November is shaping up to be a busy month for our state and district. A few items I wanted to bring you up to date on:
As you may know, the DNR has started a clear cutting program in the Sand Dune State Forest and in other areas of the state. The DNR is currently implementing a program to clear cut large sections of pine forests to change them to oak savanna. Many of the residents who live near these areas have expressed concerns about the notification procedures, safety factors, property value effects and the way the community was left out of the process. I will continue to meet with the affected communities and committee leadership to try to bring some balance and resolution to this issue. The Orrock Township board hopes to hold a round table event before our next legislative session begins in March. I look forward to learning as much as I can about this issue and how to put the citizens first. State government agencies are in place to serve you, the citizen - not the reverse. I will continue to stay involved in this and keep you up-to-date on developments.
Xcel Energy announced recently that they plan to scale back production at the Sherco Power Plant. Two of the three units are scheduled to be retired. The process is scheduled to begin in 2023. Xcel also informed us that they will build a gas unit on the Sherco site for power production. At this time, the governor has ordered the MPCA to develop a plan to adhere to the federal mandates to reduce carbon dioxide levels. As you know, I do not support the President's plan that puts expensive mandates on our state. I will be keeping up-to-date as the MPCA works to develop this plan. I will be introducing more legislation in 2016 to bring some balance back to this issue. Minnesota needs an all-of-the-above energy policy, that includes gas, nuclear and coal.
This week, House Speaker, Daudt sent a letter to Governor Dayton urging him to ask President Obama to halt the relocation of Syrian Refugees into the United States until better screening methods can be developed and the Department of Homeland Security has reviewed its procedures to be absolutely certain we can keep out those who wish to do harm.
I agree and support Speaker Daudt in this endeavor. The safety of our citizens is the first priority of any governmental body. In light of the tragic events in Paris I believe we need join many of the other states in the union urging the President to stop the flow of refugees until we can absolutely assure the safety of our own citizens. Our current screening methods are not adequate to do the job.
Finally, I would like to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving Holiday. We are still the greatest nation in the world and God has richly blessed us. Now, more than ever, I am grateful to be an American. I am especially thankful for all of the veterans in our nation and for the sacrifices they made to ensure our freedoms. My own dad fought in World War Two. He is no longer with us. I cannot thank him, and all of the other veterans, enough. May God bless them and their families in a very special way.