Minnesota lawmakers request White House aid for steel industry

REUTERS/Pichi Chuang
Columns of steel are stacked inside the China Steel production factory in Kaohsiung.

The president is going to hear about problems on the Range. In the Pioneer Press, Rachel Stassen-Berger says, “Minnesota’s highest ranking officials are requesting a personal meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss the international trade practices that are crippling domestic steel production. Gov. Mark Dayton, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, Rep. Rick Nolan, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk have asked Obama’s chief of staff to arrange a meeting and put in place trade safeguards to protect the steel industry from international dumping of cheaper foreign steel.”

Meanwhile, the AP reports: “A tide of mine closures and layoffs sweeping across Minnesota’s Iron Range gave extra weight Monday to Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk’s annual drive to help stock northeastern Minnesota food shelves. The global slump in the steel industry has hit Minnesota’s iron ore-producing region hard, creating an economic downturn that Bakk says has put a strain on food shelves throughout the northeastern corner of the state.”

Rohan Preston of the Star Tribune writes: “Jeff Anderson, the St. Paul attorney who has taken on the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America on behalf of sexual-abuse victims, on Monday announced a suit against the Children’s Theatre Company. The suit, filed on behalf of two people who were students at the company in the 1970s and ’80s, also names former CTC artistic director John Clark Donahue and an unnamed ex-employee.”

It’s not like anything they stole weighed all that much. The Forum News Service says, “Thieves used tear gas to escape a Victoria’s Secret store Thanksgiving Day, forcing an evacuation of the store. Police responded to the Woodbury Lakes shopping center lingerie store at 9 p.m. after a sales clerk followed two females who each grabbed a pile of merchandise and ran out of the store. As the employee followed, she was attacked with what was believed to be pepper spray.”

If you thought the number was dropping, you’re wrong. A Pioneer Press story says, “Tuesday is World AIDS Day, and Minnesota Department of Health officials say that the number of cases isn’t dropping in the state. ‘Despite the tremendous progress made in responding to the epidemic over the past three decades, the annual number of new HIV cases has not declined and remains unacceptably high,’ said Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota’s commissioner of health. ‘We still haven’t found a reliable cure or vaccine against HIV infection and the data make it clear we need to do more.’”

Susan Du at City Pages writes, “Every so often, Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe) will stand up in the Minnesota House and remind everyone that the United Nations made up global warming. It’s all a conspiracy, he believes, to pad the pockets of those who work in renewable energy and destroy capitalism. The avuncular lawmaker has never shied from stating his view that climate change is a fraud and a lie. The junk science articles that he posts on Facebook and emails en masse make that clear. Gruenhagen[‘s] thin grasp of science is not unusual for Minnesota’s Republicans. Last April, when state House members were asked to acknowledge that climate change is real and that human activity contributes to it, Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) – chair of the jobs and energy committee and the proud owner of a Tesla – was the only Republican to vote yes.”

White Bear Lake’s problem may be too much evaporation. Stribber David Peterson says, “Monitors installed at White Bear Lake to help sort out the reasons for its dramatic decline in recent years have established that ‘a tremendous amount of water leaves the lake in November,’ said Paul Putzier, project manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. …  The assumption had been that evaporation peaked in warm months … .’”

Finally, it’s business as usual across the river. Kari Lyderson at Midwest Energy News says, “Wisconsin has gained national notoriety for large increases in fixed charges on utility bills – widely seen as a way for utilities to preserve their revenue as increased conservation, efficiency and distributed solar energy reduce customers’ electricity use. And as utilities elsewhere in the country begin reconsidering the approach, cases are still going forward in Wisconsin. … Consumer and renewable energy advocates say the move will make it much less viable for people to install solar, and that the change will mean harmful and disproportionate cost increases for low-income people who use less energy than average.”

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 12/01/2015 - 07:08 am.

    It’s in line

    Glenn Gruenhagen’s “thin grasp of science,” if it’s any grasp at all, puts him in the mainstream of the current Republican presidential contenders. Watching the moral and intellectual decline of the GOP over the past generation or so has brought no joy to my house. The GOP used to provide candidates who were thoughtful, and viable, alternatives to Democratic orthodoxy. With a few notable exceptions, that hasn’t been the case for quite a long time.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 12/01/2015 - 10:30 am.

    Thin Grasp of Science?

    It’s more like a thin grasp of reality.

    Just when their major push for Polymet might make the Republicans seem more attractive to people on “the Range,” typically a DFL stronghold,…

    they now thumb their noses at the regular, hardworking Minnesotans who have been laid off, or are about to be, through no fault of their own.

    The current low prices for farm commodities are putting large numbers of rural farmers in financial jeopardy, as well,…

    despite bumper crops,…

    but I suspect the Republicans will thumb their noses at those hardworking folk, too,…

    just as they did the businesses around Lake Mille Lacs,…

    because of their MASSIVE bias against anyone legitimately in need of help.

    I would sum up the Republican attitude in this simple statement, “Anyone who is need of help has already proven that they don’t deserve it.”

    A close corollary of course, is, “The only people who DO deserve help are those who DON’T need it.”

    You’d think the party was filled with the old fashioned kind of banker about whom folks always said, “The only time they’ll give you a loan is when you don’t need it.”

    But at least they’re doing their very best to serve their truest, best master,…

    Grover Norquist.

    Still, I can’t help but wonder if my rural friends and neighbors will EVER figure out that if they want good roads, good schools for their kids and grandkids, reasonable internet access, available medical care and help to tide them over when they hit tough times,…

    they better find someone else besides Republicans to vote for.

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