Big Stone & Commerce do a deal

August 31st, 2007

More as it becomes available, but here’s the Agreement, just out today, and the Press Release from BS:

Nope, it’s too big to scan the whole thing in… grrrrrrr. So I’m scanning in the guts and not the exhibits for posting:

Settlement Agreement – Big Stone Partners and Minnesota Dept. of Commerce

And here’s the Big Stone Partners press release about it:

Settlement Agreement – Press Release

The big question now is what will the other Intervenors do? There’s the enviro Intervenors, MCEA, representing themselves, the Waltons, Fresh Energy and Union of Concerned Scientists. And then there’s lil’ ol’ moi, representing, an intervention limited by the ALJ to only those issues pertaining to Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project. Oh, this does get complicated, doesn’t it!

For the full Big Stone II docket, go to and then to “eDockets” and then to “Search Documents” and then search for 05-619.

Here’s the STrib article — will someone explain to me why Sen. Ellen Anderson is suprised about this?  Goodpaster “doesn’t understand?”  Give me a break…  Pawlenty’s supported it all along, and it was exempted from the “Global Warming” bill, DUH, wake up:

Minnesota has deal on coal power plant

A deal between utilities and the Minnesota Commerce Department swings support to building a $1.6 billion coal-fired power plant in South Dakota. Environmentalists say that’s the last thing Minnesota needs, and they’re accusing the governor of a flip-flop.

By Mike Meyers, Star Tribune

Last update: August 31, 2007 – 8:19 PM
The Minnesota Commerce Department Friday unveiled a pact with utilities that could smooth the way to build a $1.6 billion, coal-fired power plant in South Dakota, on the border 175 miles west of Minneapolis.

A top Minnesota official said the deal will reduce mercury pollution, find ways to offset greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that rural Minnesota gets the power it needs.

But foes of Big Stone II accused the Pawlenty administration of suddenly shifting course and supporting a plant that’ll release 4.7 million tons of carbon dioxide into the environment every year for the next half-century.

“I’m just spitting mad,” said state Sen. Ellen Anderson, DFL-St. Paul. Hours before, she had introduced Gov. Tim Pawlenty to a group of children at the State Fair, hailing him as an environmental champion. “I’m outraged the governor has turned around and flip-flopped on this coal plant and is supporting it now.”

But Pawlenty’s point man on the Big Stone II agreement said the governor’s environmentalist credentials are underscored in the deal.

The agreement with the utilities that want to build Big Stone II includes a requirement that they offset the emission of greenhouse gases, offering the utilities nine options for doing so, said Edward Garvey, deputy commissioner of energy and telecommunications at the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

“The agreement between the [Commerce Department] and the Big Stone II owners resolves issues related to project costs, mercury emissions, water use, energy conservation, renewable energy,” the agency said in a statement.

Pawlenty earlier this year championed and signed new laws setting strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions and mandating that utilities use more renewable energy. Garvey said the deal on Big Stone II advances those goals.

“This is the first and only carbon offset applied to a new facility that we know of in the country,” said Garvey, who in January wrote a letter outlining problems with Big Stone II — from carbon dioxide emissions to the source of water for cooling towers to electricity rates. The letter said the proposal at the time was unacceptable but left the door open to talks.

All of those objections, Garvey said, are answered in a 17-page agreement reached in talks between state commerce officials and a consortium that includes Otter Tail Power, Central Minnesota Power, Great River Energy and the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency. They already operate another coal plant, Big Stone I, next to the Big Stone II site.

Opponents skeptical

Opponents of Big Stone II were skeptical that the Pawlenty administration did anything but side with utility interests, however.

“This seems to be a political response when the governor’s own analysts found the plant should not go forward,” said William Grant, associate executive director of the Isaak Walton League, a national environmental group with an office in St. Paul.

“To me, this is a case where the higher-minded principles the governor announced a few months ago have now been trumped by realities of the economic interests that want this project to go forward,” Grant said.

Beth Goodpaster, lawyer for the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, said Pawlenty is doing an about-face on fighting global warming in the Big Stone II deal.

“It’s the hypocrisy of the Pawlenty administration, talking about the new direction of creating jobs and economic vitality with clean energy,” she said. “To say you have to help the rural economy with a coal plant, I just don’t understand at all.”

Mike Meyers • 612-673-1746

Mike Meyers •

Mesaba Order out IN WRITING

August 30th, 2007


IGCC on the ropes… or has it been revived?  Hard to tell.

The PUC’s Order is finally out.  It’s the Order, from the August 2, 2007 decision, where the PUC decided it would be “disapproving Power Purchase Agreement” for the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project.  And that’s very good, but what’s scary about it is written right there in the caption, the part about “resolving to explore the potential for a statewide market for project power under Minn. Stat. 216B.1694, Subd. 5.

PUC Order August 30, 2007

So time to fire up another cup of coffee and read this thing.  I’ll probably have nightmares tonight…



In today’s St.PPP about a two week old transmission line bomb scare (WARNING: KIDS, THIS IS A FEDERAL OFFENSE — DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME…):

Power line company offers reward

The Associated Press
Article Launched: 08/29/2007 10:00:26 AM CDT

UNDATED—The company building a power line from Duluth, Minnesota, to Wausau, Wisconsin, is offering a reward to help find those responsible for leaving homemade explosives along the construction site.

American Transmission Company project manager Pete Holtz says they’re concerned about the safety of their workers and are offering a $1,000 reward.

The 210-mile line has long been the target of protests of property owners from Wausau to Superior and Duluth.

Fifteen to 25 soda bottles filled with explosive chemicals were found by a power line worker about two weeks ago in Wisconsin’s Douglas County. The bomb squad from the Air National Guard’s 148th Fighter Wing was called to the scene to take care of the bottles.

The FBI office in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is working to identify the chemicals.

The 420 million dollar line is expected to be finished later this year.

Here’s more from KJBR, a Duluth TV station:

Bomb Scare Forces Powerline Crews To Evacuate Construction Site

August 17, 2007

Duluth MN / Superior WI, MN – Several bombs have been found in and around the controversial Arrowhead Weston Power Line construction site. The project has seen its share of protests from people who are opposed to the power line, but officials are not pointing any fingers right now.

Posted 9:06 a.m. – Several bombs have been found in and around the controversial Arrowhead Weston Power Line construction site.

As Dan Hanger reports, authorities are not taking this lightly.

“Well, luckily it wasn’t serious in the fact no one got hurt or killed, but that was the potential harm,” Sheriff Tom Dalbec, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

A potentially deadly situation on Lyman Lake Road in Parkland, Wisconsin was prevented Tuesday.

Several chemical bombs were found there, along a mile stretch of the Arrowhead–Weston Power Line construction site.

This is video nearby.

“The intent is to cause injury, harm, potentially death.”

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI, actively investigating, searching for the person or people who put these dangerous homemade explosives together.

“There are statutes,” said Raymond Greco, FBI. “If anybody causes damage to or destroys an energy facility, it’s a federal offense, so the power lines fall into that statute.”

Officials say the construction crews working on the project had just set the foundation for the power poles.

Those crews were evacuated.

No one was hurt.

And they aren’t allowed back for now because the sheriff’s office says there may be more bombs.

“We don’t know if someone’s intent was to make a statement against the power line or if they were to make a statement against government in general or if it potentially was maybe some kids screwing around having fun.”

The power line project has seen its share of protests from people who feel it threatens the environment and their homesteads, but officials are not pointing any fingers right now.

Anyone who knows anything about this case is asked to call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.


The MPCA is disappearing documents. The Notice for the MPCA’s meeting at the Franklin Library had Kandiyohi’s Draft Air Permit and Technical Support Document too, and for some odd reason it’s disappeared. So here they are:

Midtown Eco Energy – MPCA Public Notice

Midtown Eco Energy – MPCA Draft Air Permit

Midtown Eco Energy – MPCA Technical Support Document

Now, loading the application… nope, too big, even when shrunken pdf…

Hot off the press, or hot off the wire — Ron Gustafson just called and said according to DOE’s site, the Draft DOE Environmental Impact Statement has been “approved” and per a phone call, it’s been forwarded to the big boys at HQ for their approval.  Delay after delay after delay after delay… and maybe they’ll lose it?   There still is no “Notice of Availability.”  Good, let’s keep it that way.