DAPLroute

Yes, here it is, the Federal Register link:

Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement

pdf of Notice: 017-00937_Federal Register – Notice EIS

Scoping comments are due by February 20, 2017.  By mail, and they ask that you include your name, return address, and “NOI Comments, Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing” on the first page of your written comments:

Gib Owen

Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works

108 Army Pentagon

Washington, DC 20310-0108

By email to gib.a.owen.civ@mail.mil – use Subject: NOI Comments, Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing

They say they want comments about these issues, but don’t limit your input:

(1) Alternative locations for the pipeline crossing the Missouri River;

(2) Potential risks and impacts of an oil spill, and potential impacts to Lake Oahe, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s water intakes, and the Tribe’s water, treaty fishing, and hunting rights; and

(3) Information on the extent and location of the Tribe’s treaty rights in Lake Oahe.

What does this mean?  Well, they’re looking for a way to ram it through, looking for “alternative locations for the pipeline crossing the Missouri River.”  They’re probably wanting to avoid any consideration of the entire project, avoid consideration of connected actions here, and the potential for and high risk of impacts downriver.  How about need?  I’ll bet they don’t want to consider whether there is need for this line, and what it means if there is increased oil output in the region, the impacts of continued extraction!  Broaden the scope!  From the Notice: “The range of issues, alternatives, and potential impacts may be expanded based on comments received in response to this notice and at public scoping meetings.”  So get to work!

2300-NDpipelineMAP-v2

Plains&Eastern

THE GOOD NEWS:

(This is a TEXT ENTRY ONLY. There is no pdf document associated with this entry.) ORDER: The motion, No. 25 , is denied without prejudice. We’ll see how the briefing goes. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 1/17/2017. (slb) (Entered: 01/17/2017)

Here’s the NPR report, as above, the Motion was denied today, without prejudice:

Clean Line Wants Landowners’ Hearing Expedited, Says Delays Imperil $2 Billion Project

Here are the filings leading up to this, from the Eastern Arkansas Federal Court site:

DownwindLLC&GoldenBridgeLLC-v-CleanLine

FirstAmendedComplaint_20-main

FirstAmendedComplaint-Exhibits_20-1

02713946136_DefendantFeds-AnswerAmendedComplaint

02713945742_P&ECL-AnswerAmendedComplaint

02713958575_Order_Schedule 02713961448_

CLEP-Motion_2ndHrgDate

And as above, the simple text denial of that Motion:

(This is a TEXT ENTRY ONLY. There is no pdf document associated with this entry.) ORDER: The motion, No. 25 , is denied without prejudice. We’ll see how the briefing goes. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 1/17/2017. (slb) (Entered: 01/17/2017)

2016 PPSA Annual Hearing

December 23rd, 2016

20161220_1017471

Tuesday was the Annual Hearing for the Power Plant Siting Act.  I’ve been fighting off this sickness that Alan’s had for a week now, and not quite feeling right, more like life inside a pillow, everything’s rather dampened.  But I slogged out into the world, and raised a few of the recurring points, issues with the Power Plant Siting Act, particularly public participation issues common not just to the Power Plant Siting Act (Minn. Stat. Ch. 216E ), but also to wind siting dockets under Minn. St. Ch. 216F, and pipeline routing dockets under Minn. St. Ch. 216G.

Here’s how to submit comments, deadline January 20, 2017:

comments

Until this year, the Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing has included a review, rundown, listing, of all the projects approved by the Commission, including wind and pipelines, and this was anticipated at this hearing per the notice:

iiid2

The full Notice:

16-0433 Notice of the Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing

HOWEVER… that report, “Projects Reviewed” section D, “Electric Facilities Not Subject to Power Plant Siting Act, did not occur.  I’d guess in large part it was due to the many issues raised by those intervening and participating, or attempting to participate, in wind siting dockets who have appeared at PPSA Annual Hearings over the years.  And I’m sure they did not want input from those participating and intervening in pipeline dockets, we’ve seen how Enbridge cancelled their “public informational meetings” up north after having to face the public and their legitimate issues the day before in Bemidji.  Alan Mitchell, formerly EQB PPSA staff, and now working for Enbridge, was there, so this was on Enbridge’s radar, but of course, that Alan didn’t have any comments for the record (I do wish I remembered more about the pipeline rules rewrite that he worked on during his time at the EQB, I think somewhere around 2002-2004?).

The ALJ is to write a summary of the Comments, both at the meeting, and those filed afterwards, and then?  What happens?  Experience says “not much.”  PUC staff responded to the “What happens” question saying that things that don’t require statutory changes or rulemaking, that those are things they want to impliment, to change, to improve, and to the extend that we can, we implement.  So he said.  When the report comes from the ALJ, they review it, they’ll have the transcript from this meeting, and will go over it.

There was a pretty crowded room, better attendance than for the last couple of years, with two new members of the public speaking up.  John Munter, who has been very active in opposition to the Sandpiper and now the Line 3 “replacement” pipeline issues, spoke about the difficulties of participating in the dockets, the difficult to untangle web of “need” and “route” dockets, and of the many pipeline projects ongoing.  Tina Carey spoke of the issues she and her neighborhood encountered during construction of the massive “largest in Minnesota” solar project that went up across the street, and that the complaint process was insufficient and ineffective, and the neighborhood’s complaints were disregarded.  Cynthia Warzecha, of the DNR, gave a solid synopsis of DNR activities in PPSA dockets, and I’ll note that the DNR and DOT have really gotten into the groove of reviewing projects and providing material and substantive comments for consideration, in the EIS and in the route or siting docket (and also in environmental review in Certificate of Need dockets).  Kristen Eide-Tollefson spoke as an individual with a 20 year history as a participant in routing and siting dockets, and noted for the record this legislative prelude to the transfer of environmental review from the EQB to the Dept. of Commerce:

2005 Session — Chapter 97, Article 3, lays out the purpose for transfer from EQB to PUC and DOC, of responsibilities for Siting, Routing and Environmental Review.
Environmental Review. Sec. 17. To ensure greater public participation in energy infrastructure approval proceedings and to better integrate and align state energy and environmental policy goals with economic decisions involving large energy infrastructure, all responsibilities, as defined in Minnesota Statutes, section 15.039, subdivision 1, held by the Environmental Quality Board relating to power plant siting and routing under Minnesota Statutes, sections 116C.51 to 116C.69; wind energy conversion systems under Minnesota Statutes, sections 116C.691 to 116C.697; pipelines under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 116I; and rules associated with those sections are transferred to the Public Utilities Commission under Minnesota Statutes, section 15.039, except that the responsibilities of the Environmental Quality Board under Minnesota Statutes, section 116C.83, subdivision 6, and Minnesota Rules, parts 4400.1700, 4400.2750, and 4410.7010 to 4410.7070, are transferred to the commissioner of the Department of Commerce. The power plant siting staff of the Environmental Quality Board are transferred to the Department of Commerce. The department’s budget shall be adjusted to reflect the transfer.
(emphasis added by moi).  I went on about my laundry list of issues, see e.g., Comment-February 1, 2013 for 2012 PPSA Annual Hearing.  I specifically noted that we’ve been doing this over and over and over, that some changes would require legislative action, but that for those legislative changes that have occurred, and WE’VE NOT YET COMPLETED A RULEMAKING SINCE THE 2005 CHANGES, yes, I’m YELLING, and noted that we’re trying to address some of these issues in a rulemaking begun officially in 2012 and which has not yet come before the commission, and there’s a Minn. R. Ch. 7854 wind rulemaking and Minn. R. Ch. 7030 MPCA noise rulemaking that need to get moving… as if… it’s bogged down and that’s not acceptable.   Alan Muller spoke of his experience and observations of many dockets, and had a specific request — that the ALJ’s report ought to contain the report of the previous year and address what was done with that report, changes instituted, etc., and that this year’s report recommend changes and actions to the Commission.
FYI, here are past summaries and reports:

2000 Summary of Proceedings

2000 Report EQB

2001 Summary of Proceedings

2001 Report EQB

2002 Summary of Proceedings

2002 Report to EQB

2003 Summary of Proceedings

2003 Report to EQB

2004 Summary of Proceedings

2004 Report to EQB

2005 Report to PUC

2006 Report to PUC – Docket 06-1733

2007 Report to PUC – Docket 07-1579

2008 Report to PUC – Docket 08-1426

2009 Report to PUC – Docket 09-1351

2010 Report to PUC – Docket 10-222

2011 Report to PUC – Docket 11-324

2012 Report to PUC – Docket 12-360

2013 Report to PUC – Docket 13-965

2014 Summary Comments– Docket 14-887

2015 Summary Report – Docket 15-785

The most important point to get across?  These siting and routing projects are all connected, and the problems with public participation, and Public Utilities Commission and Dept. of Commerce, and Office of Administrative Hearings efforts to limit it, and yes, it is that direct, are universal across these projects, not found only in PPSA 216E dockets.  We’ve been trying so hard to deal with these issues by “working within the system,” but the system is broken, has been for so long, and the rulemaking (note this 2011 Overland Petition for Rulemaking – February 2011) begun in 2012 (See Rules – Notice for Comnent on Power Plants Transmission) (search PUC dockets for 12-1246) has been stalled out now for way too long.  We’re essentially into 2017.  It’s pretty tough to have any confidence in “the system” with this malingering.
mullertestifies

orangehaired-troll

Trump’s energy agenda, vague as it is, has been essentially to promote “clean coal,” nuclear and to deny climate change and dismantle federal climate change and “renewable” energy programs, of course with no move to eliminate subsidies for coal and nuclear.  The “transition team” sent a big laundry list of questions to the Department of Energy, and it’s pretty broad.  It’s also something that would be both telling and intimidating to receive.  Looking at this, there’s no doubt where they’re headed.

Here’s the document — read it and see what you think… and note how many of these questions are “Can you provide…” which are easily answered with just a “Yes” or “No” and that’s the end of it!

DOE – Trump Transition’s Questions

But wait… there’s another version (similar, but different order, etc.):

DOE – Trump Transition Question #2

I think Trump needs somebody to write his questions for him, somebody new that is.  He obviously didn’t come up with this, but his staff person who did, well, if they worked for me, “YOU’RE FIRED!”

LTE in Dodgeville Chronicle

December 8th, 2016

mvp345

See the lower 1/2 of MISO’s MVP project 5, running from near Dubuque, IA to the northeast to the “Cardinal” substation near Madison?  That’s the Cardinal – Hickory Creek transmission line.

The Dodgeville Chronicle ran my Letter to the Editor, just in time for the meeting last night, held by Rural Utilities Service, about the Cardinal – Hickory Creek transmission project:

From 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7th, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is hosting a scoping meeting at the Deer Valley Lodge in Barneveld. RUS will again collect scoping comments for its Environmental Impact Study as it decides on a loan to Dairyland Power Cooperative for a share of project costs. RUS held scoping meetings October 31-November 3, 2016 – why more scoping meetings now?

The Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission project stretches from a substation near Peosta, across the Mississippi River and Wisconsin, near Dodgeville, to a substation near Madison. Last April, as reported in this paper, American Transmission Company’s Jon Callaway reported that the project schedule had been pushed out to 2018 or beyond. The reasons weren’t clear, and should be specified and made part of the RUS record.

Cardinal-Hickory Creek and the under-construction Badger-Coulee transmission lines are MISO’s (Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.) MVP project “five” revealed five years ago in MISO’s MTEEP 11 report. That was 2011, and it was “postponed” in 2016. Why the delay? MISO’s 12.38% rate of return for construction has been successfully challenged in federal court. There’s a glut of electricity where even marketing electricity cross country is not alleviating the industry’s overproduction. MISO’s MVP economic modeling no longer hold under current scenarios. And maybe the delay is that and more!

Now’s the time to tell RUS to consider the economics, need and causes of delay in its financing decision. If delay is right for the project developers, RUS should also delay, and put financing on hold.

Carol A. Overland, Esq.
Red Wing, MN