Minnesota’s Nuclear Non-Profit Advocacy Group

Chris Newmarker’s piece in Minneapolis / St Paul Business Journal on Minnesota’s new nuclear advocacy group leaves something to be desired.

Here’s the opening:

A coalition of business, labor and environmental leaders is backing a nonprofit that wants to increase nuclear power generation in Minnesota.

Sensible Energy Solutions for Minnesota, or SESM, wants repeal of the state’s moratorium on constructing nuclear energy facilities.

“As we look ahead, we must put nuclear power — the most sensible and carbon-free base-load electricity source in existence — back on the table as an energy option,” said Minnesota Chamber of Commerce President David Olson, an SESM board member.

Compare and contrast that with the opening of the Pioneer Press’ version:

A coalition of business, labor and environmental leaders has joined a new nonprofit organization to advocate repeal of Minnesota’s ban on new nuclear power plants.

Three veteran Republican operatives organized the group, Sensible Energy Solutions for Minnesota, but on Tuesday they announced formation of a bipartisan board of advisers that represents a wide range of interests.

Board members include Carl Crimmins, president of the Minnesota Pipe Trades Association; Harry Melander, executive secretary of the St. Paul Building & Construction Trades Council; Minnesota Chamber of Commerce President David Olson; Don McMillan, president of the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance; and Cynthia Lesher, retired president and CEO of Northern States Power Co.

It seems to me that the story here is that a group of people who’d directly and/or indirectly profit from nuclear power production are setting up a group to lobby from those efforts. And, rather than call themselves, “People who Profit from Nuclear Power” they’re calling themselves, “Sensible Energy Solutions for Minnesota” which says nothing about their profit motives. Is it sensible for them to profit from nuclear power at any cost? Have they forgotten why the moratorium is in place?

Mentioning that the organization is a 501(c)(4) may have been pertinent rather than saying “backing a nonprofit” if you want to be more clear about what type of advocacy is going on here.

Perhaps someone could find out why people are motivated to join the Facebook group?

If Minnesota was to decide to build another nuclear power plant based on the recommendations of a bunch of people who would profit from it, I have one condition I’d like to see imposed: build it at 898 Mendakota Court, Mendota Height, MN. The address of the “Environmental Group” that’s part of this charade. Lake Mendakota could be the cooling pond. If it isn’t large enough, Mendakota Country Club could be dredged to increase the lake’s size.

That seems appropriate considering that the same address used by Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance is also home to Conservative Political Action Committee – CONPAC and home to yet another Don McMillan backed group called Sportsmen for Bush.

Who’s Don McMillan?

A dentist from Mendota Heights. Yep, a dentist by day, political advocacy group creator by night, and weekend hunter, is running the environmental group supporting repealing of the nuclear power plant moratorium in Minnesota from what appears to be his home office. I’m cool with hunting, and stand somewhere to the left of Mr. McMillan politically from what I can tell, but I hope we can both agree that decisions regarding nuclear power should probably be decided by more qualified people than either of us.

To me, these are relevant facts missed by BizJournals but easily gleaned from Google that help tell the story of why a innocuous sounding advocacy group is relying on support from environmentally-unfriendly environmental groups to get a very real moratorium on nuclear power plant creation overturned.

8 thoughts on “Minnesota’s Nuclear Non-Profit Advocacy Group”

  1. while I prefer renewable energy sources like wind and solar, I think it is naive to take/keep nuclear of the table. We all have computers plugged to the grid 24-7, we charge our cellphones nearly every day. More minnesotans than ever I would venture have central air conditioning. We live in an information age and that information lives on silicon chips that must be both powered and cooled. Today we have plug in vehicles (Tesla) and soon the masses will have access to them (Volt, etc) Yet realistically the only increase to our electric systems capacity has been coal fired power plants.

    Yet how long has it been since a new reactor went online?

    While I believe strongly that we must diversify our investments in multiple forms of alternative energy. While the earth, sun and wind may be the future of electricity generation, right now I’ll take nuclear over coal any day.

  2. Oh I get it, we want energy and we have a clean way to get it but NIMBY.

    Can weapons grade plutonium be downgraded for fuel.

    If so why not take some out of missiles, then we aren’t even really adding nuclear waste to the equation.

  3. No Ryan, how about this–each person has to generate their own fricking power. You want your lifestyle, then get your wind/solar/bike with a fricking generator on it and produce it. Why do I have to put up with mercury in my water from coal power, why do I have to put up with nuclear waste that in over 50 years of producing radiation no one has figured out a way to defuse it, why do I have to put up with the big energy companies wagging their tail and wrecking my life.

    Oh, that’s right, because you need your night light on.

  4. Dear other Mike:

    Resorting to insulting the other person is a clear sign of conceding to his/her point of view. So, insult me all you like, but you would thus only be proving my point.

    Nuclear is important as ONE aspect of new fuels for the rising demand. Demand is NOT going to slow, no matter how many government mandates are put on people. Those with power and money and those with the means, will find a way around that. What needs to be done is a COMPREHENSIVE look at ALL possibilities, including nuclear power and Drilling for more oil.

    Currently, new fuels are not marketably viable on their own…they are all heavily dependant upon goverment subsidies (funny, Other Mike, you didn’t seem too concerned about having your money taken to be thrown into those endless pits).

    By the way, profit is NOT a bad thing…I’d like my employer to make a profit…that is better for me, the low-wage (comparably) worker, and helps pay MY energy bills.

    Seemingly contradictory opinion from the article:
    …they’re calling themselves, “Sensible Energy Solutions for Minnesota” which says nothing about their profit motives. Is it sensible for them to profit from nuclear power at any cost? Have they forgotten why the moratorium is in place?

    I’m cool with hunting, and stand somewhere to the left of Mr. McMillan politically from what I can tell, but I hope we can both agree that decisions regarding nuclear power should probably be decided by more qualified people than either of us….

    Who’s to say you are qualified to write a contradictory opinion about such matters? If you don’t want a part of the decision-making, why the website? Why are you attempting to get others to concede to your point of view, eh?

    At any cost? (what, specifically)? Dredging Lake Minnetonka, eh? Why stop there with your nonsensical comparisons? They’re going to suck Lake Superior Dry! AUGH!!! Oh, but maybe you don’t realize that lakes are dredged all the time…for ENVIRONMENTAL purposes. Or maybe you do but are purposely attempting to deceive others.

    Tell ya what: You live like an Amish (I doubt it), ride your bike to work (or to the unemployment office, whatever the case may be), raise your own vegetables, buy a goat, etc…and I’ll stick with those who look at the world realistically and seek out workable, environmentally AND economically viable solutions.

  5. “Environmental leaders?” Hardly. Both reporters blew that one.

    The Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance is first and foremost a hunting/fishing/trapping group. Of the group’s officers, the president and two executive committee members represent the Safari Club International, a right-wing, pro-trophy-hunting organization that contributes heavily to Republican candidates and causes. The rest of the group is made up of representatives of other hunting/fishing/trapping groups. There is not one non-game conservation group represented there (Sierra Club, Audubon, Izaak Walton League, etc.).

  6. Ryan, my apologies if it seemed I was mad at you, I am not and did not intend any disrespect to you. My disrespect is intended to big power…I am tired of the pollution and empty promises offered by big power with ‘unclean’ coal and now ‘safe’ nuclear…neither exist nor will they exist in my lifetime.

    Kari, I am not Amish, but I am not afraid to bike, nor am I afraid to turn off the a/c, nor unneeded lights around the house…my household electric bill and gas bill last month combined were under $30, my car gets 50 mpg, and my biking helps keep my health care bill down…currently it has been zero for 2009 and God-willing it will remain there. Also, I do not feel deprived in any way and feel happy with my lifestyle…I have no feeling of self-sacrifice or lifestyle regrets.

    Now do you see why I do not need nuclear power? So, that is my challenge to you, why can I do this and others cannot? What is your need for more power?

  7. @Karl, bizjournals and the Pioneer Press would be accused of having a reality bias if they outlined each player’s true stake in nuclear power. The media offends (and informs) no one with their press release regurgitations.

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