May 30th, 2007
Last night, there was a meeting held at Hamline … passive language, I know… I was going to say “sponsored by…” but I can’t really figure that out. So let’s identify all the suspects: At the auditorium entry taking names and emails was Justin Eibenholzl, Southeast Como Improvement Association. Beyond that toward the door was Nina “don’t quote me!” Axelson, Community Organizer for St. Anthony Park Community Council – District 12, telling Neighbors Against the Burner that they could not hold signs outside the door of the auditorium! And running interference out in the hall was Carl Nelson of the Green Institute. Who should stroll in but Steve Taff, U of M Applied Economics, the guy who does things like “Pathways to a reduced-carbon energy system for the Midwest.” District Heating’s Anders Rydaker and Bill Malum, Ken Smith (the site blurs District Heat/Market Street) were there, but what can you say about an entity that brags about a visit from Bush? And of course there were at least two from Rock-Tenn, Steve Haselmann and Jack Greenshields.
I was in on this because a certain Mr. Muller was pulled in by Neighbors Against the Burner to lend his technical expertise (garbage burners have been run out of Delaware and they’ve got strong legislative language to keep them out!). These fights are all the same, and this is Alan’s forte.
For some reason, the neighbors are finding that those they’d expect to support their efforts to stop the burner are taking very odd and painful positions — and that has much to do with the Metropolitan Emissions Reduction Project that’s shutting down Xcel’s St. Paul High Bridge coal plant. There’s a problem here, because Rock-Tenn has painted itself as the poor victim of MERP, which is shutting down the coal High Bridge Plant and there goes Rock-Tenn’s steam, and of course it’s all the enviro’s fault and all the legislators fault that High Bridge is closing, poor Rock-Tenn, they’d better do something to help poor Rock-Tenn. And they forget to mention that Rock-Tenn’s 20 year contract with NSP for that steam is up in July, 2007. Or that the garbage burner that Rock-Tenn dreams of is not only much higher priced than natural gas, but it requires massive public subsidies to not only build the burner, but to build a bigger Newport facility to collect garbage and another C&D facility to deal with that — oh, isn’t this a great idea for our tax dollars? No tax dollars for health care, but tax dollars to make us sick…
A few main things that jump out at me — THIS IS THE OPINION OF OVERLAND:
1) The legislation and the enviros’ MERP deal did NOT create Rock-Tenn’s contractual problem and the demise of its steam supply. End the guilt — don’t take on their problems!
2) Hey, Rock-Tenn, ever hear of laches? They knew the contract was running out and they pay big bucks for legislative and administrative representation. They did not say a peep in the MERP docket and din’t bother to intervene — only send a pissy letter at the very end.
3) To the extent there are any public subsidies, there must be an equal public equity interest!
Here are some of the handouts:
Here’s the Green Institute report, which has a very narrow scope for the $$$ paid:
Here’s the “FrOTH” report promoting a garbage burner:
(where did that go???)
Here’s a Memorandum of Understanding between MPCA and Rock-Tenn:
And here’s an interesting Resolution from Ramsey County supporting a “legislative MERP charge” for Rock-Tenn which for some reason doesn’t mention that in July 2007Â the Rock-Tenn Contract runs out:
I’ve still got some reports to scan in, others to find, and will post those and some more links someday soon…