Black Helicopter.jpg
Naaaaah… it wasn’t one of THESE!

Cliche, but really, I’ve received three reports now of black helicopters flying the proposed routes for the pipeline and transmission lines for Excelsior Mesaba power plant project. The sources were reliable, credible, and it’s not really suprising, because that’s how they did it on the Arrowhead project. One observer said, “My 5 yr old asked why it couldn’t fly away to India or Spain (in her mind that must be the end of the earth).” And I have a sighting of my own to report — on the way up to Thursday’s meeting, I saw a very shiny black helicopter, small, not at all like the one pictured above, on a yellow trailer being pulled by a big white pickup traveling the lawful limit (so I didn’t have much time to get a look as I blew his doors off), and it caught my attention and I even wrote down the name of the company… on a napkin… location unknown, and I’m not about to dig under that car seat and find it, eeeeeeeuw.

There were two Mesaba editorials in the Grand Rapids Herald-Review:

Energy crisis needs creative thinking


Most people like to see themselves as independent. Yet we live a society based on addictions-alcohol, drugs, money, and power, both the personal kind as well as the energy kind.

All corporations want us dependent on them, because it pays. True independence is not based on what one has, as much as what one can do without. The proposal to build the coal-fired power plant by Taconite is just another way for another corporation to keep people dependent on them. Besides the fact that it fosters dependency, the main problem I have with any kind of centralized power system is that all it would take is one bomb or one disaster, to put this, or any area, in deep trouble.

The whole concept of using coal, as well as oil and gas, is based on dependency. We are first dependent on one company for power, for trains to bring the coal to us, on miners to dig the coal, and so on. All of these processes require energy to make energy, and all of them create waste from the exhaust of what is burned to acquire the coal, as well as burning the coal itself. Also, if any part of the process is interrupted, our power supply is immediately threatened. Maintenance costs would include the mines, miners, railroads, and the plant itself.

I have seen plans for a wind generator that costs about $1 million to build, and started generating electricity with a 2 mph breeze. With the money this corporation wants for their power plant, we could put up 550 wind generators. Once a wind generator is up, all it requires is wind. There are no waste gasses produced and maintenance is limited to the generators alone.

Every Range town has hills or tailing dumps above them, or a lake by them, where the wind blows steadily. If every town erected the optimum number of wind generators their hills and lakes would allow, we would immediately become less dependent. Clay Boswell could be used strictly for emergencies.

Not only could we power every Range town, the generators would create enough electricity to sell back to the power companies, which have to buy it. Wind generators would pay for themselves. Given the continuous and never-ending operating costs involved in a coal-fired power plant, it would never pay for itself. We would continue to pay for it until this country ran out of coal, and then we’d have to put up wind generators away.”

We, as a people, need to stop thinking inside the boxes we were socialized into, if we want to be less dependent on everything. In this case, we can either risk being more independent, or we can stay indebted to corporations for the rest of our lives, and our children’s lives. As has been said, we do not inherit the land from our fathers, we borrow it from our children. Is dependency the legacy we want for our children?

Gary Burt

Here we go with a “wedge” letter:

What is best for northern Minnesota?


It is with great interest that I read the opinion from Tim Zoerb (Wednesday, April 12) about the Excelsior project. I agree with him that we, as a state, have to be very careful with our air and water, and it is a hard pill to swallow when it is your land the government wants to take. Though, I wonder why someone with an Eden Prairie address cares if the water from the Canisteo Pit is routed through Trout Lake. Is an agreement with the Trout Lake Association the best thing for northern Minnesota? Why does the association feel that running the water through the lake they live on would help our area?

Getting back to the Canisteo Pit, does anybody know that the city of Taconite and the Iron Range Township pulled out of the Western Mesaba Mining Board, calling it a special interest group? It would be nice to see a few good jobs come to the area so we do not end up as a retirement retreat for the people from the Twin Cities.

“Better and less expensive ways to create good jobs,” as you quoted in your article. Mr. Zoerb, I believe there are probably a lot of people on the Range that would like to hear your ideas.

Oh yes, by the way, here it is, right on the Itasca County Web site: Parcel No. 40-430-0170. Timothy and Patricia Zoerb (Seasonal-Recreational-Residential) on Trout Lake. Maybe you could hire a Ranger this summer to take care of your lawn so at least one person could make a good living and raise their family in the area they grew up.

Robert A. Kyllander

Perhaps Mr. Kyllander could take note of the number of construction jobs created with the housing boom up north, because I’d bet it’s a lot more than those in Excelsior’s wildest dreams, or even its outrageous “Duluth study.” And we will need more information on why Taconite isn’t participating in various local groups, there was a similar report at the Trout Lake Township meeting, that Taconite had withdrawn from participating in, I think, a different local group. More on that later…

We’re having an information meeting about the Mesaba project:

May 16th at 6:30 p.m.
Trout Lake Community Center
County Rd. 10 – Trout Lake Township

Bring treats to share — we’ll have coffee & ?

At this meeting we’ll be going over the project, looking at all the venues available to participate and talking about process, and formulating questions for Excelsior and local governments about this project — we’re at a preliminary stage where people are learning about Excelsior’s Mesaba project, yet it is moving forward toward reality — when the black helicopters start flying, people start paying attention.

For more info on the Mesaba project, including PUC filings, check

Here’s the site plan: View image

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