Reality Check: Ellen Anderson’s ‘Extreme’ Views

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Twenty-four hours after the Minnesota Senate rejected Ellen Anderson as the Governor’s appointee to the Public Utilities Commission, she accepted a job as a senior advisor to Gov. Mark Dayton on energy and environmental issues.

Republicans said they rejected Anderson because her energy views are “extreme.” However, looking at Anderson’s record at the PUC and the Minnesota Senate, where she served for 19 years, it shows Republicans joined her on her most visible energy bills.

The five-member Public Utilities Commission regulates power companies and sets Minnesota’s gas and electric rates.

Republicans voted along party lines to reject her appointment to the commission Monday.

“I look at a public career that has demonized traditional energy sources,” said Sen. Julie Rosen, (R-Fairmont), the chair of the Minnesota Senate Energy Committee. “I look at derogatory references to dirty and dangerous fossil fuels and energy cartels that do not reflect well on the nominee.”

That’s Questionable.

During eight months on the job, Anderson participated in 221 PUC votes, and 95 percent of them were unanimous. Only six times did Anderson vote in the minority.


As a Senator, Anderson emerged as a renewable energy expert, authoring seven major energy bills.

All of them passed, and were signed into law by Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

It’s TRUE.

One of Anderson’s bills was a national model that Pawlenty used to launch a presidential campaign.

It required 25 percent of Minnesota power to be generated from renewable energy by 2025. Another bill reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Republicans say they’re worried about what Anderson might do in the future.

“Her outright rejection of energy sources that built this country and helped foster the highest living standards in the world is irresponsible,” said Rosen.

Reality Check Sources:
“Renewable Energy Gets A Big Boost”
Renewable Energy Standard Passes Minnesota House
Annual Legislative Proposal Report on Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions
Annuel Greenhouse Gas Legislative Proposal Report
Ellen Anderson Voting Record
Public Utilities Commission

More from Pat Kessler
  • The Editor

    Bizarre twisted logic.

    It’s like saying “sometimes Bob tells the truth so he’s not a liar”.

    You have to look at the overall record. That was not done here.

    I’m giving the story a D. If there had been any misspellings, it would have been an F.

    • The Editor

      I’m not going to report your comment. I hope the censors here let it stand.

      • Dan

        What comment?

    • Sam

      @ The Editor
      95% of the votes she participated in were voted in unanimously. That means that, 95% of the time, both Democrats and Republicans agreed with her.
      Her bills not only passed a vote, but were signed in by a Republican extremist.

      What overall record are you talking about? Her voting/authoring record seems to be the important thing here.

      Yes, she’s for renewable energy, since it’s, well, renewable, unlike coal and oil. It doesn’t go away. This can range from wind turbines to using biofuel to run current power plants.

      • Mel

        Why, oh why, do the liberals resort to inflammatory rhetoric whenever they are trying to make a point? “Republican extremist”. The only extremist I know are the ones who flew planes into buildings.

        And by the way, Pawlenty was an environmentalist, not a true energy industry capitalist.

      • Will

        I hope people are aware that Julie Rosen’s own legislative bio lists “agriculture/renewable energy” as a legislative concern. Which, you know, might be worth asking…is she concerned about it in that all she cares about is stopping renewable energy? If so, that’s pretty extreme. If not, then why the sudden move against someone with similar concerns?

  • tom

    Coal and Oil are this country. For her and the restof the Liberal Dems, coal is evil as is oil. Obama even says you can open a coal producing elec. plant but we will make it to expensive to operate. all of these people want us back living in the stone age.

    • Really

      Coal and Oil are this country. Really? Your generalization and lack of facts exemplifies the cons disregard for facts. You simply spout some talking points you got from faux news and call it facts. I realize cons haven’t shown any real accountability for facts, but at least try to be somewhat factual.

      1. Coal isn’t evil, but its a dirty source of power and there is a limited supply.
      2. Oil production is fine, but the fact is over half is ship outside the US, so its not helping out consumers here.
      3. Both of those will run out. We need to figure out a renewable source now and not wait for those two sources to run out. Renewable energy has the same “boom” potential as coal and oil did in terms of jobs.

      So instead of coming on here to call people names and spouting off something you never took time to be educated on, maybe you should spend a little time learning about what you are talking about. When you blindly trust someone on a fake new station that couldn’t care less about you it makes you look ignorant.

      • Bill

        “Renewable Energy” is not renewable.

        It takes more energy to produce a gallon of Ethanol than the energy you get from the gallon.

    • Enough said

      Tom, Your comment is too illiterate to even comment on. Please learn how to compose a sentence before posting a comment, including the use of when and what words should be capitalized, when to use a comma or a period and when to abbreviate a word. You make one think all conservatives are ignant.

      • Tom the Teacher

        The obvious fact that he went to a public school and didn’t learn correct grammar doesn’t negate his opinion.

        Shame on you.

        • In Defense

          I attended a public school and learned to capitalize and punctuate correctly, thank you. I received degrees from both a public university and a private college. Stop bashing public schools. Simply because a writer does not review a post to correct its conventions, a conclusion should not then ensue that he or she attended a public school. It may mean that the writer is incensed and wishes to post a response immediately without taking the time to review it, or that the person does not see the need to make corrections for the audience that will view the post. It could also mean that the writer is a poor or careless typist. The public schools have nothing to do with it. Defense with subtext is no defense at all.

          By the way, the word “ignant” is a colloquialism, a substandard way of saying “ignorant.” It is like the word “diss” or, perhaps, “ain’t.” While it is perfectly acceptable to use the word in some settings, the writer should avoid its use in formal writing. This is not formal writing. Since the intent of these posts is immediate discourse, correcting or commenting on anyone’s conventions is like “spittin’ into the wind.” It might make the spitter feel better, but it’s a sure thing someone will have a face full of spit. I believe I am now covered in spit, but I do feel better.

          • The prosecution rebuts

            I don’t have any studies to back me up on this, but I’d wager a paycheck that the utilization of proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation correlate with strong critical thinking skills. I base that on my belief that that the kind of activity that fosters the former – reading, and especially the kind of reading pursued in an academic setting or informed by academic standards – is the same kind of activity that fosters the latter. Heavy reading not only inculcates one with an understanding of the rules of the language; it also encourages one to consider many ideas, and from multiple perspectives, so that to read a lot is to develop the ability to recognize and process more than one side of an issue.

            You’d have us dismiss the misspellings, mistaken punctuation, the atrocious grammar and all the rest as products of excited or careless but nevertheless thoughtful writers. I suppose I might accept that explanation if the quality of the thinking in these posts exceeded the quality of the writing. But the thinking is almost always at least as sloppy as the writing, isn’t it? Well isn’t it? Isn’t it the case that with sloppy writing you usually find fallacious thinking leading to non-sequiturs? And non-sequiturs built upon the writer’s certainty that we live in a black and white world, that there’s one side, and with it an obvious answer, to every issue, that if you disagree with the writer’s perspective you’re a moron? Given the content of so many sloppily written posts, isn’t it at least as likely that sloppy writing betrays a weak thinker as it is that sloppy writing masks a strong one?

            No, especially at sites like this one, where people can hide behind anonymity, sloppy writing and sloppy thinking go hand in hand. Unlettered ignoramuses posture as know-it-alls and turn these forums into dimly lit, mud slinging pits. Tom writes like an unlettered ignoramus, and unless and until he demonstrates a higher intelligence, why should you or I or anyone else pay any attention to what he has to say on renewable energy or any other complex, multifaceted issue that demands a willingness to work through the strengths and weaknesses of different perspectives if one is going to develop an informed opinion on the issue?

  • Frankie

    The Republicans must think that coal and oil will last forever.

    • Republican

      Projected to last 250 to 300 years

      • Frankie

        At what price and improbability of extracting it?. Projections depend on sources of opinion.

    • The new normal

      In 1974 I heard from “experts” that there was only 25 years of oil remaining in the Earth. I think they lied or had no idea what they were talking about.

  • Mel

    Why don’t you ask those people who are now suffering due to the a huge eye soar called a wind turbin, that now rests on their property, ask them how they sleep at night. Ask them how their headaches are going. Ask them what happened to their property value. Then ask the professionals how much energy those wind turbins are actually producing vs. the cost of building them. Oh wait, personal comfort and health, and loss of home value is worth the sacrifice if it’s for the greater good of,….? Oh yeah, all the companies that Obama gave our money to so they could implement their environmentalist agenda. But wait, didn’t those companies go bankrupt because it isn’t self-sustaining? Yup, and with a trillion dollar projected deficit (again), we have all the money in the world to pour into these empty pits.

    • whut?

      “eye soar”? That’s a new one.

      • mel

        @Whut, so out of everything I said, you have to pick out the one spelling error? I guess you had nothing else to say in response.

    • Irv

      If we are concerend about eye sores, sound or property value then all power supplies fall into this same category. Built a coal plant next to my house and I will have more eye sores, sound and less property value. Difference is the air is cleaner, and my children don’t have to go to a another country to fight for its oil. At what point do we start to look towards the future and get away from ancient technology.
      All these post’s miss that this is a story about Republicans rejecting Anderson because of her views. She’s not radical, she’s just proactive. Even Pawlenty, for all of his faults, was proactive in this area. So why reject? Its been the Republican thing to do. Reject everything. This is why Republicans have a 17% approval rating right now. Lets start working together and quit with all of the bickering.

  • tb

    I’m certain no Republican believes fossil fuels will last forever. However, it is ironic that the policies the Democrats promote ignore how much poor people will be punished by trying to end coal and oil dependency as soon as possible. Deny the Keystone pipeline and let all that oil go to China instead. Let the people on marginal incomes figure out how to pay 6 dollars a gallon for gas. So much for the idea of the dems “looking out for the poor people”. All those wind farms won’t prevent them from freezing in the dark.

    • Bill

      Exactly right. We have enough coal and oil for over 300 years. As they gradually become economically nonviable, alternative resources will be supplied by market forces…not the government.

      By the way, NASA has reported there is no global warming:


      You won’t find that story in the main stream media.

      • American

        This is just one more example of how all of the media in this country is biased.

        Fox News is too conversative, but the rest are all too liberal and there isn’t a “fair” source.

  • Brett

    You can demonize oil and coal all you want, but you can’t produce SQUAT without energy. Since this country refuses to develop and modernize it’s nuclear energy potential, and instead build vast and endless expanses of windmills and solar “farms”, we are the product of our own demise. Refusing to allow this state to buy electricity from a CLEAN, MODERN, coal fired plant in N. Dakota is BAD policy, especially when the decision comes AFTER the plant is built and ready to go on line. Same goes for the XL pipeline. Short-sighted decisions pretending to be long-term wisdom.

  • DougT

    lets face it – liberals do not like inexpensive energy, Energy is what drives capitalism. And liberals are (in their hearts) anit capitalist)

    Ergo – Wind Power! Solar Power! Things that do not really create cheap dependable or – to use a word “sustainable” energy … There are just expensive boondoggles that suck taxpayers money and do nothing to really help anyone – but might someday send us back to cave dwelling in peaceful- all be it uncomfortable – utopia!

    Take Natural Gas – the libs used to like it – but now its cheap and plentiful so they are against it. Just cant make up their minds sometimes…..

    The traditional fuels are not forever – nothing is because nothing stays the same – but given FREE market supply and demand they are an existing, cost effective bridge to the next thing -(progress!) And it will take a free market to get us there – not state mandated hope and change…..


  • Brett

    Leave it up to Pat to defend the indefensible. Ellen Anderson would probably have a hard time punching a cash register, but since she lost her job as head of the PUC, dayton “saves the day” and keeps this career gov’t “official” employed, because he knows that she has no marketable skills in the private sector. A classic ploy to keep a woman from becoming a victim of the economy, from losing her ‘status’, and perpetuating the liberal myth on how government knows better than the individual citizen.

  • Brett

    I recently asked the PUC to explain why Centerpoint Energy was allowed to charge me .48xxxx per therm, when the wholesale “cost of gas” hasn’t been that high since last JULY. It took them over a week to respond, and I got the standard “dyed in the wool” pre-formatted response. That’s your PUC working for YOU. Nothing saying, “we will look into it”. As of today, the wholesale price of natural gas is .2446 according to the CNBC commodities page. When the price of a barrel of oil jumps $10 in a day, you see the difference in a day or two at the pump. Yes, I know that the PUC doesn’t regulate gasoline, but something is horribly wrong with our regulatory systems. Nothing wrong with Centerpoint’s stock price though…. UP over 14% in the past year. Do you think that Pat can do an expose on Centerpoint Energy one of these days? Don’t hold your breath.

    • dan

      SO you want government control over everything? Rate requests are approved, when the wholesale cost goes down, profit goes up. When wholesale prices goes up, more expensive service plans are sold to make a profit.

      • Brett

        That reply makes ZERO sense. Profit goes up whether the raw cost of a fossil fuel goes up OR down. Take oil for example. When the price of oil skyrocketed a few years ago, the oil companies made RECORD PROFITS. When was the last time that an energy company (fossil fuel based) reported a LOSS in it’s financial statements?

  • Zing

    Oh yes, we would not want to address the fact that the “traditional” energy sources that made this country great are in limited supply. Modern humans have roamed the earth for 30 to 50 thousand years and it’s only been in the last 150 years that we have used coal and oil seriously. We have used nearly half of those fuels in that time. The result has been a population that has sky rocketed to 7 billion in the blink of an eye. Energy companies only want to keep telling you every thing is fine so you stay in line and keep buying their product. By the time you realize it’s to late and 10 billion people are suddenly fighting to the death the one percent will be safely behind walls with private armies. Anybody who points this out and wants to make sustainable choices must certainly be a left wing wacko. Yeah, that makes sense. Good luck republican tools.

  • OMG

    The forcing of a coal energy producer to produce 25% of it’s energy via another source is EXTREME. It s un-american. This would drive up energy costs 35-40 %. Our millionare gov and anderson don’t care.
    My thanks go out to the GOP for once again looking out for the little guy. Our poor and elderly on fixed incomes we vote this fall.

    • Irv

      Tim Pawlenty didn’t agree with you. He thought that was a pretty good goal and was pushing for it. Is he extreme? I personally didn’t like him in office, but at least he was looking at the bigger picture until he got into the pres race..

  • ipmutt

    Of course Ellen is extreme. Anyone consistently left of center and regularly far left is extreme. And talk about senseless legislation. Trying to makdate vague green energy is typically extreme. Give us something specific. Show us one that will work and legislate that in a specific way.

    • Brett

      Do you mean, like, ETHANOL??

  • mark

    talk about your one sided story!!!

  • kevin

    Where’s the money coming from to pay her salary and benifits? I thought the state govenment just went through a battle to balance a 5 billion dolar short fall ,and now we are adding positions that never existed before. Keep spending all you dems. it will be the end of your party, trouble is you will take the state in to bankrupcy also.

  • Tom

    It is amazing that same party voted her down for this position all voted for her previous legislation on this issue of energy, so did she have same views back then and they no problem with them, but now that is up for cabinet position those same positions are now to extreme for them now. For the GOP to call her positions is like calling the kettle black. And I also heard that this might be payback for the Dems voting down to of the GOP nutjobs for cabinet positons which were for the Dept of Edu and Dept of Trans.

  • Eric

    The telling point was no Republican would speak during the debate. They didn’t merely fail to give a reason for removing her, they stayed silent. I guess the shame was too strong for these political cowards. I pity the commenters trying to make some sort of case against Anderson, not because they’re stuck making weak arguments, but because they’re stuck trying when their so-called leaders just hid.

    • Brett

      They had a debate, you are just angry because YOU weren’t invited to it, probably because you would have had NOTHING worthwhile to contribute, other than throwing glitter maybe….

  • Brett

    Wow, so since Tim has left the el presidente race, and is no longer gov, now Pat refers to HIM, as if he is/was a leftist liberal. Before, he was a raging extremist conservative…. Hey PAT, MAKE UP YOUR MIND about Tim.

  • spin city

    I just love that terminology: “traditional” energy sources. So what does it take for something to be considered traditional. Hmmmm, what power source was used for centuries by the Dutch to claim land from the North Sea?

  • Minneapolis News Stories for Feb 01 2012 : Travel tips, hotels, restaurants, jobs and news | Travel 2 Minneapolis

    […] of construction executives expect local non-residential construction active to increase in 2012.Reality Check: Ellen Anderson’s ‘Extreme’ ViewsTwenty-four hours after the Minnesota Senate rejected Ellen Anderson as the Governor’s […]

  • John Brunette

    Where is your coverage of Senator Ortman’s response? Where is your coverage of Dayton’s retraction from his statement, and apology to the St. Cloud paper? Is this the DFL headquarters, or a news organization?

  • Minnesota’s PUC is no energy-policy powerhouse, regardless of who’s in charge | Minnesota News Press: Minnesota Breaking News Headlines | MN News Directory

    […] pro-solar direction, as a Republicans who suspended her would have us believe. Others have checked her record as PUC chair and found only 6 votes over a final year in that she took a minority view, nothing of […]

  • Minnesota’s PUC is no energy-policy powerhouse | Minnesota News Press: Minnesota Breaking News Headlines | MN News Directory

    […] pro-solar direction, as a Republicans who suspended her would have us believe. Others have checked her record as PUC chair and found only 6 votes over a final year in that she took a minority view, nothing of […]

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