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Don Davis’s article puts forth an interesting question with multiple ramifications. In the article, Davis wrote “On Tuesday night, Feb. 6, Democratic precinct caucus attenders in the 8th favored State Auditor Otto 1,072 to 729 in a governor race straw poll. It may have been the only congressional district U.S. Rep. Tim Walz did not win in his effort to become governor (the party reported Friday with most, but not all, votes counted that Walz led Otto by three votes in the 6th District, in the northern Twin Cities suburbs and northwest to St. Cloud). From all accounts, many of the DFL caucus sites were heavy with environmentalists who backed Otto. The same type of liberal may not be as happy with Nolan, who supports mining in the district.”

Had he not retired, Nolan would’ve faced a primary challenge from Leah Phifer. It’s clear from Ms. Phifer’s environment page that she’s a hardline environmentalist. It says “Minnesota has a complex, layered practice of permitting and protections designed to safeguard the public, the economy, and the environment. It is a process of which Minnesotans should be proud and one that Leah will fight to protect. Similarly, the federal government has due process – a system built upon three coequal branches that provide checks and balances to one another, protecting citizens from exploitation and unfair application of our laws. Leah has seen the crucial importance of due process throughout her career and opposes the use of legislative power to circumvent the role of the judicial or executive branches.”

It then continues, saying:

For these reasons, Leah opposes H.R. 3115, a bill that passed the U.S. House in early December 2017 to push through a land swap needed for the completion of the PolyMet mine in Hoyt Lakes. Enacting this legislation will void four pending lawsuits on the matter, preventing Minnesotans from questioning the legality of the land swap and eliminating the judicial branch’s role. Leah also opposes the MINER Act (HR 3905), which will prevent the completion of a two-year Forest Service study related to economic and environmental issues associated with mining near the Boundary Waters. It also designates Minnesota as the only state in the nation unworthy of public lands protections, requiring Congressional intervention into decisions regarding public lands in Minnesota. Leah believes politicians should not use their legislative power to place their thumbs on the scales of these important projects, as it prevents the regulatory process from working as intended and erodes our system of due process. She will fight to preserve Minnesotan’s trust in our procedural systems and work with all Minnesotans to build a strong, sustainable economy for many years to come.

Pipeline Removal

Minnesota has two petroleum refineries and an extensive system of pipelines transporting crude oil and refined petroleum across the state. Some of these pipelines contain deteriorating infrastructure, causing companies to seek their replacement. Leah supports exercising corporate responsibility through the removal of decommissioned pipelines where appropriate and requested by landowners. In addition to respecting individual property rights, such removal could have significant positive impacts on Northern Minnesota’s economy. A current proposal for the removal of Enbridge’s Line 3 has the potential to create 8,000 jobs and a inject over a billion dollars into the local economy. Furthermore, Leah will ensure discussion surrounding pipelines includes and respects Native American voices, a community that is disproportionately affected by the location of these pipeline routes.

Phifer doesn’t support rebuilding the Line3 Pipeline. She supports decommissioning and tearing out the Line3 Pipeline. Then, to throw a little pandering into her politicking, she said “Leah will ensure discussion surrounding pipelines includes and respects Native American voices, a community that is disproportionately affected by the location of these pipeline routes.”

I’ll expand on Ms. Phifer’s campaign later today.

One of my favorite things to read each week is Harold Hamilton’s Friday commentary. Suffice it to say that Hamilton isn’t into repeating conventional wisdom mumbo jumbo. This week, Hamilton devoted a portion of this week’s commentary to a section titled “The DFL crack up.” The important point that Hamilton highlighted was a quote from Ann Manning, identified as “the director of Women’s Congress for Future Generations and associate director of the Science & Environmental Health Network.” Manning is quoted as saying “The workers have no connection to the community, get paid large sums of money and have little to do in their free time. Some will bring trouble, attracting the drug trade, sex trafficking or both. They will pollute the land by day, and women and children by night.”

Right before that, Hamilton wrote “The second example comes from the pen of Ann Manning, who wrote a scathing hit piece on construction trade workers this week, warning that pipeline work inevitable invites violent crime, as she believes these workers to be violent criminals inclined to engage in drug use and sexual assault.”

It isn’t just Hillary Clinton that thinks blue collar workers are deplorables. It’s painfully obvious that Ms. Manning thinks blue collar workers are deplorables, too. The DFL, like the Democratic Party nationally, is turning into an elitist party.

One of the things blue collar workers should learn from my previous post about refugee resettlement is that the Democrats’ policies are making income inequality worse because the Democrats’ policies are hurting the middle class. The DFL hasn’t implemented pro-growth tax and regulatory policies that help the middle class thrive. Instead, the DFL has been the anti-mining, anti-pipeline political party. With policies that eliminate high-paying blue collar jobs or, at minimum, make them virtually impossible to find, Democrats have made life difficult for the middle class and the blue collar workers.

This year, when people see that their paychecks are bigger as a result of the Trump/GOP tax cuts and that the DFL is still the anti-mining political party, it won’t take a genius to figure out that Republicans will fight for blue collar construction jobs, mining jobs and middle class tax cuts. It won’t take a genius because Republicans have been fighting for those things the last 5+ years. Check out this video, then ask yourself if Ms. Manning sounds like a mainstream type of person:

If that’s your definition of mainstream, I suspect that you think Howard Dean is a little too moderate for your liking.

The DFL has sold out to the environmental activists. It’s taken awhile but the DFL’s anti-mining policies have turned miners off. The most underreported story in Minnesota politics is that the DFL split on mining/the environment isn’t subsiding. It’s getting bigger.

This past fall, I wrote a ton of articles about the importance of building or replacing the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline. I wish I’d had this information when I wrote those articles.

First, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been good friends with Terry Stone for quite some time. He’s a top researcher and writer. When it comes to energy and transportation issues, Terry’s on a par with Mike Beard and other expert former legislators. Simply put, when Terry talks about transportation or energy, I listen.

One of the first things that caught my attention was when Terry wrote “Moving oil by train can have consequences to human life that are almost never seen in pipelines. A 2013 crash of 72 oil cars in Quebec left 47 dead.
Moving oil by barge or tanker ship can be costly to clean up if something goes wrong and is environmentally unattractive. The total cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill ended up costing $630 per gallon. The average cost of an oil-spill cleanup in the U.S. is $18.11 per gallon. Pipeline spills cost even less because they are not typically driven miles by wind, and they don’t kill clusters of riparian marine life. Pipeline leaks are small, fast to find, and seldom involve a risk to human life.”

Here’s a question for the environmentalists that sit on the board of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that they won’t like: why are you opposed to efficiently transporting oil from the well to the refinery? Anything other than ratifying the Line 3 replacement is unacceptable. We don’t need to figure out whether the additional crude oil is needed. It is, especially with a growing economy. These statistics definitely caught my attention:

We have been hearing a lot about oil-train derailments, crashes, and fires since 2013. This is because from 2009 to 2012 the volume of oil shipped by rail increased from 11,000 to 230,000 railcars — up 2,200 percent. According to Forbes, more crude was spilled from rail cars in 2013 than in all the 37 previous years combined.

That’s astonishing. What’s the environmentalists’ argument for saying no to replacing the Line 3 pipeline? It certainly can’t be to protect the environment. That ‘ship’ sailed with these statistics. These statistics, too:

According to Enbridge, the replaced pipeline will be able to take 10,000 rail cars off the tracks or 24,000 tanker trucks off the highways — daily. Enbridge is a bit generous with its figures. Actually, since both the trains of railcars and the trucks hauling oil need to drive back across the country empty, burning diesel, the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project would equal a total of 20,000 rail cars off the road daily or 48,000 tanker trucks daily. That should sound like Christmas every day to every environmentalist.

Do environmentalists think that we’ll replace fossil fuels sometime soon? If they’re thinking that, they’d better find better researchers. Further, with technology improving virtually monthly, there’s no reason to think that fossil fuels won’t become cleaner, more efficient and more reliable.

We won’t stop using fossil fuels anytime soon so the environmentalists should just deal with that fact. Next, the environmentalists should accept the fact that pipelines will be a necessity for at least the next 20-30 years. Hating fossil fuels won’t make the pipelines disappear. It’s time to put an end to this stupidity:

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Liz Mair’s article strongly hints that the DFL would hold Sen. Franken’s seat if Sen. Franken resigned as a result of this ethics scandal. In her article, Mair wrote “It just so happens that Minnesota has a lot of Democratic women who could make for viable Franken replacements; at least six, depending on who you ask. One is Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. Another is Attorney General Lori Swanson. A third is State Auditor Rebecca Otto. A fourth is state House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman. A fifth is Rep. Betty McCollum. And a sixth is former state House Majority Leader Erin Murphy.”

Mair isn’t wrong that each of these women would be viable candidates in the eyes of DFL activists. The thing that Ms. Mair is missing is the fact that these candidates have in common is that they’re from the Metro. In the eyes of rural Minnesota, especially the Iron Range, these women would be rejected like Hillary was rejected. In fact, I’d posit that they’d get rejected worse than Hillary was in 2016.

Trump won the Eighth District with 53.76% of the vote to Hillary’s 38.27%. None of these candidates would do that well on the Range. Further, most of these candidates favor single-payer health care.

Meanwhile, Republicans have 2 candidates that would be able to run well in the suburbs, the exurbs & rural Minnesota. If Stewart Mills or Kurt Daudt were to run, they’d be favored because they both support the Iron Range, they both support the construction unions and they’re both seen as sensible policymakers.

The DFL’s biggest problem is that they’re the urban party, which helped them win statewide races in the past. That’s coming to an end because farmers and unions are abandoning the DFL because of the DFL’s hostility towards building pipelines, approving mining projects and Gov. Dayton’s hostility towards farmers. The sad part for the DFL is that Gov. Dayton is sensible compared with the 6 ladies mentioned earlier.

If Sen. Franken resigns, which looks more possible each week, Gov. Dayton will have a difficult decision. It’ll take quite a bit to wash the bitter taste of Sen. Franken out of people’s mouth:

At the end of the day, I’d put the DFL’s chances of holding Sen. Franken’s seat as a toss-up.

Dan Fabian’s LTE highlights the difference between the DFL and the GOP. Rep. Fabian stated “Too many members of the DFL Party, nearly all of whom reside hundreds of miles from the Line 3 project, are opposed to the project, even if it meets all regulatory requirements.” Later in the LTE, Rep. Fabian said “Republicans are unified in support of replacing this aging oil pipeline.” That’s indisputable. Republicans overwhelmingly support these types of infrastructure projects because it strengthens the economy. The DFL, meanwhile, love ‘infrastructure’ projects that further their social engineering agenda. Think SWLRT.

Possibly the best paragraph of Rep. Fabian’s LTE is where he wrote “In addition to decisive support for the project, Republicans recently delivered common-sense reforms for the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, clarified the appeals process for permits to mine, developed the ATV trail system for outdoor enthusiasts and tourism, and provided significant tax relief to middle-class families and workers.”

Hooray! Republicans everywhere need to adopt this model ASAP. Rep. Fabian told voters what he’s for. Rep. Fabian listed the Republican Party’s accomplishments, too. Rep. Fabian told people that his focus was on making their lives better. Reforming the IRRRB is a positive step that’s long overdue.

Republicans have demonstrated strong support for policies that will help grow the economy, boost good-paying jobs, and ensure the long-term sustainability of communities in northern Minnesota.

This is something for Republicans to be fired up about. If Republicans highlight their positive agenda and a strong pro-growth gubernatorial candidate, they can accomplish something that wasn’t believed possible 10 years ago: unified Republican governance in Minnesota.

It’s time to stop settling for watered-down Bernie Sanders policies. It’s time to sell full-throated Kemp-Reagan optimistic capitalism. We didn’t worry about income inequality during the Reagan years because people were prospering. The BS that Bernie Sanders and Rebecca Otto are peddling is essentially ‘life-isn’t-fair-economics’.

Rep. Fabian did Republicans a great service by writing this LTE. It’s what Republicans should run on in 2018.

A trip to the Walz-Flanagan campaign website exposes the DFL’s lack of an economic message. Their campaign website doesn’t have an issues page, which is telling. On its homepage, it has a tiny portion of the page dedicated to explain why they’re running. That portion of the page says “running for Governor and Lieutenant Governor to make our vision of One Minnesota a reality. We are united in this vision: A Minnesota where every child has the opportunity to succeed and hope for the future, a Minnesota where the people whose lives are most impacted by public policy choices have a seat at the table, a Minnesota with fair wages, fully funded public schools, and affordable healthcare as a right, not a privilege and a Minnesota where we protect our environment, invest in renewable energy and jobs, and maintain our roads, bridges, and transit across the state. We want to bring this vision to the governor’s office and support the Minnesota we know and love.”

In other words, they’re running for Gov. Dayton’s third term. They’re running without explaining what economic goals they’ll fight for.

A quick view of Paul Thissen’s website doesn’t lay out a vision for Minnesota’s economy, either. It talks about how the Supreme Court should protect labor unions. It talks briefly how we should implement single-payer health care statewide. Thissen talks about legalizing marijuana, too. There isn’t anything in that pile of words that sounds like he has a clue about capitalism. Then again, his legislative record hasn’t shown him to have a clue about creating high-paying middle class jobs so we shouldn’t be surprised.

Erin Murphy’s campaign website has a ‘Why I’m Running‘ page but it doesn’t have an issues page, much less an explanation of what economic policies she’d implement.

Of the 4 DFL gubernatorial candidates’ websites that I visited, only Rebecca Otto talked about the economy. Even then, she only spoke about raising the minimum wage:

Across her statewide listening tour Rebecca met hard-working people who are under-compensated, making it hard to make ends meet. This is hurting our families, our communities, and our way of life. Rebecca Otto supports increasing the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation. She will also be releasing an economic plan that will help increase wages across the state.

There’s nothing on any of these candidates’ websites that talks about infrastructure, especially pipelines. Why is that? Is it because the DFL’s special interest masters won’t let them support legitimate projects that create middle class wages? Is it because the DFL doesn’t think that fossil fuels will play an important part in our economy?

Finally, it’s apparent that the DFL doesn’t understand capitalism whatsoever. This morning on At Issue with Tom Hauser, Katharine Tinucci said that cutting the corporate tax rate won’t create jobs because “the rich” won’t invest the money. What an idiot. What wealthy people want most is more money. The best way to get wealthier is by investing that money.

Isn’t it apparent that the DFL doesn’t understand human nature?

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The thing I hate about LTEs like this one is what they omit. The writer of this LTE talks about 3 pipelines that he lives by, saying “I live by three ‘pipelines.’ The first most folks know as U.S. Highway 10. It carries a ton of traffic, especially on weekends, enabling thousands bent on enjoying what Northern Minnesota has to offer. It has a huge economic impact. According to the U of MN Extension Service, the combined travel and tourism annual revenues from June of 2007 to May of 2008 in Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, and Hubbard counties alone amounted to $713,699,246 and the state realized $326,376,889 in state revenues.” Having lived my entire life within a mile of Highway 10, I can’t dispute that lots of tourists use Highway 10. Having said that, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Highway 10 also is used by tons of truckers bringing tons of products to the Twin Cities and beyond.

FYI- I-94 is used more for transporting products to market. One of the products delivered on I-94 and Highway 10 is crude oil. Those highways deliver product to the refineries Flint Hills Resources in Rosemount, MN. It’s idiotic to think that stopping the pipeline will cause oil companies to take those wells out of production. That isn’t happening, which means that oil will be transported by a less safe way.

Which brings me to the third “pipeline” that I live by, the Mississippi River. The Enbridge pipeline will cross it twice. Can you imagine what impact a spill would have on the 1.8 million people who rely on it for clean drinking water?

This zealot thinks that technology doesn’t exist. Either that or he thinks that oil companies can’t wait to pollute. Either way, this zealot apparently isn’t in touch with reality.

If the environmentalists stop this pipeline, the DFL will be hurt politically for a generation. They will have stabbed the DFL’s blue collar base in the back for the umpteenth time. The DFL will have looked the other way for the umpteenth time, too. Then the DFL will try to win back their votes by expressing solidarity for working families’, many of whom won’t be employed thanks to the DFL’s pandering to the environmentalists.

Here’s hoping the environmentalists will enjoy working with GOP majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate and a reform-minded GOP governor.

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Last week, Gov. Dayton announced that he’s finally supporting the PolyMet precious metals project. In this post, I wrote “Why should Rangers tolerate a regulatory system that’s this convoluted? How many studies are enough? How many hearings need to be held? Chip Cravaack tried getting this pushed through when he was in office. He was elected in 2010, the same election that gave us Gov. Dayton. It’s clear that Gov. Dayton hasn’t jettisoned the environmentalists. He’s still siding with the environmentalists on Twin Metals and the Line 3 Pipeline project.”

Speaking of the Line 3 Pipeline project, Rep. Matt Grossell, Rep. Sandy Layman, Rep. Matt Bliss, Rep. Dale Lueck, Rep. Debra Kiel, Sen. Justin Eichorn and Sen. Paul Utke wrote a letter to Gov. Dayton. Their letter’s opening paragraph says “The proposed Line 3 Replacement Project (L3R) is a vital energy infrastructure project for Minnesota and the region that will generate more than $3 billion in private investment. It will create thousands of good-paying construction jobs and provide millions in much-needed tax revenue to local governments in our districts and our region.” Follow this link to read the entire letter.

It isn’t likely that Gov. Dayton will back off. His Commerce Department testified that (a) the L3R isn’t required and (b) the existing pipeline should be shut down. That’s the public part of Gov. Dayton’s policy. That doesn’t mean, though, that he doesn’t see the political difficulties and complexities this might cause the DFL.

Yesterday on @Issue with Tom Hauser, former DFL Chair Brian Melendez said that Gov. Dayton allegedly told environmentalists ‘Good luck with the Republican governor in 2019′, implying that the environmental activists’ demands will hurt the DFL in 2018.

This video is part of the reason why Gov. Dayton won’t abandon environmental activists:

The truth is that Gov. Dayton and the DFL aren’t consistent with their beliefs. First, they’re constantly talking about the importance of infrastructure projects. When this infrastructure project was proposed, though, they ran from it like it was toxic waste. Finally, the DFL is constantly pushing bonding bills as their annual “jobs bill”. This pipeline project is the size of three bonding bills.

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Forgive me if I’m more than a little skeptical that Gov. Dayton’s sudden support of PolyMet is sincere. First, Gov. Dayton said “Nothing of that magnitude is risk free but I think it’s a risk worth taking and I support the project. But they still have to meet the environmental permitting requirements.” Nothing has changed in the sense that PolyMet always would have to meet the standards set out in Minnesota law.

Further, I’m suspicious of his statement because it comes so close to Bill Hanna’s statement that “the days of blind Range voting allegiance to the DFL Party are history. Consider this: State Sen. David Tomassoni’s district is in the heart of DFL country. Yet, it was carried by Republican Donald Trump not Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. That reflects a troubling trend for the DFL and rural Minnesota, according to Tomassoni. There were 21 rural DFL senators in the Legislature in 2009. Now there are seven, he said.”

The true test of whether Gov. Dayton has changed is whether he’ll support the Line 3 Pipeline project. It, too, would have to meet stringent environmental requirements. If Gov. Dayton doesn’t support the Line 3 Pipeline project, we’ll know that his support for PolyMet isn’t sincere.

This is utterly laughable:

The project has been studied for more than a decade and is still undergoing scrutiny. Dayton’s declaration that he supports the project does not negate or short-circuit that ongoing permitting examination. Several state agencies are currently examining the proposed mine.

“I don’t interfere with those determinations,” Dayton said.

Gov. Dayton, you don’t have to “interfere” in the process because you’ve stacked the regulating agencies with hard-core environmental activists who will do your dirty work. That’s if it gets that far. This chart explains the permitting process:

The next step in the process is to have Native Americans review the process. Let’s just say that I’m not betting they’ll approve the project. If they can’t get past that, the project suffers another expensive, time-wasting major setback.

Forgive me if I think that the DFL politician who negotiated this year’s budget deal in bad faith isn’t acting in good faith now. This is telling:

And the two sides are further and further apart on that project and on the proposed Enbridge oil pipeline, creating a tinderbox of emotion. “If I had a magic wand I would bring folks together,” he said. “I don’t see the middle ground on either one.”

Gov. Dayton, often, there isn’t middle ground. Often, it just requires a leader to make a decision. It’s apparent that you aren’t that leader.

After last week’s fiasco in Duluth, in which protestors shut down public testimony on the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline project, St. Cloud officials exercised caution for Thursday’s planned testimony for the Public Utilities Commission. In the end, Mayor Kleis opted to not hold the hearing. That means the anti-pipeline protestors have won a victory just by threatening a hearing.

St. Cloud Mayor Kleis explained his thinking for shutting down the event, saying “Based on the size of the event and some of the challenges at previous meetings, there’s a cost. The costs have to be met and a plan needs to be in place that meets the public safety needs based on the assessment that our police give us. For Thursday night, based on the crowd (expected) and other use of the facility, the venue would be problematic unless they can meet those demands. It’s their choice to make, but we need to make sure the public and taxpayers are safe.”

Minnesota Petroleum Council Executive Director Erin Roth issued a statement Wednesday night, saying “There’s no doubt that today’s decision to cancel the public meeting on Line 3 is disappointing. What’s worse is that communities are put in this position by highly coordinated protest activities that actively obstruct civil discourse, stifle free speech, and disrespect those in attendance who are there to respectfully voice their opinion. Minnesotans deserve an open and transparent process that examines this important infrastructure project and the benefits that would come from it.”

Last week, anti-pipeline thugs stopped a public hearing in Duluth’s Entertainment & Convention Center, aka the DECC. (I wrote about that event here.) These thugs’ intent is to silence anyone who doesn’t agree with them. This paragraph sums everything up perfectly:

Proponents say the line is an essential piece of infrastructure for petroleum shippers and refineries in the region. Opponents say the pipeline won’t benefit Minnesota, and that it threatens Minnesota’s watershed and the Mississippi River headwaters.

I’ve heard the environmental terrorists’ predictions for 40+ years. They’ve been off by incredible amounts each time they’ve made a prediction. When the Sierra Club opposed the Alaskan Pipeline, the Sierra Club said that North Slope and Prudhoe Bay would pump oil for 4-5 years. The pipeline opened in 1977. It’s still transporting oil in 2017.

Here’s what the approval process has looked like for Enbridge:

Everything is wrong with that picture.