Tracker Pixel for Entry

Proud to be a Neanderthal with cleaner air than Minnesota

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Say Anything | September 3rd, 2015


Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, had some sharp words for the approach to climate policy taken by his state’s Republican-led western neighbor.

"These other states like North Dakota ... just have their heads in the sand and want to profit and then pollute our air accordingly," Dayton said during an interview with Minnesota Public Radio while praising his own state for meeting climate goals.

He also reportedly used the term “Neanderthal” to describe North Dakota’s policies.

Dayton’s comments aren’t terribly surprising. The progressive view of what was once called global warming (but is now called “climate change” given the globe’s stubborn refusal to warm all that much) has become more an ideology, perhaps even a theology, than a rational and scientific point of view. Thus what matters more to people like Dayton than facts or reason is fealty to the climate change faith.

Fossil fuels are evil. The apocalypse is coming. Only big government can save us.

From that point of view, yes, North Dakota is home to climate change heretics. Or “Neanderthals,” to use Dayton’s word choice.

Unfortunately for Dayton, reality isn’t terribly kind to his position.

For one thing, North Dakota has better air quality than Minnesota. The 2015 State of the Air report from the American Lung Association gave North Dakota perfect grades for air quality. The state got perfect grades in 2013 and 2014 as well.

Not good grades. Not great grades. Perfect grades.

And that’s not for want of trying to find dirty air in the state. The group measured air quality in some of North Dakota’s most heavily industrialized areas. Among the locations where air quality was measured were Mercer and Oliver counties, home to most of the state’s coal-fired electrical generation. Billings, Burke, Dunn and McKenzie counties were also measured and all are in the state’s oil patch and home to a lot of drilling, pumping and natural gas flaring.

Every one of those counties got an “A” grade.

Minnesota, unfortunately, didn’t match North Dakota’s perfect score. Of the fourteen counties measured in that state, four got only “B” grades and one county got a “C.”

Those aren’t perfect grades. They’re not even that great. Maybe Minnesota could be doing better like North Dakota.

For another thing, Minnesota’s position on emissions policy has been somewhat hypocritical at times. Case in point, the lawsuit North Dakota filed (and won) against Minnesota over prohibiting the latter from importing coal-fired electricity from the former.

Supposedly the blatantly unconstitutional law in question was about saving the environment, but one of North Dakota’s contentions was that it didn’t apply to coal-fired electricity originating within Minnesota’s borders.

Minnesota was essentially arguing that North Dakota’s exported coal power is bad for the environment, but somehow Minnesota’s domestic coal power isn’t.

Dayton is vowing to continue his state’s quixotic legal fight to uphold that law, as is befitting a true believer in the climate change faith, but one has to wonder if the motivation is really about the environment or just rank economic protectionism.

As for profits, well North Dakota’s probably guilty as charged there too. Unlike those of a progressive bent who see the government’s proper adversarial to business and industry, in North Dakota leaders take a more cooperative stance. Rather than punitive regulations and penalties, North Dakota looks to work with industry to achieve mutually beneficial ends.

That may be because North Dakota is still so closely tied to its agrarian roots. According to the Census Bureau, in 2014 North Dakota was one of just two states remaining in which the most common job was farming. And what is farming if not industry?

Farmers are deeply invested in protecting the land, but they’re also invested in being able to use the land. Thus, is it all that surprising that a state dominated by farmers would elect leaders who make it their goal to balance environmental protection with actually being able to, you know, do stuff?

That sort of pragmatism has worked in North Dakota. And perhaps if hidebound, narrow-minded zealots like Mark Dayton could come down off their ideological high horses for a moment they might learn a thing or two.

RECENTLY IN

Say Anything

Tracker Pixel for Entry Heidi3 Tracker Pixel for Entry Brifki1 Tracker Pixel for Entry Josh1 Tracker Pixel for Entry District41Dems Tracker Pixel for Entry District21 Tracker Pixel for Entry Ruth1

Recently in:

FARGO – Ellen Chaffee wanted to know how much lobbyists were spending to influence North Dakota legislators. Online searches ended in dead ends. As the founders of North Dakotans for Public Integrity, Chaffee and Dina Butcher…

by Ryan Jankeryanjanke@hpr1.comZero Gravity Alternative Fitness will present their annual Halloween showcase this Saturday at their studio in south Fargo. The event, aptly named Poletergeist II, is a chance for students and staff…

Wednesday, October 24, 6:30 - 8 p.m.Atonement Lutheran Church, 4601 University Drive S., FargoBring the kids for candy and fun! This family-friendly halloween event has fun for everyone! There will be trunk or treating outside, a…

This weekend I was showing a friend of mine some Fargo hotspots. He was visiting from the West Coast, so naturally I was playing up the Midwest’s many charms. He mentioned that one thing that differed from the West Coast was the…

Gadfly

Goodbye Democracy!

by Ed Raymond

How today’s “christians” hammered the nails into the hands and feet of christHistorian Christopher Browning, who has spent a lifetime studying the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, and the World War II era of Europe, has expressed…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

by Ryan Jankeryan.janke78@gmail.com The scent of sauerkraut will be in the air next Wednesday when the Wishek Association of Commerce hosts the 93rd Annual Sauerkraut Day festival in Wishek, ND.The city of Wishek is situated 30…

We started our interview with JBOT, Captured! By Robots front man, captive and creator by playing a small bout of phone tag. You see, his internet went out and that sent his mind racing. Once we touched base, he said, “For a…

Damien Chazelle’s fourth feature follows the trajectory common to the careers of many ambitious and talented filmmakers honored with Academy Awards: the dissipation of rawness and experimentation as budgets, expectations, and…

I came to Mineral Point, Wisconsin for the art. The tiny town among the rolling hills about 50 miles southwest of Madison is home to just 2,491 souls and 25 art galleries and studios. Any community with that much creative energy…

by Stella Mehlhoffstellamehlhoff@gmail.com“Our mission is to invigorate civic conversation through intimate and transformative storytelling.” This statement posted on Theatre B’s website and tacked to their studio wall in…

Those who have been reading my articles for a while may remember when I interviewed Zachary Tooker about the Level Two Comedy Club at the Radisson in Fargo. While the club may have unfortunately closed, Tooker has not ceased…

Beer Snob

Warm up with a hot toddy

by HPR Contributor

by Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.com Fall is once again upon us. The leaves are turning, gardens have been pulled, and Summer’s heat has waned into Autumnal frosts. Along with the change of seasons comes a change of seasonal flavors.…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comThink back to one of your worst small decisions. Then answer the following questions:How did you make the decision?What happened after the decision?When did you know it was the worst…

There are two ways to look at the recommendation of Administrative Law Judge Patrick Ward that the North Dakota Public Service Commission dismiss the complaint against that (expletive deleted) Meridian Energy for failing to get a…