March 7th, 2014
Just filed in the ITC Midwest MN/IA transmission case — because Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Wind on the Wires, Fresh Energy and Izaak Walton League refuse to answer Information Requests:
It’s important that they disclose, and important that the record reflect, the agreements that Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Wind on the Wires, Fresh Energy and Izaak Walton League have entered into, and the terms of the agreements, including terms regarding positions taken in interventions, what they are required to advocate for, in what venues, and prohibitions from advocating against utility policy and/or projects. These agreements have had such wide ranging policy impacts, I’m sure they think for the good, that the end is worth the means, but I’ve been picking up the pieces of their messes, representing people and communities harmed by the deals, by the impacts…
Why are these agreements a problem? Because the agreements they’ve entered into, at least those I know of, are primarily agreements of self-interest, without consideration of the impacts… think about the “alternate site mandate” or the Benson turkey shit burner of the 1994 Prairie Island bill, or the “Innovative Energy Project” Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project and expansion of dry cask storage of nuclear waste of the 2003 Prairie Island bill, or the 2005 Transmission Bill from Hell and all the perks to allow CapX 2020, plus C-BED and a substation and turbine on Speaker Steve Sviggum’s land too… nope, no way, no how, these agreements are not in the public interest, are not in their “members” interests, and have had significant detrimental impacts on clients that have come to me for help in dealing with those impacts.
February 27th, 2014
In the opening, Frank says that it will be continued on Tuesday, March 5. He expects there will be a hearing on a bill on March 12, and it will also go to the Public Safety Committee.
February 25th, 2014
The U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered stricter standards for transportation of crude oil, stemming from the Bakken oil train disasters cross country. It’s about time!
From the Order, it seems they’re getting it figured out:
Here in Minnesota, Rep. Frank Hornstein is holding an INFORMATIONAL hearing. He’s the chair of House Transportation Finance, and if you want to testify (this is not about a specific bill, that’s pending), contact the Committee staff and let them know you’re interested in speaking out:
Administrator: Matt Scherer 651-296-3316
Legislative Assistant: Rachel Nelson 651-296-5486
You can also contact committee members and let them know what you think, here’s the Committee Page and emails are listed.
Now, back to the DOT Order — here are some specifics about misclassification leading to improper shipment:
And they specifically address the Lac Megantic explosion and found that the rail cars that had NOT exploded were correctly classified:
There are a lot of interesting links in this report, links to investigations, etc., including this page, about the investigation that really got the DOT rolling:
From this report, note the links to Notices of Proposed Violations, chump change, but nailing down some violations (note, for example the Hess Corporation one, with multiple violations, and there’s a sliding scale taking into account past violations, so will they be on them in the future? We shall see.):
As a result of today’s findings, PHMSA has expanded the scope of Operation Classification to include testing for other factors that affect proper characterization and classification such as Reid Vapor Pressure, corrosivity, hydrogen sulfide content and composition/concentration of the entrained gases in the material. PHMSA will also move forward with the Notices of Proposed Violations totaling $93,000 that were issued to Hess Corporation, Whiting Oil and Gas Corporation, and Marathon Oil Company, and will continue working with the rail and oil industry based on Secretary Foxx’s Call to Action, including sharing of additional data, and recommendations for future safety initiatives.
February 22nd, 2014
Degasify… degasify… degasify… degasify… Bakken crude must be degasified before it’s put into tankers and goes down the track! What’s so hard about that to understand?
Yesterday, the DOT issued a letter of agreements with the Association of American Railroads:
The majority of which is blather that is make work feel good nothingness, the only thing with some quantifiable demonstrable meat to it is:
Nowhere do they address a requirement to degasify the crude before it is loaded, and it’s that gas in the crude that is so explosive. HELLO! When are they going to deal with the issue?
Here’s the DOT letter regarding degasifying:
And here’s the part that addresses degasifying the crude before transport:
Come on, DOT, how hard is that to understand? Bakken crude must be degasified before it goes rolling down the track.
February 13th, 2014
Talk about being behind the curve… a news blackout. I’ll post this on all my sites and watch, NSA’s going to push my stats up!
Very strange timing here — an incident where “multiple transformers,” 17 transformers, or 5 transformers, 5 out of 7 transformer banks, depending what you read/hear, were taken out occurred on April 16, 2013, and it’s just now being reported. Try googling “news blackout California substation electrical terrorism” and see what comes up. Maybe it’s that former FERC chair Wellinghoff is out there talking about it? There was also a congressional hearing in December that got some coverage…
At the time, the incident wasn’t publicized, but since he stepped down as FERC chairman in November, Wellinghoff is raising public attention to the California sniper’s attack to demonstrate the vulnerability of the nation’s electricity system.
Do some googling and see for yourself the news blackout. Also,several articles are noting it occurred a day after the Boston Marathon bombing, but not one yet is noting that it occurred the day after taxes are due. How many anti-tax wing-nuts are out there?
They publicized similar sabotage in Arkansas and arrested the perp (interesting, he unbolted a tower, connected a cable, and used a moving train to tip over the pole!):
Back to California — here’s what the substation and surrounding area looks like, and the actions taken, from the Wall Street Journal article:
In today’s STrib:
In the Wall Street Journal (I don’t have access… do you?):
From PG&E at the time:
April 16, 2013April 17, 2013
Now going back to April, 2013:
Here’s one from December, 2013, that is the most detailed and credible I’ve found:
In this one there’s a statement that’s a recurring theme that I think is off base, the theme being that it’s a rehearsal for a “real” attack, and in other articles calling it a “dry run,” when I’d call taking out 17 transformers a “real” attack:
“These were not amateurs taking potshots,” Mark Johnson, a former vice president for transmission operations at PG&E, said last month at a conference on grid security held in Philadelphia. “My personal view is that this was a dress rehearsal” for future attacks.
Another good detailed article in the NY Times:
And a video:
Now let’s see some other coverage that I’ll nominate for “wing-nut” status:
In which they say:
Those who still believe that this was the work of a home-grown terror cell, read between their own lines: according to the U.S. Navy investigation ordered at the request of FERC chairman Wellinghoff, “it was a targeting package just like they would put together for an attack”.
Exactly, because this wasn’t a real terror attack. ??? Again the mantra of a “dress rehearsal” or a “dry run.” Isn’t taking out the fiber-optic and 911 service and then multiple substation transformers “real” enough?
In today’s STrib, the full article:
WASHINGTON – They came after midnight, two or more armed individuals who cut telecommunication cables in an underground vault and outsmarted security cameras and motion sensors at the power substation in a remote corner of Santa Clara County.
At daylight, FBI agents began poring over time-lapse photographs from the surveillance cameras. But the photos revealed only muzzle flashes from a semi-automatic weapon and sparks as shots hit rows of transformers. There was not a face, not a shadow, of who was doing the firing.
The military-style raid on April 16 knocked out 17 giant transformers at the Metcalf Transmission Substation, which feeds power to Silicon Valley. The FBI is still working the case, and agents say they are confident it was not the work of terrorists.