DraftIt’s final… that is, the FINAL meeting notice was just issued, one more go round on these draft rules for Certificate of Need (Minn. R. Ch. 7849) and Power Plant Siting Act (siting and routing of utility infrastructure) (Minn. R. Ch. 7850).

We’ve been at this for about a year and a half, maybe more, and to some extent we’re going round and round and round.

Here are the September 2014 drafts, hot off the press:

September Draft 7849

September Draft 7850

Send your comments, meaning SPECIFIC comments, not “THIS SUCKS” but comments on the order of “because of _______, proposed language for 7950.xxxx should be amended to say_______.”  It’s a bit of work, but it’s important, for instance, the Advisory Task Force parts are important because we were just before the PUC on this last week, trying to reinforce that Task Force’s are necessary, despite Commerce efforts to eliminate and/or neuter them.  That despite ALJ orders otherwise, the Final EIS should be in the record BEFORE the Public Hearings and Evidentiary Hearings (just lost a Motion to require this last month).

How can you comment?  The best way is to fire off an email to the Commission’s staff person leading this group:

kate.kahlert@state.mn.us

If you’re up to it, sign up on the PUC’s eDockets, and file your Comment in Docket 12-1246.  If you’d like your comment filed there, and can’t figure it out, please send it to me and I’ll file it for you.  It’s important that these comments be made in a way that the Commission will SEE, in a way that they cannot ignore, when this comes up before them.

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Last night we went for another picnic, this time near home, at Memorial Bluff.  They’ve spent a lot of time, money, and effort to rehab the park, and at the Upper Stone Quarry, have put in the most amazing stone picnic tables and benches, HUGE hunks of rock.  The trail near our old house on 8th is now dubbed the “Cow Path,” apparently they regularly herded cows up to the top to graze!

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We went to the Upper Quarry, and again picked the table with the view:

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Yes, it’s got the “best view,” but look at this!  Who would put a picnic table directly under a transmission line, with the upfront close and personal view of this transmission tower?  What were they thinking?  Not everyone has an affinity for transmission!!!

But some do — we were joined by two flapping and calling birds, hawks or immature eagles, who hung out on top of the structure objecting to our presence.  Lighten up, birds!

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Alan and I were invited to attend a climate change bicycle tour meeting, joined/hosted by Red Wing locals Mayor Dan Bender, and Evan Brown, cook extraordinaire (see his blog, Cooking for the Future) and member of the Sustainability Commission, so we went.  What’s a climate change bicycle tour meeting?  Well, they’re on tour, and there have been other meetings as a part of this tour, in Lakeville, Northfield, Winona, and here in Red Wing, other locations perhaps?  I think there were five.

Participating organizations were:

Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Cool Planet

MN350

When I first heard about this, what came to mind was Neil Ritchie & the solar bike tour back in 2004, they were in Northfield in September, 2004, and many other locations in SD, IA, and MN, raising awareness about renewable energy and urging people to contact their legislators!

Solar-Bikes

This was similar but slightly different, focused on getting word out about climate change.  Hopefully, it raised awareness and got Red Wing residents interested in the doings of Red Wing’s Sustainability Commission.  The Sustainability Commission played a large role in getting the City’s solar project going.  It’s a treat to go to City Hall, which we did yesterday to attend the West Avenue Construction meeting, and see the city vehicles parked under the solar array canopy.  LOVE IT!!  And there’s additional solar on the roof of the fire station and at the city’s Public Works vehicle parking lot.  Yes, PUBLIC WORKS!

We had to do the “go around the circle” thing, and I noted “garbage” (the loud and stinky incinerator right behind me), “transmission” (directly overhead), and “nuclear” just up wind and upriver in the city limits, and that RES must be tied to shutting down coal.

Here’s that transmission line, and it seems to have been redone recently, look at that beautiful, decorative cortend steel:

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Alan raised the incinerator issues he’s been working on, that the City of Red Wing burner has been shut down, and it was clear that they’d not really thought about incineration and the contribution of burning to CO2 generation/climate change.  In discussing garbage and shutting down the incinerator, “zero waste” was not part of their vocabulary, and instead the binary response was “well, where will we put it?”

Here’s a photo as we were leaving of that former coal plant, now garbage plant, the one David Sparby and an IRP said would be shut down — ask Ramsey and Washington Counties about that:

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Their handouts didn’t note shutdown of incinerators or coal plants:

Promote a just transition to clean energy to stop the progression of climate change.

Resist the aggressive expansion of extreme fossil fuel extraction, including tar sands, that threatens life itself.

Nothing about shutting down coal.  ???  Nothing about decreasing burning.  But again, there’s that insidious link that “clean energy = less CO2″ which we know isn’t true.  Now that we have the electric market set up, and the transmission infrastructure in place to ship all that excess generation from the Dakotas through Minnesota eastward, they won’t be shutting it down anytime soon.  Now that Sherco 3 is up and running after a year and a half off-line, we lost that opportunity to keep the biggest coal plant in Minnesota shuttered.

If you’re looking for reduction of CO2, and Renewable Energy Standards won’t do anything towards that goal unless it’s explicitly linked.  RES MUST BE LINKED TO SHUTDOWN OF COAL.  Otherwise, it’s just adding “renewable” generation on top of a surplus, and they can sell that surplus coal generation now that they’ve got the transmission to do it.

 

 

 

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Peter Mastic, a/k/a New Era Wind, and Peter J. Mastic Holdings, LLC, has apparently been trying to leverage his MISO Interconnection Agreements into some sort of advantage as a proposer of a solar project in Goodhue County.

DOH!  That won’t work — MISO went to FERC and requested that Mastic’s Interconnection Agreements for MISO queue projects H061 and H062 be terminated.  “New Era” vigorously defended its Interconnection Agreements, and against claims it had not paid requisite costs.  Oh well, that didn’t fly.  FERC complied and issued the orders a couple months ago.  H061 and H062 are TERMINATED!

FERC Docket No. ER14-1719-000_Order – TERMINATION of Interconnection Agmt H061

FERC Docket No. ER14-1684-000_Order – TERMINATION of Interconnection Agmt H062

So given the public nature of these Terminations, and MISO requests to FERC for termination which Mastic was obviously aware of, what would you call statements claiming that these Interconnection Agreements and spots on the MISO queue are Mastic’s asset, or that they could be used for any purpose?  Hmmmmmm…

 

 

The Alabama Public Service Commission joining with the state’s representative to the Republican National Committee to object to EPA rules, “Who has the right to take what God’s given a state?” he said.   The last two lines of this article say it all:

The press conference was held in the offices of the Alabama Coal Association.

The EPA hearing was to be held Tuesday at the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center but has been relocated to the Omni Hotel because of a power outage.

This reminds me of the Mayor of Hoyt Lakes, who said in promotion of the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project after a discussion of mercury, “Mercury?  We’re used to mercury here.”

And then there’s the “Obama war on coal” fiction — if only… but dream on.

Congressman Byrne joins fellow Republicans in denouncing Obama ‘war on coal’

The good news is that since the EPA hearing was moved to hotel, a building other than a federal building, the two ID requirement to enter a federal building will not apply.

Here’s the full article, read it and snort — if it weren’t so tragically absurd:

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Pray God blocks EPA plan, chief regulator of Alabama utilities tells consumers

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Alabama’s coal industry will lose jobs and consumers will see their utility bills increase should the EPA implement proposed regulations on coal-fired power plants, Alabama regulators said at a press conference in which they invoked the name of God in the fight over fossil fuels.

Two members of the Alabama Public Service Commission, a member-elect and an Alabama representative to the Republican National Committee said proposed EPA regulations that aim to reduce power plant carbon emissions by 30 percent represent “an assault on our way of life” and are a purposeful attempt by the Obama administration to kill coal-related jobs.

“We will not stand for what they are doing to our way of life in Alabama,” said PSC President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh. “We will take our fight to the EPA.”

Cavanaugh and several other Republican leaders from Alabama plan to offer testimony at an EPA hearing in Atlanta on Tuesday.

The EPA announced in June its intent to implement new standards meant to curb carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Such emissions are among the biggest contributors to global warming. According to EPA documents, the proposal would require Alabama to lower emissions from its coal-fired plants by 27 percent from 2012 levels.

A spokesman for Alabama Power Co., which has six coal-fired plants in the state, has said it’s too soon to know what action the utility would have to take to meet the new standards.

At their news conference today Cavanaugh and PSC commissioner-elect Chip Beeker invoked the name of God in stating their opposition to the EPA proposal. Beeker, a Republican who is running unopposed for a PSC seat, said coal was created in Alabama by God, and the federal government should not enact policy that runs counter to God’s plan.

“Who has the right to take what God’s given a state?” he said.

Cavanaugh called on the people of the state to ask for God’s intervention.

“I hope all the citizens of Alabama will be in prayer that the right thing will be done,” she said.

Also speaking in opposition to the EPA plan were PSC Commissioner Jeremy Oden and Paul Reynolds, an Alabama representative to the Republican National Committee.

Oden said he believes the EPA has dramatically underestimated the economic impact that the proposed regulations will have, and that the 600-page proposal represents overreach on the part of the Obama administration. Reynolds said the Obama administration has more important issues with which to contend.

“The Obama administration should be concerned about a potential world at war instead of something dumb, like a war on coal,” he said. “What we’re dealing with is government run amok.” 

The press conference was held in the offices of the Alabama Coal Association.

The EPA hearing was to be held Tuesday at the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center but has been relocated to the Omni Hotel because of a power outage.