Photo: Coal piled up at the Sherco coal-fired power plant near Becker. Via Pioneer Press

MN House Coal Caucus votes to keep bill about air pollution away from environment committee

It’s the sort of post-moronic (and moneyed) politics Bluestem has come to expect from Speaker Daudt’s majority, foreshadowed by the leader’s removal of “Energy” from the Environmental and Natural Resources committee to team it up with “Jobs.”In Tuesday’s floor session, Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources minority lead Rick Hansen ( DFL-South St. Paul) moved to have HF333 pulled from the House Ways and Means Committee and sent to the Environment Committee.HF333, a bill that would require legislative approval of a state plan to comply with federal regulations regarding emissions from existing power plants, would be paid for by the state’s environmental fund. Implementing the lanuage would be be part of work of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The “federal regulations” about air emissions is part of the implementation of the federal Clean Air Act.Hansen also noted that plans for regulating power plant emissions are part of addressing climate change, another concern tasked to the Environment Committee.In short, this bill has everything to do with environmental policy and funding. Bill author, Becker Republican Jim Newberger, opposed Hansen’s motion–prompting a remarkable line of questioning from Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley).Newberger: . Continue Reading

Support the Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership on December 10th

Update: The Minneapolis City Council voted 13-0 on December 10th to restore the full $150,000 for the Clean Energy Partnership into the final 2015 budget.  The City of Minneapolis adopted Goals and Strategic Directions back in March which reads “We sustain resources for future generations by reducing consumption, minimizing waste and using less energy.”This is a Community Voices submission and is moderated but not edited. The opinions expressed by Community Voices contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TC Daily Planet.Restoring the full funding for the Clean Energy City-Utility Partnership in the city budget this Wednesday will be a great step toward that strategic direction goal. City Council took an unexpected 7-6 vote on December 1st to cut the Clean Energy City-Utility Partnership budget in half from $150,000 to $75,000, before its board meets for the first time early next year.  Already, hundreds of community members have voiced their support for the Partnership, and called on the Council to restore this cut because they realize the following:Minneapolis residents and businesses spend $450 million annually on electricity and gas, and national research shows that at least 30% of our energy use is preventable waste. This Clean Energy Partnership is a long-term effort to move tens of millions of energy dollars annually back into the pockets of Minneapolis families and businesses, while creating local jobs with a special focus on neighborhoods suffering the worst effects of energy poverty. This Partnership has the potential to transform energy management for Minneapolis energy consumers enough to meet very aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and produce very significant savings to Minneapolis residents and businesses.  These benefits could amount to tens of millions of dollars per year. We don’t want to nickel and dime this work.  Important Opportunity! Take Action!We have a chance to restore funding for this crucial investment in long-term energy prosperity for the city’s residents and businesses! Continue Reading

(Photos by Matt Grimley) Dan Doerrer, pastor of Nativity Church, and Rev. Susan Mullin, director of faith formation for Faith United Methodist Church, after a first meeting to decide how the two churches can address sustainability within their churches and the larger St. Anthony community.

Churches pick up on sustainability movement

On the first day, there was a meeting.

It was a Citizens for Sustainability meeting in October. Dan Doerrer, associate pastor of Nativity Church, was invited to attend by members of the group. There he connected with Rev. Susan Mullin, director of faith formation for Faith United Methodist Church.

Continue Reading


OPINION | Catholic Worker House confronts local frac sand mining

One day I sat down to write in my journal. I typed the date and then the year— 2914. I looked at the year a couple of times and thought, “That doesn’t look right.” Finally I grasped that it was 900 years from now. Nine hundred years!!! Not just the future, but THE FUTURE. Holy cow! I felt the wonder I always feel when I contemplate primordial, ancient or medieval times—The passing of time. I started wondering about my great-great-great-great, etc. grandchildren. Who would they be? How would people live? Would people pair up into couples or would they form intimate pods of threes and fours? Would there still be races? Would Minneapolis still be here? How much of North America would be under water? Would there have been a nuclear holocaust? It was a strange, mystical experience.

Continue Reading


Community Workshop: Home Weatherization 101

Corcoran neighbor Jim Walsh presents on the basics of thermo dynamics during the October event of Corcoran Neighborhood Organization, co-hosted last month with Our Power MN at Corcoran Park. Timothy DenHerder –Thomas and Marlena Needham gave out free weatherization materials such as caulk, window plastic, outlet sealers and more.

Continue Reading

Saving money and energy

As the days get shorter and the temperature drops it’s time to start thinking of ways to get your home set for a more comfortable winter before the first snow falls in Corcoran. Luckily we’ve got a few tips to help you weatherize your home!

Continue Reading


MN Jobs Coalition received $355,000 from the RSLC; where’d that money trickle down from?

In a report about Minnesota Jobs Coalition chair Ben Golnik’s new job as executive director of the Minnesota House Republican caucus, Minnesota Public Radio’s Catherine Richert reported in Monday’s article, Golnik to direct House Republican Caucus:

Golnik is leaving his post as chairman of the Minnesota Jobs Coalition, an independent political group that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars ushering in the Republican majority to the Minnesota House. Republicans won in nearly every district the group invested in. . . . Continue Reading

(Photo by Activ Solar published under Creative Commons License)

OPINION | Green energy can end African famine

While Ebola occupies the world’s attention, a humanitarian crisis is quickly unfolding in Somalia. In August, the Somali federal government declared famine in several regions.The rain necessary for food arrived a month late and was brief in duration. Drought grips much of the country, leaving nearly three million Somalis at risk for food insecurity. In conflict areas, over a million people remain displaced from their homes. UNICEF estimates that 200,000 children could die by the end of the year if no action is taken.The Horn of Africa is considered one of the poorest regions in the world, and ongoing droughts continue to plague this region. Continue Reading