A win without justice… Kandiyohi’s Midtown Burner is dead — at the Phillips site. That’s a very good thing. But there’s bad news too — it appears a deal was struck and that it may rear its ugly head somewhere else in Minneapolis, SE Minneapolis to be precise. Kandiyohi better not even think about it. That’s one outcome that is not acceptable.

One aspect of the “victory” is legislation about an important issue, analysis of cumulative impacts of a project. This is a statewide issue, as evidenced in the MSI and PolyMet permitting on the Range. In this case, however, language requiring analysis of cumulative impacts of proposed facilities was crafted into language so narrow that only the Kandiyohi Midtown Burner would be affected. The quote from Rep. Karen Clark in the STrib said:

“We’re happy that it’s not going to be in the Phillips neighborhood,” said state Rep. Karen Clark, DFL-Minneapolis, who helped pass the law requiring study of cumulative pollution in the area. “We’re not taking a position on where it should go.”

How about just saying NO! “Not taking a position on where it should go” but authoring legislation saying anywhere but here… What about impacts of the very real pollutants spewing from an incinerator ANYWHERE? What’s wrong with this picture? Another community in Minneapolis may have been targeted.

Here’s the language of the bill, now SF 3056, Sec. 34, or Chapter 357:

The agency may not issue a permit to a facility without analyzing and considering the cumulative levels and effects of past and current environmental pollution from all sources on the environment and residents of the geographic area within which the facility’s emissions are likely to be deposited, provided that the facility is located in a community in a city of the first class in Hennepin County that meets all of the following conditions:
(1) is within a half mile of a site designated by the federal government as an EPA superfund site due to residential arsenic contamination;
(2) a majority of the population are low-income persons of color and American
(3) a disproportionate percent of the children have childhood lead poisoning, asthma, or other environmentally related health problems;
(4) is located in a city that has experienced numerous air quality alert days of dangerous air quality for sensitive populations between February 2007 and February 2008; and
(5) is located near the junctions of several heavily trafficked state and county highways and two one-way streets which carry both truck and auto traffic.

And we know that Kandiyohi Development Partners will do just about anything to keep this afloat, but if, indeed, “the firm did suggest the South East Industrial Area between the Prospect Park and Como neighborhoods as one possible site,” get ready for another round!

I wonder what the SE Como Neighborhood Improvement Association thinks of this idea?

Here’s the STrib report:

No burner in Phillips neighborhood
The developer of a proposed wood-burning power plant says it gave up on the Minneapolis site in exchange for city help in locating another renewable energy facility.

By STEVE BRANDT, Star Tribune

June 6, 2008

The developer of a proposed wood-burning power plant in the Phillips area of south Minneapolis announced Friday that it is dropping efforts to build it on a city-owned site.

Kandiyohi Development Partners said that it was taking that step in light of city promises to help find another site for an unspecified renewable energy facility.

The announcement was a victory for the activists from the Hiawatha-Lake area who had fought the plant on the grounds that the area already had too much pollution. It also recognized the barriers posed by recent legislation requiring added studies before a state permit could be issued for that site, as well as the city’s move to cancel its sale of the land.

The developer met Thursday with Council Members Gary Schiff and Scott Benson, but Schiff said no explicit commitment was made to help Kandiyohi find another site for producing power.

However, he said the firm did suggest the South East Industrial Area between the Prospect Park and Como neighborhoods as one possible site. Another generating facility has been proposed near there to supply power to the Rock-Tenn paper recycling facility in St. Paul.

Kandiyohi said that with more than $2 million invested in planning for the electrical and steam-producing generator, it deserved more clarity early in the project from the state and city, especially regarding environmental challenges in the Phillips area. Among the investors is Council Member Lisa Goodman, a friend of Kandiyohi’s principals.

“We’re happy that it’s not going to be in the Phillips neighborhood,” said state Rep. Karen Clark, DFL-Minneapolis, who helped pass the law requiring study of cumulative pollution in the area. “We’re not taking a position on where it should go.”

Schiff said Kandiyohi expressed an interest in avoiding areas with the high childhood asthma rates that plague Phillips and other areas of high poverty.

Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438

Here’s an article with a quote that says to me that they were having trouble at the MPCA — from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal:

Friday, June 6, 2008 – 5:12 PM CDT

Kandiyohi axes plan for wood-fuel plant in South Minneapolis

Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal – by Sam Black Staff Writer

Kandiyohi Development Partners has scrapped plans for a new $80 million energy facility in South Minneapolis, but it isn’t giving up on finding another location in the city.

In response to an RFP by the City of Minneapolis, Kandiyohi had pitched a plan to build a renewable energy facility that would be called Midtown Eco Energy at the site of a garbage transfer station in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis.

The facility would have reused a former city incinerator at Hiawatha Avenue and Lake Street that closed in the 1970s.

Today the Minneapolis-based firm pulled the plug on its plans due to “concerns raised by the Phillips community regarding the impacts of decades of environmental and land use policies of the City and the (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) on air and land pollution,” Kandiyohi said in a statement.

The project had come under fire by some residents in the neighborhood and lost the support of some members of the city council in recent weeks as Kandiyohi approached a March 31 deadline to complete its purchase of city land.

The project became a political hot potato when it was reported that investors in the deal included former DFL activist Michael Krause and Kim Havey, a former city official who ran the city’s Empowerment Zone office. Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Goodman is also an investor in Kandiyohi, although she didn’t vote on the project when it came before the city council in 2006.

Kandiyohi has already invested more than $2 million in the project, which would have burned clean wood wastes and some agricultural byproducts.

Kandiyohi plans to look for an alternative site for a renewable energy facility that would add “green collar” jobs and renewable energy to the city.

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