Miss Nevada on nuclear waste

January 22nd, 2006


Oh, my, reality collides with Miss America…

Girls show up to see Miss America Hopefuls

Miss Nevada’s mother isn’t happy the judges’ interview of her daughter touched on a sensitive political subject.

One of the judges in Thursday’s interview with Crystal Wosik asked her what she thought about the nuclear waste repository proposed in her home state at Yucca Mountain. The facility has to go someplace, and Yucca Mountain is the best-built facility in the country, she replied.

And if people die?

“We just have to take one for the team,” said Wosik, 23, of Las Vegas.

“They really nailed her on the interview,” Lena Wosik told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The judges were ruthless.”

The elder Wosik, an orthodontist assistant, said the judges shouldn’t have put her daughter on the spot.

“It’s a tragedy that we have nuclear waste, but it’s got to go somewhere. I’m sure she’ll get hate mail. I felt they should have been asking about education,” she added.

According to the Las Vegas Sun:

Sheriff Bill Young said the unit is on the alert for animal rights and environmental groups “and, God forbid, anything worse.”


(Burp!!! I’d wanted to make cupcakes, but I don’t have the pans, so instead I made Creole Devil’s Food Cake a la Betty Crocker, and then corncake with cilantro and creamed corn… not bad… but I’ll keep an eye out at the Salvation Army for muffin pans. It’s Krie’s birthday next week, she’ll be 8, maybe a special lamb & rice cupcake?)

The PUC has sent out a notice that the time for procedural comments on the Excelsior Power Purchase Agreement filed with the PUC has been extended.

To look at what’s been filed, there are a few ways:

1) Go to the PUC’s eDockets and under “Docket Number” type in “05” and “1993” or

2) Go to Excelsior Energy’s site and go to Regulatory Filngs and download — it’s changed, before you had to fill out a form and ask/beg them to send them to you; or

3) Go to www.mncoalgasplant.com and get it all there!

Send Comments, by January 30 @ 4:30 p.m., to:

Burl Haar

Executive Secretary


121 – 7th Place East, Suite 350

St. Paul, MN 55101-2147

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What the PUC is looking for, when they say “procedural comments,” is “the appropriate process for the case, including whether it should be set for contested case hearing and what the scope of any such hearing should be.” And now they’ve added another request: “Any issues surrounding parties’ ability to obtain trade secret information still outstanding at that time should be address…” Let’s see, I sent them a Non-Disclosure Agreement to review about three weeks ago, and not one word, not a peep from Tom Osteraas, Michael Wadley or even Chris Wessman! Think that might be an issue???

The scope is logically the things set out in the statute as the hoops they have to jump through.

Here’s the relevant statutes according to Excelsior Energy.

Take a careful look at what the hoops are that they have to jump through to get all these perks (emphasis underlining added)

216B.1693 Clean energy technology.

(a) If the commission finds that a clean energy technology is or is likely to be a least-cost resource, including the costs of ancillary services and other generation and transmission upgrades necessary, the utility that owns a nuclear generating facility shall supply at least two percent of the electric energy provided to retail customers from clean energy technology.

(b) Electric energy required by this section shall be supplied by the innovative energy project defined in section 216B.1694, subdivision 1, unless the commission finds doing so contrary to the public interest.

(c) For purposes of this section, “clean energy technology” means a technology utilizing coal as a primary fuel in a highly efficient combined-cycle configuration with significantly reduced sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate, and mercury emissions from those of traditional technologies.

(d) This section expires January 1, 2012.

216B.1694 Innovative energy project.

Subdivision 1. Definition. For the purposes of this section, the term “innovative energy project” means a proposed energy-generation facility or group of facilities which may be located on up to three sites:

(1) that makes use of an innovative generation technology utilizing coal as a primary fuel in a highly efficient combined-cycle configuration with significantly reduced sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate, and mercury emissions from those of traditional technologies;

(2) that the project developer or owner certifies is a project capable of offering a long-term supply contract at a hedged, predictable cost; and

(3) that is designated by the commissioner of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board as a project that is located in the taconite tax relief area on a site that has substantial real property with adequate infrastructure to support new or expanded development and that has received prior financial and other support from the board.

Subd. 2. Regulatory incentives. (a) An innovative energy project:

(1) is exempted from the requirements for a certificate of need under section 216B.243, for the generation facilities, and transmission infrastructure associated with the generation facilities, but is subject to all applicable environmental review and permitting procedures of sections 116C.51 to 116C.69;

(2) once permitted and constructed, is eligible to increase the capacity of the associated transmission facilities without additional state review upon filing notice with the commission;

(3) has the power of eminent domain, which shall be limited to the sites and routes approved by the Environmental Quality Board for the project facilities. The project shall be considered a utility as defined in section 116C.52, subdivision 10, for the limited purpose of section 116C.63. The project shall report any intent to exercise eminent domain authority to the board;

(4) shall qualify as a “clean energy technology” as defined in section 216B.1693;

(5) shall, prior to the approval by the commission of any arrangement to build or expand a fossil-fuel-fired generation facility, or to enter into an agreement to purchase capacity or energy from such a facility for a term exceeding five years, be considered as a supply option for the generation facility, and the commission shall ensure such consideration and take any action with respect to such supply proposal that it deems to be in the best interest of ratepayers;

(6) shall make a good faith effort to secure funding from the United States Department of Energy and the United States Department of Agriculture to conduct a demonstration project at the facility for either geologic or terrestrial carbon sequestration projects to achieve reductions in facility emissions or carbon dioxide;

(7) shall be entitled to enter into a contract with a public utility that owns a nuclear generation facility in the state to provide 450 megawatts of baseload capacity and energy under a long-term contract, subject to the approval of the terms and conditions of the contract by the commission. The commission may approve, disapprove, amend, or modify the contract in making its public interest determination, taking into consideration the project’s economic development benefits to the state; the use of abundant domestic fuel sources; the stability of the price of the output from the project; the project’s potential to contribute to a transition to hydrogen as a fuel resource; and the emission reductions achieved compared to other solid fuel baseload technologies; and

(8) shall be eligible for a grant from the renewable development account, subject to the approval of the entity administering that account, of $2,000,000 a year for five years for development and engineering costs, including those costs related to mercury-removal technology; thermal efficiency optimization and emission minimization; environmental impact statement preparation and licensing; development of hydrogen production capabilities; and fuel cell development and utilization.

(b) This subdivision does not apply to nor affect a proposal to add utility-owned resources that is pending on May 29, 2003, before the Public Utilities Commission or to competitive bid solicitations to provide capacity or energy that is scheduled to be on line by December 31, 2006.

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Northern Bottlenose

This is an odd one — a 20 foot long Northern bottlenose whale was trying to beach itself in London yesterday, and died today. Here’s a blog about the whale

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In the New York Times: Thames whale does not survive rescue attempt.

From the Guardian: Thames whale dies during rescue attempt Some photos here. And more photos here.

From the STrib: Rescuers try to save whale stranded in River Thames

LONDON รข?? A lost and distressed whale stranded in the River Thames died today as rescue workers attempted to ferry it out to sea for release, an animal rights group said.

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For more on these whales, see Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust

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Food in our Schools is the topic of the 4th Monday Northfield League of Women Voters discussion, held Monday, January 23, at 7 p.m. in the meeting room at the Northfield Public Library.

Much ado about cupcakes…


Sorry, but in the cosmic realm of things, this is an issue that assuredly does not blow my dress up, and I’m not about to spend time on it. We’ve got a war going on, we’re overbuilding energy infrastructure to facilitate de facto deregulation, the government’s spying on us, and much as I hate the cold, we’re undeniably feeling and seeing the impacts of global warming. School food? I don’t think so. Yes, it makes sense to pay attention to this, but… I watch what my girls eat as much as the next mom: real shin bones from Huttel’s, a staple diet of lamb and rice, carrrots and apples for snacks. I agonized as I brought in the first package of hot dogs ever to grace my door to use for training, and continue to be hopelessly embarassed as I stand in the check out line. Ken will testify that she doesn’t often have a caprophagous grin! (I digress, I was looking for a link to caprophagous, ended up on Dave Barry’s blog and found this!)

And I have to admit, Julie’s got a point that it’s controversial — her phone rang yesterday and it’s Joe Soucheray and she’s on the air! But… SCHOOL FOOD? …yawn…

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Sean Hayford O’Leary
had this to say, with ambivalence and offering a suggestion:

I don’t know, I think I agree with this District 41 person. Treats are fun and enjoyable, and I really don’t think the one caramel apple every three weeks is the problem here.

Imagine if Northfield Public Schools stopped providing bus transit to anyone who lived within two-three miles of their school? Save the district a ton of money, which they could perhaps dump into a higher-quality lunch program (nothing quite so appetizing and healthful as the current rectangle of non-wheat pizza, appearing to be covered in days of residual grease (don’t even get me started on their [lack] of vegetarian options)). And (obviously) getting rid of most snack-food items, and offering healthier, organic alternatives.

Combine the above and I see no problem with the occasional birthday cupcake.

Exactly — don’t get between me and my cupcake!

Here’s the hot topic in District 41 — School treats???? …yawn… to which she said, “You do realize speaking out against treats in schools is the most gutsy thing a citizen can do.” ummmmm, no… yawn… I don’t… sigh…and she says, “well yeah….but seriously, I have written about many hot issues, and the only time somebody called to rant into my phone was when I sounded off on this topic. It was a ‘how can you be against this…these little treats…they make life worth living’ rant.” Oh… my… Dog! I’m glad I don’t know… I don’t want to know… I think I’d rather be campaign manager for a bloodsucking gubernatorial candidate than fight yahoos over donuts in school (school bus dispatch experience would be a plus, eh?). On second thought, maybe I’ll fight the donuts… and if ya can’t beat ’em…


For the health of kids, drop the birthday treats

Here’s hoping candidates for public office consider the costly and lethal fallout from diabetes stated in your Jan. 17 editorial; here’s hoping they get the need to “insist on habit-changing help from every public and private enterprise that can give it.”

As a parent of two elementary schoolchildren I know treats are frequently provided during class time — for birthdays and parties, and sometimes as rewards. Even with the teacher’s statement that sugar causes energy surges and people need not provide birthday treats, during September in one classroom birthday treats were offered on seven days — Krispy Kreme doughnuts were the treat of choice. Cake was offered in the lunchroom for children with birthdays that month, too.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have state policy that encouraged parents to drop the birthday treats and have children bring in their favorite book instead? Perhaps a “Twain, not Twinkies” program? We could promote a love of literacy instead of contributing to a costly epidemic. It seems so logical; after all, education frequently competes for health care dollars.