US EPA Comment on Mesaba

March 14th, 2008


This is just to good to believe. Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project is not faring well under the eye of federal agencies, hard to believe, but there it is, in black and white as found in their DEIS Comments. And what’s also too good to believe is that we’ve caught the DOE and Minnesota’s Green Chameleon Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s agency hiding important documents from the public.

First, once more with feeling, the US Army Corps of Engineers:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Letter January 31, 2008 and attachments

Now, let’s move on to the Comment of the Environmental Protection Agency. Can this be? They’re gettin’ DOWN! Like WOW!

US EPA Comment on Mesaba DEIS

Here’s the poop in short:

Based on the information provided in the DEIS, EPA has assigned a rating of “EO-2.” The “EO” indicates that we have environmental objections to the proposed project. The “2” indicates that additional information needs to be provided to support the impact analysis documented in the DEIS.

The EPA gives it a thumbs down. There are a number of issues, but in tandem with the USACE, there’s a “project purpose” problem identified and the alternatives scenario is flat out rejected:

The selection of alternatives is etermined in part by the project’s purpose…

This project has four stated purposes, which are to : 1) demonstrate the commercial viability of IGCC technology on a utility-scale application, 2) help satisfy Minnesota’s baseload power needs, 3) implement Mnnesota’s energy poloikcies, 4) and utilize state and federal incentives under the Innovative Energy Project initiative. These four stated purposes are actually a combination of two project purposes and a set of modifiers that specify the applicant’s desired conditions and benefits for the project. The demonstration of the commercial viability of IGCC technology on a utility-scale application (1) is one project purpose that can be accomplished anywhere in the United States, not just in Minnesota. The need to provide additional baseload power in Minnesota (2) is another project purpose, which can be accomplished using a number of different technologies, fuels, and locations within the State. It does not require the use of IGCC technology. The purpose to implement Minnesota’s energy policies (3) is actually a desired benefit from the second project purpose. This benefit cannot be considered as a project purpose because it isn’t associated with an actual project. Lastly, the purpose to utilize staet and federal incentives (4) is a desired condition by the applicant that cannot be considered a project purpose. The economic savings and development benefits associated with these incentives do not define an actual project either.

… therefore, we would, in reviewing the CWA Section 404 permit, reject the project purposes as stated by the applicant and the resulting alternatives analysis up on which it is based.

This Comment was withheld by the DOE and Minnesota’s Department of Commerce. Can you believe???

Just for the record, “purpose” jumped out at me too, and here’s what I said in the MCGP DEIS Comment January 11 2008:

6) The DEIS, in Section 1.4, p. 1-6 to 1-9, improperly shifts the purpose of the project, from that of public need, as framed in the DoC scoping document, to one focusing on project proposer need. EIS must address the public need for the project and eliminate discussion of “project proponent need.”

7) The DEIS, in section, provides a narrative regarding the DOE purpose, and it does not include “demonstrate” in line one where the purpose of the DOE’s action is explained. This is a “demonstration” project, mentioned elsewhere, and that is a material term in the purpose of this project.

8) In section 1.4.14 of the DEIS, the State Purpose is addressed. One important omission that must be corrected is the state’s need to provide for public participation opportunities under the Power Plant Siting Act and in the PPA docket.

So now what… how dare they hide documents that are so important… how dare they. The DOE and Minnesota Department of Commerce are in deep, deep shit…

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