The Experience That Compelled Me

My primary reason for entering the race for State Senate has to do with how I perceive our representative government being practiced.

As citizens of Minnesota, if we have an issue of concern that the State is involved in, our best opportunity to be heard comes from communication with those who represent us in our District. It is our District Representatives from both the House and the Senate who should be the most available and most willing to address our concerns.

But what do we do if our concerns are ignored?

What do we do when those who purport to represent us won’t even respond?

My experience with being ignored and unacknowledged by Bill Weber is what has brought me to the point of challenging him for his seat in the State Senate. I have reached out to him through his email form, and then later through a third party who is in a leadership position within the Republican Party. Bill Weber has given me no response.

I am going to briefly share my particular issue with you below, but please understand that the issue that I wanted addressed is not the main point. All of us have different priorities and issues of concern, most of which we either keep to ourselves or talk about with friends and family. It is a rare occasion when we seek help, guidance, or clarification from those who represent us in government. When we do, we deserve some kind of a response. Any response from Bill Weber would have been appreciated, but none was given. In my view, that is not acting as a representative should, and that is not how I will treat you as your State Senator.

THE ISSUE THAT HAS BROUGHT ME HERE

About three years ago I first heard about a new wind farm being planned for the area around where I live. My initial response was neutral to somewhat opposed, based on my perceptions and understanding at the time. At the time I viewed wind turbines as good sources of clean energy, but an ugly addition to the landscape. Here is what I’ve learned since then.

Wind and solar are both dependent on rare earth minerals

  • We are prevented from mining for rare earth minerals in the US because of the environmental damage that is caused.
  • Mining that is performed overseas is done with far lower environmental standards than we require in the US.
  • Mining for rare earth minerals cannot keep up with projected demand.
  • Mining for rare earth minerals depends on fossil fuels.
  • Chinese companies account for 90% or more of these rare earth minerals. These companies employ slave and child labor in their mining, and forced labor within concentration camps for their solar production.

Wind and solar are unreliable and inefficient

  • Wind turbines produce about 32% of their listed energy capacity, and solar is worse. This is mostly due to the simple fact that when there is no wind or sunshine no energy is produced.
  • This unreliability requires a backup power source – or blackouts and brownouts as is widely experienced in California, the state most dependent on these energy sources.
  • Battery storage is not an option for a backup source. The amount of battery storage is unattainable, and our batteries are also dependent on rare earth minerals.
  • For an example of wind and solar inefficiency, the Prairie Island Nuclear plant produces 500 times as much energy as the proposed Big Bend wind and solar project while using less than 2% of the land area.

Wind turbines damage the natural environment

  • Wind turbines currently kill far more migratory bats than any other natural or human-caused source
  • Wind turbines kill Eagles and other large predatory birds.

Homeowners in and near wind projects lose property value

  • Sound, shadow flicker, and a disruption of the viewshed all diminish home values.

Our State Legislature at work

  • Wind and solar are currently mandated, subsidized, and promoted at both the federal and state level. Most of this comes from laws passed years ago by your Minnesota legislators.
  • County zoning laws do not apply – your state legislators have taken over those safeguards.

I would summarize all of the above by saying this:

By supporting current wind and solar projects, one must support child and slave labor, environmental damage here and overseas, and a lifestyle loss to local residents and visitors.

Some seem perfectly fine in justifying this. While that alone frustrates me, wouldn’t you agree that these concerns at least justify a response from our State Senator?

I would add one final note regarding wind and solar. I do believe that they can play a part in our energy needs. We simply need to be realistic about their capabilities and about their production. Since they are highly dependent on mining for rare earth minerals, then we must find a way to safely and humanely mine for those minerals. This preferably would be done here in the United States, hiring American workers, and under strict environmental rules. If we can do that, and limit their placement to areas that greatly minimize other environmental and human harm, let’s do so. If we move forward in this way, developers can then invest in these projects while accepting the true costs associated with the technology.