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:

Great Plains Institute – is Joyce getting their $$ worth?

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.

CO2 sequestration is so… like… not happening!

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:

From Global CCS Institute HERE

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:

21st Century Energy Infrastructure: Policy Recommendations for Development of American CO2 Pipeline Networks

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.

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:

rep.dan.fabian@house.mn (651) 296-9635, rep.dale.lueck@house.mn (651) 296-2365, rep.steve.green@house.mn (651) 296-9918, rep.josh.heintzeman@house.mn (651) 296-4333

House status: TEXT.  On March 8th it was re-referred to House Ways & Means Committee. No meeting scheduled yet.  Contact the House Ways & Means Committee members — their emails:

rep.jim.knoblach@house.mn, rep.bob.vogel@house.mn, rep.lyndon.carlson@house.mn, rep.sarah.anderson@house.mn, rep.dave.baker@house.mn, rep.tony.cornish@house.mn, rep.greg.davids@house.mn, rep.matt.dean@house.mn, rep.bob.dettmer@house.mn, rep.steve.drazkowski@house.mn, rep.dan.fabian@house.mn, ep.pat.garofalo@house.mn, rep.bob.gunther@house.mn, rep.rod.hamilton@house.mn, rep.alice.hausman@house.mn, rep.debra.hilstrom@house.mn, rep.frank.hornstein@house.mn, rep.tina.liebling@house.mn, rep.jenifer.loon@house.mn, rep.paul.marquart@house.mn, rep.erin.murphy@house.mn, rep.bud.nornes@house.mn, rep.gene.pelowski@house.mn, rep.jeanne.poppe@house.mn, rep.paul.torkelson@house.mn, rep.dean.urdahl@house.mn, rep.jean.wagenius@house.mn

Here are the Senate authors:

sen.bill.ingebrigtsen@senate.mn (651) 297-8063, sen.carrie.ruud@senate.mn (651) 296-4913,  Sen. Paul Gazelka (link to form)(651) 296-4875, Sen. David Tomassoni (link to form)(651) 296-8017.

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!

03/13/2017

So I think the best bet is to contact Environment & Natural Resources Finance:

sen.bill.ingebrigtsen@senate.mn, sen.carrie.ruud@senate.mn, sen.erik.simonson@senate.mn, sen.bill.weber@senate.mn

And links to those using web form: Sen. David Tomassoni, Sen. Thomas Bakk, Sen. Dziekic, Sen. Justin Eichorn, Sen. Foung Hawj, Sen. Mark Johnson, Sen. Andrew Lang, Sen. Andrew Mathews,

 

 

 

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.

Really…

A cut and paste from the State Department site:

Keystone XL Pipeline Application

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!).

(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:

06/16/14 Letter Amending the Application of Enbridge Energy Line 67

Here’s the State Department’s Line 67 page.

– 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.

And who is now Secretary of State?  Rex Tillerson, “resigned” as CEO of Exxon on January 1, 2017 to take this position.  He has recused himself from Keystone XL Pipeline issues.

Tillerson has recused himself from Keystone pipeline issues: State Dept.

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.

Full text: Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline

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.

 

 

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?