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On July 18, Lakeshore Weekly News reported a press release from the Coalition for a Secure Energy Future touting its award to District 33 Sen. David Osmek as an “Energy Champion” for “encouraging ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategies for Minnesota.”

It is relevant to note that the coalition is self-described as a “project of the Lignite Energy Council,” a North Dakota-based organization whose primary objective is to “maintain a viable lignite coal industry and enhance development of the region’s lignite coal resources.” In short, as Bluestem Prairie puts it, “a coal industry front group.”

The single most salient fact about Sen. Osmek’s energy strategy for the state of Minnesota is that despite overwhelming evidence of the health and environmental harms of burning fossil fuels, globally and here in Minnesota, as chair of the Senate Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee Committee, he single-handedly denied all Minnesotans a chance to debate the merits of a considered path to 100% renewable energy. He refused to hold hearings on SF850.

The only way we can begin to solve the climate challenges that face Minnesotans is to address them head on through open debate. Instead, Sen. Osmek has chosen to use the awesome responsibility of his chairmanship to protect coal interests of North Dakota over the health and well being of Minnesotans.

I nominate Sen. Osmek as a Champion of Not Listening and urge him to commit to holding hearings on the 100% bill on day 1 of the next legislative session.

Steve Dietz

Shorewood

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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