3M poisoning water

October 19th, 2019

3M stopped making PFC’s a long time ago, I’d guess when they figured out the danger (people still use teflon?!?!). But it doesn’t just go away, it’s spreading, and it’s in Minnesota’s water, and elsewhere around the country too. Du Pont is responsible for a lot of similar contamination of water, another similar story for another day.

PFAS map above — Purple dots above are a “well advisory.” Green dots are “no or low PFAS.” Nope, inadequate. I want green to be NO PAS, and oh, say, yellow for “low PFAS” and definition of “low.” Not labeling “low” when there IS contaminated water is disingenuous.

Last year, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office settled a suit with 3M over its pollution, poisoning, of water with PFCs and related dangerous substances like PFOA, etc…

3M SETTLEMENT PAGE

Settlement was for $850 million dollars, $720 million after expenses, including attorney fees, will go to local water issues.

Here’s the agreement:

Minnesota vs. 3M Company Agreement

So this is in the paper today:

Woodbury shuts down sixth water well over pollution concerns

Looking at the agreement, they’re terming the $$$ in the settlement a “grant,” specifically, that “3M will make a Grant in the amount of $850 million to the State which shall be held in the 3M Grant for Water Quality and Sustainability Fund, within fifteen (15) days from
the Effective Date of this Agreement.” (see agreement above, p. 3.) No admissions here…

Framing it in a way that doesn’t stress clean up, and instead focuses on happy language… “enhance the quality, quantity and sustainability…” GOOD GRIEF…

As the first and highest priority, the MPCA and/or the DNR shall utilize
the Grant referenced in paragraph 13 above to enhance the quality, quantity and sustainability of the drinking water in the East Metropolitan Area, which shall include, but is not necessarily limited to, the cities of Woodbury, Oakdale, Lake Elmo, Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Afton, and Newport and the townships of West Lakeland and Grey Cloud Island. The goal of this highest priority work is to ensure clean drinking water in sufficient supply to residents and businesses in the East Metropolitan Area to meet their current and future water needs. Examples of projects in this first priority may include, but are not limited to, the development of alternative drinking water sources for municipalities and individual households (including but not limited to creation or relocation of municipal wells), the treatment of existing water supplies, water conservation and efficiency, open space acquisition, and groundwater recharge (including projects that encourage, enhance, and assist groundwater recharge). For individual households, projects may include, but are not limited to, connecting those residences to municipal water supplies, providing individual treatment systems, or constructing new wells. The MPCA shall conduct a source assessment and feasibility study regarding the role of the Valley Branch Water District’s project known as Project 1007 in the conveyance of PFCs in the environment. In selecting and performing activities pursuant to this paragraph, the State shall prioritize water supplies where health based values, health risk limits, and/or health risk indices for PFCs are exceeded.

Here’s the “3M settlement: financial framework” which includes this statement:
Money in the Remediation Fund is appropriated to the MPCA and DNR to be spent for a variety of purposes, including taking remedial actions and rehabilitating and restoring natural resources.”

Seems to me, that “including” means it’s an afterthought, not the primary purpose.

The law is STRICT LIABILITY for those who cause the harm, but I’m not seeing a requirement to CLEAN UP, only that they’re paying in to the state. Am I missing something here? From the “3M settlement: financial framework” again:

MERLA makes responsible person strictly liable not only to clean up contamination from hazardous substances (i.e. Superfund), but also to pay damages to the state for the resulting harm to natural resources. By establishing a legal cause of action to recover for natural resource damages, MERLA recognizes the value of the state’s natural resources and the importance of restoring them as much as possible for the benefit of the public. Minn. Stat. §115B.04,subd.1(3).

Now another Woodbury well is poisoned. How on earth will they clean up this mess for $850 million, when it’s increasing, where additional wells are poisoned. Isn’t this map of purple dot “well advisory” horrifying? Look again:

Color me skeptical, well… furious.

Here are the reports for this “grant.”

3M Settlement biannual report and Spending Plan for FY2020 (August 2019)

3M Settlement — determining how priorities will be met (April 2019)

3M Settlement biannual report  (February 2019)

I saw this today and it’s nauseating.

First there was CapX 2020 transmission (following Arrowhead transmission, which was supposed to be the be-all and end-all of transmission)(and the SW MN 345kV line, precursor to CapX 2020. CapX transmission was based on a forecasted 2.49% increase in demand, which as we know, didn’t happen.

And there was the MISO 17 project MVP Portfolio:

Tomorrow, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission is making its decision regarding the Cardinal-Hickory Creek project, the southern part of #5 above, and the LAST of the MVP projects to go through state administrative approval.

So today, this is in the STrib:

Minnesota utilities will study if the $2B CapX2020 grid improvements were enough

The study beginning in January will look at whether renewable energy goals and other factors will bolster need to build out more improvements on transmission grid. 

By Mike Hughlett Star Tribune AUGUST 19, 2019 — 3:05PM

Photo: DAVID JOLESA utility worker assesses electrical power lines in south Minneapolis.

Minnesota’s largest power companies and several other Upper Midwest utilities will study how their transmission network must be bolstered to meet increasingly aggressive renewable energy goals.

The study is being launched at a time when space on the region’s Midwest’s grid is already tight — even after a $2 billion transmission expansion that was completed just a couple of years ago.

That project, called CapX2020, was the work of Xcel Energy, Great River Energy, Minnesota Power, Otter Tail Power and seven other electricity providers in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas. CapX2020 took over seven years to complete and included 800 miles of new high-voltage lines.

Ten of the 11 utilities involved in the earlier project Monday announced the “CapX2050” study, which they are aiming to complete in January. The study “will look at maintaining a safe, reliable and cost-effective electric grid as the system adds more carbon-free energy,” the utilities said in a statement.

CapX2020 was the largest transmission project in the Upper Midwest since the 1970s, and it was aimed partly at freeing up power line capacity for burgeoning renewable energy production.

The U.S. electrical grid was built to serve large centralized power plants, but wind and solar farms are more dispersed, often requiring transmission build outs. Xcel has stated plans to produce 100% carbon-free power by 2050, while other utilities also are planning for significantly more renewables.

Also, Minnesota’s DFL Party has strongly backed raising Minnesota’s overall carbon-free energy goal to 100% by 2050.

The CapX2020 project isn’t enough to meet those long-term needs and the grid is essentially “at capacity,” an energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists told the Star Tribune last year.

Xcel’s latest long-term resource plan, filed this spring, came to a similar conclusion. “Many of these (CapX2020) lines planned in the early 2000s and completed over the recent past are already fully-or-nearly-fully subscribed,” the plan said.

So that said, here’s Xcel Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan’s Appendix on transmission:Xcel IRP – Appendix I – Transmission & Distribution – from 20197-154051-03Download

The schedule for IRP hearings was just released, it’s in October, so there’s time to make time for it:

We know Xcel Energy gets a “handsome” rate of return for transmission capital expenditures (hence “CapX transmission), so of course they want to build more. The IRP is our time to tell them how they should get the electricity they need, whether their plans are making any sense.

How about shutting down some of those coal plants, and freeing up some capacity? How about siting solar on every rooftop, over every parking lot, putting the generation at load so we don’t need transmission? Oh, but wait, that makes too much sense, especially where a utility wants to keep control of the generation, and the expenditures, and rake in the dough.

Time to pay attention to the IRP. URP!

Oh my… just in, a request to suspend the permitting schedule for Dodge County Wind, the Certificate of Need, the wind site permit, and to WITHDRAW the transmission route permit!

There are 3 Dodge County Wind dockets, a Certificate of Need (17-306), wind siting (17-307), and transmission (17-308).  Process wise, it goes to PUC for approval, and the PUC will probably announce a comment period in all 3 dockets. Then Commission will meet, and approve the withdrawal of the transmission without prejudice, so they can refile when they have a workable plan. That withdrawal process will take some time.

That time is an issue, because I don’t see any way they can come up with a transmission plan and get it through the MISO transmission studies to get a permit and start construction by year end.  Tax credit implications — they have a problem. 

As to the suspension of Certificate of Need and wind siting application proceedings, I’d like to see them dismissed without prejudice also, not suspended, gumming up the works at the Commission.  We shall see.

This transmission was absurd from the get-go, a 345kV line with what, a 2,200MVA capacity, for a 170 MW project? They said it was part of a regional interconnection, from the application:

Oh, really? Don’t see it in the MISO MTEP. It’s not… and it’s a radial line, and you just don’t build short radial 345kV lines!

Here are Dodge County Wind’s requests for suspension and withdrawal:

“On August 9, 2019, DCW withdrew its MISO interconnection queue position no. J441, because of the significant interconnection costs associated with that queue position.”

Oh my… what does the MISO DPP Report have to say about that? Just search this report, issued July 25, 2019, for “J441.”

I figured the PUC should have that MISO report in the record:



And check out the summary page on p. 149 of the 150 page pdf.

After getting the 345kV route alternatives “C” and “D” ejected, not to be considered in the FEIS, this is just the icing on the cake!!

Dodge Center Xmsn – Mission Accomplished!

Here’s some background info from just over a year ago:

Dodge County Wind info presentation

July 29th, 2018

From the very beginning, with Dodge County Concerned Citizens working hard to inform people of the project, all three dockets, and Dodge Center’s Tom Applegate going door to door and encouraging people to write comments and send photos showing how the transmission line would affect their neighborhood in Dodge Center, this public input helped call the entire project into question.  With the DEIS rejecting transmission alternative routes C and D, and with the MISO interconnection study showing so many network upgrades needed at a very high cost, this project is no longer viable.  The people affected by this project have had a tremendous impact.

Sand – UNEP’s report

May 7th, 2019

Here in Red Wing, and throughout southeast Minnesota, and along the other side of the river in Wisconsin, sand has been a major issue. Many communities were dragged into this issue when an epidemic of silica sand mines, processing, and transloading facilities sprang up to support fracking for oil. Sand interests got Red Wing’s Mayor ejected when he was both Mayor and Executive Director of sand mining industry’s Minnesota Industrial Sand Council:

Mayor Egan Resigns

Sand was also an issue as Minnesota attempt at, though I’d say avoided, developing sand mining rules:

Someone explain rulemaking to the MPCA

As to sand as a resource, that’s not really been a part of the discussion in these parts. And on that note, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) has released a report:

And in the STrib: UN environment agency warns of effects of rising sand use

Check it out!

Hey Red Wing!  Mark your calendars:

City Council Strategic Plan Public Forum & Q&A

Monday, March 18, 2019

6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Public Library – Foot Room

6:30 to 7:00: Informal Meet and Greet time (snacks and beverages provided)

7:00 to 8:00: Brief presentation, City Council panel discussion, and question-and-answer period with Council members regarding the Strategic Plan draft.

Here’s the 2019 Strategic Plan Draft 3-13-19_201903130811429189-1

And here’s the Red Wing 2040 FINAL for comparison.