At the DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party for the edification of my non-Minnesotan readers) precinct caucuses on March 1, in Red Wing, Minnesota, various resolutions were presented, as is customary. These are supposed to make their way up the organizational hierarchy of the party, and help determine the state “platform.” It’s supposed to be democracy in action.
(The good news from my point of view is that the precinct, in a generally conservative area, was overrun with Bernie Sanders supporters, and the state as a whole went for Sanders over Clinton.)
I put in two resolutions, one against garbage burning and for “zero waste” (a lot more recycling) and one against burning fuels to generate electricity and for non-smokestack, “zero carbon” sources–such as wind and solar. (These resolutions were also circulated statewide and adopted in some other precincts.)
This one, for recycling and against incineration:
WHEREAS: Minnesota used to be a national leader in healthy, cost-effective, and sustainable waste (“garbage”) management;
WHEREAS: this favorable position has long since been lost but can be regained if the influence of special interests is overcome,
NOW THEREFORE the DFL party supports a phaseout of garbage incineration in Minnesota and a restored focus on source reduction and recycling (often called “Zero Waste”).
And this one, for clean power and against belching smokestacks:
Climate change being a serious threat to Minnesota, the DFL supports the phaseout of all forms of electricity generation that add climate-changing gases to the atmosphere. Fuel combustion should be phased out as rapidly as possible in favor of wind, solar, and other zero-carbon sources (But not including nuclear). We support a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend to support this transition.
Neither of these sound controversial, and shouldn’t be, but Goodhue County and the City of Red Wing “host” two nuclear reactors (Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Station) and and a two-unit garbage burner, both owned and operated by Xcel Energy. Local officials have a deep-seated subservience to Xcel and a deep financial and emotional investment in garbage burning. Closed minds and “Company Town” syndrome are much in evidence.
In any case, the two resolutions seem to have mysteriously disappeared from the packet of resolutions presented to the DFL county resolutions committee, chaired by one Peter Jacobs. Email inquiries before the convention yielded no answers, but apparently put some people on notice.
At the convention, during the discussion of resolutions, I rose to speak. Jacobs shouted “you’re out of order.” (I wasn’t.) Jeanne Thomas pounded a gavel. Not a glittering example of democratic process, either small “d” or uppercase “D.”
This disappearance will be taken up with the DFL county unit at it’s April 21st meeting. further information forthcoming…
I am sure most of the directors of the DFL in Goodhue County are good people who don’t want to operate this way. But if nothing else, it illustrates why energy policies in Minnesota are in chaos, and how difficult reform becomes when an evil industry such as garbage incineration get its hooks into the political system.