Sen. Simonson calls out Speaker Daudt for politicizing MN Power expansion project in WI

ST. PAUL, Minn – Sen. Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth) is calling out Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) this week for his false comments about the reasons behind Minnesota Power’s decision to build a natural gas power plant in Superior, WI rather than Minnesota. Daudt claims the reasons for the decision not to build in Minnesota surround our state’s regulations – but Minnesota Power has made it clear its decision was about using existing infrastructure at a location that was shovel-ready.

Sen. Simonson says politicizing this kind of business decision is bad for Minnesota and spreads false information.

“Speaker Daudt is knowingly using this Minnesota Power expansion project to further his agenda that would roll back environmental regulations and worker protections. We’ve seen what has happened to our Wisconsin neighbors under the leadership of Gov. Scott Walker – and it’s not a model we should strive for. Rather than using Minnesota Power to politicize his own agenda, Speaker Daudt should have spent time learning about the real reasons behind selecting Superior, WI as the location to expand. The reasons are straightforward, safe and completely innocuous,” said Sen. Simonson.

According to this article in Scientific American, in the years since Gov. Walker was elected in 2010 he has moved to reduce the role of science in environmental policymaking and has attempted to silence discussion of controversial subjects, including climate change, by state employees. From presiding over controversial rollbacks in environmental protections, including relaxing laws about building on wetlands and iron mining, he’s also loosened restrictions on phosphorus pollution in state waterways and restricted wind energy development. In his 2015-2017 budget proposal Walker also proposed eliminating an entire third of the DNR’s 58 scientist positions and 60 percent of 18 environmental educator positions.

On the flip side, Minnesota was ranked the number one top state for business by CNBC in 2015, which goes against Speaker Daudt’s claims that our regulations are holding the state back.

“As a progressive state that values our clean water, cleaner energy production and respects science – Speaker Daudt should be ashamed of himself. Minnesota is thriving, and it’s doing so with the regulations we have in place that provide protection for the things we value. I think we all need to ask ourselves, why does Speaker Daudt want to reverse the progress we’ve made in this state?” said Sen. Simonson.

Erik Simonson represents District 7 in northeastern Minnesota.

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