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!”

dapl-map-full

The internet is going nuts with news that the Army Corps of Engineers has denied the Dakota Access Pipeline permit.  It’s a pause… not STOPPED!

Morton County Sheriff briefing on moving back from bridge

Bismarck Tribune: Police consider pulling back from Backwater Bridge

But what’s really happening with the permit?  No direct statement from Army Corps yet.

UPDATE: From U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

Army will not grant easement for Dakota Access Pipeline

Now, from Dept. of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell:

sallyjewelldeptofinterior12-2-2016It looks like what’s happening is that the ACoE is denying the permit for the route over the river and through sacred Indian lands, and will be looking for a reroute and doing an Environmental Impact Statement.  ABC News states that pretty clearly below.  It’ll be in “stick it there” mode, with the ACoE looking for somewhere to put it!  I’ve been looking and looking, don’t see anything from ACoE directly.

NYT – Federal Officials to Explore Different Route for Dakota Pipeline

Dakota Access Pipeline denied near Sioux Reservation

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denies easement for Dakota Access Pipeline

Administration orders review of Dakota Access Pipeline easement (this version most closely states what I’m guessing is going on)

DAPL: Sec. of Army announces DAPL easement has been denied

ABC News: JUST IN: US Army denies easement allowing Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under North Dakota lake, citing “need to explore alternate routes”

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epa

There was a Wisconsin focused EPA “listening session” last Tuesday in Eau Claire, and I received an email today urging comments be sent to the EPA.  Didn’t notice that this was happening, GRRRRRRRRR.  But in the request for comments, there’s little info on what to focus on, other than “water.”  Hmmmm… I’m letting my imagination run wild, as in, “well… that’s a deep subject!”

Here’s a video of the session via Steve Hanson’s blog:

EPA Water Listening Session in Eau Claire

The EPA, and particularly Region 5, needs a lot of pressure now, after Region 5’s Susan Hedman’s “Flint failure” and her subsequent resignation.  As we know, Drumpf wants to dismantle the EPA, which has long been on the Republican agenda.  So we need not only pressure, but support and funding for EPA to be able to do its job, and active resistance to Myron Ebell, Drumpf’s EPA appointment.

Add to that the EPA’s delegation of much of its regulatory activities to the states (delegation primer here), in Minnesota air quality regulation is delegated to the Pollution Control Agency, and we see the state has a role as well.  In Minnesota, there were funding cuts, so extreme that there’s a backlog of expires air permits, and those air permits are unlikely to be reissued under current regulations, so the emissions go on and on, allowed if the operator/owner files for a permit renewal.  This is the case with Xcel’s Red Wing garbage burner, where the permit expired in 2009.  It’s one example of hundreds here in Minnesota, where the MPCA has authority via EPA delegation.

This Wisconsin “listening session” comes at a time when Wisconsin’s DNR has been stripped of funding, employees, and authority by Walker’s administration.  What’s left?  The state agency is hobbled — that’s one of the primary issues!

Regarding Wisconsin, I think the thing to do is to demand that EPA take back regulatory authority because Wisconsin is unwilling and unable to do the job!

Here are examples:

EPA Page – NPDES Petition for Program Withdrawal in Minnesota

EPA Page – NPDES Petition for Program Withdrawal in Wisconsin

Here’s contact info for the EPA, from the EPA site:

Use this link to comment form to send the a comment or question, or send email to r5hotline@epa.gov.
If you’d like a reply, please tell the EPA how to reach you.

Mailing Address:

US EPA Region 5
77 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604

Do let them know what you think!

Trump’s Contract on America

November 9th, 2016

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Contract on America (1994), been there, done that, but here we go again.  Trump’s announced another:

Trump’s Contract with the American voter — the First 100 Days

Here’s what he says he’ll do:

Six measures to clean up the corruption and special interest

collusion in Washington, DC:

FIRST, propose a constitutional amendment to
impose term limits on all members of Congress.
SECOND, a hiring freeze on all federal employees
to reduce the federal workforce through attrition
(exempting military, public safety, and public health).
THIRD, a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.
FOURTH, a five-year ban on White House and
Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they
leave government service.
FIFTH, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
SIXTH, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising
money for American elections.

Seven actions to protect American workers:

FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate
NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205.

SECOND, I will announce our withdrawal from the
Trans-Pacific Partnership.

THIRD, I will direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator.

FOURTH, I will direct the Secretary of
Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to
identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly
impact American workers and direct them to
use every tool under American and international
law to end those abuses immediately.

FIFTH, I will lift the restrictions on the
production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of
job-producing American energy reserves,
including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.

SIXTH, lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward.

SEVENTH, cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.

 

Five actions to restore security and the constitutional rule of law:

FIRST, cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama.

SECOND, begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on my list, who will uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution.

THIRD, cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities.

FOURTH, begin removing the more than two million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back.

FIFTH, suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered “extreme vetting.”

Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act
An economic plan designed to grow the economy 4% per year and create at least 25 million new jobs through massive tax reduction and simplification, in combination with trade reform, regulatory relief and lifting the restrictions on American energy. The largest tax reductions are for the middle class. A middle-class family with two children will get a 35% tax cut. The current number of brackets will be reduced from seven to three, and tax forms will likewise be greatly
simplified. The business rate will be lowered from 35%
to 15%, and the trillions of dollars of American corporate money overseas can now be brought back at a 10% rate.

End the Offshoring Act
Establishes tariffs to discourage companies from laying off their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free.

American Energy and Infrastructure Act
Leverages public-private partnerships, and private
investments through tax incentives, to spur $1 trillion in
infrastructure investment over ten years. It is revenue neutral.

School Choice and Education Opportunity Act
Redirects education dollars to give parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. Ends Common Core and brings education supervision to local communities. It expands vocational and technical education, and makes two- and four year
college more affordable.

Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act
Fully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with Health Savings Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines and lets states manage Medicaid funds. Reforms will also include cutting the red tape at the FDA: there are over 4,000 drugs awaiting approval, and we especially want
to speed the approval of life-saving medications.

Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act
Allows Americans to deduct childcare and eldercare
from their taxes, incentivizes employers to provide on-site childcare services and creates tax-free dependent care savings accounts for both young and elderly dependents, with matching contributions for low-income families.

End Illegal Immigration Act
Fully-funds the construction of a wall on our southern
border with the full understanding that the country of
Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such wall; establishes a two-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering the U.S. after a previous deportation, and a five-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering for those with felony convictions, multiple misdemeanor convictions
or two or more prior deportations; also reforms visa rules to enhance penalties for overstaying and to ensure open jobs are offered to American workers first.

Restoring Community Safety Act
Reduces surging crime, drugs and violence by creating
a task force on violent crime and increasing funding for
programs that train and assist local police; increases
resources for federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors to dismantle criminal gangs and put violent offenders behind bars.

Restoring National Security Act
Rebuilds our military by eliminating the defense sequester
and expanding military investment; provides veterans
with the ability to receive public VA treatment or attend
the private doctor of their choice; protects our vital
infrastructure from cyber-attack; establishes new screening
procedures for immigration to ensure those who are
admitted to our country support our people and our values.

Clean Up Corruption in Washington Act
Enacts new ethics reforms to drain the swamp and reduce the corrupting influence of special interests on our politics.

 

 

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okla-quake_wide-df42df8a84055fe96e5682321e4b5cc937030c06-s1500-c85BIG earthquake in Oklahoma today, and are we surprised?   Naaaaah…  Here’s the info, including location, economic impacts, etc., from USGS:

CLICK HERE: USGS Pawnee, OK Earthquake Page

In the news, and they’re making the link between gas wells and earthquakes:

Earthquake Rattles Oklahoma; One Of Strongest Recorded In State

Earthquake Shakes Swath of Country Where Wells Have Drawn Scrutiny

Earthquake rattles Oklahoma, six neighboring states

VIDEO: Dogs react to Oklahoma earthquake

IMPORTANT: The Oklahoma Corporation Commission takes action!

Oklahoma Corporation Commission orders disposal wells shut down near quake epicenter

Consider why fracking and injection of frac waste is allowed…  Why is a pipeline route through earthquake prone area considered?  The impacts of fracking and waste injection is one thing they do NOT want to acknowledge.  From KOTV in June 2014 — USGS should know better:

OklahomaEarthquakes_June2014_KOTV

And when searching, look at this — can you believe:

OGS: Earthquake risk low for proposed disposal wells in Yukon

When the topic of earthquakes and other seismic activity comes up, I always recommend the “bible” of injection into the earth, because this is not a new phenomenon and we’re making this happen, putting people and our water supply at risk:

Gas Migration: Events Preceding Earthquakes, by Khilyuk

When I got this book, it was an older edition, though pricey, but with patience, it could be had for $20.  For about a decade now I’ve been recommending this book, and look at the price now.  Out of bounds for most of us… funny how that works.  I’d guess a library could find a copy, and here it is on google books, “only” $224.00 (GRRRRRRRRRR):

Gas migration: events preceding earthquakes

Elisa Young, a cohort in Ohio, has lived in the epicenter of frack injection triggered earthquakes around Youngstown.  There, after so many earthquakes, the causal connection was acknowledged, but it took too long.  Here’s a Legalectric post from four years ago:

Ohio Earthquakes & Fracking

And now for a complicated sidebar.  Elisa Young asked today how to get the state and federal agencies to communicate about this problem and take action.  How?  Damned if I know — impacts of injecting gas and liquids into the earth are well known.  Yet federal and state agencies are in serious state of denial.  And it’s very difficult at times to get the agencies to show up, to do their job.  It’s even difficult to get their analysis, their own reports, into project permit dockets.  I get really tired of this…

How to get them to weigh in?  In Public Utilities Commission dockets in Minnesota, I’ve had a hard time with state agencies, initially.  For example, in Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project docket, there was a claim that coal gasification was “clean” yet the Minnesota Pollution Agency had not, and would not, weigh in on the emissions projected for this coal gasification power plant.  WHAT?  We pushed and pushed, threatened to subpoena, raised this at a PUC meeting, and finally, the PUC issued an Order and wrote a letter to the PCA Commissioner requesting the MPCA lend its expertise to the Commission and show up!

3114835_PUC Letter to MPCA

And a Legalectric post about later subpoena requests on the Mesaba Project:

FOIAs to feds, subpoena requests to state agencies

And subpoena and Data Practices Act requests in that same docket for financial information:

Subpoena Request IRR September 7, 2006

IRRB Data Practices Act Request

Letter to IRRRB June 19, 2006

Letter to IRRRB July 26, 2006

I’ve had similar issues in transmission dockets, where the DOT and DNR would file Comments on environmental scoping, and/or the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, but those Comments would only be sent to the Dept. of Commerce, and were not posted in the PUC docket, so parties and the public had no idea the concerns the agencies may have.  NOT OK.  During the first CapX 2020 routing docket, Brookings 08-1474, it was so egregious, I asked the DOT General Counsel who was present to make comments at the public hearing, and to submit a copy for the routing docket record (the route ultimately turned on DOT easements and that DOT would not allow the transmission line to be built over those easements).   The matter was remanded by the Commission for rehearing based on their routing quandry.  Shortly after, on behalf of No CapX 2020, I subpoenaed testimony and Comments.

Subpoena requests sent! (DOT & DNR)

Subpoena plot thickens (Agreement to testify)

Subpoena request for US Fish & Wildlife

Subpoena Denied(tried to get USFWS, didn’t work.  USFWS Comments had been hidden in EIS Comments)

Notes from Friday

In the Goodhue Wind docket (permit granted, and then much later revoked!):

Goodhue Wind Truth – Subpoena Requests for Bjorklund and Bull

ALJ Sheehy’s Letter to Overland – Denial of Subpoena Requests

Goodhue Wind Docket … REFILE!

When this was attempted in the Sandpiper Pipeline docket, the ALJ denied the Subpoena request.  WHAT?

And an interesting back and forth with a hearing officer about getting information into the record and whether it would take a subpoena to get it, where ultimately, the ALJ agreed that the primary documents would be entered in the record:

NRG in hiding at DNREC hearing

And here’s an aside, use of subpoena regarding Xcel’s plans for coal, served by NY’s A.G.:

New York A.G. serves Xcel with subpoena