JasonLewis_STrib AngieCraig

The Terrible Mini-Trump of Minnesota — and the Progressive Who’s Running Against Him

This is an odd article.  Lewis is indeed terrible, and doesn’t even live in the district (not a requirement for Congress — that needs to be changed), and Angie Craig is a “progressive” NOT!  They’re both wealthy corporate toadies, with Craig’s flavor distinctly DFL and edging a bit left, but more in the middle, and not nearly far enough to be labeled “progressive” nor to offset the extreme reactionary Republican politics of Lewis.

But what’s most odd about this is the articles’ digging into the politics of oil in Minnesota, of pipelines, and of environmental groups doing the deals that benefit the Koch Bros.  It’s good to see this receive some scrutiny.  From the article:

Environmental issues are big in Minnesota, and one of the biggest polluters in the state is located in the district: the Pine Bend refinery, south of St. Paul, owned by the Koch brothers.

NOTE: PINE BEND/KOCH REFINERY IS LOCATED IN THE 2nd CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT.

The article then starts in on the EPA and the Clean Water Rule, contested by Republicans, and we know well of Republican efforts to eliminate the EPA.  But it also correctly reports that “our” Sen. Amy Klobuchar vote with Republicans against the Clean Water Rule, and only after pressure changed her vote the next time it came up.  There’s nothing green about Sen. Amy Klobuchar!

As for the refinery, here’s how they work, buying out local governments and “environmental” groups — from the article:

The refinery became notorious in the 1990s for toxic pollution, especially of the water. Flint Hills Resources, the Koch brothers’ company that runs the refinery, paid millions of dollars in environmental fines in the 1990s and 2000s. At the same time it launched a major greenwashing effort, which continues today: help for Minnesota ducks, support for Minnesota Public Radio, funding a children’s theater festival in St. Paul. An example of the Koch spin: As part of a 2013 plan to expand the refinery, the company announced that it had signed an agreement with two environmental groups to “cut greenhouse gas emissions at the refinery by about 52,000 metric tons per year.” Cutting emissions—what could be better? Except that the “cut” is “about a fifth of the total expected increase from the project.” That means the net increase in greenhouse-gas emissions will be 260,000 metric tons—into the air south of the Twin Cities—every year.

“… pollution… especially of the water.”  ???  Here’s the deal referenced above, one that anyone challenging pipelines, refineries, water pollution, and air emissions, should be aware of, a deal between “Flint Hills Refinery,” Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) and the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) (can you believe that name?!?!) where the “environmental” orgs backed off on their air emissions permit challenge:

FHR Pine Bend Settlement Agreement- FINAL SIGNED

This deal was found online, on the EIP website, and then was removed from the page but the link remains (Here’s the link to EIP posting — download HERE NOW before it disappears).  I’d posted this back in 2013:

MCEA deal with the Koch Bros?

A cool $1 million went into a fund to “reduce PM 2.5” through a diesel program, that’s the part that was made public.  Is there other money passed out for this agreement?  And there’s this:

FHR_MCEA_EIP1And this:

FHR_MCEA_EIP2And this:

FHR_MCEA_EIP3aFHR_MCEA_EIP3bAnd most importantly, the Confidentiality clause!

FHR_MCEA_EIP_ConfidentialityClauseWere there other deals?  This one was to be kept “confidential.”  (Again, the link to EIP posting — download HERE NOW before it disappears)  From my years of work and association with United Citizens Action Network (U-CAN) against the CapX 2020 transmission project, and knowledge of their isolation in fighting the MinnCan pipeline, which went from the Bakken oil fields to the Pine Bend/Koch refinery, that NO “environmental” groups intervened against that pipeline, and that only MPIRG tried to help U-CAN, it’s hard to believe that there was not a deal of some sort.  The silence was deafening.

To look up the MinnCan pipeline docket, go HERE and search for dockets 05-2003 for the Route Permit and 06-02 for the Certificate of Need (Note the pipeline company is sometimes “Minnesota Pipeline Company” and “Koch Pipeline Company.”).  Note the lack of an Environmental Impact Statement, the due process issues, and NO intervenors in the Certificate of Need, and none of the “environmental” orgs in Minnesota intervened in routing either… what a mess that was.

Do tell — what are the positions of Jason Lewis and Angie Craig on the air and water pollution from the refinery in CD2?  Where are the Minnesota “environmental” organizations on the air and water pollution from the refinery and the Bakken BOOM! oil trains in CD2?

ows_136616444072418Photo fair use from the Star Tribune

John Howe enters 2CD Rep. race

September 22nd, 2015

Sen. John Howe of Red Wing listens to the answer to a question he asked during a Friday Senate committee hearing about building a Vikings stadium.

Photo – Gretchen Hoffman, Capitol Chat

John Howe has announced he’s running for Congress in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District.  It’s all over the web.  I’d wager a fair amount that John Howe would win the election.  The good news is that Drazkowski will not run, Dog help us if he did (though it would get him out of the MN House!). What I know about Howe is that as Mayor of Red Wing, and as our area state Senator, he stood up to Xcel Energy on its Prairie Island uprate and worked to get the full story out, and Xcel Energy did ask that the Certificate of Need be revoked/withdrawn after it was clear that there was no need for the uprate.  Howe also returns phone calls, and he’ll stop for a chat at the Farmers Market.

He was working for a bipartisan legislative environmental lobbying/caucus org of some sort, so I hope that he’ll continue with that mindset.  But given the MPR blurb below of Howe’s early campaign stop at a Red Wing Tea Party meeting, that gives me the willies, and I do hope he’s not taking that party line.  He also says he’ll put in $500k of his own money toward the campaign.  If he’s got that kind of money to throw around, and buys in to the “pay to play” notion, that’s a concern.  He’s been a moderate, sane voice, and if he continues on in that vein, he’ll win.  If not, if he goes off like Republican Presidential candidates these days, well, he’ll have trouble in this swing district.

We shall see…

Here’s the MPR article:

Howe enters race for Congress

And on Hubbard’s KSTP:

In the StPPP and StPPP blog:

2nd Republican announces bid to replace Rep. John Kline

Howe runs for Second District as ‘conservative’ but ‘electable’

I think that last headline pretty much sums it up for CD2!