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Port: Accidental truth about wind energy

By Staff | Apr 14, 2017

I have a politician who accidentally told the truth, the positive and immediate impacts of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and cuts that aren’t really cuts in this week’s notebook.

Wind energy is not needed and destabilizes our power grid.

There has been a brawl in Bismarck this legislative session over wind power. So much so that the political wags in the Capitol have been joking that the wind industry has been stimulating the local economy with all the lobbyists they air dropped into the session.

At the heart of that brawl is Senate Bill 2134. I’ll spare you readers an accounting of the soap opera surrounding that bill, but suffice it to say that at various times it was a prohibition on rate increases justified by green energy mandates in other states, a moratorium on wind power development, and a study.

But it was an amendment to the bill proposed by House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, and the response it elicited from a pro-wind lawmaker, I want to highlight for you now.

Carlson’s amendment would have prohibited the development of any wind power that wasn’t a) justified by a demonstrated need for the power in our state and b) wouldn’t harm the reliability of the power grid.

Rep. Mike Brandenburg, R-Edgeley, a reliable ally of the wind industry, called the amendment a “glorified moratorium,” according to reports.

Reflect on the implications of that statement. Carlson’s amendment could only have been moratorium if further wind energy development in North Dakota wasn’t needed and/or would, as an intermittent power source, create stability headaches for the power grid.

Speaking of energy, positive impacts of the Dakota Access Pipeline are already here. During the (at times violent) debate over the Dakota Access Pipeline in past months the enemies of the project often told us that it was unnecessary.

The immediate positive response to the pipeline’s completion in North Dakota’s oil fields tell a different story.

“The state’s drilling rig count has jumped 40 percent since early February, when Trump gave final approval to the pipeline,” Reuters reported recently. “By the end of the year, analysts expect the rig count to rise another 10 percent or more.”

Finally, those budget cuts you’re hearing about aren’t really cuts.

North Dakota Democrats, when they aren’t busy complaining about our state’s too-low taxes, have been busy weaving some mythology around budget decisions being made in Bismarck.

According to their talking points, the state has cut funding for programs like Meals on Wheels and homeless shelter grants. But this isn’t accurate.

Meals on Wheels program had been getting automatic increases. Lawmakers capped those increases at a level slightly higher than the program’s funding last year.

You may have read that the program was cut. In reality, its funding will likely go up, albeit slightly.

As for grants to homeless shelters, the amount wasn’t cut only moved to a discretionary line item. While that may mean the funding is no longer guaranteed, it’s still not a cut.

Port is a Forum News Service columnist and the author of SayAnythingBlog.com. You can reach him on Twitter at @RobPort.

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