ConocoPhillips PR game

July 19th, 2007

From last night’s meeting, here’s Jim Mulva, CEO of ConocoPhillips, and on the right, that’s moderator John Taylor looking and acting more than a little schnockered.

Yesterday was a long ConocoPhillips day. First was an afternoon small group meeting, with ConocoPhillips CEO John Mulva, at the Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research (click here for their ANNUAL REPORT and look at the amounts for oil spills and the oil company donations!). Present were representatives of Green Delaware (of course), Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, Nature Conservancy, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Tri-State Bird Rescue, a couple unknowns, and of course, Delaware’s oil lobbyist/orchestrater Gary Patterson of the Petroleum Council (who cut the meeting off to rush the ConocoPhillips folks off to see the Governor!). For the most part, it seemed to be a jockeying for position in the race for a buck. My “contribution?” I let him know that given IGCC’s miserable failure in Minnesota and Delaware, that it was time to just get a life, to invest those IGCC R&D dollars in renewable and sustainable energy. Oh, yeah, that suggestion went over well, another “fart in the elevator” direct hit, met with his beady little eyes sharpening in targeted silence! I think the whole point of this “Conversation on Energy” is an IGCC PR scoping and hustling scheme.


Then the evening ConocoPhillips Conversation on Energy — it was a “Boys Club” meeting for sure — all of them up there in suits and ties, and that was depressing. Also depressing is the lack of knowledge of energy issues and all the options we have for generating electricity and reducing energy consumption. Moderator John Taylor stumbled along cluelessly, but Lou Burke, of ConocoPhillips did a great job, a human jukebox of energy information from the ConocoPhillips perspective, and W.R.Gore’s Bill Mortimer seemed creative and expansive in his approach (though he’s also got a vested company interest in selling pollution control equipment, an area they’re trying to expand in, including filters made of their material!). One highlight was the emphasis by two of the panelists on conservation, “saving energy by not using it in the first place,” and “The cheapest energy is that which we don’t have to generate.” So where was coal gasification’s Mike Gregerson to keep tabs on everything and report to his masters?

In his opening remarks, CEO Mulva lamented the lack of a national energy policy (true enough) and focused briefly on four points:

1) Promote energy diversity and energy security

2) Energy conservation and efficiency (in Rochester, these were 4 of 4, we’re moving up!)

3) (Continuing his afternoon theme of government initiative) National effort, by companies, BUT CERTAINLY BY THE GOVERNMENT

4) Meet climate change and environmental expectations of the public

The shining star of the program was none other than DNREC’s John Hughes, who stood up for two Delaware laws he deemed “sacred,” the Coastal Zone Act and the incinerator law. That was heartening, to say the least. Both of these laws were raised by questioners, one of whom wanted support for new/renewed industrial activity on the coast, and Hughes was quick to note that the company had abandoned its “grandfathered” right to operate on the General Chemical site in the Coastal Zone, that new industrial activity, specifically an ethanol plant, would not be considered because the Coastal Zone act was sacred and he wasn’t about to change it. He said that the ethanol plant plans had been brought to him, and he said that ethanol will never be the answer. Meanwhile, there to get the public perspective, er… right… ConocoPhillips was whining that it takes time to go through the permitting process, that it takes UNDUE time. UNDUE TIME! arrrrrgh…

A bit later, he had a second opportunity to shine — there was another question by a self-disclosedConoco Phillips employee who wanted to know what Delaware is doing to promote garbage burning! Now did he know he was sitting right behind Muller, nemesis of incineration? And Hughes response was that Delaware forbids incineration — that they are not looking at garbage burning because that’s prohibited by the restrictive siting laws of Delaware, that the law is another of those sacred laws, and he wasn’t about to work to change that either. And Jim Wolfe of the Delaware Chamber of Commerce’s comment? They want to embark on an effort to gut the Delaware incineration law. Oh, great… and very strange, because when the incineration law was passed, the Chamber supported it! So let him know what you think of that brilliant idea – (and I asked and he said they supported Gov. Minner in her support of NRG’s IGCC proposal, another horrific policy idea, so I’m going to send him the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce testimony against the Mesaba Project).

There were two declared ConocoPhillips employees there “asking questions” setting them up — no hardball questions here!

As in Rochester, there were two rows reserved in front for the “Partner” organizations, which included, from those seated there, the Partnership for Delaware Estuary(Danielle Kreeger and ??) and the Committee of 100 (Beverly Baxter and ??). I’m not from here so were there others? I don’t know… I do know that at least three other organizations were asked to be “partners” and they declined. And most of those “reserved” seats were empty. And unlike Rochester, there were a lot of empty seats in the house. And unlike Rochester, they didn’t have a big spread, just cookies and coffee — I was looking forward to a little fruit for dessert after Szechuan…

How were people informed of this meeting? Don’t know! Please comment below if you were invited or know how they got word out.

Here’s the WDEL report:

Conservation focus of town hall meeting

And the News Journal article:

Future is fossil fuels, industry official says


Much agreement on need for alternative energy sources

So were we all at the same meeting?

Toadies on parade for IGCC

July 17th, 2007

Yeah, I’d have that expression too if I had to hop to the IGCC drum when it’s going down in flames everywhere we look.


IGCC toadies on parade in Delaware

The Conoco-Phillips dog & pony show is here in Delaware tomorrow, speaking of IGCC toadies. Y’all ought to know by now that Conoco Phillips is the leader of the pack in IGCC technology and promotion — a vested interest to say the least. So far, the lineup for the Delaware dog & pony is:

* Jim Mulva, chairman and CEO, ConocoPhillips
* Lou Burke, manager, Biofuels, ConocoPhillips
* Jim Wolfe, president and CEO, Delaware State Chamber of Commerce
* John Hughes, secretary, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
* William P. Mortimer, leader, Enterprise New Business Development, W.L. Gore & Associates

(in case you’re bored, click here for a bunch of recent Conoco Phillips SEC filings!)

So where is this meeting?

Conoco Phillips Conversation on Energy

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

5:30 p.m Registration

6:00-7:30 p.m. Meeting

Arsht Hall

U of Delaware, Wilmington Campus

2600 Pensylvania Ave, Wilmington


And of course there’s all the pre-meeting meetings and post-meeting meetings… one of the “pre-meeting meetings” is at the Tri-State Bird Rescue, where they take the oil covered birds who were caught in an oil spill… ahem…

Here’s their blurb to entice the unwitting to sign up as partners:

Conoco Phillips – Partnership in Conversation on Energy

What Delaware groups are sponsoring this? I’ve heard that two specifically said “NO WAY, JOSE!” And now a third… and you’ll note the names are not stellar. They’re not enviro groups, although we’ve got to keep in mind that there’s not a heck of a lot going on in Delaware — it’s a small state, really small!


IGCC toadies on parade in Pierre, SD

Oh, speaking of toadies, and speaking of Conversation on Energy, in Rochester, good ol’ Mike Gergerson was at the one in Rochester. I noticed his name in a few places recently, not only the Great Plains Institute and their Coal Work Group, but in other documents under different names, i.e., Stability Consulting, or HPC:

Mike Gregerson/Stability Consulting on Mesaba Service List

Mike Gregerson’s C.V.

This is the link to HPC. But here’s the funny one — utterly hilarious — it’s the spreadsheet that Ron Gustafson did of the IRR’s records of how Excelsior Energy spent $11.5 million of Minnesota’s money.

IRR $$$ to Excelsior

Scan through this and find Stability Consulting.

Let’s see, Gregorson is on the Excelsior dole… and he’s promoting IGCC and following me around the country to IGCC conferences, and now he’s on the agenda for an IGCC sales pitch in Pierre, SD:

Clean Energy briefing set for Pierre

What will they hear in Pierre? Click & scroll to #5

And with none other than Beth Soholt, Wind on the Wires… or is it Izaak Walton League… IGCC toadies all — who can forget Bill Grant’s presentation promoting IGCC on Valentine’s Day in Grand Rapids? This presentation establishes the Izaak Walton League’s toadism for IGCC beyond a reasonable doubt (the criminal standard is appropriate, as promoting IGCC, given its record, is criminal)

Bill Grant – Sawmill – Energy Efficiency and Climate Friendly Power Supply

Anyway, let’s keep an eye on Gregerson and all those putting $$$ into his wallet. Pay attention to how he represents himself and who he says he’s representing!

Mesaba to Hoyt Lakes now?

July 16th, 2007

Buy? Option to buy? Lease? Who knows…

Note the article says that “The former LTV Mining location is being considered as a possible site by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for the first unit of the Mesaba Energy project…” and that isn’t true — it’s a Hoyt Lakes site under consideration, but it’s NOT the LTV site. The LTV site was the one promoted at the legislature, but it’s NOT the one the PUC and Commerce have evaluated — it’s completely separate!

On the other hand, NOTE THAT BILL HANNA GOT THE PRICE RIGHT!  $2.1-2.3 billion!  Congrats!  It’s about time this reality sinks in!
Excelsior Energy — Lease option OK’d for Hoyt Lakes site

Bill Hanna
Last updated: Saturday, July 14th, 2007 08:51:50 PM

HOYT LAKES — Excelsior Energy, the company that wants to build coal gasification plants across the Iron Range, has struck a deal with Cliffs Erie for an option to buy about 1,400 acres of land in Hoyt Lakes where one of the utility units could be built.

It was an agreement more than five years in the making.

“This is very good news. We’ve been working on this almost since we started the project,” Tom Micheletti, co-president and co-CEO of Excelsior, said in a telephone interview Friday night.

Excelsior will also be announcing Monday two large generator interconnection agreements for the project to secure access to the Midwest electric transmission system.

The double shot of good news for the project is welcome indeed, especially following a disappointing ruling in April by an administrative law judge that recommended the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission deny approval of a power purchase agreement with Xcel Energy — an agreement authorized by the Legislature in 2003 and signed into law by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and an agreement critical to getting the initiative online. It was a ruling Micheletti found offensive, but environmental groups cheered. “The bias in the ruling against us was obvious. It should have been a no-brainer,” he said.

However, Micheletti is hopeful the MPUC will look much more favorably on the project when it meets July 31 for a hearing on it.

The former LTV Mining location is being considered as a possible site by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for the first unit of the Mesaba Energy project, a 603 megawatt facility. A site near Taconite, however, is the preferred site with the Hoyt Lakes location the alternate.

“We have invested significant time and effort to locate and study the Cliffs Erie site and have concluded it represents a suitable option for development of the project,” Micheletti said. “We very much appreciate Cliffs Erie’s work and cooperation in making this agreement possible.”

Excelsior officials say the $2.1 billion to $2.3 billion project would make energy from a clean-coal process that includes a carbon capture and sequestration plan, the first in the country, to substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions. They say it also would provide low mercury emissions.

“No one can touch us on mercury. We are by far the cleanest … 90 percent-plus removal,” Micheletti said.

Excelsior officials estimate that each unit would provide hundreds of jobs and 1 million man hours of construction work. The project has received state and Iron Range Resources Board funds and also federal tax credits that are a key incentive for investors. Micheletti said there are investors, including Conoco-Phillips, quite interested in the project.

The two generator interconnection agreements would be for both the Taconite and Hoyt Lakes sites. They were reached after 32 months of work with the Midwest Independent System Operator. The studies confirmed that the system upgrades will ensure reliable delivery of electricity from the Mesaba Project throughout the MISO region.

“The interconnection agreements are an important milestone,” said Dick Stone, Excelsior’s senior vice president of development and engineering, in a news release. “Under the agreements, the Mesaba Project will fund and Minnesota Power will undertake upgrades to the transmission system that MISO estimates will cost $81.5 million, a figure very close to that estimated by Excelsior and its consultants several years ago.”

Under the agreements, the Mesaba Project will pay the full cost of the transmission upgrades, with MISO reimbursing 50 percent of the costs to reflect a portion of the system-wide benefits.

MISO is the Federal Energy Regulator Commission-approved entity responsible for planning and open access to the regional transmission grid for a region covering 15 states in the Midwest and the Canadian province of Manitoba, involving more than 94,000 miles of transmission lines.


Bill Hanna can be reached at To read this story online and comment on it go to


You’ve got to check out this site.  Hilarious!!!  And I’ve got nothing at all to do with it, haven’t a clue who it is, but WHEW!  As I told the author, it’s a “thoughtful, inciteful, and concise analysis of Waseca Tank and a few of the best laughs I’ve had in a long time. ”


Folks, this is what blogging is all about!!!!!!!

OK, it’s time to get back to work, enough vacationing and loafing…

Photo stolen FAIR USE from the STrib.

On July 3, AT LONG LAST, the full Waseca County Board voted to join the Waseca Planning Commission, and adopted the Planning Commission’s denial of the Borglum’s four-part application for a tank course, 3 outdoor and one indoor shooting ranges and retail gun sales.

From the STrib’s article:

“I’ll be honest with you, I guess I had my head in the clouds,” Marie Borglum, Tony’s mother, said about the boisterous opposition to the project. “I knew there’d be opposition, but I didn’t know it’d be this much. And I didn’t know it’d be this aggressive.”

“It’s probably just us being unfamiliar with this type of process. But I guess we had our head in the gearbox and the dirt bucket too long,” she said.

They were asked at the Planning Commission hearing if they would accept approval of part of their plan, not the whole thing, and they said, EMPHATICALLY, that NO, they would not accept approval of part. So now they’ve applied for each part individually!

Here’s the full article:

Waseca County family won’t surrender on tank range

Here’s a Guest Column written by Marie Borglum and printed in the Waseca County News (yes, she’s the one who signed an Affidavit — probably written by her attorney — saying that I was a prostitute! Letter of David Gross & Affidavit of Marie Borglum):

How I caught ‘Green Fever’

Thursday, June 28, 2007

By Marie Borglum

About five years ago my youngest son developed an interest in historic military vehicles. That interest became a reality when he decided he had enough of his snowmobile and sold it on EBay, generating him a few extra dollars. My son found a gentleman who had a few vintage US military trucks for sale in Minnesota. A Deuce and Half was purchased, trailered home and became the focus of my son’s ability to “think outside the box.”

The decision was made that a search for an armored scout car, a Ferret should begin.

A few vehicles in the US were found for sale which had been imported from the United Kingdom. Too many middle men and too few choices left us wondering if we shouldn’t just take a trip to England. So a trip was booked and off to the UK my son and his best friend and partner in crime, his dad, went. A few days go by and I get a phone call that they had indeed found the-be-all-end-all armored vehicle used car lot heaven in England.

The two travelers return from their trip over the pond and I am informed that we now have to figure out how to import those six vehicles they promised to purchase. My son again does some research, and we learn that there are actually quite a few avid British armored vehicle collectors in the US who have successfully imported vehicles from the UK. I contacted one of the more progressive collectors; in fact, he has the largest private collection of various military vehicles in the United States. We are invited out to see the massive collection so we can see first hand the possibilities of our new found passion. Upon arriving at the “little tank farm,” we are introduced to the full time mechanic and manager and he opens up a couple of doors for us…literally.

Inside these doors are wall to wall, track to track, tire to tire military vehicles. There are vehicles from all over the globe, US, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Poland; vehicles from World Wars I & II, Vietnam era, Korean era the Cold War and even Desert Storm. I am amazed; I have never seen so much history crammed into warehouses in my life. As the “boys” check out each and every vehicle, I find a vehicle with a nice spot to sit on. As I sat there amongst all those camouflaged and olive drab colored pieces of defense history, I began to feel … something. I felt a huge wave of emotion. Fear, excitement, dread and anticipation.

The gentleman with the collection suggested that we take another trip to a newly opened US Marine museum in Virginia. The displays were laid out in the different theaters of war; you could experience American military history through a timeline. Since I tend to be “stuck in the 70’s,” I headed for the Vietnam War exhibit.

I entered the doorway and soon found myself inside what was an actual jumbo war plane. As I walked out of the hatch, I entered an area filled with native vegetation, sandbags, uneven terrain and sounds … gunfire in the distance, bugs, drone of engines, voices speaking in both American and Vietnamese etc. It was hot and humid and jungle-like. You were in Vietnam.

A couple of gentlemen entered the room behind me. As we exited the exhibit, the two men stopped. One man said to the other “Did you feel it?” The other simply replied “Yes.” Tears started rolling down their rugged, aged and weathered faces. Not tears of sorrow, but of raw emotion not experienced since they had been in Vietnam in the 1970’s. They said the smells, the sites and the sounds were exactly as they remembered. I asked them if it was a good thing for them or if it dredged up feelings long buried and forgotten for survival.

They both replied at the same time: “It is THE best thing that ever happened to us!” There was closure. There was dignity and respect. There were no war protestors and feelings of guilt. There was just the truth of how it was and what all those men and women did to survive a war that wasn’t respected at the time.

I decided then and there that if I could bring that feeling to just one person back home, it was worth any amount of red tape and complications. After months of waiting, I get an email that two vehicles are ready to send to their new home in the U.S. Our first shipment arrived in February.

Amid protests and complaints, we parked our pride and joy armored vehicles one by one on our property. Not to ridicule, make light of, or disrespect the military; but to honor the brave men and women who stepped up the plate to defend their beliefs and the vehicles that helped them accomplish their missions.

I realize that there are veterans out there that want to forget, that take offense to us and our project. I don’t expect everyone to understand my project. I don’t expect everyone to support it. The Waseca County Planning & Zoning Board requires that I demonstrate a need for my project. Gosh that is a tough order. I cannot seem to come up with the words to validate the need for a living, hands on, touching, real life tribute to armored vehicles in Waseca County Minnesota, USA.

So, I decided to tell my story and how the idea became a reality from my heart. It is not fabricated, fiction or the loose screws in my head talking, you can make fun of it, you can print it, share it, throw darts at it, forward it or delete it as you so desire.