NRC FOIA response on dry casks

October 14th, 2021

Quite a while back, when starting to dig into this matter of Xcel Energy’s request for Public Utilities Commission approval for a yet to be identified dry cask for storing and transporting Prairie Island Nuclear Generation Plant’s nuclear waste (PUC Docket E-002/CN-08-510), I filed a Freedom of Information Act Request:

ESTIMATED COST: $3,142.66.

Yeah, right… and I’ve been deemed a “commercial use requester.” HUH?

And I’ve received this response, with this attached spreadsheet of possible responsive publicly accessible documents — for sure it’s worth putting on the waders and searching for juicy titbits:

Greetings Ms. Overland.

Even with the narrowing of your request, there appear to be a significant number of records that that may be responsive.  In an effort to minimize the fees that would be chargeable to you, we asked NMSS staff to search ADAMS for the records already publicly available that may be responsive to your request, with the thought of providing you that listing, and with the hope that it would meet your needs.  With the listing, you can review the records listed therein, and identify any that were of interest to you.  A copy of that spreadsheet is attached.

If, after your review, you determine that you would like for us to continue processing your request, this will necessitate a search through ADAMS’s non-publicly available records to identify which ones, if any, include content that is responsive to your request, and undertake a review of those records to determine whether they may be released to you.  To move forward, then, we would need your commitment to pay the estimated fees and if the fees exceed $250, remit payment in advance.  So, please see the fee estimate below.   For purposes of our fee estimate, although you did not express your preference, we assume that we would provide you our response electronically. Since the NRC does not charge requesters duplication fees when we respond electronically, we have not included in our fee estimate any duplication costs.

Because you are determined to be a “commercial-use” requester, you will be responsible for search and review fees associated with the processing of your request.

We have now received the cost estimate for the search and review time, associated with the processing of the non-publicly available records that may be responsive to your September 14, 2021 FOIA request.  It is estimated that a total of 12 hours of search time and 26.5 hours of review time will be necessary to complete your request.  Please note that, after completing our search and reviewing potentially responsive records, the NRC may find few, if any, responsive records.

As reflected in the attached Form 509, Statement of Estimated Fees, your search and review cost is estimated to be 38.5 x $81.72/hour, which accounts for the  search and review time expended at the professional/managerial level, which amounts to $3146.22.

You may wish to refer back to the “Explanation of Fees” page attachment to the September 14, 2021 acknowledgment letter we sent you, and as required pursuant to 10 C.F.R. 9.37, for additional information about the fees we may charge.

Pursuant to 10 C.F.R. 9.40(e), we will not continue processing your request until we receive a response from you of your willingness to pay up to the above-referenced fee estimate.  Additionally, because the estimated fee exceeds $250, the NRC will not process your request without advance payment of the estimated fee.  We have attached a Form 629, Authorization for Payment by Credit Card, should you choose to remit the estimated fee by credit card. Alternatively, you may remit payment at www.pay.gov by checking the box “Other” and entering the FOIA request’s reference number.

If we have not received a response from you by Thursday, October 28, 2021, we will assume that you are satisfied with the public ADAMS listing we have provided, and administratively close your request.  You may also try to further narrow the scope of your request to reduce the estimated fees associated with the processing of your request.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I may be reached by email at Stephan.Ellis@nrc.gov or by telephone at (301) 415-3655.

RULES! PUC’s 7849 & 7850

October 12th, 2021

Can it be?!?! The rulemaking based on the 2005 statutory changes was published in the state register today. TODAY… 2005… SIXTEEN YEARS, and NINE YEARS since this 12-1246 docket was opened. Comments are due by November 17, more on that below.

The Public Utilities Commission did one hell of a job delaying until BILLIONS of CapX 2020, a/k/a CapX 2050 and Grid North Partners and MTEP MVP projects were rammed through. Public interest anyone? Naaaaaaah…

Here it is — First the Notice (60 page service list!), then Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR) and then the proposed rules (yeah, 120+ pages):

Comments are due November 17th:

Here’s the catch — they are planning on putting these through without a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, UNLESS there are at least 25 requests for a hearing — I think that can be arranged. Here are the details, note that they must be “valid” requests, which means explain in short what you want differently in the rules:

ONWARD! SIXTEEN YEARS… UNREAL!

The cover page says it all, and here is the full report:

Big thanks to Heather Cox Richardson for the heads up and comments on the importance of the timing of this release when those subpoenaed are to respond.

Last night’s meeting was disappointing. No action on the Recall legal action. And few showed up. Not what I was expecting!

On the other hand, Mayor Wilson wanted Kent Laugen, who has been actively involved in the Recall effort, to be appointed to the Port Authority. As with his attempted appointment of Janie Farrar, another Recall proponent, that Laugen appointment motion failed for a second.

Here’s the missive I sent to the City Council yesterday:

Overland Comment on Recall Petition to City Council today

And here’s the Petition that was filed on Friday:

Frivolous Recall Lawsuit Filed

In the Rochester Post Bulletin, linked, about the Recall City Hall lawsuit:

Red Wing recall takes next big step with lawsuit

Suit seeks remedy for city council not approving special recall election after group gathered the required signatures.

Written By: Brian Todd | 9:08 am, Aug. 10, 2021

RED WING — Late Friday afternoon, the Recall City Hall committee in Red Wing took the next step in its efforts to bring six members of the city council to a special election.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Red Wing residents George Hintz, Peter Lang, Judith Kjome, Stephen Lind, Betty Kalember and Sheryl Voth, asks the 1st District Court “for correction of a deliberate ballot omission or, alternatively, for a Writ of Mandamus directing the City of Red Wing to hold an election for the recall of six city councilmembers in accordance with the strictures of the municipal charter.”

The petition points to what it calls several undisputed facts. They include that in each ward or wards at least 20 percent of registered voters signed petitions to recall council members Becky Norton, Evan Brown, Erin Buss, Andy Klitzke, Dean Hove and Laurel Stinson. However, the city council voted 6-1 – with all six council members up for recall voting no, and council member Kim Beise voting yes – on multiple occasions not to hold a special election.

In the petition, Greg Joseph, a Waconia, Minn.-based attorney representing the recall group, notes how the Red Wing City Charter states, “the clerical officer shall transmit it to the Council without delay and shall also officially notify the person sought to be recalled of the sufficiency of the petition and of the pending action. The Council shall, at its next meeting, by resolution provide for filing dates and other provisions necessary for the holding of a special recall election not less than 45 nor more than 60 days after such meeting.”

Joseph said it’s that directive to order an election that the city council has rejected, and that is the reason for the lawsuit.

However, not every resident of Red Wing sees it the same way.

Carol Overland, a local attorney who has expressed her support for the city council and its actions, said the public does not have a legal right to a recall election, and a firm case of malfeasance or nonfeasance – the justification for a recall – is absent in the recall effort.

[Original – since corrected: The idea that the petitioners who ran the recall efforts could determine what meets the legal definition of malfeasance or nonfeasance, she said, is absurd.] [Correction, I said “voters” because that’s what they’re arguing, that the voters should decide in an election whether there’s been malfeasance or nonfeasance, so insert “voters” here — it’s fixed now.]

The idea that the voters could determine what meets the legal definition of malfeasance or nonfeasance, she said, is absurd.

Council President Becky Norton agrees.

“The (Red Wing City) Charter and the Minnesota Constitution are clear that elected officials can only be recalled for malfeasance or nonfeasance,” Norton wrote in response to questions from the Post Bulletin. Norton went on to cite a case from 1959, Jacobsen v. Nagel. “The Minnesota Supreme Court has held that the same malfeasance and nonfeasance standard that applies to state officials applies to council members of a charter city.”

If the conduct of the council members does not constitute malfeasance or nonfeasance, Norton concluded, there is no obligation to schedule a recall election, which is why the city council was justified in its action.https://www.postbulletin.com/news/government-and-politics/7144940-Red-Wing-recall-takes-next-big-step-with-lawsuit

Kent Laugen, another local attorney not directly connected to the case, said while the lawsuit does not focus on whether the burden of malfeasance or nonfeasance has been reached, there is precedent from the courts saying that decision is left up to the voters.

[Precedent? Show us! It doesn’t exist][“not directly connected to the case” but DIRECTLY connected to the Recall — see quotes in other PB articles]

Whether or not there is a special election, the next election the six council members face is going to be tough, Laugen said.

The court has yet to set a hearing date for the lawsuit.

OD’s in Goodhue County

July 23rd, 2021

Stopping the overdose on the front lines

Here’s an effort to supply NARCAN to libraries:

Company to Supply Free Narcan to Libraries – Emergent BioSolutions will provide two doses to every public library branch in the US

Recently on our local COVID page (to which I post the stats daily), I was challenged for posting on COVID and not the many ODs in our community, the party stating that “there were more ODs than COVID deaths.” Nope, NOT true! Although I’ve heard of several ODs here, we’ve had 74 COVID deaths since the start of tracking, and no way have we had more ODs than COVID deaths.

But given the challenge, and that I didn’t know how many ODs here since March 2020, I did some digging to see what the stats are on ODs.

A search of our local Republican Eagle for “overdose” had a lot of hits from here and surrounding area (rather wide circle):

SEARCH RESULTS HERE

Yesterday or the day before, I got this info from Goodhue County, though note it’s not 2021 info, only current through 2020, and it’s DRAFT info:

For Goodhue County separately, but no 2021 info yet:

And this despite a sharp increase in ODs in Minnesota:

Comparisons aren’t particularly relevant, whether between numbers of COVID deaths v. numbers of OD deaths, or between numbers of OD deaths here and elsewhere. One is too many.

I had asked for OD statistics, and got the info above. I also asked about treatment options, and info on resources, because I know from days as an attorney taking on whatever issues for whoever walked in the door how difficult it is to get into treatment. Even with an intervention that pushes someone toward straightening up, getting IN to treatment, whether inpatient or outpatient, is so difficult, between location, openings, PAYING FOR IT in our wonderful capitalistic health “care” system, what a mess. Back then, I did have a list of options for clients, and so remember my successes and failures to help clients through to sobriety, one failure particularly tragic, three times with the same client, who died of his addiction to alcohol. We need to do more to help people get treatment, and to get to the state where they’re ready for treatment, and that takes commitment and MONEY.

Per the County: When it comes to treatment, there is a statewide online treatment resource called www.fasttrackermn.org , and another statewide resource locator is https://www.211unitedway.org/ .

Also, below, please note some of Goodhue County specific treatment resources:

Thank you for this list of resources. Nina Arneson, Director of Health and Human Services, Goodhue County, has been very helpful and responsive in finding health related info.