Today, U.S. Representative Chip Cravaack (MN) called on the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MNPUC) not to close down three Northland power plants, and to carefully consider all relevant factors, including job loss, before making any decisions on the fate of the facilities.
Specifically, the Laskin and Taconite Harbor Energy Centers employ over eighty workers and contribute to a critical, reliable energy infrastructure for the taconite mining industry in Northern Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Commerce recommended shutting down Laskin Units 1 and 2 and Taconite Harbor Unit 3.
"Closure of these plants will have a devastating impact on families, local governments and homeowners in the cities of Hoyt Lakes, Aurora and Schroeder. These effects will also ripple out into the surrounding communities of the Iron Range and Duluth in terms of electricity reliability and cost," said Cravaack. "While environmental groups may consider these people necessary collateral damage for their idea of the greater good, Iron Range families are facing the prospect of fewer opportunities and a reduced quality of life," he added.
The three electricity generating units threatened for closure produce electricity for iron mining and heavy manufacturing in neighboring areas like the City of Duluth. Importantly, their closure could affect electricity reliability for homes and businesses, as well as increase costs.
Representative Cravaack serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee -- where he is Vice Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee -- the Homeland Security Committee, and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. The 8th Congressional District covers 18 counties in Northeast Minnesota.