“‘The time has come,’ the walrus said, ‘to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships — and sealing wax — of cabbages and kings’,” reads the Lewis Carroll poem.

The time indeed has come to write a letter to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to tell it how you feel about having tar sands oil so near the St. Louis River and Lake Superior, including the drinking water of so many residents.

With hundreds of millions of dollars already spent to clean up the river, should we continue to offer the chance for contamination? I learned recently at truthout.org that the members of the U.S. Congress hold $93 million worth of portfolios in natural gas and oil.

The PBS show “Amanpour” on Jan. 6 had an interesting fact: When members of Australia's ruling body quit, they go to work for the energy sector. They refuse to change their country's dependence on coal for export or update the coal-fired power plants. Parts of the country are on fire, and still they refuse.

How far are we here from this same behavior when some local elected officials who might own stock in power generation make decisions that affect us all?

Do we have the power to change what seems to have been the status quo here for so many years? Government locally relies on taxes and jobs that the energy sector provides. Can we provide the dynamic to shift from fossil fuels to insulating our homes and retrofitting to use less energy? The world is changing. When will we?

By Jan. 16, your comment is due to the PUC; email publicadvisor.puc@state.mn.us.

Kathryn McKenzie