Proposed climate-destroying infrastructure (
by Dan Burns
Sep 13, 2021, 7:30 AM

Speaking of filthy fossil fuels boondoggles…

The Nemadji Trail Energy Center (doesn’t that sound innocuous, even pleasant?) is planned for Superior, Wisconsin. Minnesota has a legal say because many of its customers will be in the northeast part of this state. They deserve better. We all do.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals (August 23) upheld Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approval of financial agreements for the proposed Nemadji Trail Energy Center (NTEC) fracked gas power plant, but litigants in the case will continue to push to block the development of the plant…

The ruling is disappointing for ratepayers, local residents and people who care about our shared climate. The CEOs are currently reviewing the decision and will make a decision on next steps in this specific appeal in the coming weeks. But the proposal faces additional legal challenges. In July, MCEA, Sierra Club, Honor the Earth and Clean Wisconsin filed a separate petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture that challenges the absence of climate change impacts in the environmental review of a federally-subsidized loan for Dairyland Power’s portion of NTEC. This petition is currently pending. In addition, NTEC is still facing legal challenges and has not yet received all necessary approvals from the State of Wisconsin.

When it comes to natural gas you hear a lot of “it’s not as bad as coal.” That’s roughly similar to noting that, milligram for milligram, arsenic isn’t as deadly as strychnine. Natural gas is awful stuff, and it has to start being left in the ground just as petroleum does.

Incidentally, a carbon removal plant just opened in Iceland. It’s cool science, but:

If the Orca plant delivers on its promise, it would, as E&E calculated, bump up the world’s existing direct air capture by more than 40%, and would allow humanity to suck 13,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year. Sounds great! But there’s an important part of context behind those impressive-sounding numbers: 13,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide is less than 1% of the yearly emissions from a single coal plant. (The 4,000 metric tons the Orca plant will capture is less than the yearly emissions from just 800 cars.)

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