UPDATE: Pat Silberbauer says he hit “reply all” but was referring to an internal message. Oh, OK… whatever.

And in case you missed it, here’s Garvey’s letter:

Policy Statement of Ed Garvey

If that doesn’t leave you scratching your head…


From the continuing Excelsior Mesaba Project saga — Hot off the inbasket:

Silberbauer, Pat would like to recall the message, “Digital document”.

The only thing sent recently by Pat Silberbauer was “The Garvey Letter” at 3:43 p.m. on Monday. Does this mean “Recall the Garvey Letter?” But there’s no letter attached withdrawing the paper copy. I’m soooo confused… so I sent the following missive to all:

I’m confused — please clarify!

I swear to Dog, the missive arrived just as I was trying to describe to someone how this case is “perversely hilarious.” Then this comes in… almost bust a gut laughing. What are we supposed to do? Somebody please explain! Do we recall all the articles written about the Garvey Letter, bring in copies of the paper and get our $0.50 back? Does this apply to the copy I scanned in and sent around, distinct from the ditigal copy emailed Monday at 3:43 p.m.? Does this apply to comments made over the digital phone line?

And on another vein, moments before, someone else commented:

There is a (possibly) similar situation in Delaware. There is an RFP for generation and an IGCC proposal (from NRG) is competing with a wind proposal and maybe others. The coal burner people are saying in effect that they don’t want the cost of capture and sequestration included in their bid–which would then be uncompetitive–but they want to be able to pass those costs directly through to the public in the future should they arise….

Whole docket from the Deleware RFP

NRG’s Notice of Intent to Bid

NRG Comments

NRG Supplementary Comment

NRG Reply Comment

It does sound similar, the pleadings have similar themes, no doubt about it. Wanting to sell more than is needed, talk of “stability of price,” Imputed Debt Offset issues, it seems their consultant in that case has identified some common issues.


And here’s what Ray Cox, former 25B Representative says, and yes, he is indeed saying that Garvey said that it’s all a matter of GRAMMAR! I’ve urged him to read the testimony and briefs of the parties. Sent links. Remember, Ray was a coauthor of the Mesaba bill, which did a LOT more than “offer some grants.” It EXEMPTED the plant from Certificate of Need review, not just for the plant but for as many plants as they want and all the transmission they want. They gave it the power of eminent domain — a PRIVATE company got the power of eminent domain. Selective memory, unfortunately, does not change the leiglsaiton. It’s too late for the “we have to see” line, when the farm was given away in 2003 — now we’re fighting to assure this boondoggle isn’t built:

The other energy issue relates to the Excelsior Energy plant under consideration for construction on the iron range. This plant is set to use coal gasification technology to produce electricity. Coal gasification is a much cleaner use of coal, eliminating the vast majority of pollutants. However, it does produce carbon dioxide. I supported the grant to allow further studies on this idea, with the understanding that regulators would do their job and vet any final plans thoroughly. They are doing that now, as reported in the StarTribune:

â??Excelsior Energy must first promise to control air pollution more grammatically than it has planned and sharply increase the protections it offers consumers against runaway electricity rates, argues Edward Garvey, deputy commissioner of energy and telecommunications at the Minnesota Department of Commerce.â?

The Commerce Department, Pollution Control Agency and Public Utilities Commission are our â??watchdogsâ?? for proposals like this. I feel it was appropriate to offer some grants to continue examining designs for such a plant. However, if it is not feasible for the plant to operate in an environmentally sound manner, then coal gasification may not be worth pursuing. We donâ??t know such things without a lot of work, engineering and studies. These are complex processes. We shouldn’t necessarily rule out any new coal plants, especially ones such as a gasification plant that burns cleaner, but we do need to see that they perform to acceptable standards and are worth the investment.

I appreciate the comments Ed Garvey made in his letter to the administrative law judges who will be making a recommendation to the Public Utilities Commission next month. There are ways to capture carbon dioxide from a plant like this, and to protect ratepayers from unnecessary rate increases—-both have to be satisfactorily addressed before the project should be allowed to move forward.

Posted by Ray Cox at 1/10/2007 07:25:00 AM

Please, Ray, do your homework. Commerce’s and the MPCA’s review shows it’s not significantlly cleaner, air emissions wise, than a SCPC plant. You gave them approval without knowing about the particulars of this plant and then later would not do anything to amend that legislation. Now we’re dealing with this mess that you gave us. And don’t worry, I know that Sen. Steve Murphy amended your bill into the Prairie Island bill, and he’s accountable for this too. It’s going down in flames, but it never should have gotten this far. As a coauthor of that bill, you’ve got a responsibility to Minnesotans.
Please, go to www.mncoalgasplant.com and read the Commerce brief. Read MCGP’s and Xcel’s brief.

Read the MPCA emissions profile.
MPCA Testimony of Jackson
MPCA Emissions Profile

Reread the Prairie Island/Mesaba Bill here.

Once you’ve reviewed the reality that is Mesaba, can you even offer qualified support?

3 Responses to “Ray weighs in, and Silberbauer, Pat would like to recall…”

  1. Nancy LaPlaca Says:

    good heavens, Ray Cox is a legislator who introduces a bill that EXEMPTS ALL (you’re kidding, right?) MESABA IGCC plants, as many as they want, AND the transmission line from the public utilities’ commission oversight, and THEN says that it needs to be STUDIED?! Ray, anyone with a few hours and an internet connection can learn a LOT about IGCC. Don’t throw good money after bad. Wow, what a public servant! Sticking the public with billions in costs, no oversight, and more pollution! Thanks Ray! (Please tell him NOT to come to my state to retire.)

  2. Peter Waskiw Says:

    You gotta love that boomerang…a kind of throwing stick that, when thrown correctly, travels in a curved path and returns to its point of origin.

  3. Carol A. Overland Says:

    And if you’re not careful, it’ll come back to bite you in the butt!!!

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