Yup, the Gov’s Energy Boy said he’s “doing” his homework, and I hope he’ll report soon that he’s digested the Wabash River Final Technical Report and that North Dakota water contamination report. Burp! Let’s see if he asks some researcher from this little coal gasification group to prepare a report reviewing documentation of coal gasification and water contamination, and whether the group makes that report that public! Mike gets extra credit if he searches “Datong” and “Shanxi” and “coal gasification” and reads a few of the results! On the water issue, he says, “Consider it flagged.” Yup, that’s a start, I HEAR YA, MIKEY! I hope to see some understanding of the issues presented by coal gasification, water contamination for starters, bubbling up in the public dialog… because you’ve been out there promoting coal gasification, and Mesaba specifically. Here’s a quote from the press release:

The federal legislation supports and promotes the same energy policy goals of the Pawlenty administration here in Minnesota,” said Mike Bull, Assistant Commissioner, Renewable Energy and Advanced Technologies at the Minnesota Department of Commerce. “Our focus is on increasing reliance on homegrown, renewable energy sources; expanding our commitment to technologies and programs to promote the efficient use of energy; and encouraging the development of advanced electric generation technologies, such as coal gasification.

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That’s why Mike’s on the hook — because he’s the Gov’s Energy Boy. I”m not at all impressed with what’s come down during the Pawlenty administration — it takes a lot of ethanol to reverse the impacts of the Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell. Pawlenty has been promoting Mesaba. All the happy words about Renewable Energy in the world doesn’t make up for gutting regulatory review of Mesaba. Construction and operation of Mesaba is a defacto shift in energy policy, a $1.97 BILLION irretrievable infrastructure commitment to another 50-80 years of large central station power a long way from load. Those directing energy policy and making the decisions must be conscious of the decisions and must consider all the implications — and it’s my job to inform them as best I can and hold their feet to the fire.

Some people get it. As Ross Currier, Ray Cox’s brother-in-law, said recently:

In fact, if I were too use the expression “Bone-Headed” with a single individual on the Discussion List, it probably would, indeed, be Carol Overland. I have found her opinions to range from Brilliant to Bone-Headed, excuse me, Really Good to Not-So Good, often in the space of a single posting. However, although I have never met Carol in person, I feel like I know her quite well and that we have a certain bond of intimacy. She, having worked at the Seward Cafe, and I, having worked at the New Riverside Cafe, have, in a way, shared time chopping garlic, washing dishes, carrying out the garbage and cleaning toilets, in the pursuit of creating good food and bringing about revolution.

Admittedly, Carol and my rough and ragged senses of humor are not for everyone. But hey, isn’t it great that two people who can often strongly disagree, or strongly agree, on a wide variety of topics can share a chuckle now and then?

Mikey gets it too – he says:

Heyyyy… I’d never call you boneheaded! I enjoy the give and take, and learn stuff in the process. People who read your blog ask me about why you’re always picking on me, and I tell them that Carol and I are friends so she feels comfortable calling me out on stuff — there’s no animosity at all.

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This great photo of Ray and Mike was stolen from Griff www.wigleyandassociates.com, from this photo album

Those who can’t take the scrutiny, who can’t withstand public inquiry, they are the ones I worry about, those whose actions can’t stand the light of day. When people in public positions, be it elected office, non-profits supposedly working for the public good or public interest, public figures promoting policies with long term societal ramifications, when these folks are defensive, that’s when I figure it’s time to really get to digging and see what crawls up from under the rocks.

You’ll hear more here on coal gasification, Mesaba, the Waltons/ME3 group, and make particular note of what’re emerging as issues, who’s doing their homework, who’s not and what pigs squeal. And for all those legislators who claim they were mislead about Excelsior’s Mesaba project — what a cop out — obviously you were misled, but SO WHAT!!! What are you doing about it. What legislation are you proposing to assure it goes forward ONLY if the project is what was sold to the leiglsature? What are you doing to rein in that project? Are your feet getting warm yet? And how will you vote when Micheletti wants Mesaba exempted from personal property tax since the 2002 one expired? The whole world is watching…


One Response to “Mikey says he’ll do his homework!”

  1. Mike Bull Says:

    Yup, we are doing our homework, doing our due diligence on all of these projects and technologies — the fact that I’m participating in the coal gasification workgroup is evidence of that. And yes, we’ve been very supportive of getting the Mesaba Energy Project to the point where we can weigh all of the public interest considerations (pro and con: emissions benefits, reliability issues, fuel security, cost & env. impacts, among others) of this emerging & advanced technology. I know you have private clients’ interests to consider, and those are important, too.

    The Governor’s support of renewable energy is making us the renewable capitol of the country, first in biofuels (the only state with a 20% ethanol requirement, the only state with a biodiesel requirement), first in community energy (recently, the Governor called for 800 MW of community wind by 2010 — dwarfing any other state). In fact, Minnesota is the only state in the country that has policies in place today, without additional legislation, to have 20% of its gasoline and 20% of its electricity come from renewable resources by 2015. Also indicative of the Governor’s committment to renewable energy is the fact that, as far as we know, I’m the first commissioner-level appointment in Minnesota history focused on developing Minnesota’s renewable resources. (To be clear, my boss, Edward Garvey, is the Administration’s point person on energy issues, generally. My bailiwick is renewable energy.) Whether it impresses you or not, this Administration’s record on energy issues in general and renewable energy in particular is truly excellent.

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