Downer cows = Mad Cow disease?

February 11th, 2008


The US has cut testing for Mad Cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalothopy:

U.S. to reduce mad cow testing by 90 percent

So when I saw the reports recently that Minnesota told schools not to serve beef produced at a plant where they’d mistreated animals, my red flags went up, because since when is humane treatment of animals something businesses and state agencies care about? Then I heard that the issue was that they were mistreating “downer cows” and dragging and forklifting them into the plant. And that’s something completely different, downer cows = mad cow disease in some cases, it’s a symptom. Were these animals tested? Or were they just run through the line and shipped on out to MINNESOTA SCHOOLS? WTF? And the silence about the relationship of mad cow to downer cows at the slaughterhouse is deafening.

Here’s how it was framed in the STrib – note “mad cow” and “testing” is not mentioned:

Minnesota orders schools not to use beef from California plant

Minnesota school districts told to stop using meat from California company embroiled in sick-cow controversy.

Last update: January 30, 2008 – 11:27 PM

The Minnesota Department of Education said Wednesday that it has ordered state school districts to stop using beef from a California company accused of abusing sick animals it later processed for human consumption.

Westland Hallmark Meat Co. delivered ground beef to schools in 36 states via a U.S. Department of Agriculture program between Oct. 26 and Nov. 5, 2007, the agency said.

The Humane Society of America released a video on Wednesday that shows workers at the Chino, Calif., plant kicking, shocking and prodding sick cows into a slaughterhouse.

The USDA has suspended the company from federal food and nutrition programs.


And today I was checking up on things back at home, and found this, that it was sent to schools near Red Wing:

Suspect beef may have been sent here

Mike Longaecker The Republican Eagle
Published Friday, February 08, 2008

Beef from cattle shown on video being dragged by forklifts and other methods described as inhumane was likely shipped to several area schools, officials announced Thursday.

Cannon Falls, Goodhue, Kenyon-Wanamingo, Pine Island and Zumbrota school districts all likely received the beef from Westland Hallmark Meat Co., according to the Minnesota Department of Education. A total of 375 Minnesota schools and districts were on the list.

According to a department news release, no instances of illness were reported in connection to the beef and there is no other evidence the beef represents an increased health risk.

Meat from the plant has been placed on hold by the federal government since Jan. 30, the same day the U.S. Department of Agriculture indefinitely suspended Westland’s meat products from the National School Lunch Program.

Westland halted operations Feb. 1 after allegations surfaced that cattle at its California facilities were being sent to slaughter under inhumane conditions.

Undercover video released by the Humane Society of the United States shows “downer” cows — those unable to walk — being skidded and dragged through a processing plant.

Cannon Falls and Kenyon-Wanamingo were among 120 Minnesota districts identified by the state that had unused meat as of Thursday. Those districts have been contacted by the state and instructed how to isolate the product.

About 15,500 pounds of Westland beef sent to Minnesota was sent as processed meat products, including beef crumbles and hamburger patties, according to the state.

Most of the Westland beef sent to Minnesota was likely served to students before the USDA issued its advisory warning earlier this week.

Based on state research, one-third of the 240,000 pounds of Westland’s raw beef that has not been used is isolated.

The USDA will determine what should be done with the meat that hasn’t been used.

You can see the video here on the Humane Society’s site, where you’ll note that they DO point out the correlation between Mad Cow and downer cows, that 12 of the 15 known cases of mad cow were downer cows:

Humane Society Video of Downer Cows

I mean really, Mad Cow Disease, Pissy Deer Disease (Chronic Wasting), Sheep Scrapie, Creutzfeld-Jakob variant… Come on, folks, wake up and smell the cow shit!

Here’s what the World Health Organization has to say about Creutzfeldt-Jakob variant:

WHO Cretuzfeldt-Jakob page

Think it doesn’t happen here? Check these Chronic Wasting maps from Wisconsin:


Farmed Deer with CWD – info HERE!

Maybe when big ag is held accountable, LIABLE, for humans with Creutzfeldt-Jakob variant, maybe then things will change…

In the meantime, demand rigorous testing. MEAT – it’s NOT what’s for dinner…


Seems my favorite gas turbine salesman is getting pissy, getting worried. When he wantz to keep the opposition from talking, wants only proponents to be heard, it must be that he sees that yet another IGCC project is vulnerable. Keep your eye on the Sierra Vista Herald for his missive, and note what he says about the toady enviro organizations that are supporting IGCC — which of them have not received “grants” to do so, eh? Let’s see, I’m a whore against IGCC (when not against tanks and bazookas and machine guns per David Gross, Esq.), Harry is a whore for gas turbines (natural or IGCC) and enviros are whores for IGCC. We’re all whores but it seems a bit lopsided. Anyway, here’s what he had to say about the article:

I read your article in the August 14 issue of the Sierra Vista Herald entitled: “2 Supervisors Deny Travel Expenses for Power Plant Expert” and I feel compelled to write to you about it.

My hope is that you would make this letter public as a follow up to your article.

The article was brought to my attention by a web blog written by Ms. Carol Overland, the Minnesota lawyer identified by board member Paul Newman as the purported expert on IGCC tachnolgy.

The blog can be found at:

What your article failed to point out (or rather what Mr. Newman failed to point out) is that, in the case of the proposed Minnesota IGCC project, Ms. Overland was not acting as an independent industry expert witness on IGCC technology, but rather as a locally retained lawyer representing a group of property owners that opposed the project for various private reasons – mostly having to do with property interests and not environmental issues.

Regarding the environmental issues related to alternative ways to use coal for power generation, I believe that the technical data will support IGCC technology as the cleanest possible alternative.

Please see attached chart that was developed for the Department of Energy on that subject.

There is no doubt that both sides of the argument related to coal-based power can come up with their own set of “experts” to present arguments pro and con. But the facts regarding the qualifications and the real motives of such experts should be made clear.

This should be the case whether or not the use of public funds is being considered to cover the travel expenses to bring such “experts” to town – or even if they are invited to provide their expert opinions gratis via teleconference.

The motives of so-called “experts” who are paid by opponents to a project always have to be questioned.

The very fact that a number of major nationally recognized environmental organizations have themselves been generally supportive of IGCC technology as the cleanest alternative for coal-based power generation should speak for itself.

if the Board of Supervisors is looking to have a truly qualified and independent technical expert on IGCC technology, I would suggest that they invite technical experts from the major environmental groups.

Yours very truly,

Harry Jaeger
Gasification Editor
Gas Turbine World Magazine

PS I believe that the project in Minnesota that was reportedly killed by Ms. Overland’s expert testimony is still alive, as the Minnesota PUC has recently suggested that the project developer and the local utility work together to find a way to make it work in the public interest.


Ummmmmm… let’s see… go to the “major environmental groups” that are supporting IGCC with funding to do so from the Joyce Foundation?  Good idea… good source for “truly qualified and independent technical experts.”  Remember this list of recipients please, from a Joyce Foundation press release:

Announced August 2006

Clean Air Task Force, Inc.
Boston, MA $787,500
To promote Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle in the upper Midwest. (21 mos.)

Clean Wisconsin, Inc.
Madison, WI $500,000
For a coordinated administrative intervention and public information campaign aimed at promoting coal gasification with sequestration as an alternative to conventional coal plants proposed for Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Citizens Utility Board would also be a partner in the intervention and campaign. (1 yr.)

Energy Foundation
San Francisco, CA $100,000
To support smaller-scale efforts to contest the licensing of conventional coal plants in the Midwest. (1 yr.)

Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development
Minneapolis, MN $437,500
To support the efforts of its Coal Gasification Working Group. (21 mos.)

Michigan Environmental Council
Lansing, MI $87,500
To persuade regulators, utilities, and power plant developers in Michigan that any new coal plants should be able to use the latest technologies for capturing and storing carbon emissions. (21 mos.)

National Wildlife Federation
Reston, VA $122,700
To build support in Indiana and Michigan for coal gasification as an alternative to conventional coal-burning power plants. National Wildlife Federation affiliates Indiana Wildlife Federation and Michigan United Conservation Clubs would be partners in this effort. (21 mos.)

Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
New York, NY $437,500
For its efforts to oppose the construction of new conventional coal plants and promote alternative plants using coal gasification with carbon sequestration. (21 mos.)

Ohio Environmental Council
Columbus, OH $113,750
To support its ongoing efforts to promote IGCC in Ohio and to oppose the permitting of a conventional coal plant proposed by AMP-Ohio, a municipal utility consortium. (21 mos.)

Resources for the Future, Inc.
Washington, DC $75,000
To conduct a quantitative assessment of the risks to shareholders and electric utility ratepayers of investing in various coal combustion technologies. (1 yr.)

Rockefeller Family Fund
New York, NY $50,000
To support ongoing coal advocacy activities of the Renewable Energy Alignment Mapping Project. (1 yr.)

University of Wisconsin-Madison Center on Wisconsin Strategy
Madison, WI $175,000
To build support among labor leaders in Wisconsin and other Midwest states for coal gasification as an alternative to conventional coal power plants. (21 mos.)

Announced May 2006
Izaak Walton League of America, Inc.
St. Paul, MN $300,000
To support intervention in the licensing hearings for the Big Stone II power plant in South Dakota and Minnesota. (1 yr.)

… sigh… does Harry really think that’s a good idea?  … sigh…

Last night, there was a meeting held at Hamline … passive language, I know… I was going to say “sponsored by…” but I can’t really figure that out. So let’s identify all the suspects: At the auditorium entry taking names and emails was Justin Eibenholzl, Southeast Como Improvement Association. Beyond that toward the door was Nina “don’t quote me!” Axelson, Community Organizer for St. Anthony Park Community Council – District 12, telling Neighbors Against the Burner that they could not hold signs outside the door of the auditorium! And running interference out in the hall was Carl Nelson of the Green Institute. Who should stroll in but Steve Taff, U of M Applied Economics, the guy who does things like “Pathways to a reduced-carbon energy system for the Midwest.” District Heating’s Anders Rydaker and Bill Malum, Ken Smith (the site blurs District Heat/Market Street) were there, but what can you say about an entity that brags about a visit from Bush? And of course there were at least two from Rock-Tenn, Steve Haselmann and Jack Greenshields.

I was in on this because a certain Mr. Muller was pulled in by Neighbors Against the Burner to lend his technical expertise (garbage burners have been run out of Delaware and they’ve got strong legislative language to keep them out!). These fights are all the same, and this is Alan’s forte.

For some reason, the neighbors are finding that those they’d expect to support their efforts to stop the burner are taking very odd and painful positions — and that has much to do with the Metropolitan Emissions Reduction Project that’s shutting down Xcel’s St. Paul High Bridge coal plant. There’s a problem here, because Rock-Tenn has painted itself as the poor victim of MERP, which is shutting down the coal High Bridge Plant and there goes Rock-Tenn’s steam, and of course it’s all the enviro’s fault and all the legislators fault that High Bridge is closing, poor Rock-Tenn, they’d better do something to help poor Rock-Tenn. And they forget to mention that Rock-Tenn’s 20 year contract with NSP for that steam is up in July, 2007. Or that the garbage burner that Rock-Tenn dreams of is not only much higher priced than natural gas, but it requires massive public subsidies to not only build the burner, but to build a bigger Newport facility to collect garbage and another C&D facility to deal with that — oh, isn’t this a great idea for our tax dollars? No tax dollars for health care, but tax dollars to make us sick…

A few main things that jump out at me — THIS IS THE OPINION OF OVERLAND:

1) The legislation and the enviros’ MERP deal did NOT create Rock-Tenn’s contractual problem and the demise of its steam supply. End the guilt — don’t take on their problems!
2) Hey, Rock-Tenn, ever hear of laches? They knew the contract was running out and they pay big bucks for legislative and administrative representation. They did not say a peep in the MERP docket and din’t bother to intervene — only send a pissy letter at the very end.

3) To the extent there are any public subsidies, there must be an equal public equity interest!

Here are some of the handouts:

Agenda and Contact Info

Rock-Tenn language from SF 2096 Energy Omnibus Finance

Rock-Tenn Steam Permit FAQ

Here’s the Green Institute report, which has a very narrow scope for the $$$ paid:

 Green Institute – Biomass Fuel Report

Here’s the “FrOTH” report promoting a garbage burner:

(where did that go???)

Here’s a Memorandum of Understanding between MPCA and Rock-Tenn:

Memorandum between MPCA and Rock-Tenn

And here’s an interesting Resolution from Ramsey County supporting a “legislative MERP charge” for Rock-Tenn which for some reason doesn’t mention that in July 2007  the Rock-Tenn Contract runs out:


I’ve still got some reports to scan in, others to find, and will post those and some more links someday soon…


Pissy and chronically wasted deer, and 3M poisoning our water in SE Metro with PFBA, PFOA, and PFOS, but now we know… it’s all connected… and where is Rep. Sandy Wollschlager, who works at 3M in the environmental area?

 Deer crashes into 3M research lab

The Associated Press – Wednesday, March 07, 2007


A deer caused quite a stir at a 3M research lab at company headquarters in Maplewood.

The deer smashed through a window at 3M’s Building 201 yesterday, then got into a lab and “was really breaking stuff up,” according to Maplewood Police Lieutenant Kevin Rabbett.

Rabbett says officers said there were “beakers flying all over the place.”

Officers didn’t have a tranquilizer gun, so they steered the deer into a hallway, then blocked other passages and got the animal to go through an exit door.

No employees were in the lab, and no one was hurt.


Question of the Day: WHAT DOES CAPX2020 WANT NOW?

Here’s my House Energy presentation that didn’t happen:

House Energy Jan 29 2007

Once more with feeling… Question of the Day: WHAT DOES CAPX2020 WANT NOW?

CAPX 2020 for RES??? Streamlining?

Exempt from what… Certificate of Need?

Environmental review?

I don’t think so… Over my dead polar bear!

Why are they before the legislature? Didn’t they get it all in the 2005 transmission bill? Other than an exemption from all regulation and review — so that must be what they want, eh? No Renewable Electricity Standard without more transmission?

I’m really tired of these “little bit of wind for noxious generation” deals…

Minutes of October 19 2006 MAPP NM-SPG meeting state:

Ed Weber noted that the Coalition coal generator location is expected to be announced sometime early in 2007.

Anyone want to put any $$$ on that one?

It’s time to effectively deal with the transmission lies of Wind on the Wires, and their agreements with NSP/Xcel that grew from the 2002 SW Minnesota 345kV case. To watch Beth Soholt represent that proceeding to legislators as one where they got conditions to the Certificate of Need that would limit coal (a logical and legal impossibility) and as one where landowners were behind it because they got something out of it, that’s too much. Their entire purpose is to promote transmission, and they’ve done a good job of it. It has nothing to do with the public interest, nothing positive, that is, and has everything to do about the purposes of the Wind on the Wires grant — it’s a grant, not an organization, it’s just like the Great Plains coal work group — they’re paid to promote transmission.

For years, Soholt as Izaak Walton staff, and Matt Schuerger as ME3 staff, were attempting to gain SEED buy-in. They advocated for transmission in other venues too, promoting transmission generally, weakening of state jurisdiction and strengthening of federal jurisdiction, alteration of criteria for Certificate of Need particularly toward a regional focus — how is any of this in the public interest? How is any of this within the mission of the Izaak Walton League? Within the mission of ME3? Do their constituents know what they’re doing?

The sell-out by Minnesota’s so-called “environmental” groups has been apparent for a long time, starting with the Izaak Walton League and ME3, and including Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and George Crocker’s North American Water Office on the deal for the SW Minnesota 345kV line. That sell-out was codified in the 2005 Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell. My awareness of it began a couple of days before September 6 or 8, 2001, months prior to the filing of the SW MN 345kV Application, when Beth Soholt and Matt Schuerger asked six or seven of us potential intervenors to sell out on the line, errrrr… to “approve” of the line. At the time, Beth was working for Izaak Walton League and I think Matt was still with ME3 (he’s now contracting with the state). The perceived problematic potential intervenors were myself, the only attorney of the group, Bill Neuman, Sig Anderson, Dan Juhl, George Crocker and Dave Benson (two others have agreed to sign affidavits about this meeting). I’d requested the SW transmission study, which I still have, and was up at 6 that morning to review it. What was obvious to me was that when they listed generation waiting that required the line, it was coal, a big long list (see SW MN/SE SD Transmission Study, Section 7.2, p. 29-30). Soholt’s and Schuerger’s line was that it was needed for wind, but a 345kV line doesn’t do a thing for wind — yet that 345kV part was what they were insistent about. Wind interconnects, even large projects, to at most a 115kV line, well, logically it could connect to anything, but there’s not enough in one spot to justify the size of the line that was proposed, 2,085 MVA capacity, and the cost for wind to interconnect to that is prohibitive. The 345kV line ran from Sioux Falls (Split Rock) to Lakefield Junction, with just one interconnect from Buffalo Ridge, at Nobles. At that substation, the powerflows show that there’d be 213-302MW coming off of Buffalo Ridge, a very small percentage of the capacity of the line. At the time, I asked about Big Stone II, the logic user of that transmission. I pointed to the list of coal plants in the draft study, and asked what would limit that 345kV line from being used as the logical purveyor of coal, and he got snippy and pissy, and of course had no answer. I also said that obviously they were getting something, and were they willing to share? And got another pissy snippy answer, he threatened to walk out of the meeting again, hey, please do! I was there for the duration to find out what was up, and what struck me most was the “B squad” nature of the approach, there was no sell, no offer of anything that would justify selling out on that line. All they did was alert me to their selling out and promotion of that line and the importance of stopping that line because it really would facilitate coal.

Right after that came the Buffalo Ridge Transmission Plan, designed to address REAL wind collection and integration into the grid, and to expose the lie of the 345kV line. In disgust at the Soholt/Schuerger proposal, it was clear another means of achieving wind development was needed, and here it is:

Buff Ridge Transmission Plan

I’ve got to dig up my notes here… this will be a multi-part piece.