“Reader’s view: Devil is in details of Clean Power Plan”

On May 9, 2016 the Duluth News Tribune ran a letter I sent them a few days ago. With enviro/energy wonk orgs in Minnesota heavily penetrated by industrial interests, and the state agencies dancing to the tune of the utilities, there is real potential for the “Clean Power Plan” to do more harm than good.  We need to pay attention and think for ourselves.
The chief danger is that the CPP could be used to promote smokestack facilities burning fuels much worse than coal: “Biomass” and garbage. Continue Reading →

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“5 Questions about [Garbage Burner] Ash Mining in Red Wing”

City of Red Wing officials are screwing up yet again:

Some more background here.

Watch the video, then please sign the petition:

Demand NO ASH MINING in Red Wing ….



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The City of Red Wing–home of the Plume and the Black Blob?


(Image Kare 11) Continue Reading →

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Pros and cons of gun ranges … letter written to the Red Wing City Council


I wrote this to the City Council because I live here and nobody seemed to be mentioning the issues that I think really matter.  None acknowledged it.  None brought up any of these issues in a long and tedious meeting.  Nobody seems to be minding the store or looking out for the best interests of residents.   Worth noting is that one of the people behind the gun range proposal is Jason Sebion, recently resigned from the City Council.  The promoters want to buy a large city-owned building for $1000.  My concern, per usual, is for health and welfare issues ignored by all the council members.  None of this has anything in particular to do with how one feels about guns in general.


Continue Reading →

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“Lawsuits Charge that 3M Knew About the Dangers of Its Chemicals”

What it really means when Minnesota’s courts and regulatory agencies service special interests.  Another 3M scandal in which I had some involvement was the expanded burning of hazardous waste at the 3M haz waste incinerator in Cottage Grove.  In that business, the MPCA also acted as a servant of 3M rather than a protector of Minnesotans.  Of course it is generally easy for elected officials, courts, and regulators to stomp on individuals and small businesses.  The real test of integrity is how they behave when confronted with powerful special interests such as 3M, Xcel energy, or US Steel.   From what I can see the record is pretty bad, with Attorney General Lori Swanson looking better than some others.


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Red Wing again: Incinerator ash plan and actions behind it are toxic

This letter was in the Red Wing Republican-Eagle this week.


Late in 2015, the idea of mining garbage incinerator ash for metals in Red Wing surfaced, and on Dec. 10 the Eagle published my letter opposing the idea. That letter can be read here. Continue Reading →

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Kushner Kronicle Kontinues

The absurd and shameful prosecution of civil liberties attorney Jordan Kushner by the City of Minneapolis continues.  Surely this is a major negative on Mayor Betsy Hodges’ record, compounding her unwise retention of City Attorney Susan Segal.

The latest episode involves the filing of pre-trial motions.  I’m posting these here: Continue Reading →

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Anti-smokestack resolutions “disappeared” by Goodhue County DFL operatives

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.) Continue Reading →

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“Some have got so desperate that they have sold their soul to the devil”*

Representative Tim Miller (17A )

Representative Tim Miller (17A )

Representatives of Swift County, Minnesota, went to the Minnesota Legislature this week to lobby for reopening a vacant private prison, the Prairie Correctional Facility, in Appleton, in Swift County, belonging to the much-despised Corrections Corporation of America. Continue Reading →

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Un-plastic-bagging Minneapolis and Minnesota

Discouraging single-use (“carryout”) plastic shopping bags is increasingly common around the world, for rather obvious reasons.

Reducing combustible trash helps fight garbage incineration!

According to the new media outlet MinnyApple (http://www.minnyapple.com/2016/03/18/plastic/#comment-1457):

“Minnesotans throw away 87,000 tons of plastic bags every year. Less than 5% of plastic bags are recycled nationally. Plastic bags frequently clog machinery at single-sort recycling facilities. Some plastic bags end up as litter in our environment, breaking down into smaller pieces of plastic, that leech chemicals into soil and water. In Minneapolis, most plastic bags that are thrown away end up in the downtown incinerator.”

Plastic bags are mostly made out of polyethylene which is mostly made out of natural gas (background on PE here: http://www.britannica.com/science/polyethylene )

So it is not surprising that may powerful interests are lobbying against this change–oil and gas people, plastics manufacturers, and especially the mega-evil Grocery Manufacturers Association (also a big opponent of GMO labeling).

One important reason for change is to keep plastic bags and other combustible stuff out of garbage incinerators.  Burning plastic is just burning petroleum-once-removed and contributes to air pollution and climate change.  And the burners need the “heat value” of the plastic,   So one may expect Minnesota’s politically powerful garbage incinerator industry to be against limiting plastic bags.  Note that 87,000 tons above!

Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon, Chair of the Health, Environment & Community Engagement Committee of the Council, has scheduled a public hearing for 1:30 on March 21,2016 on a draft ordinance.

“Carry out bags in retail establishments” ordinance (Bring your own bag) http://www.minneapolismn.gov/meetings/legislation/WCMSP-175529

This ordinance was first announced to the City Council on August 7, 2016 (procedural history here: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/meetings/legislation/WCMS1Q-079203 )

Only two of the 13 council members (Gordon, Ward 2 and Warsame, Ward 6) are listed as sponsors of this ordinance, in spite of it’s no-brainer nature. Where are the other 11 council members???? (http://www.minneapolismn.gov/council/)

A cynic could suggest that the Council leadership has assigned the areas it doesn’t really care much about (Health, Environment & Community Engagement ) to its most greenie-weenie member, a sort of ghetto of the most important, to be ignored as much as possible.

Regardless, Cam Gordon deserves support on this good-for-the-public-interest ordinance:


Public hearing at1:30 on March 21,2016 (agenda Item #1, http://www.minneapolismn.gov/meetings/hece/WCMSP-175147 )

“How to have your voice heard:” http://www.minneapolismn.gov/council/engage/WCMS1Q-074472

You can email all Council Members with one group email address:


Individual contact info below:

“Ward office keep tally sheets on policy proposals, controversial topics, and other matters that are then provided to the Council Member. Aides generally lump calls into “pro” and “con” categories, giving their Council Member an instant poll on a particular topic.”

Ward Council Member Phone

1Kevin Reich(612) 673-2201
2Cam Gordon(612) 673-2202
3Jacob Frey(612) 673-2203
4Barbara A. Johnson(612) 673-2204
5Blong Yang(612) 673-2205
6Abdi Warsame(612) 673-2206
7Lisa Goodman(612) 673-2207
8Elizabeth Glidden(612) 673-2208
9Alondra Cano(612) 673-2209
10Lisa Bender(612) 673-2210
11John Quincy(612) 673-2211
12Andrew Johnson(612) 673-2212
13Linea Palmisano(612) 673-2213


For those not connected to Minneapolis, please use Gordon’s ordinance as a model for similar action from YOUR local government and from you state Senator and Representative.

So, speak up!

Alan Muller

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