January 4th, 2017
January 5, 2017 – 2:30pm
Silica Sand Technical Assistance Team Meeting
January 5th, 2017 @ 2:30pm in the DNR Central Office Lobby Conference Room.
Meet to discuss technical and agency updates to the EQB Tools to Assist Local Governments in Planning for and Regulating Silica Sand Projects, agency rulemaking updates, and updates on silica sand activities in the State of Minnesota
Conference call: 1-888-742-5095 | Conference Code: 3649223869#
2) Agency updates on silica sand activities in the State of Minnesota
3) Technical and agency updates to EQB Tools to Assist Local Governments in Planning for and Regulating Silica Sand Projects
4) Agency updates on rulemaking
5) EQB Ordinance Library
6) Other topics
Show up — keep the heat on to get these projects MOVING! It’s been YEARS!
December 9th, 2016
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!
But wait… there’s another version (similar, but different order, etc.):
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!”
December 4th, 2016
But what’s really happening with the permit? No direct statement from Army Corps yet.
UPDATE: From U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:
Now, from Dept. of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell:
It 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.
Administration orders review of Dakota Access Pipeline easement (this version most closely states what I’m guessing is going on)
November 18th, 2016
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:
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’d like a reply, please tell the EPA how to reach you.
US EPA Region 5
77 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604
Do let them know what you think!
November 9th, 2016
Contract on America (1994), been there, done that, but here we go again. Trump’s announced another:
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
★ 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.