March 30th, 2017
tRump signed a Memorandum pushing Keystone XL (and Dakota Access) pipeline inviting them to reapply, which they did two days later:
And today, a Complaint has been filed by Northern Plains Resource Council, Bold alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club to stop KXL from going forward:
The focus is on the extensive record of the earlier proceeding, the prior rejection of the Presidential Permit, NEPA violations, and the arbitrary and capricious nature of the Memorandum and moving forward with this project. The specific claims are:
- Violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321 et seq., and Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706, by Defendants State Department and Under Secretary Shannon
- Violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321 et seq., and Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706, by Defendants Interior Department, Bureau of Land Management, and Secretary Zinke
- Violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706, by Defendants State Department and Under Secretary Shannon
The third claim is what I’d been noting after tRump issued the Memorandum. With the lengthy and voluminous record, and the denial, to with the stroke of a pen say “go ahead,” that’s arbitrary and capricious on its face. From the Complaint:
The State Department has failed to adequately explain and justify (a) its reversal of positions on whether Keystone XL is in the national interest, and (b) its reliance on a stale and inadequate environmental review. Its approval decision is arbitrary and capricious.
… and oh, what a good example that Memorandum is, itching for challenge. Well, here it is.
March 22nd, 2017
The Great Plains Institute has long been a problem, and it remains a problem, evidenced in today’s missive trying to bootstrap onto tRump’s “infrastructure” agenda, by releasing a “White Paper” “calling on President Trump and Congress to make CO2 pipelines a priority component of a broader national infrastructure agenda and recommending that the federal government support the development of CO2 pipeline networks.” Oh, great… brilliant idea, just brilliant.
Great Plains Institute a problem? Yes. They were paid handsomely to promote coal gasification, projects including but not limited to Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project, the boondoggle of boondoggles. For example:
January 18th, 2007
Carbon capture and storage/sequestration was seen by many circa 2005 as a “way forward for coal.” So the Walton’s Bill Grant said. No. It wasn’t.
It wasn’t a “way forward for coal” then, and it isn’t now.
The market has spoken on coal, and it’s clear that coal is on the way out as coal companies go bankrupt, as coal generated electricity languishes on the energy market, and as the inefficient and costly older coal plants have closed, with newer larger plants waiting in queue to be shuttered.
And CO2 capture and storage/sequestration is a farce. Why? Well, we learned a lot about CO2 capture in our fight against Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project. That’s where the Public Utilities Commission determined that it was just to expensive and risky to approve a Power Purchase Agreement — go HERE and search for PUC Docket 05-1933. Here’s a rough visual of CO2 capture and storage/use:
So what’s the problem?
- First, capture is costly and difficult, particularly capturing any significant portion of CO2 generated.
- The higher percentage captured, the higher the cost of that capture, and high percentage capture has not been achieved.
- The cost of capture is not only the cost to physically do it, the hardware, technology, and engineering, but there is a high cost in efficiency of the CO2 producer, a parasitic cost, meaning that if you’re capturing that CO2, you’re paying a high price in efficiency of an already inefficient process (burning is always inefficient).
- And another parasitic cost, these pipelines require pumping stations to pressurize andpump it into the pipeline, a pumping station every 75 miles or so to keep that pressure up, and a pumping station at the destination, and those pumping stations require 4-10 MW of power, depending.
- Environmentally, the impacts of digging up land for hundreds of miles is immense.
- These are private projects and for a private project, a private purpose, eminent domain isn’t available for the taking of people’s land.
Yet this CO2 capture and storage/sequestration farce continues, evidenced in the most recent Great Plains Institute missive I found in the inbox, here the missive’s link to CO2 capture and storage for oil extraction, “Enhanced Oil Recovery”.
Here’s their “White Paper” with what they’ll be lobbying for:
Short version: The federal government should make this CO2 pipeline and infrastructure build out happen across the country, a la the Interstate highway system.
In light of tRump’s Executive Order 13766, Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects, that’s a scary notion.
Check out this site from Global CCS Institute, and note, they talk of benefits, but look for talk of costs. Hmm…
A “way forward for coal?” CO2 capture? Over my dead polar bear.
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:
March 10th, 2017
Here it is, TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline is baaaaaaaaaaack. From the Federal Register Notice:
On February 5, 2014, the Department invited members of the public to comment on any factor they deem relevant to the national interest determination that will be made for the Keystone XL project application (79 FR 6984) and it is not inviting further public comment at this time.
A cut and paste from the State Department site:
On January 26, 2017 TransCanada submitted a Presidential permit application to the Department of State. The application and other project documents can be found here.
Documents relating to TransCanada’s 2012 application can be found here.
Two days… they resubmitted the application two days later… and no comment period. WHAT?!?!
Here’s the Federal Register Notice for TransCanada Keystone Pipeline (it did take about two weeks for that to come out, and it’s just after the Enbridge Line 67 Expansion Federal Register Notice!).
March 10th, 2017
(click for larger version – fair use from Global Resources News)
Pipeline construction at issue here in Minnesota, Line 3 “replacement,” Line 67 across the US/Canada border, and there may well be others. The State Department handles pipeline Presidential Permits, and the DOE handles transmission line Presidential Permits. The process State Department uses for public participation is appalling… they held an “open house” but did not allow for public comment. There was extreme “security” which was a display of extreme insecurity, searching of people coming in, making them stand out in the cold waiting to get in, for sure that will CHILL public speech!
And FYI, Line 3 “replacement” and Line 67 are indeed connected:
Day before yesterday there was an “open house” held by the State Department about a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on “Line 67.” The “open house” was a mess, very poorly orchestrated by the State Department, and an utter failure in the “public participation” arena:
Very little coverage… lots on fb though!
Here’s the change filed with State Deparatment:
Here’s the State Department’s Line 67 page.
- Exhibit A: Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Order (Docket 13-153, Document 20146-100373-01) Note: This link connects to the Minnesota Department of Commerce eDockets website. To read the order referenced here, enter the Document ID listed above
- Exhibit B: Diagram of Planned Interconnections
- Exhibit C: Revised Project Description
– 11/20/12 Application of Enbridge Energy Line 67
And what’s at issue at this point is the
Looking at the State Department’s pipeline info generally, note that on the Keystone XL (TransCanada) line page they have this blurb:
Presidential Permits for liquid pipelines
The Secretary of State has the authority to issue Presidential Permits for cross-border liquid (water as well as petroleum product) pipelines and other cross-border infrastructure. The Bureau of Energy Resources Office of Energy Diplomacy receives and processes permit applications. All documents relating to current applications are located here.
Why recuse from Keystone XL pipeline issues and not others? Again, let’s look at this map, and consider the origin of Keystone XL in relation to other lines — who’s to say Exxon wouldn’t benefit from granting permits for any of these proposed pipelines, or if not, who’s to say Exxon wouldn’t benefit from denial of permits for any of these proposed pipelines?
And to be clear, because there’s lots of misunderstanding going on about this Presidential Memorandum and its impact on Keystone XL, here’s the poop, direct from State Dept. website:
On January 24, 2017, the President issued a Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which invited TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. (TransCanada), to promptly re-submit its application to the Department of State for a Presidential permit for the construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and directed the Secretary of State to receive the application and take all actions necessary and appropriate to facilitate its expeditious review.
Documents relating to TransCanada’s 2012 application can be found here.
As above, tRump’s Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline is an “invitation” to resubmit application, NOT an approval.