Minnesota Should Set Its Own Emissions Rules

Posted April 7, 2015


The letter was written by the Coalition for a Secure Energy Future and supported by thirty-one members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers from the Becker Sherco Power Plant.  They are Jim Aho, Jeff Peterson, Jason Baker, Ryan Smith, Brandon Mastey, Larry Giebenhain, Jeff Kirchner, Jeff Theisen, Dwayne Budreau, Mark Wichman, Anthony Stuter, Randy Seeley, Darren Grangroth, Nick Johnson, Nate Ylitalo, Kendall Johnson, Dave Ramsdall, Frank Ganley, Paul Grangroth, Kenny Koshial, John St. George, Rick Wallen, Chuck Baune, Darrel Coopman, Brian Soltis, James Zindler, John Fischbach, Scott Sufka, Matt Stang, and Ramsey Simmons.

Read the article at the SCTimes website here.


It’s very simple: Legislators should be in the driver’s seat when it comes to setting Minnesota’s own environmental rules, not the federal government, nor unelected bureaucrats.

Most Minnesotans would agree that the Legislature is the best choice to approve the state’s plans to reduce carbon emissions within our own borders.

Basically, there are three choices:

Becker Rep. Jim Newberger filed the bill in response to a federal plan to reduce carbon emissions from power plants nationwide by 30 percent by 2030. A Minnesota House committee approved the bill March 9.

Later this year, the Environmental Protection Agency plans to set carbon emission targets for each state and require states to submit plans for meeting the EPA’s goals. Newberger’s bill would require the Legislature to sign off on any plan, giving final authority to the state — exactly where it should reside.

It’s very simple: Legislators should be in the driver’s seat when it comes to setting Minnesota’s own environmental rules, not the federal government, nor unelected bureaucrats. Neither Minnesota — nor any other state, for that matter — should be taking dictates from Washington, D.C. on what’s best for their own air quality, businesses, industries and citizens.

Minnesotans are also weary of rules coming from a governor who has publicly stated his desire to eliminate coal-based power from the state’s mix of energy resources.

We know what works for our state. For a long time, that has been an “all of the above” energy policy that uses a balance of fossil fuels and renewable energy sources to provide secure, reliable energy for businesses and consumers, and keep our state’s economy humming.

Coal is vital to the mix because it’s low-cost, reliable and provides thousands of jobs for Minnesotans. In fact, coal is the source of 46 percent of the electricity used in Minnesota.

The new EPA rules are aimed squarely at reducing the use of coal as an energy source in states across the nation, regardless of the economic consequences for citizens or businesses. The feds say coal is dirtying our air, but that claim rings hollow when you consider that — despite we get nearly half our energy from coal — Minnesota’s air quality is among the cleanest in the nation.

Because of low-cost coal as a fuel, Minnesota’s electricity rates are lower than the national average. But if the EPA successfully subverts our state’s right to keep coal as part of our energy mix, those rates will go up. Business and manufacturing will suffer, and their extra costs will be passed along to consumers.

In short order, families and communities will find themselves crushed under the heavy burden of higher energy bills — all because bureaucrats decided they know what’s best for our state and our people.

Newberger should be commended for his tireless efforts to ensure that we maintain an “all of the above” energy strategy to keep electricity prices low for hardworking Minnesota families.

Businesses aren’t against renewable energy. We believe it has a place in Minnesota’s diverse set of established resources, but coal has a place in that mix, too. It’s a scenario that has been working well for the people of Minnesota for a long time, and we don’t know about you, but we think it’s foolish to try to fix something that doesn’t need fixing.