Posted by: ericgrimsrud | June 30, 2016

Intergenerational malfeasance in Zumbrota?

First, what and where is Zumbrota? The only “Zumbrota” in the world is a community of about 3,000 souls located 20 miles north of Rochester Minnesota. It also happens to be my home town in which my father ran the local newspaper starting in 1946 and passed it on to one of his sons and then a grandson – so that I still get complementary issues of the paper every week.

During the past few years I read about the big windmill controversy of Zumbrota and its county of Goodhue. Because a major national power grid runs through that region and because that region has consistently strong winds, a windmill company tried to get local farmers to allow them to put some windmills in Goodhue County. After a few years of resistance to this idea by the good folks of the county, the windmill company gave up and dropped those plans. While the proposed windmills would have brought considerable wealth to the region and would have provided a major source of carbon-free power, it was not liked by many apparently for aesthetic reasons.

Then, in my last issue of Zumbrota’s News-Record it was reported that a similar proposal for a solar panel farm near Zumbrota was also turned down by the community’s city council. I am guessing that the reason was again claimed to be aestheric since I can think of no other.

As a result of these reports, I used my influence with Peter Grimsrud, my nephew and now publisher of Zumbrota’s News-Record, to run the letter to the editor shown below under the same title as used for this post.

“A 2014 poll (Washington Post, Nov. 19, 2014) found that 74% of Americans under the age of 30 support government policies to cut carbon pollution, as compared to just 58% of respondents over the age of 40, and 52% over the age of 65. The problem set in motion by this divide is that younger generations will have to live with the consequences of the decisions we make today for much longer than older generations. Older generations prospered as a result of the burning of fossil fuels for seemingly cheap energy and tend to look fondly on how things were done back in “the good old days” – while our youngsters will not appreciate how slowly their parents and grandparents came to understand what they were thereby doing to all future generations.

With the above trends in mind, I have observed the resistance in Zumbrota and Goodhue County, in general, to the installation of first windmills and now solar panels. While such installations seem to be “no brainers” to me – I have made extensive use of solar panels on my homes and windmills in my states of residence – I have been surprised at the resistance shown to them in the Zumbrota region where I grew up and still visit regularly. In pondering this, I suspect that the reason has a lot to do with the information provided in my opening paragraph. Moreover, I wonder if the average age of Zumbrotans has significantly increased over time. In any case, it appears to me that Zumbrota has become part of the intergenerational crime being committed almost everywhere in the USA by my own baby boomer generation on all future generations. The only argument against what I just said is that the science behind it is wrong – another unfortunate notion more commonly embraced by the more aged among us. Needless to say, I hope the Goodhue County Board shows more sense concerning its apparent “solar panel controversy” than did the Zumbrota Council.    

Eric Grimsrud, Grand Rapids, MN”

While I hope that by this letter I have not worn out my welcome in my beloved home town, I hope it is also recognized that “what goes on in Zumbrota does NOT, in this case, stay in Zumbrota”. With respect to the global warming problem, Zumbrotans affect the future of the entire planet.  



  1. Ironically, the bald eagle along the Mississippi River Valley is what finally did the wind farms in — pitting environmentalists against capital environmentalists. The wind companies accused farmers of baiting eagles with road kill in order to kill the wind project. When the argument against harmful flicker failed, wind opponents turned to laws protecting our national symbol.
    I’m sure somewhere they’ve dammed a river for energy and flood control, and now they’ve got environmentalits fighting to protect the disturbed water habitat.

  2. “A 2014 poll (Washington Post, Nov. 19, 2014) found that 74% of Americans under the age of 30 support government policies to cut carbon pollution, as compared to just 58% of respondents over the age of 40, and 52% over the age of 65.”

    Eric, could it be that those over 40 are smart enough to know what the definition of “pollution” is?
    : the action or process of making land, water, air, etc., dirty and not safe or suitable to use
    : substances that make land, water, air, etc., dirty and not safe or suitable to use

    This administration’s EPA’s Clean Power Plan calls CO₂ “carbon pollution” & naturally you feel that you also have to term it that & that right there is enough to let one know that the whole plan was based on pseudoscience regarding the false claim that CO₂ drives the earth’s climate & there has never been any experiment done that shows that to be the case. Why don’t you want to acknowledge that this trace gas, CO₂, is essential for all life on earth, other than perhaps around deep sea vents, and without it there would be no plants and therefore no animals on the planet?

    • John, You appear to not understand the role of the permanent GHGs and especially CO2 on the Earths climate – they are the thermal insulators that cause our temperatures to be much higher than they would be if the atmosphere had no permanent GHGs.

      The biosphere now contains about 40% more carbon that it did prior to the industrial age and it takes a long, long time, several centuries, for that excess carbon to return to the geosphere. Thus, our atmosphere now has 40% more CO2 than it did naturally and the world is warming because of it – while we add lots more every year.

      John, if you are an elderly person, you have provided here an example of the case I made in my post. Why not learn some modern climate science of the type that is in the scientific literature and increasingly is in our text books? Sure CO2 occurs naturally, but too much of a good thing can cause trouble – just like ethanol.

      Cheers! Eric

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: