Oops. Sorry about the “rhetoric”. Gotta watch me – I’m a loose cannon…
…DOH! I mean, I’m a ticking time bomb…
AAAAAGH! I mean “I’m on Janet Napolitano’s Watch List because of my beliefs”. Whew. OK. Made it.
Where was I?
Oh, yeah. The Minnesota Legislative session.
Back during the campaign, when I’d do appearances at campaign fundraisers and the like, I frequently signed off my brief talks with challenges to everyone there; to the voters, the challenge was “on November 3, your work really begins; you’ll need to keep these candidates true to their promises”. And to the candidates, it was an allusion to the legend of the Spartans, to told departing warriors “come back with your shield, or on it“…
DOH! Sorry – another bit of inflammatory rhetoric! Paul Krugman will be displeased!
Breathe. Center. OK.
The bit of rhetoric, in context, is generally understood to mean “fight the good fight, politically; don’t put your re-election ahead of the princples for which we’re sending you to Saint Paul”.
It’s good to see the GOP legislative majority is making its first moves this week. We’ve got two bits of news to report.
More Nukes!: With energy prices spiking just in time for the hardest winter in decades, it’s perhaps great timing for the GOP to push for the repeal of Minnesota’s dim-witted 17-year-old “moratorium” on nuclear power plants.
Bills to end the 17-year ban will be introduced today in the House and Senate, with a House committee scheduled to vote on the proposal Tuesday. The chief sponsors will be state Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo.
With new Republican majorities in both bodies, the legislation is expected to pass easily. Then its fate would be up to Gov. Mark Dayton, who has opposed the effort because there’s still no plan to deal with the highly radioactive nuclear waste generated at those plants.
And of course, that’s wrong; there is a plan. It’s merely been gundecked – DOH, sorry, I mean it’s been sabotaged by generations of soggy-headed environmentalists who apparently prefer coal power, or energy-starved poverty, to nuclear power. “Environmentalists”, inevitably, from the DFL and their farm team, the Greens. “Environmentalist” like Paul Aasen, Dayton’s pick to head the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, a man who targets – AAAGH – job creation and economic growth as remorselessly as Sarah Palin targets a caribou.
Both parties agree it would take years for a new plant to be approved and built. But they differ on the impact of the legislation and the need.
Republicans contend the ban, put in place in 1994 as part of a package allowing dry-cask nuclear-waste storage, must be lifted to allow serious planning to begin. Many Democrats say utilities can do that now; they just can’t act on it.
I bolded that last bit there; doesn’t that sound like someone who looooves regulation, and has not the faintest sympathy for people who actually accomplish things? Can’t you see them giggling about that at their after-session soiree?
Xcel Energy, which owns the Prairie Island and Monticello nuclear plants, has said it has no plans for another nuclear plant.
Which might have something to do with the moratorium currently in effect…
Republicans contend there’s a greater need for the added baseload electrical generation capacity than Democrats will concede.
Democrats also have argued that ratepayers should be protected from immediate construction costs and overruns.
“I’m really concerned about our energy needs in the future,” Peppin said.
Democrats said they’re surprised Republicans are putting such an emphasis on lifting the ban.
“I’m surprised that with the huge challenges that we are facing … that that is one of the priorities they are pursuing as one of their top issues,” said Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, the House minority leader.
I can see where it might surprise Thissen.
Someone who is actually concerned with real economic growth, on the other hand, might see where inexpensive domestic power might be important for companies that are contemplating doing business in a place that is, frankly, chilly. Perhaps the DFL believes heat comes from the Heat Fairy; most of us know better.
Jobs Jobs Jobs: At 2PM – two hours after this post appears – the GOP Caucuses will be announcing their legislative jobs plan. No details are available as this is written. Stay tuned.