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Comments I sent in on the current funding cycle of the Xcel “Renewable Development Account”

I’ve been looking a the Xcel Renewable Development Account (commonly called the Renewable Development Fund“) and it has a pretty sad history.   Very little good has come of it and much money has been wasted that could productively have been invested in conservation/efficiency projects.

Examples: Ten million or so went to the promoters of a new coal burner on the Range–because of the machinations of the politically connected Tom Micheletti.  Not only was this money totally wasted, but people had  to devote lots of time and energy to fighting permits for the scheme (Excelsior Energy/Mesaba Project.  Carol Overland is the expert on this.  I seem to recall a hearing in Hoyt Lakes, in an unheated hockey rink in January, and not being allowed to finish my questioning of the technical witnesses…..) Continue Reading →

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Minnesota Energy bills not ready for prime time

Two “omnibus” energy bills, SF 901 and HF 956 are wending their way through the Minnesota Legislature.  These bills are being heavily promoted by a coalition of industrial and environmental groups calling itself the “Clean Energy & Jobs” campaign.  A description of the bills from the point of view of the Clean Energy and Jobs folks is here, on the site of the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society.  Lots of people are being urged to contact their legislators in support of these bills.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?   And it many ways it is, but there are enough problems in these bills as they presently stand to potentially do more harm than good. Continue Reading →

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Red Wing mayor Dennis Egan finally signs a letter of resignation–sort of.

Here’s the letter.  Note he hasn’t actually resigned.  He’s saying he will resign on April Fools Day.

Egan stalled for a while after saying he’d resign.   Some people are concerned he might have a change of heart before April.

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“Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Mayor Egan’s go to go!”

In Red Wing, Minnesota, a small city threatened by big-time frac sand mining, Mayor Dennis Egan says he’s going to work for the frac sand mining industry, as Executive Director of the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council, but also intends to remain as mayor.

The Red Wing City Council meets Monday, Feb. 11, 2012, at 7:00.   Under Red Wing’s Charter, the Council has the power to remove the mayor.

Please add YOUR voice to those calling upon the Red Wing City Council to remove Mayor Dennis Egan.  Emails for City Council members are right below:,,,,,,

For background, including links to stories in the mainstream media, see Carol Overland’s blog,

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Where does Red Wing Mayor Dennis Egan really live?

His facebook page says he lives in St. Paul.  At least at the moment.

Screen shot taken this afternoon.

We called Mayor Egan to ask him.  So far, haven’t heard back from him.

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Bogus “Community Forum” on frac sand mining in Red Wing, Minnesota

Letter to the Editor
Red Wing Republican Eagle

On Nov. 15th “Red Wing 2020,” an advisory committee to Mayor Egan, is holding a “Community Forum” on Frac Sand mining (

All of the presenters are state officials: no community representatives are on the panel.  It seem obvious that a “community forum” should include community representatives.

The oil and gas people have huge resources they are bringing to bear to try to impose their will on our city and county.  A basic question is whether an adequate regulatory framework is in place to ensure that frac sand mining, should it occur locally, would not harm community health, quality of life, or our economy.  Residents, many involved with Save-The-Bluffs (, have studied this concern and concluded that the answer is “no.”  These insights should be included in the “community” program.

On the other hand, state officials, no matter how technically competent–I know and respect many of the scheduled presenters–are probably not in a position to be candid and objective about the adequacy of state regulatory programs.

I hope Mayor Egan and his advisors will rethink their approach to this forum and add several community representatives to the panel.

Elected officials should treat their constituents as citizens to be empowered, not children to be instructed.

Alan Muller
1110 West Avenue
Red Wing

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