Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

The shortest summarization for this article is to say that North Dakota rejects expensive energy alternatives:

“It is no secret that Minnesota rules, laws and policies are highly influenced by various environmental groups and ideas,” Mike Diller, director of economic regulation for the N.D. Public Service Commission said during a hearing in January. “The environmental concerns of North Dakota are different than those of Minnesota and the cost of compliance with the environmental and energy policies in Minnesota is becoming a burden to North Dakota ratepayers.”

North Dakota sets a voluntary goal of generating 10 percent of its power from renewable sources, ranking third on the American Wind Energy Association list of states in percentage of wind power. Across the border, Minnesota requires 31.5 percent of Xcel Energy’s power be generated by wind and other subsidized, often less competitive, renewable energy sources by 2020.

Thanks to the Next Generation Energy Act, Minnesotans are subjected to high electricity prices. They’re substantially higher than the prices paid by North Dakotans:

A revolutionary settlement between the state of North Dakota and Xcel Energy’s Northern States Power unit will save North Dakota ratepayers nearly $6 million a year by exempting charges for higher-priced renewable energy from Minnesota.

Minnesotans have to decide whether they want to continue paying higher prices for electricity. They’ll also have to decide if they want to pay an extra $6,000,000 a year for green energy. In the end, they’ll have to decide whether they’d prefer legislators that listen to the people or legislators who listen to the environmental organizations that push that agenda.

The long-standing friction and frustration over the states’ opposing energy policies finally broke into the open during the hearings in Bismarck after Xcel Energy’s requested rate increase for North Dakota ratepayers. PSC regulators saw it as an opening to assert control over North Dakota’s energy independence and destiny. The final agreement includes a precedent-setting provision for Xcel to “re-stack” the mix of electric power allocated in North Dakota and reset rates based on least-cost conventional energy sources that match the state’s priorities.

It sounds like North Dakota will only pay Xcel for conventional energy sources, meaning Minnesotans will get hit with higher electricity prices, thanks to the NGEA. Everyone loves green energy as a concept. That support drops dramatically off when people are told that green energy is expensive.

Minnesota politicians talked about winning the future when they passed the NGEA. These days, people are upset with higher electricity prices. North Dakota finally said no to this nonsense. The DFL will never say no to this stupidity, which is why they need to be defeated this November.

Charles Koch’s op-ed in Thursday’s WSJ is a fantastic fact-filled defense of himself and his corporation.

Koch companies employ 60,000 Americans, who make many thousands of products that Americans want and need. According to government figures, our employees and the 143,000 additional American jobs they support generate nearly $11.7 billion in compensation and benefits. About one-third of our U.S.-based employees are union members.

Koch employees have earned well over 700 awards for environmental, health and safety excellence since 2009, many of them from the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. EPA officials have commended us for our “commitment to a cleaner environment” and called us “a model for other companies.”

Harry Reid said Charles Koch was “un-American.” If winning awards from the EPA for environmental excellence is un-American, then we need more of that type of un-Americanism. If winning awards for safety from OSHA is Sen. Reid’s definition of being un-American, then let’s have a new wave of that type of un-Americanism.

Let’s be blunt, though. This won’t stop Sen. Reid from criticizing the Koch Brothers. This op-ed won’t stop Al Franken from using the Koch Brothers as villains in his fundraising emails. That’s because they don’t care about facts. That’s because facts are irrelevant to dishonest people like Sen. Reid and Sen. Franken. This information isn’t relevant to Sen. Reid either:

Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs—even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.

It’s indisputable that Koch Industries are good corporate citizens. The top Obama fundraisers got guaranteed loans for green energy initiatives, then went bankrupt. Koch Industries asked for corporate welfare to stop. That comparison proves that Koch Industries’ priorities are the American people’s priorities.

It’s instructive that the Democrats villainize a corporation that’s a great corporate citizens. It’s instructive that Democrats sat silent when corporations that raised millions of dollars for Presiden Obama gets a guaranteed loan from the taxpayers, then files for bankruptcy.

It’s time for this nation to turn the page on this chapter in American history. It’s time to chart a new direction. It’s time to trust in the American people again. It’s time to stop listening to dishonest politicians like Sen. Reid and Sen. Franken. Finally, it’s time to start praising good corporate citizens like Koch Industries.

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In 2007, Julianne Ortman voted for the Next Generation Energy Act, aka the NGEA. The vote was 59-5. Here’s one of the requirements of the NGEA:

The plan must determine the feasibility, assess the costs and benefits, and recommend how the state could adopt a regulatory system that imposes a cap on the aggregate air pollutant emissions of a group of sources, requires those subject to the cap to own an allowance for each ton of the air pollutant emitted, and allows for market-based trading of those allowances. The evaluation must contain an analysis of the state implementing a cap and trade system alone, in coordination with other states, and as a requirement of federal law applying to all states. The plan must recommend the parameters of a cap and trade system that includes a cap that would prevent significant increases in greenhouse gas emissions above current levels with a schedule for lowering the cap periodically to achieve the goals in subdivision 1 and interim goals recommended under paragraph (a).

This sentence jumps off the page:

The plan must recommend the parameters of a cap and trade system that includes a cap that would prevent significant increases in greenhouse gas emissions above current levels.

I’ll stipulate that this vote was taken long before then-Sen. Obama made his infamous comments about his Cap & Trade bill:

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

Still, policymakers knew that Cap & Trade would significantly increase the price of electricity. Sen. Ortman voted for a bill that a) imposes a cap on greenhouse gases and b) increased the cost of generating electricity. How is that the right thing to do? At the time, did Sen. Ortman think this bill would make life better for the average Minnesotan?

The NGEA didn’t just raise the price of electricity. It created a significant burden for energy transmission companies:

The plan must include recommendations for improvements in the emissions inventory and recommend whether the state should require greenhouse gas emissions reporting from specific sources and, if so, which sources should be required to report.

In other words, the NGEA increased compliance costs for power plants. That necessarily drives up the price of electricity. Unfortunately, there’s still more to this horrific bill:

The state must, to the extent possible, with other states in the Midwest region, develop and implement a regional approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from activities in the region, including consulting on a regional cap and trade system.

NGEA also created new responsibilities for state government. It’s a public employee union’s dream come true because it requires people to monitor regional greenhouse gas emissions.

According to, the NGEA requires Minnesota to reduce GHGs, aka Greenhouse Gases, by 80%:

But the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007 didn’t “only” take “steps on renewable energy,” as Pawlenty said. It established strict statewide greenhouse gas reduction targets of 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2015 and 80 percent below those levels by 2050.

The fact that Sen. Ortman voted with the overwhelming majority in support of the BGEA isn’t comforting. Minnesota doesn’t need a politician that goes with the flow. Minnesotans need a leader who does the right thing.

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This video shows some ecoterrorists trespassing on Mark Maki’s private property:

This is the unhinged, despicable left terrorizing a private citizen on his private property. That didn’t matter to them. This article fills in the details from that act of terrorism:

Masked protesters carrying torches and threatening organized violence protested outside the home of an executive at a major oil pipeline company last week. Eight environmental activists gathered on the lawn of Mark Maki, a member of the Enbridge Energy Company’s board of directors and president of Enbridge Energy Management, to protest the arrests of three anti-pipeline activists last year.

The protesters, who brandished torches for a photo posted online, held a sign warning, “solidarity means attack” and “we will shut you down.”

Maki stepped out of his Houston, Texas, home to talk with the protesters, though he said he was not familiar with their grievances. “It’s 10 o’ clock at night, I’m happy to discuss it, [but] not here, not in my neighborhood, not with my neighbors around,” Maki told them.

As protesters stood on Maki’s lawn, they told him that Enbridge is “criminalizing protest” by testifying against three anti-pipeline activists who were recently convicted of criminal trespassing for chaining themselves to Enbridge construction equipment in July.

There’s no denying the fact that these terrorists are criminals. What’s stunning is that their actions are accepted by supposedly mainstream environmental organizations:

Anti-pipeline activism has recently spurred even nominally mainstream environmental groups to endorse criminal activity.

The Sierra Club, one of the most prominent environmentalist groups in the country, gave its official endorsement last year to acts of civil disobedience as a means to stop the popular Keystone pipeline.

Anti-pipeline activism has become a pillar of the post-Al Gore environmentalist movement, which has found it to be an effective issue around which to rally its supporters.

It isn’t just environmentalists that terrorize people at their homes:

Last Sunday, on a peaceful, sun-crisp afternoon, our toddler finally napping upstairs, my front yard exploded with 500 screaming, placard-waving strangers on a mission to intimidate my neighbor, Greg Baer. Baer is deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America, a senior executive based in Washington, D.C. And that, in the minds of the organizers at the politically influential Service Employees International Union and a Chicago outfit called National Political Action, makes his family fair game.

Waving signs denouncing bank “greed,” hordes of invaders poured out of 14 school buses, up Baer’s steps, and onto his front porch. As bullhorns rattled with stories of debtor calls and foreclosed homes, Baer’s teenage son Jack, alone in the house, locked himself in the bathroom. “When are they going to leave?” Jack pleaded when I called to check on him.

President Obama, when he was still candidate Obama, stated proudly that he’d marched with SEIU. SEIU is considered a central part of today’s Democratic Party, as is the Sierra Club.

Altogether too often, the Democratic Party has turned a blind eye towards the Sierra Club or SEIU when they’ve condoned terrorizing private citizens. Altogether too often, they’ve essentially said that the ends justify the means. In the Democrats’ minds, evil is acceptable when it’s used to terrorize one of the Democrats’ boogeymen.

Terrorism, whether it’s used against Mark Maki or Greg Baer, isn’t acceptable. If the Democratic Party doesn’t want to be known as the party that condones terrorism, needs to start standing up to these terrorists. If they don’t, the Democratic Party should be known as the party that appeases terrorists.

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A loyal reader of LFR has sent me some hilarious fundraising emails from the Franken campaign. Here’s Sen. Franken’s latest fundraising appeal:

Can you hear that ominous buzzing sound? That’s Washington Republicans, planning their next attempt to hold our economic recovery hostage by playing political games with the debt ceiling.

In case you don’t remember the last manufactured crisis, Republicans threatened to refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless we agreed to their demands, meaning we could have defaulted on our national debt for the first time ever — causing a terrible economic crisis.

It was irresponsible. It was reckless. And now many seem willing to do it again.

Don’t let them. Click here to help me tell Republicans in Washington not to play games with the debt ceiling and threaten our economic recovery.

We don’t know what demands Republicans will come up with this time. And we only have one demand of our own: Do your job.

After all, Minnesotans are doing their part to bring our economy back from the recession. They’re working hard every day, opening small businesses, doing the things the middle class has always done to make our country stronger.

Now Washington has a job to do: make sure the full faith and credit of the United States remains strong. And refusing to do that job — playing political games with the debt ceiling — is downright dangerous.

We need to send a clear message to Washington Republicans: Don’t play games with the debt ceiling. Click here to sign my open letter.

Right now, Republicans in Washington are debating exactly which demands they want to make before they agree to do their job. And the buzz about another manufactured crisis is getting louder. That’s bad news for our economy.

So let’s drown out that buzz with a clear message of our own: Don’t play games. Do your job.

Click here to add your name!

Thanks for your help,


P.S.: Defaulting on our debt may sound like a boring bookkeeping term, but it would be an enormous economic disaster, one that economists say would cost us jobs and could put us into another recession. Don’t let Washington Republicans play games with this — it’s too important. Click here to sign my open letter!

This afternoon, the House passed a clean debt ceiling bill. Only 28 Republicans voted for it, including soon-to-be-former Speaker Boehner. It’s worth paying attention to the fact that Sen. Franken insists that the floundering economy is coming back.

That’s stunning because President Obama delayed the employer mandate a second time because he’s seen that it’s a job-killer that will cost lots of Democrats their jobs in the Senate next year.

Here’s another paranoid ranting from the Franken campaign:

In his recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove called me out personally and pointed to Minnesota as a possible pickup for Republicans this fall.

Karl Rove’s the puppet master of a few of those Citizens United-spawned special interest groups. In the 2012 elections, his Crossroads groups spent more than $176 million — mostly attacking candidates.

So you might understand why this shout out isn’t really a good thing in an election year.

If Karl Rove has Minnesota on his radar, we don’t have time to waste. We’ve got to be geared up and ready to fight back. This month, we need to hit $200,000 to fuel our grassroots efforts. Can you contribute $5?

It’s not like Karl Rove would be praising me for my work for Minnesota — protecting net neutrality, reversing the effects of Citizens United, fighting for Minnesota families.

I don’t work for the Karl Rove, special interest agenda. They’d rather see someone in this seat that’s more friendly to them. So they will attack and smear, lie and spend, to get one of their friends to replace me.

And that’s why I have you — my fantastic grassroots supporters — fighting back to make sure that strategy doesn’t work.

Help us hit our $200,000 goal this month. Be one of the first to give $5 now.

Thank you for your support.


P.S.: We need to show Karl Rove and all of the special interests that if you target Minnesota, you have to face us. Give $5 or more right now toward our $200,000 February goal.

This part was especially hilarious:

It’s not like Karl Rove would be praising me for my work for Minnesota, protecting net neutrality, reversing the effects of Citizens United, fighting for Minnesota families.

How many Minnesotans will head into the voting booth next November and exclaim ‘I’m voting for Al Franken because he protected net neutrality’? How many people will say ‘I’m voting for Franken because he’s for reversing the effects of Citizens United’?

Here’s another line worth laughing at:

I don’t work for the Karl Rove special interest agenda. They’d rather see someone in this seat that’s more friendly to them. So they will attack and smear, lie and spend, to get one of their friends to replace me.

I can’t deny that Franken doesn’t work for Karl Rove. I can’t deny that Franken works for the DFL’s anti-jobs special interests either. Notice how Franken hasn’t said a word about the Keystone XL Pipeline project. He hasn’t said a thing about the proposed PolyMet precious metals mining project in northeastern Minnesota either.

That’s because Sen. Franken is doing everything possible to say he’s a friend of union rank-and-file (he isn’t) without alienating the hardline environmentalists. He’s trying to maintain his support amongst these groups that hate each other. If Sen. Franken truly cared about the union rank-and-file, he’d fight to make PolyMet a reality. He isn’t doing that.

People know that I’m Karl Rove’s biggest fan. However, if given the choice between trusting Rove or Franken, that isn’t a difficult choice. Franken hasn’t done a thing to strengthen Minnesota’s economy. Franken’s focus has been on silencing President Obama’s opposition by having the IRS target conservative organizations that applied for tax exempt status. That’s what he meant when he said he’d worked on reversing the effects of Citizens United:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A group of seven Senate Democrats urged the Internal Revenue Service on Monday to impose a strict cap on the amount of political spending by tax-exempt, nonprofit groups.

The senators said the lack of clarity in the IRS rules has allowed political groups to improperly claim 501(c)4 status and may even be allowing donors to these groups to wrongly claim tax deductions for their contributions. The senators promised legislation if the IRS failed to act to fix these problems.

“We urge the IRS to take these steps immediately to prevent abuse of the tax code by political groups focused on federal election activities. But if the IRS is unable to issue administrative guidance in this area then we plan to introduce legislation to accomplish these important changes,” the senators wrote.

The letter was signed by Senators Charles E. Schumer, Michael Bennet, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeff Merkley, Tom Udall, Jeanne Shaheen and Al Franken. It follows an earlier letter, sent to the IRS by the same of group of senators last month, that also urged the IRS to better enforce rules pertaining to 501(c)4 organizations.

Sen. Franken teamed with Chuck Schumer, Michael Bennet, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeff Merkley, Tom Udall and Jeanne Shaheen in encouraging the IRS to intimidate the Democrats’ opponents.

There’s little question that the IRS targeted TEA Party activists and other conservative organizations. There’s no question that these senators intended conservative organization to be singled out for additional scrutiny.

Sen. Schumer is one of the nastiest partisans to ever serve in DC. He certainly isn’t calling for the targeting of hardline progressive organizations. That means Sen. Franken willfully signed onto silencing political speech he didn’t like.

Rather than supporting Sen. Franken, thoughtful Democrats who still believe in the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights should help boot him from office. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights is more important than electing a partisan for the long-term health of this great nation.

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This YTE from NukeWatch’s John LaForge starts with this disturbing information:

On Feb. 11, 1985, the cover editorial of Forbes magazine declared, “The failure of the US nuclear power program ranks as the largest managerial disaster in business history, a disaster on a monumental scale.”

Fourteen months later, Chernobyl’s reactor 4 in Ukraine exploded, burned for 40 days and spread radioactive fallout across the Northern Hemisphere, even contaminating Minnesota’s milk.

The likelihood of similar or worse reactor disasters was frankly admitted by Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) member James Asselstine, who testified to Congress that year: “We can expect to see a core meltdown accident within the next 20 years, and it … could result in off-site releases of radiation as large as or larger than the releases at Chernobyl.” Still, nuclear power was not phased out.

This alarmist rhetoric has a single purpose: creating fear amongst the people living near the Monticello Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). Predictably, that was quickly addressed in the YTE:

There are 23 Fukushima-like reactors, identical General Electric Mark-I boiling water reactors, operating in the United States. One is the 43-year-old Monticello unit, 28 miles southeast of St. Cloud.

In 2006, it was given permission to run 20 years past its 2010 licensed retirement date. License extensions like this are common, even though a June 2011 Associated Press investigation found that no U.S. reactor was designed to run more than 40 years.

In January 2007, decades of Monticello’s vibrations caused a 35,000-pound “control box” to break loose from steel I-beams and smash a large steam pipe below. The crash caused malfunctions inside the box that opened large valves in other steam pipes. The loss of pressure triggered a reactor shutdown.

If I listened to Mr. LaForge’s hysterical rantings, I’d conclude that Chernobyl resulted in a massive loss of life and catastrophic numbers of people who suffered tragic life-altering diseases. I don’t doubt that that’s what Mr. LaForge is hoping for.

Unfortunately, this official World Health Organization (WHO) report doesn’t corroborate Mr. LaForge’s hysterical rantings:

5 September 2005 | Geneva -A total of up to 4000 people could eventually die of radiation exposure from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) accident nearly 20 years ago, an international team of more than 100 scientists has concluded.

As of mid-2005, however, fewer than 50 deaths had been directly attributed to radiation from the disaster, almost all being highly exposed rescue workers, many who died within months of the accident but others who died as late as 2004.

The new numbers are presented in a landmark digest report, “Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts,” just released by the Chernobyl Forum. The digest, based on a three-volume, 600-page report and incorporating the work of hundreds of scientists, economists and health experts, assesses the 20-year impact of the largest nuclear accident in history. The Forum is made up of 8 UN specialized agencies, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), and the World Bank, as well as the governments of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

“This compilation of the latest research can help to settle the outstanding questions about how much death, disease and economic fallout really resulted from the Chernobyl accident,” explains Dr. Burton Bennett, chairman of the Chernobyl Forum and an authority on radiation effects. “The governments of the three most-affected countries have realized that they need to find a clear way forward, and that progress must be based on a sound consensus about environmental, health and economic consequences and some good advice and support from the international community.”

In other words, a tiny number of people died from the radiation. According to the WHO report, “almost all being highly exposed rescue workers, many who died within months of the accident.” In other words, Chernobyl’s most significant long-term effect has been its PR value to environmental activists who want to stop nuclear power generation. Chernobyl’s most significant long-term effect wasn’t on people’s health.

That’s stunning information.

The important thing to remember in all this is that nuclear reactor accidents haven’t caused many deaths. Movies predicting massive deaths are great theater but they aren’t based on historical facts. Put differently, they’re more about wild-eyed speculation by fearmongers like Mr. LaForge than they’re based on history. Keep that in mind the next time you see one of these frantic editorials.

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One thing that came through last night’s SOTU Address is that President Obama is feeling defeated. Here’s where that first appeared:

And in tight-knit communities across America, fathers and mothers will tuck in their kids, put an arm around their spouse, remember fallen comrades, and give thanks for being home from a war that, after twelve long years, is finally coming to an end.

Tonight, this chamber speaks with one voice to the people we represent: it is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong.

Conspicuously absent from that riff is a mention that we’re bringing troops home after defeating the terrorists. I wrote in 2006 that Democrats talked about ending the war, not defeating the terrorists. That hasn’t changed since the days that Code Pink ran the Democratic Party.

Conspicuously absent was talk that his policies had made life better for families. Families, he said, are what makes America strong. He didn’t say that his policies were strengthening America’s middle class. In fact, in the most bizarre riffs from a SOTU Address, he seemed to admit that his policies had failed:

Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all.

He’s been president for 5 years. The first budget Congress passed in 2009 was his economic blueprint. That President Obama is admitting that “wages have barely budged”, that “upward mobility has stalled” and that “too many still aren’t working” is a stunning, if inadvertent, admission. Couple that with Cathy McMorris-Rodgers’ statement that more people quit looking for work than there were jobs created last month and you’re starting to see that President Obama’s economic policies have failed.

The thing that’s keeping things going is the Federal Reserve pumping $1,000,000,000,000 of liquidity into the economy a year. That doesn’t have anything to do with President Obama’s policies. That means the economy is growing in spite of President Obama’s policies, not because of them.

This part was downright deceitful:

Now, one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy. The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades.

That’s shameful. Most of the growth in energy production have come on lands where federal permits aren’t needed. That’s indisputable fact. President Obama had as much to do with the Bakken explosion and the natural gas rejuvenation in Ohio and Pennsylvania as Al Gore had to do with creating the internet. That being said, President Obama is totally to blame for the EPA killing coal-mining jobs in West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana.

Arrogant Barry showed up to make this declaration:

Now, I don’t expect to convince my Republican friends on the merits of this law. But I know that the American people aren’t interested in refighting old battles. So again, if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, and increase choice – tell America what you’d do differently. Let’s see if the numbers add up. But let’s not have another forty-something votes to repeal a law that’s already helping millions of Americans like Amanda. The first forty were plenty. We got it. We all owe it to the American people to say what we’re for, not just what we’re against.

What’s disappointing is that Arrogant Barry didn’t even admit that 3 Republican senators, Burr, Coburn and Hatch, have submitted a bill that says what Republicans are for. In fact, Jay Carney dismissed it outright on Monday.

Another thing that’s disappointing is that President Obama insists on listening to the American people…when they agree with him. If they don’t agree with him, then he won’t hesitate in ignoring them. The American people have been saying with a passionate, consistent voice that they don’t like the Anything But Affordable Care Act. They like the provision that prevents people from not getting insurance if they have a pre-existing condition. They like keeping their childen on their health insurance policy until they’re age 26. They like not having lifetime caps.

After that, they’d cheerfully applaud seeing the Anything But Affordable Care Act disappear.

Last night’s address was painful to watch for a bunch of reasons. First, it was painful to watch President Obama take credit for the oil and natural gas booms that happened because they didn’t have to deal with the federal government. Next, it was painful because President Obama sounded like a dejected, defeated man last night. Finally, it was painful because Republican governors, not President Obama, are making things work.

It’ll be nice when one of those talented Republican governors gives the SOTU in 2017. That can’t arrive soon enough.

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World famous explorer Will Steger has joined forces with the Sierra Club and local environmental extremists in their attempt to shut down the Becker power plant, aka Sherco 1-2:

Regulators want to hear what ­citizens think about Xcel Energy’s giant coal-fired power plant in Becker, Minn.

As long as they keep it to three minutes.

As a courtesy to prominent climate activists, the state Public Utilities Commission has set aside time at its Dec. 5 meeting to hear their views on a procedural matter with implications for the future of coal-based electricity in Minnesota.

Polar explorer Will ­Steger and St. Paul attorney Barbara Freese, author of “Coal: A Human History,” are among the activists who want ­regulators to consider shutting down the two oldest coal units at Xcel’s Sherco power plant by the end of the decade.

What these militant environmentalists want, though they won’t admit it, are high-priced electricity. They’re also pushing for Minnesota to rely on unreliable energy sources:

Minnesota is on the road to a clean energy future. Our state is on track to get 25 percent of our energy from renewable sources by 2025, and this year Minnesota established solar policies that will mean 34 times more solar in 2020 than today.

That’s just part of the Sierra Club’s agenda. They also want to eliminate natural gas:

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.

That’s an important part of the Sierra Club’s agenda but there’s more to it:

Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic. The Beyond Nuclear team works with diverse partners and allies to provide the public, government officials, and the media with the critical information necessary to move humanity toward a world beyond nuclear.

That’s right. The Sierra Club, which is the driving force behind shutting down Sherco, essentially wants to eliminate the most reliable forms of energy. Their goal is to replace these reliable energy sources with unreliable energy sources.

There’s nothing centrist about these activists. Solar and other forms of renewable energy aren’t just unreliable. They’re expensive, too. That’s what President Obama meant when he said that, under his cap & trade plan, electricity prices would “necessarily skyrocket.” If cap & trade were implemented, the only types of electricity-producing energy would be solar and wind, which are extremely expensive and unreliable.

Simply put, the Next Generation Energy Act should be repealed and Beyond Coal’s petition be ignored. The Sierra Club isn’t a centrist organization. It’s a militant environmentalist organization that’s skilled at putting on a centrist show to promote their extremist agenda.

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One of my weekly highlights is reading Glenn Reynolds’ columns for USA Today. This week’s column focuses on “the America that works”:

Thanks to the fracking revolution, the air is cleaner, gas is cheaper, and petro-state dictatorships have less geopolitical influence. But this happened not as a result of some big-government program, but as the result of individuals staking their lives and fortunes on a risky venture, one that, as Zuckerman notes, made some rich but left others near bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, the America that destroys wealth keeps plodding along, doing what it ‘does best’:

The America that doesn’t work was very much in evidence this past week, as the Obamacare roll out continued to be — in Democratic Sen. Max Baucus’ memorable phrase — a “train wreck.”

I’d add that isn’t the only example of government sloth destroying wealth. Last week, I wrote that MnSure, Minnesota’s state-run health insurance exchange, is the first website that gets weekends and holidays off:

Service Notice

The Contact Center is closed today, Veterans Day. In addition, federal account and application services are undergoing maintenance and are unavailable, 8 pm Saturday – 6:30 am Tuesday. You can still view plans.

I told Ox about this, too:

Seriously? I just tried to login to the site to view and apply for plans at 10:33 pm on Saturday, Nov 9, 2013 and I got this message:

the system is available monday through saturday, 6 am to 10 pm please visit us during those hours to apply and enroll Thank you for your interest in MNsure

Thanks to the fracking revolution, America is inching closer to energy independance that doesn’t rely on Middle East tyrants. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, Americans a) will pay higher premiums at a time when we’re becoming a Part-Time nation, b) will have fewer choices for health care, c) won’t always be able to keep the doctor or team of doctors treating them for cancer and d) will have to worry about doctor shortages.

Neither the state or federal government has the requisite skills to run health insurance exchanges. There’s plenty of proof that they’re pretty much worthless at it.

Thanks to the government’s failed attempt to get running, a new poll out today shows that, if the 2012 election were held today, Mitt Romney would defeat President Obama:

As more bad poll numbers continue to pour in for President Barack Obama, a new survey finds that if the 2012 election matchup were held this month, Mitt Romney would hold the edge with the voters.

Romney topped Obama 49 percent to 45 percent among registered voters in the Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday. Among all Americans, the 2012 rivals would be tied, at 47 percent.

I think that signals the end of the HopeyChangey Express. I think it might also signal the start of President Obama’s lame duck status.

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Rep. Jim Newberger’s op-ed in this morning’s St. Cloud Times highlights how out-of-state special interests, with allies within Minnesota, want to make electricity more expensive and less abundant. Rep. Newberger’s op-ed highlights the lies the Sierra Club is willing to tell to get their way:

First, the Sherco power plant is not “dirty,” nor does it produce “slime” as recent Times submissions have opined. I have lived 1 mile downwind from the Sherco plant since 1998. Every morning, I look out my window and see the plant. I have never seen plumes of black smoke coming out of four smoke stacks, as portrayed in some of the environmentalists’ propaganda.

The truth is Sherco has two stacks and the color of the “smoke” is clear white. And I have yet to find “slime” in my yard,or on my car or home.

Second, Sherco meets the strict federal standards for clean air and will be spending millions to make its operation even cleaner.

The Sierra Clubs’ lies aren’t surprising considering the Sierra Club’s agenda:

Our goals include:

  • Retiring one-third of the nation’s more than 500 coal plants by 2020
  • Replacing the majority of retired coal plants with clean energy solutions such as wind, solar, and geothermal
  • Keeping coal in the ground in places like Appalachia and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin

In short, the Sierra Club’s goal is to take America back to the stone ages. Wind, solar and geothermal aren’t capable of replacing coal. What’s worse is that that’s just the tip of the Sierra Club’s anti-civilization agenda:

“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

These nutjobs think that natural gas isn’t clean enough? That’s insane. Let’s remember that the Sierra Club passionately opposed the building of the Alaskan Pipeline in the 60′s and 70′s. Back then, the Sierra Club’s president wrote an op-ed in Outdoor Life. In his op-ed, the Sierra Club president predicted doom and gloom for the Barrows Caribou, stating the Pipeline would forever disrupt the Barrows Caribou’s migration routes. “And for what?”, the Sierra Club president asked. “For a few years worth of oil?”

These environutters’ predictions have consistently missed their mark. In fact, they’ve missed to such an extent that it’s impossible to take them seriously. The Sierra Club’s latest campaigns are just the latest campaign against modernity.

Finally, what’s worst is that they can’t prove their accusations. The people making the accusations aren’t scientists. The vast majority of the executive board for the North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club are nothing more than activists. John Hottinger used to be the Senate Majority Leader. Several executive committee members are from the Blue Green Alliance. Javier Morillo-Alicea is the president of SEIU Local 26.

In other words, the Sierra Club’s executive committee is filled with progressive activists. Their expertise on the environment is nonexistant. If reporters did their jobs, these activists/faux experts wouldn’t have any credibility.

What they’re experts at, though, is organizing campaigns. That’s their specialty. It’s foolish to let these faux experts set environmental policy. I’m confident that, if questioned by a real expert, like Mike Beard, these Sierra Club Executive Committee members probably couldn’t speak beyond their chanting points.

The best thing for conservatives to do is a) expose these political activists for the frauds they are, b) write frequently about these activists’ anti-jobs, anti-middle class agenda and c) get politically active by commenting on regulations when regulatory agencies open themselves for comments.

Just complaining about these environmental extremists isn’t sufficient. Defeating them is the only acceptable response. If conservatives do their due diligence, they’ll defeat these anti-jobs activists. If conservatives leave the battlefield unattended, they’ll lose. Worst of all, families will lose. The DFL, the Sierra Club and their allies want high energy prices.

It’s time to win this fight.

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