Governor Dayton’s veto letter lists the reasons for the veto of the Environment bill. In a piece titled “The sorrows of young Denny McNamara beneath the unbearable lightness of being blindsided,” the always insightful Bluestem Prairie reports that Environment and Natural Resources Finance Chair McNamara felt “blindsided.” Bluestem opines what that would mean for the renegotiation.
This renegotiation will be especially difficult because Governor Dayton’s Pollution Control Agency relies on the inconvenient truth of science and Chair McNamara, on behalf of his Republican House Caucus, wants to pretend that the science doesn’t exist or that it is not good enough.
Governor Dayton’s veto of the energy bill was undoubtedly easier for the Governor but the renegotiation will be just as difficult.
There are two huge gifts to North Dakota coal in the energy bill. One changes net metering by giving municipal and cooperative utilities the ability to charge fees to those customers who install their own wind or solar. Fossil fuel interests have been seeking these fees across the U.S. as a way to discourage residential solar installations.
The other gift to North Dakota coal was the failure of the legislature to provide any money to defend against the lawsuit that North Dakota filed against Minnesota challenging one of the key under pinnings of the landmark 2007 Next Generation Energy Act. Our Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, along with The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, weighed in on the side of North Dakota in an amicus brief.
Inquiring minds will first ask what is the Minnesota Chamber’s interest in North Dakota coal and then ask why is that interest so large that it causes the Minnesota Chamber to weigh in on the side of North Dakota against its own Minnesota. Once those two questions are answered, it will be clear that the Chamber will do everything possible to stop Minnesota from defending itself in the lawsuit including telling the House Republican Caucus not to budge. It will not be a hard sell. The Minnesota Chamber spent untold amounts of money to put the Republican Caucus in control of the Minnesota House.