crowd_cheering_med

YEAAAA!  Progress!  The House has indeed deleted the Black Oak/Getty language in the 1st Engrossment of HF 843.

1st Engrossment of HF 843

It’s not over yet — there’s still the Senate.  Keep up the pressure on them to remove it when it hits the floor:

John Marty (66, DFL) Energy Committee Chair
651-296-5645
E-mail: UseMail Form

John A. Hoffman (36, DFL) Energy Committee Vice Chair
651-296-4154
E-mail:
sen.john.hoffman@senate.mn

David J. Osmek (33, R) Energy Committee Ranking Minority Member
651-296-1282
E-mail: sen.david.osmek@senate.mn

Torrey N. Westrom (12, R) Senator for Black Oak/Getty area
651-296-3826
E-mail: sen.torrey.westrom@senate.mn

Matt Schmit (21, DFL)  “My” Senator in Red Wing
651-296-4264
E-mail:  sen.matt.schmit@senate.mn

Other Senators’ contact information!

 

So I heard last Friday at the House Jobs and Energy Committee… that’s something new, to hear that so directly and publicly.  We’d put a serious effort into deleting the offensive “special legislation” for Geronimo about the Black Oak and Getty wind projects that would unilaterally extend the term of the wind lease contracts from seven to eight years:

134That was Friday, but checking the status, the 1st engrossment isn’t out yet, so who knows…

And on top of that, “upon information and belief,” or “a little birdie told me” basis, it’s possible that both the House and Senate version of this will be withdrawn.  I’ve since received confirmation from two sources that yes, that is Geronimo’s request, but that it probably won’t happen until it hits the floor of the Senate. That would be good, but it’s not over yet… and this sure shouldn’t go forward and get to Conference Committee where anything can and does often happen.

SO, on that note, it’s time for phone calls and emails again!

For the Senate, contact Senator John Marty, the Senate Energy Chair, and the local Senator, Tory Westrom, and your own Senator if different.  Let them know that Section 40 of the Energy Omnibus Bill, page 34, lines 34.8 – 17, should be deleted… the special legislation extending wind contracts for Black Oak and Getty wind (or any others!) must be deleted from the Senate Energy bill.

John Marty (66, DFL) Energy Committee Chair
651-296-5645
E-mail: UseMail Form

John A. Hoffman (36, DFL) Energy Committee Vice Chair
651-296-4154
E-mail:
sen.john.hoffman@senate.mn

David J. Osmek (33, R) Energy Committee Ranking Minority Member
651-296-1282
E-mail:
sen.david.osmek@senate.mn

Torrey N. Westrom (12, R)
651-296-3826
sen.torrey.westrom@senate.mn

Other Senators’ contact information!

Also contact House Committee members with a THANK YOU and a gentle reminder to make sure it’s removed from the House version:

rep.pat.garofalo@house.mn, rep.dave.baker@house.mn, rep.karen.clark@house.mn, rep.dan.fabian@house.mn, rep.bob.gunther@house.mn, rep.melissa.hortman@house.mn, rep.jason.isaacson@house.mn, rep.sheldon.johnson@house.mn, rep.bob.loonan@house.mn, rep.jason.metsa@house.mn, rep.jim.newberger@house.mn, rep.marion.oneill@house.mn, rep.peggy.scott@house.mn, rep.erik.simonson@house.mn, rep.dennis.smith@house.mn, rep.chris.swedzinski@house.mn, rep.bob.vogel@house.mn, rep.jean.wagenius@house.mn, rep.jim.knoblach@house.mn, rep.jason.metsa@house.mn, rep.dave.baker@house.mn, rep.marion.oneill@house.mn

By the way, after the House Energy Omnibus hearing on Friday, I learned Rep. Garofalo’s price:

GarofaloPasta

$1.49!  OK…

58BGarofalo

WHAT?!?  What is Pat Garofalo up to?  Just look what’s appeared in the House Energy Omnibus Bill:

134How did that happen?

So not only did Sen. Weber add it to the Senate Energy Omnibus Bill, but now it’s mysteriously appeared in the House Omnibus Bill.  Who “authored” this?  Well, we know it’s Geronimo, but what Rep. put their name on it?  Who is responsible?

Here’s what Sen. Weber said when he introduced the A-12 amendment to the bill in the Senate:

I have the A-12 Amendment, members…[staff passing out Amendment]… Previous legislation has required that there be a seven year limit as far as the leasing of wind rights, and this was of course to protect property owners from signing up for wind rights by someone who was just speculating and who may not have those wind rights ever available for a project.  There is a project up in Senator Westrom’s district, it is the former Black Oak Getty Wind Farm Project that has now been taken over by Geronimo.  And the project is in its early stages of construction, however it will not be completed by the time that the seven year period expires.  The purpose of this amendment is thereby to extend that seven year period to, by one year, to an eight year period.  It is very specific, the amendment is very specific as to the description of the project, and it is this project.  Farmers Union has been contacted, who pushed for the original seven year limit, and they are certainly OK with this, and I believe that parties have been in contact with Sen. Marty as it relates to it.  And if there are any questions as it relates to the project, Ms. Engelking is still available to address those.

Can you believe it?  It’s not even Sen. Weber’s district, and he introduced this without checking with Sen. Westrom?  EH?  Check it out on the Senate video of that meeting, Weber introduces it at about 3:29:09.  WATCH IT HERE!

Tomorrow is the House Energy Committee meeting and the Energy Omnibus Bill is on the agenda, starting at high noon, and 2p is the deadline for amendments, and Xcel’s Rick Evans has promised he’s got a thing or two up his sleeve, apparently confirming that Xcel is running the Committee.

Now is the time to let the Committee know what you think about legislative interference with the wind easement contracts between Geronimo and landowners in the Black Oak and Getty Wind Projects, BEFORE THE COMMITTEE MEETS.

  • Delete lines 134.1 – 134.11 of HF 843 — the House Energy Omnibus Bill.
  • Don’t put Geronimo’s corporate interests above those Black Oak and Getty Wind Project landowners who have contracts.
  • Wind contract language says it is a seven (7) year contract, not 8!
  • This is special legislation, legislation for Geronimo that is favoring a particular, specific, corporate interest — that’s prohibited by Minnesota law.
  • This legislation is against the interests of the landowners who signed the original contracts, for a project which has not been built, and contracts which are due to expire soon.
  • Legislature should not interfere and try to change a contract between Geronimo and landowners.  If Geronimo wants something different, they can negotiate in good faith with the landowners.
  • Landowners affected by this legislation were NOT notified before this bill’s introduction.
  • Geronimo might say that this legislation won’t affect the landowners, but if it doesn’t have an impact, why are they pushing for this legislation for this specific project?

Here’s the list for emails to delete lines 134.1 to 134.11 of the House Energy Omnibus Bill, let them know in technicolor what you think:

rep.pat.garofalo@house.mn, rep.dave.baker@house.mn, rep.karen.clark@house.mn, rep.dan.fabian@house.mn, rep.bob.gunther@house.mn, rep.melissa.hortman@house.mn, rep.jason.isaacson@house.mn, rep.sheldon.johnson@house.mn, rep.bob.loonan@house.mn, rep.jason.metsa@house.mn, rep.jim.newberger@house.mn, rep.marion.oneill@house.mn, rep.peggy.scott@house.mn, rep.erik.simonson@house.mn, rep.dennis.smith@house.mn, rep.chris.swedzinski@house.mn, rep.bob.vogel@house.mn, rep.jean.wagenius@house.mn, rep.jim.knoblach@house.mn, rep.jason.metsa@house.mn, rep.dave.baker@house.mn, rep.marion.oneill@house.mn

Thanks for weighing in, and tune in to the Committee tomorrow.

 

 

From Green Delaware, there’s action in Delaware in support of U.S. Senate Bill 859, the Rail Safety Act of 2015, urging something similar in the House:

 

Flames erupt from the scene of a crude-oil train derailment Feb. 16 near Timmins, in Ontario, Canada. (Transportation Safety Board of Canada)
 
Text of S.859 Crude-by-Rail Safety Act of 2015
Rep. Ed Osienski and Sen. Dave McBride developed a letter to Rep. John Carney asking the US Congress to take meaningful action on oil (“bomb”) trains.  This letter was signed by 30 Delaware state senators and representatives.

Here’s the letter.

Since the reopening of the Delaware City Refinery, engineered by Gov. Black Jack Markell behind the backs of the people of Delaware, Delaware has become a leading destination for “bomb trains.”  Oil comes into Delaware by train not only for refining in Delaware but for transshipment to other refineries along the Delaware River.  This mocks the Delaware Coastal Zone Act’s prohibition of “new bulk transfer facilities.”  Did Black Jack know that very dangerous bomb trains were part of the deal?  We don’t know, but it seems unlikely he would have cared one way or the other.  Delaware is also one of a few states that has shamed itself by refusing to release information on the routes and frequency of the bomb trains.

See this previous post: Bakken BOOM! Rail Safety Bill

Action:

Check the letter to see if YOUR Senator and Representative have signed on.  If not, ASK THEM TO.  Contact information from the League of Women Voters is here.

And thank Rep. Osienski and Sen. McBride.

20150319_202926_resized

This was last Thursday evening at the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.  Alan Muller and I were there for SF 1735 (the Xcel Energy e21 Initiative start)(see  Great Plains Institute site) and the SF 1431 Energy Ominous Bill.  Before the start on SF 1735, there was announcement of a “delete all” which means everything out and into the dumpster, and new language… and then after that, the SF 1431 Energy Ominous Bill into which the neutered SF 1735 went, and then on with the amendments to the SF 1431 Energy Ominous Bill!  WHEW!  What a… a… well…

manurespreader2

There’s a lot to find offensive.

Here are the Committee meeting MINUTES.

Here’s the audio of the Committee meeting:

Play Audio   Download Audio (04:31:52) Part 2

Here’s the two energy bills at issue:

S.F. 1735 Marty Public utilities performance-based multiyear rate plans authorization (for possible inclusion in omnibus energy bill).
S.F. 1431 Marty Omnibus Energy Bill.

First, regarding SF 1735, WOW, what a mess.  There was a delete all and what was left was pretty much nothing, and it was, immediately afterward, incorporated into the SF 1431 Energy Ominous Bill.  But let’s start with SF 1735.

Here’s the A-2 delete-all Amendment S.F. 1735

Here’s the handout I’d made, but after the delete-all, we couldn’t talk about SF 1735 as introduced!

Overland_Testimony_3-19-2015 – Not handed out because we were limited to A-2

The good news is that the Office of the Attorney General had a lot to do with the gutting of the e21 Initiative S.F. 1735.  And better, the AG’s Office had a rep there, James Canaday, who testified against S.F. 1735.  Sen. Katie Sieben was chairing as Marty was in the hot seat introducing his bill, and she would not allow testimony about S.F. 1735 as introduced, “we’re here to talk about the A-2 Amendment.”  Despite that, Canaday was able to raise four primary points of objection:

  •  S.F. 1735 would do away with contested case, and lines 3.9 – 3.15 would institute a “stakeholder” process (at which point, Sieben interrupted and told him not to testify about S.F. 1735).
  • A.G.’s Office does not recommend we experiment with such radical changes, such as changing a 3 year to a 5 year multi-year rate case.  The first multi-year rate case is being decided tomorrow, and it was a lot of work.  PUC in this first multi-year case noted that if a utility cannot prove up its claim formulas, we will limit the categories that utilities can claim formulaic increases.
  • This is a step toward the end of cost-based regulation and to allow projected increases based on formulas, not costs.  The PUC has said it has “great doubt about formula-based rates.”
  •  This bill does not clarify how interim rate determination will work.

e21 Initiative and S.F. 1735 as introduced is off the agenda, at least for now.  There’s a “study” in the A-2 Amendment, now added to the Energy Ominous Bill:

Sec 6 Study Performance MetricsSure, whatever, study away…

Something I remain concerned about is the provision for recovery of stranded costs:

StrandedCostProvisionWhat we learned in the deregulation discussion 15-20 years ago is that what Xcel f/k/a NSP was prepping us for was for payment by ratepayers of their “stranded costs,” meaning their investment into whatever facility that was then “divested” in deregulation.  Everyone was on board, nearly everyone, the “enviros” were bobbleheads in the rear window, agreeing to everything, and then…

Corneli – Stranded Assets 1997

We are now paying for the shift from “Minnesota” need to “regional” need, and we are paying for our acquiescence to the transmission build-out that facilitates the marketing of power to areas where it sells at a higher price than here in Minnesota:

Corneli_1

Corneli was correct in noting that the utilities didn’t have “stranded costs,” the utilities had “stranded assets,” and if deregulation were to happen, THEY’D OWE US MONEY, not the other way around!  SNORT!

Corneli_2Corneli_3That’s basic economics!  So when you hear talk of “stranded costs” or “stranded assets” (make sure you and “they” understand and identify which is which!), or worse, “rate smoothing” as touted by e21 Initiative, “theoretical depreciation reserve” which is voo doo accounting lowering the utility’s revenue requirement, resulting in lower rates, ask, “What exactly is going on here” and “what does this mean for Minnesota ratepayers, ALL CLASSES, EACH CLASS, of Minnesota ratepayers?

The good news from last Thursday is that the e21 bill, the beginning of toadying for the e21 Initiative agenda which is HUGE, is history.

Next, the A-2 Amendment to S.F. 1735 was then added to S.F. 1431:

S.F. 1431 Marty Omnibus Energy Bill.

Here’s the result of all the wheeler-dealering:

S.F. 1431-1st Engrossment

Yes, it is indeed gross, and the process to get to this engrossment was painful to watch.

First out the gate was the A-12 amendment, by Sen. Weber, who is from far Southwest Minnesota, amending Minn. Stat. 500.30 to extend the limit on wind rights leases from 7 to 8 years, specifically for the Black Oak/Getty wind project because it won’t be completed by the time the 7 year period is up.  Sen. Weber’s email: sen.bill.weber@senate.mn

A12 Amendment SF1431

WHAT?  That’s special legislation, DOH!  I asked whether he’d provided notice to the affected landowners and he gave a wandering avoidant response that showed that the affected landowners had not been consulted.  How disrespectful can he get?  And why is he carrying this amendment, and not the local Senator for the affected area?  Were the Senator and Rep informed about this?  Or are they in cahoots with the project developer?  What’s the story here?

Then there were a couple of rational amendments, passing and not passing, and then back to bizarre… and for this round of BIZARRE it was Sen. Osmek’s turn, first an A-6 amendment to repeal the nuclear moratorium, which went down, not added to Energy Omnibus bill.  Then the most bizarre one, the A-7 Amendment (see also SF 231, HF 333) that any EPA regulations would need to go through the legislature:

A-7 AmendmentThere were audible gasps around the room… and Sen. Marty delivered a very even explanation of federal and state jurisdiction, and Sen. Osmek either didn’t know, didn’t understand, or didn’t care, and pushed for a vote, and of course that went down in flames as well.  Why would he do something like that which has such a clear detrimental impact on his credibility?  Here’s Sen. Osmek’s email:  sen.david.osmek@senate.mn

Here’s who’s on the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.  Call them, email them, call and email them, and let them know what you think, very specifically and in technicolor.

Contact YOUR State Senator and all the State Senators to let them know what you think:

State Senators’ contact info HERE!