July 3rd, 2015
Photo by Marie McNamara
Beginning of review by USFWS of impacts of take permits for wind projects (where death is presumed and project is given permit despite protected species kills). SPREAD THE WORD!
Just in from USFWS:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Hosts Public Information Meetings in Eight Midwest States
for Regional Wind Energy Habitat Conservation Plan
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is inviting public input as it develops an environmental impact statement on the potential impacts of issuing incidental take permits for covered species under the draft Midwest Wind Energy Multi-species Habitat Conservation Plan.
Public meetings will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. local time at the following locations:
- July 13 – Minneapolis, Minnesota. Elliot Recreation Center, 1000 E. 14th St. 55404
- July 14 – Madison, Wisconsin. Warner Park Community Recreation Center, 1625 Northport Drive, 53704
- July 15 – Ames, Iowa. Iowa State Memorial Union, Campanile Room, 2229 Lincoln Way, 50011
- July 16 – Columbia, Missouri. Battle High School Commons, 7575 E. St. Charles Road, 65202
- July 20 – Lansing, Michigan. Letts Community Center Gymnasium, 1220 W. Kalamazoo Street 48915
- July 21 – Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Downtown High School Commons,364 South 4th Street 43215
- July 22 – Indianapolis, Indiana. World Sports Park Ballroom, 1313 South Post Road, 46239
- July 23 – Bloomington, Illinois. Illinois Wesleyan University, Memorial Center, Young Main Lounge, 104 E. University Avenue, 61701
The first hour of each meeting will be an informal open house, followed by a brief presentation at approximately 6:00 p.m. After the presentation, the informal open house will resume.
The Service also will host an online public meeting on Tuesday, July 28, 2015, at 1 p.m. CT. To participate, you can call a toll-free number and join a web conference:
· Log on to http://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join.php?i=741848583&p=&t=c to view a Service presentation about the Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan and scoping for the Environmental Impact Statement.
· To listen to the presentation and ask questions, call toll-free 1-888-324-7813. Enter passcode 9116767# to join the call.
For more information on this meeting, go to http://www.midwestwindenergyhcpeis.org
The draft plan is being prepared by the Service and their planning partners, including state wildlife agencies for seven of the eight states within the plan area, the American Wind Energy Association, a consortium of wind energy companies and The Conservation Fund. States within the plan area include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.
The plan addresses incidental take of eight species that may be injured or killed at wind turbine facilities. The covered species include Indiana bat, northern long-eared bat, Kirtland’s warbler, Great Lakes and northern Great Plains populations of the piping plover, and least tern, all listed under the Endangered Species Act. Also covered are the bald eagle, protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and the little brown bat, a species of concern.
Habitat conservation plans are agreements between a private landowner or a non-federal company or group and the Service, allowing permit applicants to undertake otherwise lawful activities on their property that may result in the incidental death, injury or harassment of covered species; the applicant agrees to conservation measures designed to minimize and mitigate the impact of those actions.
Individuals unable to attend the meetings may submit comments and materials through August 11, 2015, by any of the following methods:
U.S. Mail:Regional Director, Attn: Rick Amidon U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services 5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990 Bloomington, MN 55437-1458
Visit the Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. In the search box enter (Docket Number FWS-R3-ES-2015-0033).
More information about the draft EIS for the proposed Midwest Wind Multi-species Habitat Conservation Plan can be found at http://midwestwindenergyhcpeis.org. Information about endangered species in the Midwest can be found at www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered.
Additional opportunities for public comment during development of the environmental impact statement will be provided when the draft statement is released for public comment, which is anticipated for early spring of 2016.
If you have any questions, please contact Rick Amidon (Phone: 612-713-5164 – Email: email@example.com).
Kim MitchellEcological ServicesU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service5600 American Blvd. East, Suite 990Bloomington, MN 55437612-713-5337
June 30th, 2015
Here it is, Michigan v. EPA:
Given this decision, it’s going to be hard for any agency to argue that it shouldn’t do a solid cost benefit analysis, and one that includes verification and analysis of benefits! That’s a good thing given the outrageous benefits claims I’ve seen in transmission proceedings. Check this part of the Order early on (I’m just going over it now):
In accordance with Executive Order, the Agency issued a “Regulatory Impact Analysis” alongside its regulation.This analysis estimated that the regulation would force power plants to bear costs of $9.6 billion per year. Id., at 9306. The Agency could not fully quantify the benefits of reducing power plants’ emissions of hazardous air pollutants; to the extent it could, it estimated that these benefits were worth $4 to $6 million per year. Ibid. The costs to power plants were thus between 1,600 and 2,400 times as great as the quantifiable benefits from reduced emissions of hazardous air pollutants. The Agency continued that its regulations would have ancillary benefits—including cutting power plants’ emissions of particulate matter and sulfur dioxide, substances that are not covered by the hazardous-air-pollutants program. Although the Agency’s appropriate-and-necessary finding did not rest on these ancillary effects, id., at 9320, the regulatory impact analysis took them into account, increasing the Agency’s estimate of the quantifiable benefits of its regulation to $37 to $90 billion per year, id., at 9306. EPA concedes that the regulatory impact analysis “played no role” in its appropriate-and-necessary finding. Brief for Federal Respondents 14.
Michigan v. EPA, p. 4. The regulatory impact analysis included the information, it was in the record, but EPA says that it “played no role” in that decision. So can’t they just reissue it, state they took that into account and used it as a basis for its decision and everyone can go home? AAAARGH!
And here’s a highlight where I actually agree (!) with a sentence in Thomas’ Concurrence:
Statutory ambiguity thus becomes an implicit delegation of rule-making authority, and that authority is used not to find the best meaning of the text, but to formulate legally binding rules to fill in gaps based on policy judgments made by the agency rather than Congress.
Dissents, p. 3 (pdf p. 20 of 47).
June 14th, 2015
Remember the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project (see Legalectric posts and Citizens Against the Mesaba Project’s “Camp Site”), the boondoggle coal gasification plant that almost was, the project that got every legislative perk possible, got financing and grants based on wishful thinking and that “something else” that we just can’t identify (without which, who would think this was a good idea? That plant that was to be built, according to the special legislation for this project, on a site WITH INFRASTRUCTURE? This site… dig the infrastructure!
Anyway, it wasn’t built here. But a similar plant WAS built in Indiana, the Edwardsport plant owned by Duke Energy. As with the Mesaba Project it was proposed at a reasonable price, legislators were first told $700 million, and then it went upwards of $2.11 billion. For Edwardsport, same story, and that price kept going up, up, up, and in Indiana, it was so extreme that costs recoverable from ratepayers were capped by the Indiana Public Utility Commission at $2.9 BILLION. It was allowed to be built, and it started operating, sort of… Average output has been 41%, when an 80+% capacity factor was promised. Repairs? That’s putting it mildly. Now they’re going to try to get cost recovery for that.
Now, let’s not all forget all the money given by the Joyce Foundation to support this nonsense.
Here’s a specific and eloquent comment from Michael Mullet, very involved in opposition to the Edwardsport fiasco:
May 28th, 2015
In today’s STrib:
Says he was in severe pain and thought he had hip issues… whoa… and then went to Mayo to get checked out:
Doctors believe Pat Micheletti’s kidneys were failing because of years of taking the over-the-counter pain reliever, Motrin (ibuprofen), to deal with discomfort stemming from his hockey-playing career. Alex said his dad plans to start making hockey players aware of the dangers of taking too much ibuprofen.
I’ve not dealt with Pat since Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project days, what a protracted sticky and very painful mess that was. He’s probably very glad to be out of that… I remember when he was caught in the midst of an ex parte contact blitz:
July 26th, 2007
I will never forget the packed standing-room-only hearing in Taconite when one of the public commenters drifted up the aisle in flowing clothing and brought a sculpture/collage/birdcage(?) as an exhibit to present to the judge, representing the Mesaba Project and what it meant to her, the devastation it would create, and she said she made it especially for Pat (it might have been his birthday that evening). He was sitting near the back, on the center aisle, head in hands, shaking his head in disbelief at this odd presentation. The judge was visibly afraid/concerned, he held his hands up, “stay back” or some such, did not want her to approach with that “exhibit.” It was one of the most hilarious parts of that long mess.
April 29th, 2015
Recently, I’ve received USFWS responses to our FOIA Requests regarding the Black Oak and Getty wind projects, and there’s a LOT, and I don’t think that it’s made its way into either the Certificate of Need or Siting dockets at the Public Utilities Commission.
To see the PUC Dockets GO HERE TO PUC SEARCH PAGE and then search for dockets 11-471 (CoN), and 10-1240 and 11-831 (siting).
Here’s what we’ve received — it’s not uploading easily, so there’s some duplication and some may not all be included, and I’ll be working on getting this posted today: