As sure as B.S. trails a boondoggle

Come on down, Iron Range! It’s time for another fun episode of “Logical Fallacy.”

Yesterday, Xcel Energy — the largest and most influential energy company in the state — said they aren’t going to invest in any new coal plants until the government decides on firm carbon limits or until the cost of cleaner coal plants become commercially viable. Minnesota Power and other utilities have released similar declarations this year, and indeed this is the prevailing viewpoint across the country according to media reports I’ve read.

So here’s your challenge. Spot the logical fallacy from this story about Excelsior Energy’s appeal of the state PUC’s decision to deny their efforts to force Xcel to buy their power.

A) “The Public Utilities Commission has placed a continual and constant burden on us to demonstrate that this plant is needed when the Legislature has already determined that issue,” [Excelsior CEO Tom Micheletti] said.

B) “The bottom line is: This project is still going to be built. It will happen, as sure as night follows day,” Micheletti said.

C) “It’s going to happen because we need the power, and someone needs to demonstrate that coal can still be used to produce power in this country,” Micheletti said.

ANSWER: Well, shucks. You get the premise. All of the above. Micheletti’s logic implies that our energy future is solely dependent on coal, that this project is the only way to accomplish energy on the Iron Range and that the Legislature should simply eliminate the PUC because those decisions should best be left to state senators who take money from and make buddies with those who want to start power plants.

A little natural gas peaking plant in Hibbing or Chisholm or Buhl would take care of our problems without driving up energy prices and would give us time to develop cleaner baseload power. A $2 and a half billion boondoggle run by lawyers is not necessary or smart.

Whenever you hear a lawyer/lobbyist say “As sure as night follows day” and “the bottom line” in the same sentence, you can bet you’re dealing with unfiltered B.S. Don’t fall for it, folks.

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