Archive for the ‘MCEA’ Category
There’s been lots of celebrating on the Range after Resolution 54 got defeated Saturday. This article said that Jason Metsa thinks that the vote is “a clear indication of where the party is at.” Then Metsa admitted that “the issue will be coming up again.”
First, the Range DFL survived Saturday, partially because all parts of the state were represented at the meeting. Anyone that thinks that John Marty will give up his anti-mining crusade anytime soon is kidding themselves. New incoming House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman hasn’t announce that she’ll take a more centrist, pro-mining position now that she’s the top-ranking Democrat in the House.
That’s before talking about whether organizations like the Sierra Club, MCEA or Conservation Minnesota (which gets significant funding from Alida Messenger) will stop bringing lawsuits against PolyMet. MCEA’s mission is to file lawsuit after lawsuit against mining companies or utilities. Winning the lawsuits isn’t MCEA’s goal. Their goal is to wear down the investors until those investors quit. I wrote about that tactic in this post, which I titled Attrition, not litigation.
Third, defeating Resolution 54 isn’t a victory because it didn’t approve a single permit for PolyMet or Twin Metals. The last I looked, Gov. Dayton hasn’t relented in saying no to the initial permits for the Twin Metals mining project.
Fourth, the DFL hasn’t lifted a finger to streamline the permitting process. I won’t trust them until they support permitting reform and regulatory relief. Even then, I’ll remain skeptical because these guys won’t permit the DFL to do real reforms:
Now that Resolution 54 has been defeated and labor leaders are experiencing a mini-Kumbaya moment, it’s time to examine what the Iron Range won yesterday. I’ll return to that in a bit but it’s important to set this up properly.
Rick Nolan apparently gave a speech that set the mood for the vote, saying “Nobody loves the environment more than the Rangers. I don’t want to see the party take a stance against mining or agriculture or manufacturing.”
What’s important to notice about Saturday, though, is that that was a show vote. In yesterday’s setting, Democrats from rural Minnesota had a voice. All parts of the state had a voice. That dynamic changes dramatically in January. Does anyone seriously think that the Sierra Club will suddenly stop demagoguing “sulfide mining”? Will the MCEA stop filing lawsuits aimed at killing PolyMet? Will Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission stop meddling in pipeline construction projects?
The answer to each of those questions is an emphatic ‘NO!’
Most importantly, it isn’t likely that Gov. Dayton’s administration will grant PolyMet the permits it needs so PolyMet can start growing the Iron Range’s economy. The final analysis of Saturday’s vote is this: while Environmental Caucus Chair Veda Kanitz and her supporters claim to have extended an olive branch to the Iron Range yesterday, it isn’t likely that environmental activist organizations like the Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, MCEA and Conservation Minnesota will suddenly start fighting fair.
These organizations aren’t mainstream organizations. They’ve got an anti-mining, anti-fossil fuel agenda. It’s worth noting that the DFL, as a political party, still supports shifting to renewable energy. Renewable energy won’t sustain mining operations.
Notice whose names are missing in this paragraph:
While tabling the resolution gained momentum, an impassioned Congressman Rick Nolan, DFL-Crosby, roused the crowd in the auditorium with a plea to truly unite by not taking a stance against the issue. Nolan was speaking on behalf of Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Al Franken and Congressman Tim Walz.
Missing from that paragraph are Mark Dayton and Tina Flint-Smith. Their silence is deafening.
The Iron Range won a minor skirmish yesterday. The thrill of that victory will soon fade. Organizations like the Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, MCEA and Conservation Minnesota are in this for the long haul. Celebrate now because the battle is just starting.
On Saturday, I wrote this post about this Mother Jones article. The MJ article quotes Debbie Sease, the senior lobbying and advocacy director at the Sierra Club. Ms. Sease was polite enough to explain how Democrats kill mining and construction jobs. She said that “her organization’s strategy lies in playing defense by filing legal challenges, galvanizing the public, and using the marketplace. If a coal field is going to be developed, for example, activists can make it as expensive as possible to comply with existing regulations and force the developer to deal with a public backlash.”
Ms. Sease apparently didn’t pay attention to the election. In battleground state after battleground state, voters rejected environmental activists. They turned the formerly blue states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania into purple states. The only backlash in sight is against the Sierra Club and other like-minded organizations. Thoughts that there will be a pro-Sierra Club backlash is wishful thinking.
Ms. Pease then noted that there were other weapons available to environmental activists:
Additional tools environmentalists can use include citizen lawsuits, grassroots organizing, and ballot measures at the state and local level focusing on everything from renewable energy standards to green transportation initiatives.
If you’re thinking that this sound like the DFL’s script for killing PolyMet and the Sandpiper Pipeline project, that’s because it’s the script that the DFL followed in attempting to kill PolyMet and the Sandpiper Pipeline project. That’s why the DFL constantly fights for additional layers of bureaucracy. They use those additional layers to petition government to kill projects with 1,000 paper cuts.
you think I’m exaggerating, I’m not. Paul Aasen admitted it in an op-ed published 8 years ago. I wrote this post to highlight the quotes from Paul Aasen:
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.
This time around, the administrative law judge ruled in our favor, saying the utilities had proven the need for, at most, 160 megawatts and had failed to prove that coal would be the least expensive way of providing the electricity. The Minnesota PUC approved the transmission lines into Minnesota, and we filed an appeal that is pending with the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
That’s what attrition looks like. That’s why I titled the post “Attrition, not litigation.” At the time that this op-ed was written, Aasen was the executive director of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. MCEA’s goal was to force investors to spend millions of dollars in court. That’s how they make cheap energy sources expensive. That’s why everyone’s electric bills keep getting bigger.
Technorati: Sierra Club, Environmental Extremists, Environmental Activists, Debbie Sease, Lobbyists, Paul Aasen, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Sandpiper Pipeline Project, PolyMet, Big Stone II, Litigation, Regulations, Izaak Walton League of America, Wind on the Wires DFL, Donald Trump, Construction, Republicans, Election 2016