Duluth paper runs damning report on Range energy boondoggle

Peter Passi has an important Sunday story in the Duluth News Tribune on Excelsior Energy’s controversial Mesaba Energy Project, the Iron Range clean-coal proposal that has yet to materialize, despite its $40-some million in public dollars.

I urge you to read Passi’s story. It is a wholly effective explanation of the project’s origins and political patronage.

The developers got rich with hardly any of their own money on the line. They will stay rich regardless of whether one shovel ever turns. In the story, project supporters like Sen. Tom Bakk and the developers themselves blame the economy and Xcel Energy for not buying their overpriced power, two factors that could have been predicted in the early 2000s and indeed have been argued consistently by project opponents. There is simply no valid defense to the activities reported in this story that doesn’t include the words “We’re sorry. We made a bad call”

I’ve written thousands and thousands of words on this project. Follow the tags if you’d like to read my old material. In summary this project remains the biggest mistake in Iron Range economic development history. The sooner we learn from it and purge ourselves of the incompetence and cronyism that led us to this low place, the better.

Passi has a second part of the story running Monday. I’ll post a link then.


  1. The small town Iron Range politics exhibited in this $40 million power play is typical of DFL Range politics over the past 100 years. It goes on and on…and you’re a cog in promoting it..


  2. To quote Robert DeNiro’s character in Taxi Driver, “You talkin’ to me?”

    I get your stuff in my e-mail every day and I appreciate your enthusiasm. We disagree about a lot of things but I am not going to focus on that. If you can’t see that what I propose and write about here is quite a bit different than status quo, Range political orthodoxy that you are the one who has problems seeing outside your worldview. I simply see no reason to spend time on conversation with you if you see it that way.

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