolyMet. Commissioner Johnson’s back-and-forth with Gov. Dayton was especially interesting:
Gov. Dayton better hope that people on the Range don’t hear him say that he’s opposed to pushing mining without a lengthy, expensive, environmental review. They’ve endured 9 years of review for PolyMet. There’s no question that it’s safe. The only people who think precious metals mining isn’t safe are the environmental activists in the Twin Cities, which is the dominant wing in the DFL right now.
Technorati: Debates, Jeff Johnson, Greater Minnesota, PolyMet, MNGOP, Mark Dayton, MNsure, MNsure Board, Incompetence, DFL, Jim Nobles, Legislative Auditor, MNsure Audit, Pat Kessler, MNsure Corruption, Election 2014
This article shows how the environmental left uses the regulation process to kill good-paying construction jobs:
“We don’t see where anyone’s actually said, ‘yes, you have the need to go forward. We want you to go forward, and now let’s find a place to go forward,'” said attorney Frank Bibeau, representing Honor the Earth.
Bibeau argued that a certificate of need should be requested.
“If you do the certificate of need, then we at least know we have to do a project,” said Bibeau. “Right now we’ve got everybody alarmed, and we’re worried about who else we might alarm just because we’re not sure what we’re going to do.”
Ultimately, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission sided with Bibeau and Honor the Earth, killing high-paying construction jobs. Thanks to Honor the Earth’s stunt, railroad capacity will continue to be limited, meaning farmers’ crops won’t get to market in a timely fashion:
Supporters were also quick to point to the problems caused by oil tankers dominating the railway system, and choking out agricultural shipments like grain.
Earlier this week, Gov. Dayton held discussions about how to get those grain shipments moving and to improve railroad safety. The simple solution is building pipelines.
Environmental activists apparently don’t care that farmers and construction workers are getting hurt by their scorched earth tactics. Environmental activists are the dominant part of the DFL in Minnesota and Democrats nationwide. They’ve figured out a way to shaft the F and the L in the DFL, aka farmers and laborers.
It’s time those parts of the DFL to notice that they’re getting shafted by the DFL. Why should farmers continue to support the DFL? Environmentalists continually lobby to heap regulation upon regulation on family farmers. Those same environmental activists continually shut down major construction projects.
The DFL continually talks about how important farmers and laborers are to the DFL. Unfortunately, their actions show how they’re dominated by the environmental activists’ agenda. That’s why farmers and laborers should question the DFL this election season.
Specifically, they should ask the DFL ‘what’ve you done for me lately’? It’s an especially legitimate question after the stunt that Honor the Earth and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission pulled Thursday.
Sunday morning, Ember Reichgott-Junge repeated the chanting point she recited Friday night. On @ Issue With Tom Hauser, Ms. Reichgott-Junge characterized Minnesota’s economy as strong, which it clearly isn’t.
An economy that just saw 4,200 jobs disappear in July isn’t strong. An economy where revenues came in 6.6% short of the state’s projection isn’t strong. An economy where the unemployment rate for an entire region of the state is 64.3% higher than the statewide average isn’t a strong economy.
This confirms the DFL’s metrocentric focus. It also confirms the fact that the DFL’s policies are designed to promote metro growth, not outstate growth. Twin Cities businesses don’t worry about regulations. Rural businesses, however, worry about regulations every day. Regulations are what’s suppressing the Iron Range economy.
Ms. Reichgott-Junge hasn’t factored those things into her calculations. The Twin Cities’ unemployment rate is 4,92%. It isn’t surprising that she either didn’t know or didn’t care that Grand Rapids’ unemployment rate for January was 11.6%, that February’s unemployment rate was 11.9% and that March’s unemployment rate was 11.2%. That’s more than twice as high as the statewide average.
I triple dog dare a DFL politician to explain how that type of chronic unemployment is proof of a vibrant, expanding economy. For the last 3+ years, the unemployment rate has been next-to-worthless as a benchmark of economic vitality. That’s because millions of people (literally) nationwide have quit looking for work, thereby artificially lowering the nation’s unemployment rate.
Another reason why the unemployment rate has become unreliable in terms of how strong the economy is is the number of people who’ve had their hours cut thanks to Obamacare. These are known as 29ers.
Minnesota hasn’t been immune from these trends. There are lots of people who’ve quit looking for work. The workforce participation rate is on the verge of dropping below 70% for the first time since October, 1980. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, aka DEED, the percentage of people who are underemployed is almost 50%.
When people quit looking for work, that’s proof the economy isn’t vibrant. If they’re working a part-time job in the hospitality industry after being a manager in a manufacturing company, that’s proof that the economy isn’t producing the high-paying jobs Minnesotans need to pay their bills.
Gov. Dayton and the DFL chanting puppets will undoubtedly keep chanting that Minnesota’s economy is strong. That’s their choice. It just isn’t the truth.
The workforce participation rate is proof of a stagnant economy. The fact that Minnesota’s economy has created only 2,900 jobs in 2014 is proof of a stagnant (or worse) economy. The fact that a major part of the state (the Iron Range) is suffering through a higher-than-normal unemployment rate (8.02%) is proof that the policies passed by the DFL legislature and implemented by Gov. Dayton aren’t working.
The revenues that Gov. Dayton and the DFL need to come in to balance the budget aren’t coming in. In July, revenues fell $69,000,000 short of projections. Thus far this year, revenues have fallen short of projection in 5 of the 6 months we have statistics for. The Dayton-DFL economy is heading towards the Dayton-DFL deficit.
Gov. Dayton and the DFL are satisfied with an economy where unemployment rates are artificially low and stagnant wages and part-time jobs are real.
Technorati: Mark Dayton, Unemployment Rate, Workforce Participation Rate, Part-Time Jobs, Iron Range, Chronic Unemployment, Budget Deficit, Chanting Puppets, Ember Reichgott-Junge, ABM, DFL, Election 2014
This article highlights the intelligent fight Torrey Westrom will fight in Congress if he defeats Collin Peterson:
“The Keystone pipeline needs to be built, I am here to tell you, and it should have been built last year, not delayed another several months as we are seeing under this current Administration,” Westrom said. Without the pipeline, oil producers are using an increasing number of railcars to transport their supply, which is squeezing out farmers and propane suppliers.
“[Grain] elevators from the south end of the 7th District to the north tell me they are still going to have last year’s crop when this year’s crop comes in, and they can’t get enough extra cars to ship it out,” Westrom continued. “That’s unacceptable. We need to build energy and infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline. That’s something I will advocate for.”
When it comes to getting things done in DC, Collin Peterson is about as worthless as a potted plant. He didn’t stand up to President Obama and the environmental activists that run the EPA or the spineless diplomats in the State Department.
Thanks to Congressman Peterson’s spinelessness, grain elevators in Minnesota’s 7th District are hurting. Minnesota’s 7th District doesn’t need a DC insider with ‘influence’. Minnesota’s 7th District needs someone who gets things done.
Collin Peterson is rich with DC insider influence. Unfortunatly, he isn’t the type of congressman who gets important things done that help his district.
If voters in Minnesota’s 7th District dump Peterson, they’ll immediately see the difference in the number of important things that get done compared with Peterson’s potted plant routine.
The panel also asked the 7th District candidate what can be done to reduce government regulatory delays. “Indecision is very paralyzing for industry and for farmers,” Westrom said about the overregulation that effects Minnesota’s farmers. “Some sort of cap on decisions, so people can count on a yes or a no, or at least know what needs to be changed in a timely period, is something we should aim for.” Westrom emphasized that we should “not have unelected bureaucrats continue to delay processes.”
Peterson loves DC’s ineffective status quo. He doesn’t really have to do anything. All he has to do is talk about how much institutional influence he has. What Peterson can’t talk about is how his presence in DC is helping reduce regulations or improve life in Minnesota’s 7th District.
Throughout the forum, panelists expressed concern about government overreach, asking other candidates about the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule on navigable waters and delay on the Renewable Fuel Standard.
The EPA is a farmer’s worst nightmare. Daily, they micromanage what a farmer can and can’t do. Their new rule will get struck down by the Supreme Court because it goes far beyond the legislative language of the Clean Water Act, aka the CWA.
Not that Collin Peterson cares but the EPA can’t implement a rule that goes beyond the legislative language. That language currently says the EPA can regulate navigable waters. The EPA’s rule would allow them to regulate waters not considered navigable.
At one point, Collin Peterson was a tolerable congressman. Those days have passed. In 2009, Nancy Pelosi corrupted him. He hasn’t been a Blue Dog Democrat since. That says one thing: it’s time for a change.
This year is the first time in seemingly forever that I’ll be voting in a GOP primary. That’s why this i the first time I’ve written a post announcing who I’m voting for in the primary.
The biggest reason why I’m voting for Mike McFadden is because he’s an unapologetic capitalist. While Al Franken was a mediocre comedian, a mean-spirited talk show host and a rubberstamp US senator, Mike McFadden was creating jobs. Mike knows the importance of regulation reform and tax reform.
Mike’s also been steadfast in calling for starting over on health care reform, this time implementing a patient-centric system rather to replace the government-centric plan that’s an outright failure. Mike wants a system that gives the federal government the authority to tell people the coverages their health insurance policies must have.
That’s because Mike knows that families, working in consultation with their physicians, know what’s best for them. Mike understands that distant bureaucrats can’t possibly know what’s bet for your family or your co-workers’ families.
Mike’s worked with enough small businesses to know that compliance costs, whether they’re tax or regulation compliance costs, hurt small businesses more than they hurt big corporations. The vast majority of manufacturing companies started as small businesses. Regulatory reform is essential to growing the economy.
While Mike McFadden has advocated for regulatory reform, his opponent this November has voted for the biggest federal regulatory overreach in 50 years.
Finally, I’d like to take time to say a little something about Jim Abeler. Most bloggers know him as part of the Override 6, a small group of GOP legislators who voted to override Gov. Pawlenty’s veto of a massive transportation tax bill. While it’s fair to remember that about Jim, it isn’t the only thing we should remember about Jim.
Jim worked with Steve Gottwalt to produce real health care reform before the Affordable Care Act wiped out their reforms. We’d be far better off if their reforms hadn’t been toppled by the ACA’s top-down, government-centric plan.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet Jim a couple of times. He’s a man of faith who’s had to endure what no parent should be forced to deal with — the tragic death of a child. Through that tragic event, Jim leaned on his faith, which helped his family persevere.
Jim, I personally wish you nothing but the best. I hope God blesses you in the days ahead.
Bill Hanna’s article highlights what’s wrong with today’s DFL:
Gov. Mark Dayton says a far-reaching Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Superior National Forest regarding potential copper/nickel/precious metals ventures is totally unnecessary. So, too, do Minnesota U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and 8th District U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan.
It would be a waste of time and money and energy, say those Democratic office holders, because it would duplicate what is already being done as far as environmental review for both the PolyMet and Twin Metals projects. And Congressman Nolan goes further to say the issue was already settled with the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Act in 1978 that allowed mining in the Superior National Forest.
But it’s not that clear, according to a U.S. Forest Service official. There is not even a timeline set up to decide whether the USFS will drop the PEIS request by environmentalists or move ahead with it. In a telephone interview with the Mesabi Daily News on Thursday, USFS Public Affairs Officer Kris Reichenbach in Duluth said there “is no immediate reason to push this” one way or another.
“This is not something to rush into. We are still evaluating our options. We are not at a point of making a decision. I am not aware of a timeline,” Reichenbach said.
What’s wrong with today’s DFL is that Democrat politicians’ voices aren’t as powerful, apparently, as the environmental activists’ voices.
It’s time for Dayton, Franken, Klobuchar and Nolan to hold a press conference on the mining issue. It’s time they told the environmental activist wing of the DFL that they’re putting a higher priority on creating high-paying jobs than they’re putting on preserving supposedly pristine wilderness like this:
These environmental activists aren’t fighting to save pristine wilderness. They’re fighting to control people’s lives.
Apparently, these Democrat politicians won’t stand up to them and tell them to take a hike. Apparently, these Democrat politicians think it’s more important to not ruffle the environmental activists’ feathers than it is to create jobs on the Iron Range. (Might that be because they want the environmental activists’ campaign contributions?)
In the end, it’s my opinion that these sorry excuses for politicians will flap their gums for a little while. They won’t ruffle the environmental activists’ feathers. Then they’ll exit stage left (where else?) once people stop paying attention.
They should all be astronomy majors because they’re only good at taking up space. If families want DFL politicians to fight for them, they’re out of luck. These DFL politicians won’t fight for people if they aren’t part of a special interest group.
It’s sad that these DFL politicians will fight for special interest groups but they won’t fight for families. This isn’t Hubert Humphrey’s DFL.
Technorati: Al Franken, Rick Nolan, Mark Dayton, Amy Klobuchar, Environmental Activists, Programmatic Environmental Impact Study, US Forest Service, Government Bureacrat, Special Interests, Democrats, Iron Range, Blue Collar Workers, Middle Class Families, Republicans, Election 2014