It’s that time again, time for the “Book of the Day!”  Today it’s:

Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)

And you can get it at the library or pretty cheap at the abebooks link above!

Traffic

Perfect for those of us who love the road but can’t get out there as often as we’d like.  Part policy, part psychology, with lots of SOLs!  (that’s SNORT out loud)

There are some great snippets in here.  A favorite part is about traffic calming, what works, what doesn’t.  There was this problem with people going too fast through a deer crosswalk, and they put up signs, and, well, who pays attention.  Sign didn’t slow them, sensors with flashing lights when deer were present didn’t slow them, one thing that did get their attention was that someone dumped a deer carcass by the road, that got them to slow down!

Other ideas to slow traffic down, speed bumps (which tend to speed people up!), put a kids bike by the side of the road, a weird sculpture, “a ‘Street Reclaiming Chair,’ a bright throne of sorts, in the middle of a local street and then, wearing a large colorful crown, chat with passing drivers who, not surprisingly, have slowed.”  And of course, topless Danish models holding speed-limit signs.

Factoids like: The US pays about 1/2 of the fuel taxes of drivers in Canada, 1/4 that of the Japanese, and 1/10 of the English.  Adjusted for inflation, the fuel tax brings in less revenue than it did in the 1960s.  YES, INCREASE THE GAS TAX!!!

Lots on street and highway design.  Can’t get enough!

 

WVaBakkenBoom

STOP SHIPPING NOW!  DO NOT SHIP ONE MORE DROP OF BAKKEN CRUDE UNTIL IT’S DEGASIFIED.  NOT ONE DROP, BY RAIL, BY PIPELINE, BY TANKER TRUCK, BY BARGE, NOT ONE DROP UNTIL IT’S DEGASIFIED!

News Reports:

Governor declares state of emergency after oil train derails, sets house ablaze

West Virginia Train Derailment Sends Oil Tanker Into River

Crude Oil Train Derails in Fayette County, WV

WCHS Updates

From Bakken.com: CSX oil train derails in W. Virginia, 14 cars on fire

It’s happened again, another Bakken BOOM! train derailment and explosion.  And where did the wreck happen?  BOOMER BOTTOM, West Virginia… really!  At least 14 cars are reported derailed, one went into a  home and blew up, destroying the home.  Water supply is drawn from the river and has been shut off, oil on the river is burning. Route 61 has been shut off at the Montgomery bridge.  Power is off because flames melted powerlines.   Two towns evacuated, one person hospitalized so far, no deaths reported yet.

Boomer

How many explosions; how many homes, businesses, riverbanks must be burned and leveled; how many people must die before the DOT puts its foot down?  DEGASIFY!  How long are we going to take this?

This is not rocket science.  Bakken oil is exceedingly, dangerously volatile, much more so that typical crude.  It MUST be degasified before it is transported by any means, by pipeline, by rail, by truck, NO, DO NOT SHIP, it’s an explosion waiting to happen.

Here’s the DOT letter regarding degasifying:

1_2_14 DOT Rail_Safety_Alert

I hope you’re as pissed off about this as I am — and remember, it’s better to be pissed off than pissed on.  Please take a few seconds and dash off a note to our Senators and Representatives to demand that Bakken crude be degasified before it’s shipped, starting NOW!

Send a simple message to all federal Senators and Representatives:

Shipping this Bakken oil without degasifying it first is TOO DANGEROUS.  IMMEDIATE MORATORIUM on shipments of Bakken oil, not one drop to be shipped until it is degasified, whether by rail, pipeline, truck tanker, or barge, not one drop moves until its degasified.

In Minnesota:

EMAIL SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR

EMAIL SEN. AL FRANKEN

CongressCritters HERE. 

Minnesota Representatives — name is linked to their site:

District Name Party Room Phone Committee Assignment
1 Walz, Timothy J. D 1034 LHOB 202-225-2472 Agriculture
Armed Services
Veterans’ Affairs
2 Kline, John R 2439 RHOB 202-225-2271 Armed Services
Education and the Workforce
3 Paulsen, Erik R 127 CHOB 202-225-2871 Ways and Means
4 McCollum, Betty D 2256 RHOB 202-225-6631 Appropriations
5 Ellison, Keith D 2263 RHOB 202-225-4755 Financial Services
6 Emmer, Tom R 503 CHOB 202-225-2331 Agriculture
Foreign Affairs
7 Peterson, Collin C. D 2204 RHOB 202-225-2165 Agriculture
8 Nolan, Rick D 2366 RHOB 202-225-6211 Agriculture
Transportation

Here’s the quick message I sent — so simple:

Another Bakken BOOM! train has exploded in West Virginia.  These trains go through Minnesota every day, here in Red Wing every day, and look what happens!  They explode.   All Bakken crude must be degasified before shipment by ANY means.  Please get on this today and introduce a bill requiring degasificaiton of Bakken crude before shipment.

Take a few minutes and just do it.  NOW!

And in the meantime, here’s an insurance industry take:

‘Degassing’ North Dakota Crude Before Shipping Among Safety Ideas

e21 Planning Meeting announced

February 13th, 2015

manurespreader2
 Hot off the press — Notice of a Commission Planning Meeting:

Notice_20152-107344-01

The meeting details:

2:00 p.m. on Thursday February 26, 2015

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

121 – 7th Place East, Suite 350, Large Hearing Room

St. Paul, MN  55101

Here we go — the PUC has announced a “planning meeting” for this e21 Initiative based on the filing of Xcel Energy last month. What filing?  Well, this one:

Letter & e21 Initiative Report_201412-105629-01

Here’s what the PUC says they’re going to do at that meeting:

e21CommissionplanWhy is the Commission going along with this to the extent that they are?  Well, they do have connections, and for sure PUC Commissione Nancy Lange, who is listed as Advisory Committee on the Citizens League e21 promotional group, should NOT be participating at the Commission, in discussions or by voting (see Appendix B, p. 1, of the Citizens League Policy Framework to Optimize Efficiency of the Electrical Energy System_Phase2):

AdvisoryCommitteeCitizen’s League’s mighty presumptuous charge from this report, to recommend e21 and draft legislation!!!

CitizenLeagueCharge Charge-to-Electrical-Energy-Phase-3

And remember, Xcel, in its letter they asked the Public Utilities Commission for a meeting:

e21requestThroughout this e21 filing they say, repeatedly, that this is a “package,” and the consensus depends on this being a “package,” which is reminiscent of the “it’s a deal, a package deal, and it’s a good deal” of the 2005 Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell.  We saw how that “good deal” worked, how it worked for the public, and who it was “a good deal” for.  Disgusting…

But that big red flag is not all — they also asked that no Comment Period be scheduled:

Thus, we respectfully request that the Commission delay initiating a comment period to allow for additional collaboration prior to the start of a formal proceeding.

Really!  Because clearly some stakeholders are more stakeholders than others, I filed a Petition for Intervention to get a foot in the door and notice of festivities:

Legalectric-Intervention

So if you’re wondering what all this means, that it’s a little obfuscated between the lines, come on down to the Public Utilities Commission Planning Session.  If you want to make comments either file them or bring written ones to hand out, because there’s no set time for public comments:

2:00 p.m. on Thursday February 26, 2015

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

121 – 7th Place East, Suite 350, Large Hearing Room

St. Paul, MN  55101

1000-dollar-us-bill
How many of these does it take to buy support for these transmission projects ripping across the Midwest?  Not all that many…

For Center for Rural Affairs, “Clean Energy” means “transmission.”  Look at their site:

“Clean Energy”

And of course Wind on the Wires has always been all about transmission.

So here’s an update on just a few of transmission’s shills from the McKnight Foundation Climate and Energy grants page, and note, this is JUST 2014:

 

Center for Rural Affairs

Lyons NE

to engage local communities in establishing environmentally responsible siting for clean energy transmission in Wisconsin and Iowa, and to co-support the RE-AMP Rural Communities Caucus leader and staff coordinator

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2014
Grant Amount: $150,000

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Clean Wisconsin, Inc.

Madison WI

for general operating support

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2012
Grant Amount: $75,000

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Fresh Energy

St. Paul MN

to expand Midwest Energy News’ reporting on Minnesota’s transition to a clean energy economy

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2014
Grant Amount: $75,000

to support collaboration on Minnesota energy policy communications

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2011
Grant Amount: $50,000

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

RENEW Wisconsin, Inc.

Madison WI

to support the expansion of Midwest wind power through clean energy transmission

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2014
Grant Amount: $20,000

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Rockefeller Family Fund, Inc.

New York NY

to support RE-AMP efforts to promote policies that combat global warming

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2013
Grant Amount: $5,000,000

to support RE-AMP efforts to promote policies that combat global warming

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2010
Grant Amount: $4,225,000

to support RE-AMP efforts to promote policies that combat global warming

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2008
Grant Amount: $2,000,000

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Wind on the Wires

St. Paul MN

to support work on Midwest transmission policy and planning

Program Area: Midwest Climate & Energy
Year Approved: 2014
Grant Amount: $250,000

 

Lynn Schoen, Wabasha City Council and frac sand activist who has devoted years to this, tells the House Mining Committee exactly what’s what.

This committee is so skewed, and as Lynn Schoen notes, they are there to represent us. That’s not happening, and it’s the mining industry being given the committee time.

Here’s the whole hearing:

Watch live streaming video from uptakemnhouse at livestream.com

Video is acting a little funky, ??

Here’s the Committee emmails to let them know what you think about regulation of silica sand mining and their industry-based focus. They need to hear from a broader spectrum, oh yes, that means YOU:
rep.tom.hackbarth@house.mn, rep.dale.lueck@house.mn, rep.david.dill@house.mn, rep.mark.anderson@house.mn, rep.tom.anzelc@house.mn, rep.jack.considine@house.mn, rep.tony.cornish@house.mn, rep.jerry.hertaus@house.mn, rep.brian.johnson@house.mn, rep.deb.kiel@house.mn, rep.eric.lucero@house.mn, rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn, rep.carly.melin@house.mn, rep.jason.metsa@house.mn, rep.barb.yarusso@house.mn

Mining and Outdoor Recreation Policy Membership 2015 – 2016

Meets: Tuesday and Wednesday at 2:45 p.m. in Room 10 of the State Office Building.

Tom Hackbarth (R) Committee Chair
409 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-2439
E-mail: rep.tom.hackbarth@house.mn

Dale Lueck (R) Vice Chair
423 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-2365
E-mail: rep.dale.lueck@house.mn

David Dill (DFL) DFL Lead
311 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-2190
E-mail: rep.david.dill@house.mn

Mark Anderson (R)
579 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4293
E-mail: rep.mark.anderson@house.mn

Tom Anzelc (DFL)
317 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4936
E-mail: rep.tom.anzelc@house.mn

John (Jack) Considine Jr. (DFL)
323 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-3248
E-mail: rep.jack.considine@house.mn

Tony Cornish (R)
369 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4240
E-mail: rep.tony.cornish@house.mn

Jerry Hertaus (R)
403 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-9188
E-mail: rep.jerry.hertaus@house.mn

Brian Johnson (R)
421 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4346
E-mail: rep.brian.johnson@house.mn

Debra Kiel (R)
537 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-5091
E-mail: rep.deb.kiel@house.mn

Eric Lucero (R)
515 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-1534
E-mail: rep.eric.lucero@house.mn

Denny McNamara (R)
365 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-3135
E-mail: rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn

Carly Melin (DFL)
315 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-0172
E-mail: rep.carly.melin@house.mn

Jason Metsa (DFL)
313 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-0170
E-mail: rep.jason.metsa@house.mn

Barb Yarusso (DFL)
307 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-0141
E-mail: rep.barb.yarusso@house.mn

Committee Staff
Administrator: Stephanie Lamphere 651-296-5528
Legislative Assistant: Claire Leiter 651-296-4272
Non-Partisan Staff Assigned to the Committee
Research Analysts: Janelle Taylor 651-296-5039 and Christopher Kleman 651-296-8959