Mesaba closer full site plan.jpg

Can you see the red and yellow lines going south on this site plan? That’s planned routes for infrastructure, one of them is for the huge natural gas pipeline that will go south to connect to the gas line in Blackberry. Recently, Trout Lake Township residents learned that yes, indeed, a route from Blackberry to Mesaba will go through the township, and that it will take land from local landowners. It’s one of those ugly scenarios where the legislatively granted power of eminent domain is available to Excelsior:

Regulatory Incentives

(3) has the power of eminent domain, which shall be limited
to the sites and routes approved by the environmental quality
board for the project facilities. The project shall be
considered a utility as defined in section
116C.52, subdivision 10, for the limited purpose of section 116C.63.
The project shall report any intent
to exercise eminent domain authority to the board;

Thankfully, township residents are paying attention:

Property will be sacrificed for jobs


In regards to the coal gasification plant proposed for our area:

There are many more considerations involved than are pointed out to us at this time. We are discussing the impact of the plant and its processes on the environment and on the immediate area around the plant, but I am not hearing any mention about the impact of fuel supply or power line output.

I have heard through an alert township representative that Excelsior Energy wants to have a natural gas line run from the Blackberry Township area to Taconite via Trout Lake Township (up the west side of North Road, then up the east side of Birch Drive and then cross country to Taconite).

If you have never had a gas line run across your land, you are lucky. Once the line is allowed, you no longer have control of your land. You can’t build on their right-of-way and you can’t put any permanent structure on their easement. In the case of this proposed pipeline (natural gas) you would be a fool to put your home nearby. In the case of small lots, your land becomes worthless.

Excelsior Energy is also considering a power tie-in with the Blackberry sub-station. Guess where the power line would go!

Check it all out, folks. My guess is that you won’t have a darned thing to say about it, but our local politicians want those jobs and will sacrifice more than 60 parcels of private property to get these jobs for their re-election. Heads up, folks!

Bob Norgord

Questions about the gas line


In regards to the Excelsior Energy wanting to run a natural gas line from Blackberry to Taconite, I am a concerned resident of Trout Lake Township. If this gas line goes through, what kind of impact will it have on the environment, or the people who own the land where this gas line will be placed? Does it mean that they will have no control over their land where this gas line will reside? And, if so, do we have anything to say about it?

Heather Kossow


They’re dropping like flies these days…

From MPR just now:

Sen. Marko drops bid for Congress
(AP) – State Sen. Sharon Marko, DFL-Cottage Grove, says she’s dropping out of the 2nd District Congressional race.

Marko entered the race less than two months ago. She was seeking the DFL endorsement along with former FBI agend Coleen Rowley. Marko says she got into the race too late and the campaign conflicted with her legislative work once the session started.

“I’m finding it difficult to get away from the Capitol long enough to spend a significant amount of time in the delegate hunt and it’s made it particularly difficult for me to stay here at the Capitol and fulfill my responsibility as an elected official,” she said.

Marko didn’t throw her backing to Rowley, saying she will stay neutral in the race. The DFL nominee will run against U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn. Marko is not running for reelection to her Senate seat and says she hasn’t decided what she will do after the election.

Here’s the STrib:

DFL’s Marko abandons her bid for Congress

And then there’s Backbone’s CD2 – Caught with my pants down

In today’s St PPP Letters to the Editor:

Why give utility a tax break?

Apparently $10 million from the Renewable Development Fund, exemption from certificate of need, and the power of eminent domain is not enough for the Excelsior Energy coal gasification project. Rep. Loren Solberg and Sen. Tom Saxhaug created legislation that grants personal property exemption to a power plant that is “designated as an innovative energy project.”

This effort to deny traditional revenue to the host community, in this case Itasca County, deserves to get squashed. After all, the reason communities allow large polluting utilities to build in the first place is to receive needed revenue for schools and infrastructure. I guess the thinking at the Capitol is that while homeowners see their property taxes rise, utilities should be relieved of property taxes altogether.




Julie Risser is running for Senate in SD 41, Edina and West Bloomington. Green candidates Risser, Jay Pond (5CD) and Dave Berger (auditor) held a press conference last week at the Capitol. The Green Party Endorsing meeting is this weekend, at which time they’ll be formally endorsed. Here’s her VoteRisser4Senate site!

This race is an important one, against a vulnerable Republican Senator in a district that voted Kerry, and the candidate fielded by the DFL does not speak to issues, and instead seems to be intent on a federal, not state race. Will somebody else please tell him that a state Senate campaign is NOT about Iraq! View image I have… sigh…

Julie is a progressive, bringing content to this campaign, engaging the voters in this winnable district with talk about the issues that have an impact on them — her focus is on energy, because of the pervasive impact of our energy policy. And how ’bout that Edina Golf Dome!!! Julie brings experience and activism to this campaign, from her energy work with the state League of Women Voters, and as board member of Clean Water Action, and was infused with politics in her time at Carleton, she’s a Carleton grad and also taught Art History. She’s currently teaching at St. Thomas.

What will happen if the D’s and R’s actually have to talk about issues! GASP! This is shaping up to be a lively campaign season — we certainly live in “interesting” times!

p.s. Why would the R’s SD41 have contributed to Ray Cox’s campaign way back when??

Here’s one of Julie’s Letters to the Editor in the Northfield News:

Reduce, not promote fuels

To the editor:

The other day I stumbled upon a link to state Rep. Ray Cox’s blog which took me to a description of his visit to Carleton.

Cox dropped in on a class to discuss legislative efforts to reduce mercury. He then engaged in dialog about renewable energy over lunch. While I disagree with many of the votes Cox has cast and am uncomfortable with him promoting his record during class time (especially as we are entering campaign season), Cox’s visit does provide an opportunity for Carleton students and the Northfield community to engage in energy and environmental policy.

As a Carleton alum I feel compelled to raise some points.

For starters people would do well do take a look at Cox’s voting record. He voted in favor the Mesabi Nugget plant. Slatted to be located in Hoyt Lakes, 30 miles north of Duluth, Mesabi Nugget is estimated to emit 75 pounds of mercury annually and discharge metal, mercury, sulfate, and dissolved solids into the Second Creek, water that ultimately flows into the Great Lakes basin. The purported benefits of this project: an estimated 50 to 100 jobs. Of course that doesn’t include future jobs that will be necessary to clean up all of the pollutants. So this estimate is probably off. Maybe that is why it was exempted from environmental review.

Cox was also a co-author of legislation supporting Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba coal gasification plant. Now estimated to cost $1.97 billion the plant may be located on a beautiful 1,000-acre site in northern Minnesota near two lakes. Mesaba may very likely be the largest point source for climate warming carbon dioxide as Excelsior is not pursing any methods for sequestering all of the CO2 emissions. Carleton geology students might try to think about what could be done with all of the CO2 emissions. If Mesaba were to try and force the CO2 back into the ground, what would that do to ground water?

Finally Cox voted against an amendment to the Omnibus Energy bill that would have required 20 percent of the electricity sold to Minnesotans to come from renewable energy. Cox has stated that he voted against the amendment because he disagreed with the manner in which the legislation was brought to a vote. I don’t buy this; Cox had no problem voting for the Women’s Right to Know legislation, which restricts women’s access to abortion; it was slapped onto a bill about allowing circuses to perform when the Minnesota State Fair is happening!

Cox may like renewable energy, but his voting record shows he likes coal too. If we are going to move toward a responsible energy policy we need to reduce high polluting fuels, not promote them.

Julie Risser

Doran is out

March 27th, 2006


Drat! Kelly Doran, the guy I thought was most electable, the guy with something to say and a record of actions to back it up, has thrown in the towel. He came off very well against the other DFL candidates on MPR a couple weeks ago, but didn’t even register a blip in the “straw poll” at caucus. So now what is next for State Senator Sheila Kiscaden?

Here’s a nice adieu from the St.PPP:

Doran’s respect for the center deserves respect

Kelly Doran, a nontraditional but substantive DFL candidate for governor, has left the field. Trying to inject common sense into high-stakes politics is risky. Some would say impossible.

There’s much to admire about Doran’s effort, though.

â?¢ The notion that leaders must make, not just speak slogans about making, long-term decisions for growth in Minnesota’s human and economic future.

â?¢ Telling the truth about how profoundly the system is stacked against genuine outsider candidates for top offices.

â?¢ The politics of the positive.

â?¢ Respect for the political center, which has been atomized.

Doran, an Eden Prairie businessman, and his running mate, state Sen. Sheila Kiscaden, walked the talk of a decent practical politics that is unafraid to try for something better.

That’s admirable. And instructive as the remaining campaigns for governor go forward.