Archive for the ‘Sierra Club’ 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:
The lede in this article sounds a triumphant tone. The opening says “Labor Democrats decided to fight Saturday and won a major victory for the party’s future on the Iron Range.” While it’s a procedural victory for the Range, it isn’t a major victory if you’re judging it by whether anything changed as a result of the vote.
In defeating Resolution 54, the Range Delegation kept the language of the resolution out of the DFL state party platform. That shouldn’t be mistaken for defeating the environmental activist Metrocrats. It shouldn’t be mistaken as proof that Gov. Dayton will approve any permits for PolyMet. Defeating Resolution 54 doesn’t mean that the DFL is suddenly open to mining.
The DFL loves bogging things down with regulations, regulators and lawsuit. The thing Iron Rangers should ask themselves seems unrelated at first. This past winter, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC)decided to look into the Sandpiper Pipeline project. Specifically, they took jurisdiction over whether the pipeline path should be rerouted. The first question that should be asked is straightforward: what does the agency that regulates electricity rates have to do with infrastructure permitting? It isn’t like the PUC was the first regulatory agency to review the Sandpiper Pipeline’s potential impact on its environment. The point is that the PUC took jurisdiction to hinder the permitting process.
Here’s another important question that the DFL hasn’t answered: why didn’t Gov. Dayton scream bloody murder when the PUC hijacked jurisdiction on the Sandpiper Pipeline project? In 2013-14, when the DFL had total control of the legislature and had a friendly DFL governor to work with, why didn’t they streamline the permitting process? Might it be because they prefer a permitting process that’s complex and convoluted?
Ask PolyMet’s investors whether these DFL-supporting organizations haven’t used the same tactics to kill PolyMet. If they’re being honest, they’d say that’s the exact playbook that’s been used against them. Until the pro-mining part of the DFL becomes the dominant part of the DFL or until pro-mining voters switch to the GOP, there won’t be a change in the outcome. Saturday’s vote was all show. In the real world, it meant nothing. The anti-mining wing of the DFL still rules the DFL.
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.
Sen. Dan Sullivan’s op-ed highlights many of the Democrats’ anti-democratic tactics. Sen. Sullivan’s op-ed frequently highlights how environmental activists use weaponized government to kill infrastructure and energy projects. For instance, environmental activists used anti-democratic tactics, noting that the “Pentagon was built in 16 months. The 1,500-mile Alaska-Canadian Highway, which passes through some of the world’s most rugged terrain, took about eight months. Today, infrastructure projects across America often require several years simply to get through the federal government’s pre-build permitting process.”
Next, Sen. Sullivan notes that new “U.S. highway construction projects usually take between nine and 19 years from initial planning and permitting to completion of construction, according to a 2002 Government Accountability Office study. It will have taken 14 years to permit an expansion of Gross Reservoir in Colorado, and it took almost 20 years to permit the Kensington gold mine in Alaska. It took four years to construct a new runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, but it took 15 years to get the permits.”
Those aren’t the only examples Sen. Sullivan, (R-AK), cites. Here’s another pair of examples:
It took Shell seven years and $7 billion to get White House permission to drill a single oil-exploration well off the coast of Alaska. Never mind that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act requires that resources in those waters “be made available for expeditious and orderly development.” This capricious permitting was part of why Shell halted its operations in Alaska, stranding enormous oil and gas resources and killing thousands of potential jobs.
The Keystone XL pipeline languished in permitting purgatory for almost the entire two terms of the Obama administration before the president finally killed it in 2015. Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, called the president’s actions a “cynical manipulation of the approval process.” President Obama also recently halted the Dakota Access pipeline, though in September a federal court determined that the project complied with arduous permitting, legal and consultation requirements.
Gov. Dayton’s first MPCA commissioner, Paul Aasen, bragged in an op-ed about litigating the Big Stone II power plant in South Dakota into quitting.
Though then-Candidate Trump didn’t say this during the campaign, when he talked about America’s crumbling infrastructure, he should’ve said that it’s crumbling because environmental activists have virtually litigated these projects to death. Rarely do you hear about light rail projects coming under scrutiny. I’ve never heard of a wind farm getting subjected to this type of scrutiny. Why haven’t we?
This is the solution:
Mr. Trump is set to reverse the Obama administration’s abysmal permitting record, but Congress also has a responsibility. Last year I introduced the Regulations Endanger Democracy Act, or RED Tape Act, which would cap federal regulations with a simple one-in-one-out rule. When an agency issues a new regulation, it must repeal an old one. (Mr. Trump has suggested removing two for every one that is added.) Even though the idea has been successfully implemented in Canada and the United Kingdom, not a single Senate Democrat voted for it, and the legislation died.
Another bill I wrote would expedite federal permitting to repair or rebuild thousands of crumbling bridges across our country, but it received only three Democratic votes on the Senate floor. Once again my colleagues across the aisle prevented this reform from being implemented.
It’s time to tell Democrats that we won’t let them get away with these anti-progress tactics without them getting scrutinized in public. Let’s instruct them that each time they use these tactics, they should expect political attacks that demand Democrats to defend their votes against streamlining government. Let’s hear them explain why they’re standing in the way of major infrastructure projects.
Democrats haven’t lifted a finger to streamline the permitting process. Why haven’t they? I think it’s clear that they’re sitting silent because that’s what their environmental activist allies want. It’s time to start doing what’s right for all Americans rather than doing what’s right for the special interests.
Technorati: Donald Trump, Dan Sullivan, Permitting, Infrastructure Projects, Al-Can Highway, Interstate Highways, Airport Runways, Oil Exploration, Reservoirs, Republicans, Dakota Access Pipeline Project, Sierra Club, Beyond Coal, Special Interests, Democrats
One thing that can’t be disputed is the fact that militant environmentalists don’t think through the tactics they’ll use to pipelines from getting built. For instance, this Mother Jones article includes a quote from Debbie Sease, the senior lobbying and advocacy director at the Sierra Club about the things they’ll do to stop legal, permitted pipelines from getting built. 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, she says. 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.”
It’s important to note that that’s just part of the Sierra Club’s tactics. This article isn’t about the Sierra Club. Still, it’s another organization working to prevent pipelines from getting built:
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. – A Manitoba indigenous chief says there’s a desire for action – which could include blockades of Canadian pipelines and railways – in support of a protest against a North Dakota pipeline project.
Grand Chief Terry Nelson of the Southern Chiefs Organization says chiefs and others attended a meeting Saturday at the Dakota Tipi First Nation near Portage la Prairie to discuss how to react if the U.S. government clears demonstrators from a camp occupied by the Dakota Access pipeline protesters.
Nelson says one option includes blocking access to pumping stations along a pipeline operated by Enbridge, which has plans to acquire a stake in the U.S. pipeline project. After the meeting, Dakota Tipi members held a pipe ceremony on the Trans-Canada Highway near Portage la Prairie, Man., temporarily blocking a lane of traffic.
The thing to keep in mind about these protests is that they aren’t about stopping global warming or the environment. The DAPL got all of its permits before starting construction. They did what the government required them to do.
These protesters are part anarchist, part fascist, part authoritarian. Their respect for the rule of law is virtually nonexistent. That’s clear considering the fact that the company that’s building the DAPL has been attacked daily. These anarchists are violent, too.
It’s time to tighten up laws, too. Environmentalists convicted of committing violence should be imprisoned for a mandatory 5 years and fined $10,000 if they’re caught protesting on pipeline property. Let them know that there’s a price they’ll have to pay for disrupting legally permitted things.
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
This article should get everyone’s blood boiling. In it, Mother Jones activists highlight how the Sierra Club is sabotaging families and businesses.
Specifically, Debbie Sease, the senior lobbying and advocacy director at the Sierra Club, told Mother Jones 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, she says. 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.”
First, it’s worth questioning the Sierra Club’s belief that there will be a backlash after President-Elect Trump’s decisive victories in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. While there’s no doubt that the rent-a-protesters will protest coal mining projects, that doesn’t qualify as a grassroots anti-coal movement. That’s just the left’s predictable astroturf paid protest agenda.
Next, notice that the Sierra Club’s tactics include destroying good-paying middle class jobs. The Sierra Club was once thought of as a mainstream environmental organization. They clearly aren’t mainstream anymore. They’ve become radicalized.
Then there’s this:
Still, there are some things Trump can do to help kick-start coal production. Earlier this year, Obama put a moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands. Trump could easily reverse this rule through executive action, said Goldston at the NRDC press conference.
Even if environmentalists are ultimately able to block some of Trump’s plans, they will still be faced with a larger problem. Obama’s climate policies were only a good start—they didn’t get us anywhere close to averting catastrophic warming. As Sease pointed out, the accelerating pace of climate change means that the planet can’t afford four years of inaction. “Time is not our friend here,” she said.
I’m perfectly willing to let free markets determine whether coal makes a comeback, though I’m hoping it does. It’s worth highlighting the fact that the Sierra Club opposes natural gas because of fracking.
The point is that environmental activists have an anti-middle class agenda. The Sierra Club and other radical environmental organizations won’t hesitate to use litigation to kill the mining industry. It’s time conservatives wake up to the fact that these environmental activists are waging war against the middle class.
The thing that most people don’t know about Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission, aka PUC, is that Gov. Dayton stuffed the Commission with reliable votes against fossil fuel-powered power plants. At least 3 of the commissioners have worked for DFL offices. The PUC’s chair is Beverly Jones Heydinger. According to Ms. Jones-Heydinger’s bio, she “served in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office from 1978 to 1999, under Attorneys General Warren Spannaus and Hubert H. Humphrey, III.” The vice-chair, Nancy Lange, was appointed to the PUC in March, 2013. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Lange “served as Manager of Policy and Engagement at the Center for Energy and Environment. From 1992 through 2012, Ms. Lange held positions in Energy Program at the Izaak Walton League of America’s Midwest Office, most recently as Director.” The third DFL-appointed member of the Commission, Dan Lipschultz, is “a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC)”, something he has in common with Ms. Jones-Heydinger.
The lone Republican on the commission is John Tuma. Commissioner Tuma’s bio is an interesting read. First, Commissioner Tuma “is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).” (Sound familiar?) Next, Commissioner Tuma “most recently served as a Government Relations Associate with Conservation Minnesota. He helped lead efforts to pass key energy legislation, including Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Standard.”
There’s no question that Gov. Dayton wanted to leave a lasting imprint on ‘the environment’ through this regulatory agency. There’s no question that Gov. Dayton wanted to put in place people who would implement the Sierra Club’s and the Izaak Walton League’s agenda through the PUC. These are the pictures of the men and women whose decisions have made electricity more expensive and less reliable:
Each of these commissioners was hand-picked by the Sierra Club. These commissioners were then officially nominated to the PUC by Gov. Dayton in the hopes of eliminating fossil fuel power plants. Simply put, the Sierra Club, the Izaak Walton League and other environmental organizations don’t care about reliable energy sources. They’re on a mission to ‘save the planet’. If that requires killing great-paying jobs at plants like the Sherco power plants in Becker, then that’s what they’ll do.
The Sierra Club is so radicalized that they oppose natural gas-fired power plants:
Natural gas drillers exploit government loopholes, ignore decades-old environmental protections, and disregard the health of entire communities. “Fracking,” a violent process that dislodges gas deposits from shale rock formations, is known to contaminate drinking water, pollute the air, and cause earthquakes. If drillers can’t extract natural gas without destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families, then we should not drill for natural gas.
“No state has adequate protections in place. Even where there are rules, they are poorly monitored and enforced. Thanks to the multiple federal exemptions, we can’t even count on the federal government to keep us safe! Together, though, we can change that! No industry, no matter how wealthy or powerful, can withstand the righteous passion of the American people. The out-of-control rush to drill has put oil and gas industry profits ahead of our health, our families, our property, our communities, and our futures. If drillers can’t extract natural gas without destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families, then we should not drill for natural gas.” —Allison Chin, Sierra Club president, July 28, 2012, at the Stop the Frack Attack rally
Don’t forget that the Public Utilities Commission killed the Sandpiper Pipeline project. These aren’t the friendly neighborhood green energy activists most people think of. They’re hardline progressives with a nasty fascist anti-natural resources streak in them.
Technorati: Mark Dayton, Beverly Jones-Heydinger, Nancy Lange, Dan Lipschultz, Matt Schuerger, John Tuma, Sierra Club, Izaak Walton League, Beyond Natural Gas, Fascists, Environmental Activists, Conservation Minnesota, Public Utilities Commission, DFL
There wasn’t much doubt about whether Rep. Jim Newberger represents his district prior to this election. That’s a big reason why he’ll easily win re-election this Nov. 8. Still, Rep. Newberger’s op-ed on Gov. Dayton’s shutting of the Sherco power plants shows how hard he’ll fight for his district.
The most alarming part of Rep. Newberger’s op-ed came when he wrote “With all the talk of a ‘transformational’ approach to energy at Thursday’s meeting, the Public Utilities Commission passed on actually deciding how it was going to ‘transform’ our energy grid. The PUC merely voted to retire two coal-fired units without designating a replacement.” There’s nothing “transformational” about shutting down 2 power plants that supply a large percentage of central Minnesota’s electricity, a significant number of central Minnesota’s private sector jobs and a gigantic portion of central Minnesota’s property tax revenue.
I’d say that it’s downright reckless for the PUC to shut down any type of power plant without having a plan on what to replace them with except I know that the Public Utilities Commission has lots of environmental activists on its board. This decision isn’t just reckless. It’s intentional.
Based on his campaign website, it isn’t a stretch to think that one would-be career politician who’s cheering the PUC’s decision is Zach Dorholt. Here’s what he wrote on his priorities page on energy and the environment:
I believe that our natural resources are one Minnesota’s greatest assets. I want to be able to swim in our waters and eat the fish that I catch and I want my children to be able to say the same thing 50 years from now. An ecological balance in a state that is the headwaters is not only a recreational need, but a necessity for our economy and way of life.
Working together, we can create a more sustainable future by:
- Supporting energy conservation programs and investing in alternative energy systems
- Fully committing to restoring our local waters and native prairie grasses
- Using the Clean Water and Legacy funds, not as a credit card, but for their intended purpose
- Encouraging forward thinking businesses to locate in Minnesota
- Assisting in the formation of community green spaces, local sustainable food and gardening efforts
This isn’t what a principled politician says. It’s what a man who wants to be a green energy lobbyist says. It’s what a politician who doesn’t represent his constituents says.
Mr. Dorholt won’t fight to keep these high-paying jobs in Central Minnesota. He should be crucified at the ballot box for selling out to the special interests instead of fighting for high-paying jobs in central Minnesota. Technorati: Sherco 2 Power Plant, Jim Newberger, Coal-Fired Power Plants, Becker, MN, Property Taxes, Jobs, MNGOP, Special Interests, Lobbyists, Zach Dorholt, Sierra Club, Environmental Activists, Green Energy, DFL, Election 2016