July 31st, 2005
We’ve all heard about “Fightin’ Bob,” but we’re hearing way too much from “Whinin’ Ed.” Ed Garvey, in a recent blog, was decrying Gov. Doyle’s support for taking county land for the Arrowhead Transmission Line. Well, DUH, what else would Doyle do but pave the way for utilities?
Here’s a snippet from Garvey’s blog on eminent domain:
Ah, but not in Wisconsin. No siree! In the land of La Follette, Muir, Leopold and Nelson, John Gard and Jim Doyle agreed to expand the reach of eminent domain. I’m not kidding. In Wisconsin, private utilities can exercise eminent domain power over all private property and, thanks to Gard and Doyle, they now have the same right to take public land. Think about it.
Back to the definition. It is the power of “the sovereign.” In Gard-Doyleland, private corporations are now “sovereign.” Unbelievable. Wisconsin now leads the nation in giving power over our land to private corporations while other states rush in the opposite direction. What do you think?
Well, Ed, here’s what I think (there’s no comment option on your blog!):
The Democrats in Wisconsin have done some serious bonding with the utilities. Here’s a few details of politics in Wisconsin. You need only look as far as Chuck Chvala, state Senator who was charged with what, 18… 20 felonies for taking money from lobbyists and funnelling it to various Democratic coffers.
Here’s an example of how it went down from the Milwaukee Sentinal Journal:
Broydrick told the John Doe hearing that Chvala’s pet committees were “laundromats, meaning in Mr. Broydrick’s words, the ‘money goes through a washing machine and it comes out clean,’ ” the complaint says.
? Walter Kunicki, a lobbyist and former Assembly speaker, told prosecutors Chvala asked him for $100,000 from a well-heeled Kunicki client, Wisconsin Energy Corp. The firm, which was seeking approval of a “Power the Future” bill, paid $50,000 to the Independent Citizens, the complaint says. Chvala then called and told Kunicki the amount he expected was $100,000. The complaint doesn’t say whether Wisconsin Energy paid up.
? Mark Williamson, a former executive of and lobbyist for Madison Gas and Electric Co., told prosecutors Chvala told him to direct donations from the utility to the Kansas Democratic Party. Three donations from MG&E subsidiaries totaling $25,000 were subsequently sent to the Kansas Democratic Party, the complaint says.
Let’s see… Chuck Chvala ran for governor of Wisconsin in 1994,
Ed Garvey ran for governor of Wisconsin in 1998. Chuck Chvala was busted for crimes all during this time. Is Ed Garvey that out of touch? Could it be that Ed Garvey does not understand politics as usual in Wisconsin? He must read the papers, he owns one! Why would Garvey expect anything other than utility support from the current Democratic governor? Of course they?ll bend to utility interests, that?s how the Democrats do it in Wisconsin?
Now, about Minnesota… is anyone doing any serious digging into these unprecedented “incentives” for Mesaba’s “Two Lobbyists and a Wife” coal gasification project? A picture says a thousand words…
And whatever happend to Chuck Chvala? Check Wisconsin Circuit Court Access, type in Chvala and Charles and look for the open file from 2002, Dane County Case Number 2002CF002451. Wow… He goes to trial on Halloween this year!
July 30th, 2005
Greetings from the Windy River Energy Fair up in Little Falls. The fair continues today and tomorrow, with displays and workshops all day long. This is the fifth year, and for the last couple has been held in conjunction with the Morrison County Fair here in Little Falls (FYI, there’s wireless everywhere in Little Falls!). Just two months ago, they had groudbreaking for their wind turbine at the fair grounds, and now it’s up and running.
This year, Kristen Blann, of the Sustainable Farming Association, did much of the organizing, her first year coordinating all the displays and workshops under the Windy River tent on the eastern edge of the county fair. A wind turbine has been set up on the site that looks pretty permanent. Here?s Kristen talking with Jim Etzel, of Hackensack, who runs Earth Is Our Home, focused on composting and recycling. Other exhibitors include the Clean Energy Resource Teams, Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Power (gulp!), and more.
Below are Chuck Knierim and Greg Nolan, we?re chatting over a BIG bucket of blueberries and Marcia’s blueberry muffins. In the background is Chuck?s Wildrose Farm display. He and his wife Karen, from Breezy Point, make and sell the Wildrose Farm organic cotton creations, all either in natural colors or hand dyed with non-toxic low-impact dyes and/or printed with water-based inks.
Greg Nolan is sustainable through and through, in energy and agriculture. He and his wife, Marcia Rapatz, run Snowy Pines Reforestation, in Browerville. He was telling his story of getting his solar system hooked up to the grid, which was not as bad as some I’ve heard. The local rural utility was clueless, but had the good sense to refer him to Great River Energy, and the engineer he dealt with paved the way. The major delay was in getting the meters the utility wanted, and the cost was pretty high — $600! He?s producing almost as much electricity as he uses on his farm and hardwood business, which requires some power. He?s the guilty party who invited Tom Dunnwald and I to present on ?Lobbyists ?R? Us years ago, I think I’d staffed the MREA booth before that, and since then, I’ve tried to get up there every year.
Head on up to Little Falls for the Windy River Renewable Energy and Sustainable Agriculture Fair, tomorrow should be a beautiful day!
July 29th, 2005
More from Maria today – I guess she’s got to go across the ocean to get used to email!
Here we are in Switzerland, and it’s awsome beauty I can not discribe. Outside our hostel we see a high horizon of snow-covered peaks that change with the sun’s light as the day goes by. The peaks turn pink at dusk. We arrrived yesterday by the most interesting travel modes yet.
We got on the subway in Paris at 6:30 am, found our reserved seats on the train (after tramping through 6 cars in one long sleepy line). We transfered in Basel, Switzerland, to Interlachen. The lake in Interlachen dazzled us all with it’s clear, blue-green color as we passed by it at a slow “city train” pace. We then headed for the money exchange point of our choice (several different requirements within our group) and hopped on the small local train that splits in the middle halfway to Lauterbrunnen, our destination. Savy travelers that we are, we were on the correct section. Next we shopped for groceries at the Swiss Co-op (grocery store), stocking up for the next day or so.
Soon a bus came by to take us to Schtekelberg, and we stepped off the bus to pile in to a Funnicular (giant gondola) which floated high above the valley to the lovely town of Gimmelwold where we finally entered our destination, the Mountain Hostel.
Today various groups hiked the valley, a trail to the underground glacier, and to the neighboring town of Murren. All the hikes were awsome and exhausting and we felt exhilerated to have met the challenge of the slopes that are NEVER level.
Tomorrow will be a trip to the waterfall under the mountain, along a trail that takes us under Mt. Schilthorn, which we are sitting atop as I write.
Everyone is getting along great, holding up fabulously to the rather demanding travel schedule, and making the most of their time here on this wonderful continent. We can’t wait to tell you about our accommodations here — most unusual, most interesting…
More later when we have arrived at the conference in Berlin.
Singing all the way… “funiculi, funicular, faniculiiiii, funiclu-ar-ar-ar-ar-ar-ar, funiculiiiii, funicular… my knapsack on my back…”
July 28th, 2005
Last night, as part of my presentation at the Edina Library, entitled Nuclear 70′s, I laid out the similarities of our energy situation now and in the late 60′s and early 70′s, when we overbuilt power plants using overinflated projections, utilities seeking to unjustly reap the benefits of construction of infrastructure that is not needed. Here’s another “back to the 70′s” delusional leadership and policy nightmare:
For a long time, a wide range of groups at odds with Bush administration policies have believed they were subject to special attention from the FBI and other police agencies, especially after the post-9/11 Patriot Act loosened restraints on investigations. Greenpeace, the ACLU and several other organizations filed a lawsuit to find out if that was so.
This forced the FBI to acknowledge its files on these two groups, as well as the considerable attention its counterterrorism specialists paid to a coalition of small and seemingly innocuous antiwar outfits that planned to protest at the Republican and Democratic national conventions last summer. Parallels to the bad old days of the Nixon administration are plain, if inexact.
Examples of these acts against citizens are why we need to expose and stop governmental abuses — we need extreme sanctions of those using law “enforcement” to harass people who are exercising their rights or just trying to live their lives. We need to quash this repressive culture of fear. I strongly disagree with Colleen Rowley, who in a speech in Wabasha, said that she thinks that there are sufficient safeguards, for example inability of the government to use evidence gathered illegally. Mere inability to use illegally gathered evidence does nothing for citizens who have experienced this intrusion in their lives — it does nothing for those where they are under investigation and where there is nothing uncovered, where investigations leading to nothing continue on indefinately in search of “something,” where employers, neighbors, friends and relatives are interviewed, personal information uncovered. How does a person restore their sense of safety and their reputation? We have to stop these governmental abuses, not pat ourselves on the back, thinking “it’s not too bad, it doesn’t hurt much.” It’s inexcusable, it destroys our freedoms and our nation, it’s much worse than we admit. Turn off that TV and wake up!
July 27th, 2005
Be sure to join us at the Edina Library tonight:
Energy Policy & Public Participation: Monticello Nuclear Reactor.
Xcel Energy wants to re-license the Monticello Nuclear Reactor.
Is this the legacy we want to leave our kids and future generations?
Date: Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Location: Southdale Library, 7001 York Avenue Edina MN
Carol A. Overland and Ken Pentel
Join us and learn why your participation matters.
Today Wendy Wilde “went nuclear” on Air America 950 and opened her door and microphone to me, and Ken, my Ken-pup that is, well… Ken Pentel too by phone! Wendy’s what some people would call a “dog nut” and graciously insisted Kenya join us — after a few tense talky moments and two bananas, she made herself comfortable on the white leather couch as only an 80 pound German Shepherd can.
Nuclear reactor licensing — nuclear waste — WHATEVER ARE THEY THINKING?
Only three House members voted against the Prairie Island Bill that authorized additional nuclear waste at Prairie Island, Minnesota’s 2nd nuclear waste storage facility at Monticello, relicensing of both plants… and the Mesaba power plant… it is insane, the legislature is delusional to approve this continuation of nuclear generation. There’s really no other words for it. There’s no way to deal with nuclear waste, and it isn’t just going to go away, it’s with us for how many thousand generations?
Here’s the basic info on Monticello relicensing and dry cask storage, quick before I hit the road again:
To get an idea what can be included in the NRC?s EIS scope, click here for the EQB scope.
Here?s Xcel?s (Nuclear Management Company?s) relicensing application for the NRC.
Here?s the Xcel application to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for a Certificate of Need for dry cask storage of nuclear waste on the shores of the Mississippi River.
And here is the supplement to the Certificate of Need application.
FILE COMMENTS IN THE NRC DOCKET! IT?S EASY!!
NRC ? DUE NEXT WEEK ? email to MonticelloEIS@nrc.gov or by mail in time to be received by August 2:
Chief, Rules and Directives Branch
Division of Administrative Services
Office of Administration
Mailstop T-6D 59
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, D.C. 20555-0001