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… sigh… more from our “Environmental” Governor, urp…
Just don’t forget that Prairie Island and Monticello relicensing, more dry cask storage, and Mesaba happened on Pawlenty’s watch. Got that??? What’s he going to do to shut those puppies down?

Hot off the press from Mikey Bull — the Gov’s Energy Boy — it’s probably an official Goobernatorial press release:

GOVERNOR PAWLENTY ANNOUNCES HISTORIC AGREEMENT TO REDUCE MERCURY EMISSIONS BY 90%

April 27, 2006

April 27, 2006 Following up on the commitment he made in his State of the State address, Governor Pawlenty today announced an historic agreement to further clean Minnesotaâ??s water and air by drastically reducing mercury emissions at the state’s largest coal fired power plants by 90%.

â??This is a watershed day for Minnesotaâ??s environment and the health of our families,â? Governor Pawlenty said. â??Mercury is a major threat to our well being and we need an aggressive approach to attack the problem. This agreement will make Minnesota the nation leader in reducing mercury emissions from power plants.â?

The agreement is a bi-partisan, consensus agreement among a diverse group of stakeholders that include environmental organizations, business customers, electric utilities and the Pawlenty Administration.

Power generation is the single largest contributor of mercury to the Minnesota environment. This action will reduce mercury emissions by nearly 1200 pounds per year – cutting overall statewide emissions by one-third.

Earlier this year, Governor Pawlenty called for legislation that would achieve these reductions well in advance of the federal regulations that take effect in 2018. His proposal also called for approval by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) in order to protect ratepayer interests.

Todayâ??s agreement follows the goals set by the governor:

1. Implements 90% mercury reductions at the state’s largest coal-fired power plants.

· Xcel Energyâ??s Sherco Plant, Becker, MN
· Xcel Energyâ??s Allen S. King plant, Oak Park Heights, MN
· Minnesota Powerâ??s Clay Boswell plant, Cohasset, MN

2. Ensures that Minnesota will exceed the federal requirement of a 70% mercury reduction well in advance of the 2018 federal deadline.

- Xcel Energy will install mercury controls at its King plant and Sherco unit #3 by 2010, and at Sherco units #1 and #2 by 2014.
-Minnesota Power will install mercury controls at its Boswell unit #3 by 2010 and at Boswell unit # 4 by 2014.

3. Protects Minnesota ratepayers by providing a review of the proposal by the MPUC.

· Mercury reduction plans must first be reviewed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for technical feasibility and then by the MPUC to ensure that the plans do not impose excessive costs on ratepayers.

Parties to the agreement include the Pawlenty Administration, a bipartisan group of legislators, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, and member organizations of Mercury Free Minnesota including the Sierra Club, Izaak Walton League, Clean Water Action, and Minnesotans for an Energy Efficient Economy, Minnesota Environmental Partnership and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and the Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota.

“This is another example of the progress this administration is making to improve the air and water quality of Minnesota,â? said Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Sheryl Corrigan. â??While other states talk about doing something, we actually make it happen through collaboration and the application of good science.â?

â??I recognize the hard work of all the stakeholders and the bill authors â?? Representative Tom Hackbarth and Senator Scott Dibble â?? in reaching this agreement. Now is the time for the legislature to embrace this agreement and pass it into law,â? Governor Pawlenty said.

In December 2003, a similar group of stakeholders came together in reaching an agreement on the Metropolitan Emissions Reduction Proposal (MERP), improving air quality in the Twin Cities and significantly reducing emissions. Under MERP, sulfur oxide emissions would be reduced by 95 percent, nitrogen oxide by 95 percent and particulate matters by 70 percent.

MERP converts the High Bridge (St. Paul) and Riverside (Minneapolis) coal-fired power plants to cleaner burning natural gas. It also includes the installation of new state-of-the-art pollution control equipment and facility refurbishment at the Allen S. King plant located on the banks of the St. Croix River, south of Stillwater.

In October 2005, Minnesota Power agreed to the Arrowhead Regional Emission Abatement (AREA) Project, installing additional air pollution control equipment at Syl Laskin and Taconite Harbor coal-fired power plants in northern Minnesota. The project will reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury from these power plants.

And here he goes again on Ethanol and Biodiesel

…and the Clean Water Closet…

… sigh… sorry, but Timmy just ain’t green…

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Naaaaah… it wasn’t one of THESE!

Cliche, but really, I’ve received three reports now of black helicopters flying the proposed routes for the pipeline and transmission lines for Excelsior Mesaba power plant project. The sources were reliable, credible, and it’s not really suprising, because that’s how they did it on the Arrowhead project. One observer said, “My 5 yr old asked why it couldn’t fly away to India or Spain (in her mind that must be the end of the earth).” And I have a sighting of my own to report — on the way up to Thursday’s meeting, I saw a very shiny black helicopter, small, not at all like the one pictured above, on a yellow trailer being pulled by a big white pickup traveling the lawful limit (so I didn’t have much time to get a look as I blew his doors off), and it caught my attention and I even wrote down the name of the company… on a napkin… location unknown, and I’m not about to dig under that car seat and find it, eeeeeeeuw.

There were two Mesaba editorials in the Grand Rapids Herald-Review:

Energy crisis needs creative thinking

Editor:

Most people like to see themselves as independent. Yet we live a society based on addictions-alcohol, drugs, money, and power, both the personal kind as well as the energy kind.

All corporations want us dependent on them, because it pays. True independence is not based on what one has, as much as what one can do without. The proposal to build the coal-fired power plant by Taconite is just another way for another corporation to keep people dependent on them. Besides the fact that it fosters dependency, the main problem I have with any kind of centralized power system is that all it would take is one bomb or one disaster, to put this, or any area, in deep trouble.

The whole concept of using coal, as well as oil and gas, is based on dependency. We are first dependent on one company for power, for trains to bring the coal to us, on miners to dig the coal, and so on. All of these processes require energy to make energy, and all of them create waste from the exhaust of what is burned to acquire the coal, as well as burning the coal itself. Also, if any part of the process is interrupted, our power supply is immediately threatened. Maintenance costs would include the mines, miners, railroads, and the plant itself.

I have seen plans for a wind generator that costs about $1 million to build, and started generating electricity with a 2 mph breeze. With the money this corporation wants for their power plant, we could put up 550 wind generators. Once a wind generator is up, all it requires is wind. There are no waste gasses produced and maintenance is limited to the generators alone.

Every Range town has hills or tailing dumps above them, or a lake by them, where the wind blows steadily. If every town erected the optimum number of wind generators their hills and lakes would allow, we would immediately become less dependent. Clay Boswell could be used strictly for emergencies.

Not only could we power every Range town, the generators would create enough electricity to sell back to the power companies, which have to buy it. Wind generators would pay for themselves. Given the continuous and never-ending operating costs involved in a coal-fired power plant, it would never pay for itself. We would continue to pay for it until this country ran out of coal, and then we’d have to put up wind generators away.”

We, as a people, need to stop thinking inside the boxes we were socialized into, if we want to be less dependent on everything. In this case, we can either risk being more independent, or we can stay indebted to corporations for the rest of our lives, and our children’s lives. As has been said, we do not inherit the land from our fathers, we borrow it from our children. Is dependency the legacy we want for our children?

Gary Burt
Taconite

Here we go with a “wedge” letter:

What is best for northern Minnesota?

Editor:

It is with great interest that I read the opinion from Tim Zoerb (Wednesday, April 12) about the Excelsior project. I agree with him that we, as a state, have to be very careful with our air and water, and it is a hard pill to swallow when it is your land the government wants to take. Though, I wonder why someone with an Eden Prairie address cares if the water from the Canisteo Pit is routed through Trout Lake. Is an agreement with the Trout Lake Association the best thing for northern Minnesota? Why does the association feel that running the water through the lake they live on would help our area?

Getting back to the Canisteo Pit, does anybody know that the city of Taconite and the Iron Range Township pulled out of the Western Mesaba Mining Board, calling it a special interest group? It would be nice to see a few good jobs come to the area so we do not end up as a retirement retreat for the people from the Twin Cities.

“Better and less expensive ways to create good jobs,” as you quoted in your article. Mr. Zoerb, I believe there are probably a lot of people on the Range that would like to hear your ideas.

Oh yes, by the way, here it is, right on the Itasca County Web site: Parcel No. 40-430-0170. Timothy and Patricia Zoerb (Seasonal-Recreational-Residential) on Trout Lake. Maybe you could hire a Ranger this summer to take care of your lawn so at least one person could make a good living and raise their family in the area they grew up.

Robert A. Kyllander
Coleraine

Perhaps Mr. Kyllander could take note of the number of construction jobs created with the housing boom up north, because I’d bet it’s a lot more than those in Excelsior’s wildest dreams, or even its outrageous “Duluth study.” And we will need more information on why Taconite isn’t participating in various local groups, there was a similar report at the Trout Lake Township meeting, that Taconite had withdrawn from participating in, I think, a different local group. More on that later…

We’re having an information meeting about the Mesaba project:

May 16th at 6:30 p.m.
Trout Lake Community Center
County Rd. 10 – Trout Lake Township

Bring treats to share — we’ll have coffee & ?

At this meeting we’ll be going over the project, looking at all the venues available to participate and talking about process, and formulating questions for Excelsior and local governments about this project — we’re at a preliminary stage where people are learning about Excelsior’s Mesaba project, yet it is moving forward toward reality — when the black helicopters start flying, people start paying attention.

For more info on the Mesaba project, including PUC filings, check www.mncoalgasplant.com.

Here’s the site plan: View image

Actually it’s a Trout Lake resident and my clients’ website that’s in the news:

www.mncoalgasplant.com

Web site addresses Excelsior Energy issues

Last Updated: Friday, April 21st, 2006 04:10:28 PM


Editor:

In regards to a coal gasification plant proposed for our area: I just discovered, thanks to my local alert township supervisor, that there is and has been for quite some time, a Web site on the Internet concerning this plant. Some of the items on the Web site www.mncoalgasplant.com are as follows:

Section IV, Page 9: Mesaba One and Two would require 192 acres of someone else’s property, excluding construction and laydown areas.

Section IV, Page 12 shows Excelsior’s preferred natural gas route, completely across the middle of Trout Lake Township, and a power line from about the middle of Trout Lake Township north to Taconite.

Section IV, Page 14: Excelsior’s option agreement allows the company to purchase mineral rights on up to 500 acres of the property on which the power generation plant would be located.

Section IV, Pages 63 & 64 lists the residual chemicals and their amounts that will be discharged into the receiving bodies of water.

Section IV, Page 106: If the East Range site were used instead of the Taconite location, they would have used a zero discharge system for process and cooling water because of the stringent water quality criteria standards implemented in the Lake Superior Basin Watershed. The mercury content in the Cliffs Pitts is too high.

Section IV, Page 124: MESABA ONE is predicted, according to a study commissioned by Excelsior, to cause 1.5 fewer deaths due to downwind particulate exposure in Minnesota and 6.4 fewer deaths in the United States as a whole compared to the Alternative SCPC Plant. Project emissions are associated with approximately 3.0 fewer cases of PM 2.5 (particulate matter) associated with acute bronchitis and 2.4 fewer emergency room visits for asthma per year than the Alternative SCPC Plant. This information comes under the heading of “Health Benefits.”

Bob Norgord
Bovey

I am the egghead…

April 22nd, 2006

A wonderful grandmotherly sort in Eagan sent me this to get my mind off being sick and coughing and wheezing, except it sent me right into a hacking fit — so I’ve just got to share it! Share the link, that is…


I’m the Decider

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Forrest Gump’s Evil Twin

By Stephen Pizzo
News for Real

Friday 21 April 2006

How extraordinary. Something is happening here that has never happened in America’s history. A consensus is sweeping the nation. Not that the war in Iraq is wrong, or that oil companies are screwing us blue, or that the climate is going to hell, or that good-paying jobs are being replaced by low-paying jobs, or that our national health care system is a disgrace, or that that the rich are getting a lot richer while the middle class gets poorer.

While all that’s true, and more and more folks are getting it, that’s not the consensus of which I speak. Nope. This one is bigger, enormous, huge!

Here it is: The president of the United States is a moron.

Yes, stupid, dumb as common road gravel. And not figuratively, but literally. George W. Bush, president of the world’s last remaining superpower, is a moron. Forrest Gump’s evil twin.

I broached this possibility one year ago in a post entitled, “Bush: The Worst President Ever?” I was a bit early with that one. But what a difference a year makes! The cover story of this week’s Rolling Stone Magazine reads, “The Worst President in History?”

So the jury is in: Bush is a moron. If stupid is as stupid does, he’s stupid. A botched war on terror, exploding debt, his “what me worry” response to Katrina – and the ongoing mismanagement of the recovery, North Korea has the bomb and Iran is on its way to its own nuke. Think about that for a second because it is definitive proof Bush is a moron. First he identifies three nations as his “Axis of Evil” in the world: North Korea, Iran and Iraq. Then he as a chance to whack one of the three, and he picks the only one that had no WMD. The only way he could look worse is if it were only two countries – a coin flip – and he still got it wrong.

Yes, Virginia, the current occupant of the Oval Office is no longer a crook or an adulterer. He’s a moron.

As if that were not bad enough, we still face two and half years with this man at the controls. NFR reader Philip Bourgeois suggested an intervention launched by former Presidents Clinton, Bush Sr. and Carter. Not a bad idea, Phil.

Poppa Bush must be beside himself watching his kid screw up decades of diplomacy in just five short years. He could take sonny into that Oval Office alcove where Monica used to dispense her favors and administer a few long overdue dope slaps.

Bill Clinton could sit the moron down and give him a short course on how to balance a checkbook, teach him the difference between capital investment and undisciplined spending, and the virtues of saving for a rainy day.

Jimmy Carter could teach Junior the actual meaning of the word “compassionate,” and how to walk that walk. Carter could reveal to him that giving the already comfortably rich even more money is not compassion. Giving more money to the growing number of those who work 60 hours a week or more, and still can’t get by, is “compassion.” And he could figure out how to cover the nearly 50 million Americans who cannot afford health insurance.

But none of that is likely to happen. One of the trademarks of a moron is contempt for facts that challenge the simple but comfortable fictions that rule their daily routines. You can drag a moron to a library, but you can’t force him to learn.

In fact morons get downright testy when someone challenges what they think they know. We saw this trait earlier this week when Bush was asked if he thought Don Rumsfeld should resign. The moron lashed out at the questioner, dashed into his imaginary phone booth and emerged as The Decider. “I’m the decider,” he pronounced, with Mussolini-like swagger. You see, scratch a moron and beneath that smirking, ignorance-is-bliss exterior, you discover a fundamental truth: Beauty may be only skin deep, but moron goes right to the bone.

I’m staying close to home until this guy is gone. Keeping my head down, my nose clean, and watching what I say in emails for friends. And I have a piece of advice for the Iranians too – this guy really is crazy enough to “decide” that bombing the shit out you is a good idea. Yes, Bush is exactly as stupid as he looks, sounds and acts.

Doubt that at your peril. Fifty-one percent of American voters doubted it. And now we’re screwed.

Stephen Pizzo is the author of numerous books, including “Inside Job: The Looting of America’s Savings and Loans,” which was nominated for a Pulitzer.


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Here’s Rolling Stone’s “The Worst President in History?”

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Spoken like a candidate after my vote!

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From a Libertarian Convention page


GOP hopes to block Pawlenty challenger

Jeffers acknowledges that few people think she has even a remote chance of knocking off an incumbent governor at his own party’s convention in June. But she says she speaks for many fiscal conservatives who are unhappy with Pawlenty’s compromises and reversals on a host of issues.

“Let’s slap him up a bit, at the very least,” Jeffers said

The title of this article has been morphing, from a focus on Jeffers, to now, a focus on GOP blocking her bid. They’re arguing over whether she’s really a Republican, but Republican, Libertarian, even if a Repug, she’s got the right attitude!

But her positions on the issues, vouchers, TABOR, those “frivolous” lawsuits (sounds like Newt on the radio yesterday), AAAAAAAAAAGH! OH, MY DOG — AWFUL! Correction: OFFAL! Here’s the Sue Jeffers for Governor site. See for yourself.

But still… “Let’s slap him up a bit, at the very least” …sigh…