Critical Infrastructure Month?

November 3rd, 2017

Did you know that November 2017 is Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month?

Proclamation – Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month_2017-24278

I find it unnerving when tRump says things like:

Our critical infrastructure also faces threats from capacity-induced strain, terrorist attacks, accidents, pandemics, space weather, and cyberattacks. To confront these diverse challenges systematically, we must take steps to enhance our Nation’s economic, intellectual, and technological leadership. My Administration will help our businesses invest in needed capital and research and development by reducing burdensome regulations and enacting comprehensive tax reform.

These aren’t exactly issues, it’s worked up hype.  The language about “capacity-induced strain, terrorist attacks, accidents, pandemics, space weather, and cyberattacks” is a problem because there is not “capacity-induced strain,” and in fact, Xcel Energy whines that the grid is only 55% utilized, a point raised in its e21_Initiative_Phase_I_Report:

(N) Identify and develop opportunities to reduce customer costs by improving overall grid efficiency.  In Minnesota, the total electric system utilization is approximately 55 percent (average demand divided by peak demand), thus providing an opportunity to reduce system costs by better utilizing existing system assets (e.g., generation, wires, etc.). (e21_Initiative_Phase_I_Report, p. 11).

There’s been one “terrorist attack” on infrastructure, the California substation:

Sniper attack on California power grid may have been ‘an insider’

Also note the phrase “capacity-induced strain,” which is all about market, but then again, we know that the market is the driver for this massive transmission buildout:

ICF – MISO Transmission Benefits Analysis

Who benefits? Utilities benefit big time.  Those producing the glut of electricity that will be shipped from any Point A to any Point B; those building the transmission to ship it; and those providing transmission service.  Who pays? Ratepayers and landowners and taxpayers (taxpayers? Yes, check the latest House bill for utility deductions for interest expenses and faster depreciation of expenses.  And it came out in the last rate case that Xcel Energy hasn’t paid much in the way of taxes since 2008.Campbell p 22

What will happen to this latest energy bill? We shall see…

Listening to him speak is painful.  This idiot is talking about “Clean Coal.”   Claims that the Paris Accord stops development of “Clean Coal.”  DOH, IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID!

He’s again blathering about 3-4% growth.  Delusional.

The Paris Accord hamstrings America?  The Paris Accord limits the American economy?

His points in the speech are insane.  A load of covfefe!

Here are tRumpe’s talking points handed out prior to today’s announcement:

Paris Accord_Talkers

tRump signed a Memorandum pushing Keystone XL (and Dakota Access) pipeline inviting them to reapply, which they did two days later:

#notmyPresident – Keystone XL pipeline is baaaaaaaaack

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:

Complaint filed 2017 03 30 FINAL

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.

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,