Did you know that Central Minnesota is creating a Resilient Region? They prepared a local Sustainable Development Plan with the help of funding from federal grants. One of the cornerstones of the plan's economic development strategy is creation of a RENEWABLE ENERGY PROOF OF CONCEPT CENTER PLANNING GRANT INITIATIVE (REPOCC), which, they claim, can lead to "a dynamic Minnesota renewable energy cluster"..."drawn from wind, biomass, solar and other ascendant renewable capabilities [that] offers substantial job-creation potential throughout the state."
Winter sunset © harrington
I wonder how much energy is needed throughout the Iron Range. I wonder how much of it is supplied by renewables. I wonder what's going to supply needed electricity as coal becomes more and more expensive. I wonder how much of an advantage "early movers" in this field might be able to establish. I wonder how much water pollution, if any, is created by "mining" the sun and wind. Is it likely to require treatment for up to 500 years? Are renewable energy jobs subject to outsourcing or market volatility? I wonder if anyone is looking at these kinds of questions instead of drawing battle lines and building barricades on either side of the NorthMet proposal EIS.
Have you ever seen Edward Burtynsky's photographs of industrial landscapes? How do his pictures of tailings compare with your vision for Minnesota? I believe we can create a better Minnesota. Do you? Do we want Minnesota's Iron Range to become just another Bluff Road?
Snow covered fields © harrington
Before Dawn on Bluff Road
The crow’s raw hectoring cryscoops clean an oval divotof sky, its fading echoamong the oaks and poplars swallowedfirst by a jet banking westthen the Erie-Lackawannasounding its horn as it comes through the tunnelthrough the cliffs to the riverand around the bend of King’s Cove Bluff,full of timber, Ford chassis, rock salt.
You can hear it in the darkfrom beyond what was once the amusement park.And the wind carries along as well,from down by the river,when the tide’s just so,the drainage just so,the chemical ghost of old factories,the rotted piers and warehouses:lye, pigfat, copra from Lever Bros.,formaldehyde from the coffee plant,dyes, unimaginable solvents—a soup of polymers, oxides,tailings fifty years oldseeping through the mud, the aromaalmost comforting by now, like food,wafting into my childhood roomwith its fevers and dreams.My old parents asleep,only a few yards across the hall,door open—lest I cry?I rememberalmost nothing of my life.
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