Clean power plan raises questions about future of Sherco plant

Sherco plant in Becker, Minnesota
Sherco plant in Becker, Minnesota

Turns out burning coal to make electricity releases a lot of carbon. That may spell problems for Minnesota’s large Sherco power plant, as MPR’s Matt Sepic explains: “The Sherburne station, known as Sherco, generates lots of power and economic muscle across the region. But its coal furnaces are also the state’s single largest source of carbon emissions, pumping out 20 million tons of CO2 every year from its stacks, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency. … Those emissions have put those furnaces at the center of a debate over climate change and economic growth. New federal regulations targeted at climate change call for power plants to slash power plant CO2 emissions 32 percent by 2030. That’s raised fears that Sherco’s two older units could be shuttered and ignited a debate over whether Minnesota leaders should fight the federal plan.”

What’s in a name? Not much, apparently, to (now-former) Park Board advisory committee chair Peter Bell. For the Star Tribune, Steve Brandt has the story: “A group advising park officials on renovations at lakes Harriet and Calhoun Monday expressed a decided preference for changing the latter’s name to a Dakota version, an action that prompted the resignation of its chair, Peter Bell. … The former Metro Council chair announced his resignation at a meeting of the group, chiding it for not spending enough time on setting capital priorities for $3.5 million in spending to renovate park facilities at the lake. ‘I think that’s what the public is focused on,’ Bell said.”

The race to succeed Rep. John Kline gets another Republican. The Pioneer Press’ David Montgomery reports, “Former lawmaker John Howe formally entered the race for Congress Tuesday, the second Republican to run for the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. John Kline. … Howe, who served two years in the state Senate, said he’ll tap his own personal fortune to help his campaign for the Second District. A property owner whose wife works in banking, Howe said he’s prepared to spend as much as $500,000 of his own money to support his campaign.”

Cheap oil = less fracking = less demand for frac sand = bad news for Wisconsin’s economy. That’s the gist of this story by Bloomberg’s David Wethe: “In New Auburn, Wisconsin, a desolate, little outpost carved from the rolling pine-tree forests that run into Lake Superior, the collapse in oil is wreaking havoc on every aspect of the economy. … It’s not that there’s any oil here. None in fact for hundreds of miles around. What they’ve got is sand. Real good sand, piled high in giant mounds. And in what is a little-known offshoot of the shale oil revolution that swept across America over the past decade, the market for sand — the grit that props open the rocks and makes fracking possible — exploded too, transforming almost overnight what had been a sleepy industry that sold primarily to the likes of glass makers and golf courses. So when the shale boom went bust, it took down the sand industry with it. Prices have sunk almost a third to under $40 per ton.

In other news…

Minnesota will definitely fix its unconstitutional sex-offender program, so long as it doesn’t cost too much money. [Star Tribune] 

(Adopted) Minnesotans … In … Space:

Fans of redundancy all agree: vote NoDaks. “University of North Dakota nickname vote to take place in October” [Star Tribune]

Congratulations to Joe Dowling! “Dowling wins lifetime honor at Ivey Awards” [MPR]

People are the worst. [Inforum]

The end of a St. Louis Park icon. [Fox 9]

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/22/2015 - 04:27 pm.

    Gee

    I wonder who is gonna pay to fix all that land the sand miners tore up? I know back home the promise was acres and acres of newly tillable bluff land after they pulled out, something tells me they may have neglected to complete that prior to going bust. People never seem to learn.

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