Minnesota ought to resist stress from the North Dakota coal foyer to weaken local weather laws

Innovation breeds resistance, and whereas the Minnesota Legislature works to set our state on an formidable new course towards 100% clear vitality, our neighbors in North Dakota are doing their greatest to muddy the waters.

The so-called “Coalition for a Safe Power Future” kicked off with the beginning of Minnesota’s new legislative session, releasing opinion items urging Minnesotans to contemplate that our carbon-free vitality objectives could be greatest served by increasing our definition of carbon-free to incorporate vitality sources like … coal.

Based on their opinion signature, the Coalition for a Safe Power Future is a “nonprofit working to make sure reasonably priced, dependable vitality for Minnesotans.” However peeling again the layers of the Coalition’s id reveals a deep connection to the dirtiest of all fossil fuels — coal. Regardless of this, a clear vitality future powered by coal doesn’t exist. On their web site, the coalition reveals that they’re a “undertaking of the Lignite Power Council,” a coal trade lobbying group primarily based in North Dakota that has boasted prior to now of its profitable interventions for block earlier iterations of Minnesota’s 100% clear vitality plans. The coalition additionally acquired hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in funding from the North Dakota Industrial Fee, a company staffed by the state’s governor, lawyer normal and agriculture commissioner, a bunch of individuals looking for one of the best pursuits of North Dakota, not Minnesota.

That the coalition’s supporters really feel the necessity to cowl their lobbying efforts with a skinny veneer of Minnesota authenticity — hiring a Minnesota PR skilled to signal their opinions and function their “government director,” the one worker listed on their web site — says one thing. about how a lot North Dakota feels their pursuits are affected by Minnesota’s selections in terms of vitality.

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Making a full shift to renewable energies would profit Minnesotans in nearly each manner. The advantages of applied sciences resembling wind and photo voltaic transcend local weather, providing Minnesota cleaner air and improved well being, with electrical energy that isn’t solely. extra reasonably pricedhowever extra dependable in a disaster: when extreme winter climate in 2021 hit energy technology throughout the nation inflicting blackouts for hundreds of thousands, 73% of the misplaced generator capability got here from coal and methane crops.

Minnesota has no fossil gasoline reserves or manufacturing to talk of, which means that many of the jobs created by our vitality consumption don’t stay in our state and as an alternative profit economies of different states like North Dakota, a pattern that home renewable vitality. economic system may begin to reverse.

It’s clear that our neighbors in North Dakota are preventing to forestall Minnesota from calculating our personal vitality future. In 2020 Minnesota-based Nice River Power tried to shut Coal Creek Station, a failing coal-fired energy plant that had price the electrical cooperative’s member house owners an estimated $170 million the yr earlier than. Officers in McLean County, North Dakota, the place the station is positioned, responded by threatening to have the state attorneys nuke all renewable vitality leases within the space, successfully holding hostage a high-voltage energy line carrying energy from Coal Creek to the Twin Cities 436 miles. away At a time when electrical energy transmission is maybe the number one barrier to electrification of our economic system the message to Nice River Power was clear: The road could be used for coal, or for nothing.

Duane Ninneman

The technique of the Lignite Council right here is confirmed: purchase mates, masks your pursuits, misrepresent the information and do something to purchase a little bit extra time for the dying coal trade. Fossil gasoline pursuits have been utilizing the identical playbook for many years, ever since they buried the analysis of their very own scientists with hiding proof of local weather change from the general public. After this hoax acquired out, they labored to delay the clear vitality transition in any manner they might – discrediting science, blocking options and asking us to consider in an alternate actuality of “clear coal” during which there isn’t any carbon seize. prohibitively costly and the place fossil fuels have been our clear vitality answer all alongside.

Renewable vitality, not fossil fuels, is Minnesota’s manner ahead, benefiting our wallets and well being in addition to our local weather. We welcome an knowledgeable and trustworthy debate about how the whole area can prosper going ahead, however that doesn’t embrace covert interference and veiled threats. That is an uncomfortable fact for North Dakota’s outdated soiled vitality economic system, however Minnesota has to do what’s greatest for Minnesota—and which means passing the 100% Clear Power invoice (HF 7 / SF 4) now.

Duane Ninneman is Govt Director of CURE, a nonprofit group primarily based in Montevideo, MN that works to maneuver individuals to motion and construct energy inside rural communities.

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