They caaalll Mesaaaba liiiars…

November 25th, 2006


“If we were a bunch of liars, we’d have never got this project to where it is today.”

Tom Micheletti, Grand Rapids Herald Review, Nov. 20, 2006

OK, y’all, this is a test! Find the lies, misrepresentations, and balderdash in the Mesaba Messenger:


Please leave your findings in the comments below.

Need a hint?

  • Consider the legal meaning of denial of a motion to dismiss!
  • Explain how 10/25 rulings are big step forward!
  • Explain impact of “Plan for Carbon Capture” on CO2 emissions!
  • How many jobs for Range residents?
  • Exactly how were the inputs for the UMD study verified?
  • How many jobs? 1,000 in 2002, 107 in application, 143 in newsletter?
  • When crucial pieces are so unreliable that a spare is needed, is it success?
  • Is it good engineering to rely on gasifiers that are proven unreliable?
  • Should “gas” be the secondary fuel noted on the DOE Agreement?
  • Exactly what region has a 6,000MW need? (this should be easy for my regular readers).
  • Exactly how many MW in the MISO queue for that same region when the CapX2020 report was written?
  • Now many MW in the MISO queue for that same region NOW?

Excelsior states the following are myths (taken from the 3,781 word “Guest Column” in a Range paper), and ignore and misrepresent the facts:

Myth: The Mesaba Project will force wind energy off from the grid.

Fact: Read the MISO G519 study. “Misunderstand?” Right….

Myth: The Mesaba Project is an experimental project.

Fact: Read the DOE Notice of Intent, it’s a demonstration project, deemed too risky for private investment.

Myth: Energy from the Mesaba Project will be much more expensive than conventional technologies.

Fact: Excelsior’s presentation to the Metro Counties Energy Task Force says it’s $6,38. If we lose 25% with CO2 capture and another $7-14 billion for transport and sequestration, it’ll be what??? (as if $6.8 isn’t bad enough!)

Myth: The environmental advantages of Meaba’s IGCC technology over conventional coal plants may not be significant.

Fact: Read the testimony in this case! And note that Natural Resources Defense Council ($437,500), Clean Air Task Force ($787,500) and various chapters of the Sierra Club are funded by the Joyce Foundation to promote IGCC. Hey, you left out Clean Wisconsin and their $750,000, reported as $500,000 but we know better!

So, put on your thinking caps and find the errors in the Mesaba Messenger!


Extra credit if you can figure out what crucial newsletter staple is missing!!!


OOPS! The presentations that Excelsior made to the legislature in 2002 and that I’d posted a couple days ago were off, two Senate ones were posted rather than the House Regulated and Senate Energy versions. SO, they’re corrected below and here they are again, they’ve been the “Top 2” this week, so I guess I’d better get it right, eh? For your edification and enjoyment!



Pay particular attention to the promise of a brownfield site and utilization of existing infrastructure, the 1,000MW of wind, and the wind turbine factory!!! Amazing how it’s morphed, but who would know, because who was there? Other than Excelsior… and moi… and none of the other current Intervenors weighed in in 2002 or 2003!

…then you say you don’t, and then you do,
you’re undecided now, so what are you going to doooooo…

Yeah, it’s backwards, but that’s how absurd this Mesaba coal gasification case is!!! Obviously they’ve got a plan… SNORT…

We’ve been straightforward. If we were a bunch of liars we’d have never got this project to where it is today.

— Tom Micheletti, Grand Rapids Herald Review, Nov. 20, 2006.


Here’s the map that all the experts paid to study potential CO2 sequestration locations say the potential CO2 sequestration sites are — and look closely at Minnesota for the nearest potential CO2 sequestration location to Excelsior’s preferred site for Mesaba — at least 600 miles, eh? Pretty costly, eh? Cost prohibitive, obviously, eh?

So now what? Quick start bailing and where’s the bondo, we’re takin’ on water…

OK, put on your life preserver and seat belt and get out your barf bag… at the 11:59th hour, Excelsior submits a “Supplemental Response to MCGP’s First Interrogatories and Document Requests No. 21(#2), written by a not-long licensed ATTORNEY providing hearsay “evidence” about sequestration:

On November 13, 2006, Excelsior discussed potential caron sinks in the Upper Midwest with Julio Friedmann, the Associate Program Leader of the Carbon Management Program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Harvey Thorleifson, Director of the Minnesota Geological Survey. Based on those discussions, Excelsior concludes that prospects do exist in Minnesota for geologic formations that may be appropriate for sequestration. At present, the geological understanding of these formations is limited and further study is necessary to determine their suitability for carbon sequestration…

…Because of the lack of oil and gas exploration in the area, the Midcontinent Rift in Minnesota has not been characterized to the degree of other identified and confirmed sinks. Excelsior is exploring ways to facilitate this research. However, until this occurs, the potential to sequester carbon in Minnesota can neither be confirmed nor denied.

Uh-huh, right… here’s their “map” produced Tuesday (note the quality):


There’s been some snorting and chortling about what that MidContinent Drift Formation resembles… and this gambit is about as effective!

Here’s the full Excelsior missive.
Excelsior Supplemental Response re: CO2 Sequestration

Let’s see, they’ve had how many highly paid big name witnesses submit testimony about sequestration??? Daniel Schrag, Douglas Cortez, Dick Stone, Ed Steadman and even Bob Evans is in the mix and suddenly this Precambrian basement, embedded in older Archean gneiss-migmatite terrane, Archean granite-greenstone terrane, Proterozoic cratonic cover, Early Proterozoic igneous comlex, Sioux Quartzite, Early Proterozoic quartzites and 1500-Myr-old Wolf River Batholith that composes the Midcontinent Rift System is a potential site for CO2 sequestration?

Oh, give me a fuckin’ break…

Just for yucks, let’s look at a real map, one that’s more legible than the Exelsior one:


Now for shits and giggles, let’s check out this map:


And this one of the MidContinent Rift around Lake Superior:


Yup, this possibility just suddenly appears… I wonder what Paul Witherspoon would think of this theory?

Doug Overland, P.E., has died

November 22nd, 2006

Douglas I. Overland, age 88, of Mpls, passed away Nov. 22, 2006. ARRANGEMENTS PENDING. Memorial service Thursday, Nov. 30 at Mayflower Community Congregtional Church, 106 E. Diamond Lake Rd, Mpls


Got the call that my father died this a.m., which given he was in renal failure is the best we could hope for, he wasn’t suffering long. Odd, I can’t find the pile of photos, and found only this one, and from the date on it, I’m wondering if it’s after his father’s funeral, when this was taken he was my age… gulp… hard to believe. As a kid I learned to read playing with his boiler catalogues and Consulting Engineer, of course had to learn to read upside down so I could read plans, and also backwards and in the mirror. He made desks for Chucky Greenberg and I out of orange crates and we’d spend days in the basement playing “Engineer.” (though we weren’t always engineers, we also spent an entire day making paper airplanes and flying them over the wall between the joists into his office, a very concentrated long day of making paper airplanes, hundreds, thousands of them…) Anyway, you can see why I’m so demented about these EPRI reports and utility infrastructure. In first grade he set me up with a drawing board and I was working on a huge, probably 5×3 at least, perspecive drawing of downtown skyscrapers. I got my driving jones from him, on weekends we’d cruise around and tour infrastructure, like all the Locks & Dams, even a South Dakota coal plant, though I could have done without the Fort Peck Dam, what a hell hole that place was, the ranger with his gun and a bag of dead rattlesnakes, cactus, a rusty wagon half submerged. And he always enjoyed visiting with the grandkids, in our family all of them have four legs, tails and weigh at least 45 lbs., and he always brightened these last months in the nursing home when Krie would wake him up, last time both Kenya and Krie were there. He perked up to hear about coal gasification, and was so tickled to know that Ross Hammond, P.E. and I were working on the Mesaba Project — he’d worked for Ross’s father for at least 20 years, could it have been 25 or 30??? and Ross said he was “an Engineer’s Engineer,” that he was really good at his job. Ross used to go with his father and mine to South Dakota when they were working on the Mitchell plant, and I remember now and then my father would bring home Tommy Hammond’s fancy Lincoln, blue I believe, power windows, (is that right, Ross?) and take my grandmother for a cruise. I’m very grateful for what I got through genetics and osmosis, well, other than the pilonidal, athlete’s foot and terminal dandruff, because that background has opened a door for me to do the most satisfying work imagineable, work I didn’t even realize was an option until I was doing it!

We’ll be doing a memorial service on Thursday, probably in the afternoon, at Mayflower UCC in Minneapolis so that David can get back up here, details in the STrib and I’ll post it here.



November 22nd, 2006


Lately I’ve needed a two wheeler to get my mail at the Post Office, yesterday I got a big box, one of those white files with handles (I love it when it comes prefiled!) for the Big Stone case, Direct Testimony of somebody or other, I’ve got that safely seatbelted in Krie’s seat. And there’s Sierra Club’s threat of a suit against Big Stone I for violations of its permit:

Sierra Club demands Big Stone plant cut pollution

And the phone rang, off on another track, more later…