UPDATE: Corps grants easement to Dakota Access LLC

You may have read tRump’s Memorandum pushing the Army Corps of Engineers to ram through the Dakota Access pipeline:

Trump_Memorandum Dakota Access

From the Stanley Gazette:

Breaking News: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Ready to Grant Easement for DAPL

And from the DC District Federal Court, here are the filings:

Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline – Memorandum – Document No. 207-02032

The Army rolled, and here are the documents stating intent to issue the DAPL easement across Lake Oahe, and the Notice of Termination of the Environmental Impact Statement:

ACoE_Notice Regarding Recently Issued Documents

Ex_1_Notice to Congress

Ex_2_Compliance with Presidential Memorandum

Ex_3_To Federal Register_Notice of Termination

How is this anything but “arbitrary and capricious” action on the part of the Army Corps of Engineers?

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:

Trump_Memorandum Dakota Access

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:

Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement

pdf of Notice: 017-00937_Federal Register – Notice EIS

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:

Gib Owen

Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works

108 Army Pentagon

Washington, DC 20310-0108

By email to gib.a.owen.civ@mail.mil – 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.

There’s been a flurry of activity, and finally they posted the actual documents so we can see what’s going on, or what won’t be going on.  This was part of my “One a Day” plan to send off a missive to the White House every day, something of substance.  When the Contact page was blank on Monday morning, I started calling, ALL DAY LONG, and got through around 7 p.m., when a human answered, and hung up.  I called back, got that same human, who wouldn’t tell me who I should talk to about the Executive Orders (presumed that’s what they were as that’s what was said) and said the Comment office person was gone so I had to leave it online, and she got pissy when I said that the Comment page was blank, and hung up again.  OK, whatever…

Civics Lesson from USA Today, Presidential memoranda vs. executive orders. What’s the difference?

Here are the Memoranda thus far from the White House page (these are not required to be published in the Federal Register, so ???, but they are now on the White House Memoranda page:

Now maybe they’ll have the routine down and keep up with what they’re doing.  Drives me crazy to be loating around in the dark — it’s hard enough to know or guess what these might mean in practice, but without an actual document to look at, it’s just blather.  Well, it’s just blather anyway, but here it is.  Read it and get busy!

Of course there’s nothing on tRump’s Executive Orders page.

Trump clears way for Dakota Access, Keystone pipelines

And via email to the EPA:

Trump bans EPA from giving updates to reporters, bars new contracts, grants

“New EPA administration has asked that all contract and grant awards be temporarily suspended, effective immediately,” read the e-mail, which was shared with the Washington Post. “Until we receive further clarification, which we hope to have soon, please construe this to include task orders and work assignments.”

An America First Energy Plan?

January 23rd, 2017

Contact Page for Trump’s White House

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414

The Trump regime has published this “Energy Plan.”  WHAT?  Mitt Romney’s “Energy Plan” wasn’t much, and was grossly misguided, but it at least had SOME substance:

Romney’s Energy Plan – much ado about nothing

This is something a 5th grader could put together, nothing but blathering and slapped together code words.  It shows no thought or understanding of energy in the U.S. today.  I mean really, “clean coal” is so dead. During the Bush administration, they put billions in, between tax credits, grants, subsidies at state and federal levels — here’s a DOE announcement from 2006:

Energy Secretary and Secretary of the Treasury Announce the Award of $1 Billion in Tax Credits to Promote Clean Coal Power Generation and Gasification Technologies

The Bush Administration made coal gasification (IGCC) a priority, and even all that lobbying, subsidization, and wishful thinking couldn’t make it happen.  Minnesota’s Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project is one example of that abject failure (see also www.camp-site.info).  Delaware’s NRG coal gasification plant is another (note another NRG coal gasification plant proposed for NY went south too).

Meanwhile, existing coal is not economical, that’s why the older plants are being shut down, not anything to do with “Clean Power Plan,” and instead, that there’s a surplus of electricity and coal plants’ production costs a lot more than other available electric generation.  The market says no!  How does Trump think he can trump the market?  And even if he could, how is that in our interest?

Here’s a map of MISO market — note all the blue on these maps — I love using these as wallpaper, a constant reminder:

MISO LMP map

Here’s the PJM market map:

PJM LMP map

And the joint MISO/PJM market map:

Joint MISO/PJM LMP map

Coal cannot compete in the market, even with its outright and embedded regulatory subsidies, even the existing plants.  There’s a glut of electricity, has been for a decade now.  As Xcel’s Ben Fowkes says, recorded in the Seeking Alpha transcript of the XEL Earnings Call, January 31, 2013. 

So I think the economies are in decent shape across all our jurisdictions. Doesn’t necessarily mean it translates to high sales growth. And that’s consistent with our forecast. I mean, we’re not anticipating that we’re going to see a tremendous rebound in sales, even as the economies start to improve. I mean, I think, that’s our new normal, frankly.

So…. drumroll….  Here it is, cut and pasted from the White House site in its entirety (emphasis added in red)(and parenthetical comments):

Energy is an essential part of American life and a staple of the world economy. The Trump Administration is committed to energy policies that lower costs for hardworking Americans and maximize the use of American resources, freeing us from dependence on foreign oil.

For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.

Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. (does he have no understanding of energy market?) We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own. (does he not know the havoc in ND during Bakken BOOM!, the many Bakken BOOM! train explosions, pollution, and deaths?  And he’d allow corporations to take OUR land?) We will use the revenues from energy production (a production tax increase?) to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. Less expensive energy will be a big boost to American agriculture, as well.

The Trump Administration is also committed to clean coal technology, and to reviving America’s coal industry, which has been hurting for too long.  (again market forces, coal is not least cost, and new coal is way beyond anything market would support.  “Clean” coal?  Don’t even think about it, it doesn’t exist!)

In addition to being good for our economy, boosting domestic energy production is in America’s national security interest. President Trump is committed to achieving energy independence from the OPEC cartel and any nations hostile to our interests. At the same time, we will work with our Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our anti-terrorism strategy.

Lastly, our need for energy must go hand-in-hand with responsible stewardship of the environment. Protecting clean air and clean water, conserving our natural habitats, and preserving our natural reserves and resources will remain a high priority. President Trump will refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water. (everything I’ve seen and heard from Trump and EPA pick points towards dismantling and defunding EPA.  What does this mean?)

A brighter future depends on energy policies that stimulate our economy, ensure our security, and protect our health. Under the Trump Administration’s energy policies, that future can become a reality.

How clueless can Trump be?  Well, we’re seeing… and it’s unbelievable… UNBELIEVABLE!