March 13th, 2017
Lake Pepin on a very warm blustery day last week
There’s a bill out there that will eliminate Minnesota’s Environmental Quality Board and shove that work over to the MPCA, at the same time, gutting DNR and MPCA review by linking to funding or lack thereof. Shifting preparation of environmental documents to the project applicant. This is not crying wolf, this is happening, it is going through committees in both House and Senate, and I’m at a loss to describe how awful this is. Here’s the point, in short:
Mindful that defunding is a primary means to neuter an agency, check this, for the DNR, but repeated as amendment to 116.07 for Pollution Control Agency in lines 10.3-10.15:
Look at line 3.32 “nor shall it expire without the consent of the permittee.” Gutting DNR and MPCA authority. Failure to fund agencies is such a problem that the MPCA has a backlog of expired permits. This means that permits would go on and on and on, because permit violations are not usually an “imminent threat” but instead a long term cumulative impact.
How about this — earth to Mars, environmental review is not decisional, nothing should be deemed approved because an EIS is approved:
The project applicant prepares the Draft Environmental Impact Statement? WHAT?!?!
Still picking out more specifics…
Bottom line, Minnesotans, here’s the “TO DO” of the day. Contact the House and Senate authors, and send a quick round of emails or call the House Ways & Means and Senate Environment and Natural Resources Finance. Focus on the authors and Republican members. Tell them to vote this bill DOWN! Contact info below.
Here are the House authors:
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Here are the Senate authors:
Senate Status: TEXT – was Amended and amendment not posted. TWO Committee meetings scheduled, one TODAY, BUT status is conflicting:
|Committee on State Government Finance and Policy and Elections|
|03/13/2017||Meeting scheduled for 05:30 PM in Room 1200 Minnesota Senate Bldg.|
|03/13/2017||No Committee Action Recorded|
|Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Finance|
|03/15/2017||Meeting scheduled for 10:30 AM in Room 1150 Minnesota Senate Bldg.|
Here’s the conflict, says it’s already been through State Gov’t Finance despite above 5:30 schedule!
So I think the best bet is to contact Environment & Natural Resources Finance:
January 26th, 2017
As we know, tRump signed a “Memorandum” (note, it is NOT an “Executive Order”) to ram through DAPL. Here’s the cut and paste of the Memorandum, also here at the White House Memoranda page:
One part I’m particularly concerned with is the second paragraph, where the Army Corps is ordered to consider rescinding or modifying the denial of the permit, and whether to withdraw the Notice of Intent and request for Scoping Comments for the Environmental Impact Statement:
(ii) consider, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, whether to rescind or modify the memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works dated December 4, 2016 (Proposed Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing at Lake Oahe, North Dakota), and whether to withdraw the Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in Connection with Dakota Access, LLC’s Request for an Easement to Cross Lake Oahe, North Dakota, dated January 18, 2017, and published at 82 Fed. Reg. 5543;
Really. That’s tRumpspeak for “Issue the Permit, Who Needs an EIS!” So methinks it’s VERY important to get a lot of detailed scoping comments in ASAP!
What are Scoping Comments? It’s kind of a term of art, they are comments laying out what you think should be covered in the Environmental Impact Statement. It’s a “broadening” exercise, one where you bring up all the things that could be, should be, relevant and investigated, disclosed, analyzed, in the Environmental Impact Statement. Form letters and postcards won’t cut it, this requires a little time and thought, and because you can email them, it’s pretty easy. Just be specific about what issues should be considered. Because they’re looking for “alternative routes” I wouldn’t give them any, because if they put it anywhere, it’s a problem, so I’d recommend instead saying that moving the pipeline doesn’t lessen the odds of rupture, failure, corrosion, and that the pipeline is too much of a rupture waiting to happen to route anywhere!
Here’s the Notice:
Scoping comments are due by February 20, 2017. By mail, and they ask that you include your name, return address, and “NOI Comments, Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing” on the first page of your written comments:
Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works
108 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-0108
By email to firstname.lastname@example.org – use Subject: NOI Comments, Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing
They say they want comments about these issues:
(1) Alternative locations for the pipeline crossing the Missouri River;
(2) Potential risks and impacts of an oil spill, and potential impacts to Lake Oahe, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s water intakes, and the Tribe’s water, treaty fishing, and hunting rights; and
(3) Information on the extent and location of the Tribe’s treaty rights in Lake Oahe.
… BUT… don’t limit your input — get creative, be specific, really think about impacts, about connected actions, about the entire length of this pipeline, about each of the bodies of water, the archeological features, protected wildlife areas, homes right next to the line, aquifers with so many wells drawing their water supply, nearby transmission lines which are known to corrode pipelines if too close. In the Notice, they specifically state, “The range of issues, alternatives, and potential impacts may be expanded based on comments received in response to this notice and at public scoping meetings.” So now it’s our job to be very, very specific about the broad range of issues to be included in the Environmental Impact Statement.
January 13th, 2017
Ask and you shall receive, eh? I’d not checked on this, was buried in other stuff this week, but LOOK!
YES! this is good because the MPCA did not release the primary documents until December 30, 2016, and there’s no excuse for denying the public time to review the Application, etc.
Once more with feeling, here are the Comments I’d filed on behalf of the Tyler Hills Neighbors on January 4, 2017, and Comments of Indian Affairs Council and Minnesota Department of Administration:
Note the photo at the top of this post — the Lab USA site is contiguous to the City of Red Wing’s laydown yard and crusher — and it wants to build its laydown yard and crusher on a lot that overlaps the Water Tank Mounds. Ummmm, no, I don’t think so!
I’m looking forward to seeing any additional comments filed by the end of the month.
A little birdie told me that there is a Red Wing business that could use “cleaned” ash, and I’d guess there are at least two… it seems the logical thing to do is to put Lab USA’s facility at this other business site, and everyone would be happy! Well, not everyone, but it seems a better fit. This is something the City should look into, because now that the City isn’t doing any “ash mining,” their dog in this has been neutered. We shall see…
January 5th, 2017
I’d requested information on the Lab USA project from MPCA and City of Red Wing, and got some info last week:
And they granted an extension for Comments due to the delay in providing primary documentation for review (DOH!) — Comments are now due January 19, 2017:
Hiding in the MPCA’s EAW, Appendix B, is this map, above. The map shows the Water Tanks Burial Mounds, and the western end of the area is about 1/2 of the Red Wing Laydown Yard and Crusher site. Oh my! I’d noticed that factoid and included in my comments for the Tyler Hills Neighbors (p. 14):
Note the Red Wing Laydown Yard and Crusher site, on the right hand side of that clearing:
They also want to run a drainage ditch through and put ponds in that area — note they did NOT include the ponds in this depiction of drainage plans!
Here’s one with the “ponds” (no real plan yet, City of Red Wing is supposed to file that before they build it!) and note that the scenic easement as depicted here is further south than it is in another map, where the scenic easement overlaps the southern edge of the clearing (all of these maps are from the EAW, fyi):
Turns out I’m not the only one that noticed that encroachment of the Red Wing project (click for document or larger view):
Look at that, “direct consultation with the Office of the State Archaeologist and the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council…” Do ya think Prairie Island Indian Community might be interested, have an interest?!?!
Here’s the Comment from the Indian Affairs Council (click for document or larger view):
January 4th, 2017
January 5, 2017 – 2:30pm
Silica Sand Technical Assistance Team Meeting
January 5th, 2017 @ 2:30pm in the DNR Central Office Lobby Conference Room.
Meet to discuss technical and agency updates to the EQB Tools to Assist Local Governments in Planning for and Regulating Silica Sand Projects, agency rulemaking updates, and updates on silica sand activities in the State of Minnesota
Conference call: 1-888-742-5095 | Conference Code: 3649223869#
2) Agency updates on silica sand activities in the State of Minnesota
3) Technical and agency updates to EQB Tools to Assist Local Governments in Planning for and Regulating Silica Sand Projects
4) Agency updates on rulemaking
5) EQB Ordinance Library
6) Other topics
Show up — keep the heat on to get these projects MOVING! It’s been YEARS!