Rep. Frank Hornstein and Sen. Vicki Jensen have introduced three bills related to rail safety, triggered by the recent Bakken oil rail car derailments and explosions.

2014 Bills jpegHere’s a pdf with clickable links to check out the specific language and status:

2014 Bakken Oil Rail Safety Bills pdf

TO DO: Contact House Committee members and urge passage:

In the House, all the bills have been referred to Transportation Finance (HF 3134 after a trip through the Transportation Policy and Public Safety committees), so now we’ve got to contact those in Transportation Finance to move HF 3133, HF 3134 & HF 3135 on to the House floor — it’s Frank’s committee so he shouldn’t have any trouble getting a hearing!!!  Contact info for House Finance members HERE!

TO DO: Contact Senate Committee members and urge passage:

In the Senate, two have been referred to Transportation and Public Safety (SF 2795 and SF 2796), and one to Environment and Energy (SF 2797).  Contact info for Transportation and Public Safety HERE!  Sen. Scott Dibble is Chair so there should be no problem getting a hearing here either!!  Contact info for Environment and Energy HERE!

Senate Transportation and Public Safety Committee will hear them tomorrow:

     Wednesday, March 26, 2014

     Committee on Transportation and Public Safety
     Chair: Sen. D. Scott Dibble
03:00 PM
Room 15 Capitol

Something very noticeable here in this district is that Rep. Matt Kelley and Rep. Steve Drazkowski have not signed on.  ????  This is a huge issue for those of us along the Mississippi with the rail line running right through town.

TO DO: Contact these legislators along the tracks and urge them to sign on (and also those towards Fargo too, don’t know where the train runs there):

Reps: (21A); (21B); (28A); (28B); (58B).

Senators: (28); (58).

Why aren’t state Representatives and Senators in SE Minnesota acting on this explosive issue?

Here are notes from a City of Red Wing meeting with CP on March 17th:

Red Wing Mtg with CP_Pages 87-88 from 11_-_Attachment


No, not that kind of MISO, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or is it Midwest Energy, or…  (they’ve been changing the name lately) anyway, it’s the electric market kind of MISO:

MISO LMP Map — great wallpaper

They’re having a shindig at the Minnesota MISO HQ:

10:00 a.m. – High Noon
Friday, March 20, 2014
MISO Eagan Office
2985 Ames Crossing Road
Eagan, MN  55121

Here’s the Notice:

MISO Quarterly Meeting Notice 03-10-2014

Where it talks about the “MISO report” that is to be reviewed, here’s what they’re referring to:

OMS/MISO Resource Adequacy Survey Update

And apparently this is being constantly updated, so the link is the most recent update.



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:

CETF and NoCapX2020′s Motion to Compel

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.


House Transportation Finance Committee
Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 10:00 AM
Watch: Live Event | Enhanced version
Northstar Commuter Rail delays.
Informational hearing on oil freight and pipeline safety.

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.

RedWingderailment_Feb2012Above is photo from Red Wing derailment, from Republican Eagle.

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!

DOT – Emergency Restriction – Prohibition Order (Docket DOT-OST-2014-0025)

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:

PHMSA Ongoing Bakken Investigation Shows Crude Oil Lacking Proper Testing, Classification

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.