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 8th, 2016
See the lower 1/2 of MISO’s MVP project 5, running from near Dubuque, IA to the northeast to the “Cardinal” substation near Madison? That’s the Cardinal – Hickory Creek transmission line.
The Dodgeville Chronicle ran my Letter to the Editor, just in time for the meeting last night, held by Rural Utilities Service, about the Cardinal – Hickory Creek transmission project:
From 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7th, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is hosting a scoping meeting at the Deer Valley Lodge in Barneveld. RUS will again collect scoping comments for its Environmental Impact Study as it decides on a loan to Dairyland Power Cooperative for a share of project costs. RUS held scoping meetings October 31-November 3, 2016 – why more scoping meetings now?
The Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission project stretches from a substation near Peosta, across the Mississippi River and Wisconsin, near Dodgeville, to a substation near Madison. Last April, as reported in this paper, American Transmission Company’s Jon Callaway reported that the project schedule had been pushed out to 2018 or beyond. The reasons weren’t clear, and should be specified and made part of the RUS record.
Cardinal-Hickory Creek and the under-construction Badger-Coulee transmission lines are MISO’s (Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.) MVP project “five” revealed five years ago in MISO’s MTEEP 11 report. That was 2011, and it was “postponed” in 2016. Why the delay? MISO’s 12.38% rate of return for construction has been successfully challenged in federal court. There’s a glut of electricity where even marketing electricity cross country is not alleviating the industry’s overproduction. MISO’s MVP economic modeling no longer hold under current scenarios. And maybe the delay is that and more!
Now’s the time to tell RUS to consider the economics, need and causes of delay in its financing decision. If delay is right for the project developers, RUS should also delay, and put financing on hold.
Carol A. Overland, Esq.
Red Wing, MN
December 6th, 2016
Slow evening at Rural Utilities Service’s scoping meeting for the Environmental Impact Statement for the Cardinal – Hickory Creek transmission project. RUS is involved because Dairyland Power Cooperative (DPC) plans to hold a 9% undivided interest in the project, and are looking to RUS to provide the funding. RUS held two more meetings, following on prior meetings October 31 and November 1 & 2, because their notice for those meetings went out a day late, so another Notice went out:
Where’s my prior post on these meetings? It’s gone! Here’s the dates and locations (click for larger version) — the last one is tomorrow in Barneveld, Wisconsin:
So to make quick work of it, this is cut and pasted from the RUS Cardinal Hickory Creek page:
Alternatives Evaluation Study (July 2016)
Macro-Corridor Study (September 2016)
Alternative Crossings Analysis (April 2016)
- ACA Table of Contents
- ACA Main Report Chapters 1-5
- ACA Main Report-Chapter 6-References
- ACA Appendices
I had a quick chat with Dennis Rankin who’s in charge of the environmental review on this and the Dairyland Q-1 South projects, and had a few quick things to register, particularly that ATC has announced that the project is delayed:
I had this article and a few comments to add tonight, and will file more detailed comments before the deadline — now January 6, 2017.
On the way in, there was new transmission marching across the countryside, so ugly:
And look how close to this house in New Vienna, right up near the garage, and not far from the house either — this line cut right through the middle of town:
But all in all, it was a beautiful day for a drive today!
December 5th, 2016
Here we go again, the Annual Hearing for the Power Plant Siting Act.
The full Notice:
Now’s the time to dig back into the cobwebs of memory of all the dockets over the last year, and the last 20+ years, and let them know how the Power Plant Siting Act is working, and more importantly, how it’s not working.
Comments are open until January 20, 2017. To file in eDockets (highly recommended), go here, and log in. If you don’t have an account, register (it’s simple, and fast) and then file in docket 16-18.
Note something different, this year they’re going to go over pipeline projects:
Recently, I’ve been involved in a project working toward increased meaningful and effective public participation in a pipeline docket, and what’s going through my head as I attend meetings, conference calls, and read very long intense emails, is that this is exactly what we’ve been talking about at these Power Plant Siting Act hearings for TWENTY YEARS! This is exactly what we’ve been working to deal with in the Certificate of Need Minn. Ch. 7849 rulemaking for THREE YEARS! These are exactly the same issues I’ve been raising in docket after docket, gaining a remand in one, some “adjustments” in others, and even to the appellate court a couple of times — MCEA had more success in this (see the EIS decision here). And so little changes.
2006 Report to PUC – Docket 06-1733
2007 Report to PUC – Docket 07-1579
2008 Report to PUC – Docket 08-1426
2009 Report to PUC – Docket 09-1351
2010 Report to PUC – Docket 10-222
2011 Report to PUC – Docket 11-324
2012 Report to PUC – Docket 12-360
2013 Report to PUC – Docket 13-965
2014 Summary Comments– Docket 14-887
OK, folks, time to saddle up for another cattle drive! Let’s get to it!
And on December 20… sigh…
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!