And to think they called Rudy “Governor Goofy!” Pawlenty takes the cake for goofy toadyism when he sucks up to coal. McCain better let this guy know what a liability he is when he says stupid things like:

“Next-generation coal is going to need to continue to be part of our energy future for this country,” said GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, chairman of the National Governors Association.

“It is abundant, it is available, it is Americanized in the sense that we control the supply,” he said Saturday. “We would be incomplete and doing a disservice to the debate and the ultimate policy direction that we’re going to take if we don’t envision coal being part of that.”

Pawlenty announced another bowl of alphabet soup: SCEF

Securing a Clean Energy Future

You can find a story on the National Gov’s Ass. winter meeting here:

Governors see place for clean coal energy

With cute quotes like:

Presidents of two big power companies urged governors not to dismiss coal. “We cannot ignore coal, we cannot demonize coal,” said Thomas Farrell, chairman of Richmond, Va.-based Dominion Resources Inc.

Well, DUH, of course, what else would big power companies say???

Something similar in the STrib:

In D.C. Palwenty calls for cleaner energy

And to all that I say, “NO NEW COAL!” DUH!

From a stranger in a very strange land, a question posed from the home of former Gov. Jesse Ventura, current Gov. Tim Pawlenty, soon-to-be U.S. Senator Al Franken, former Congressional candidate Wendy Wilde and former State House Rep. Mike Osskopp, all radio personalities who quit when they were campaigning:

Where a candidate for federal office buys time on a cable channel, does the “Equal Time” provision kick in?

Here’s David Oxenford’s post last October on this very question:

Steven Colbert. Equal Opportunities and the Candidate Host

And regarding that question posed, from Oxenford himself:

Sounds to me that, in your situation, if the candidate bought the time,
it’s just like the Hillary Clinton hour on the Hallmark Channel – other
candidates probably have equal opportunity rights – but they just have
the opportunity to buy an equal amount of time on the cable channel.
They don’t get free time unless the first candidate got her time for

Yup, that’s just what I was thinking…

If anyone wants to check that out with the expert himself, he’s got 25 years of FCC and campaign experience, BROADCAST LAW, get the real poop, CLICK HERE FOR A PROFESSIONAL OPINION!


Mesaba – Extend the hearing!

February 23rd, 2008


IGCC and coal gasification — Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project is the bloated and thrashed equine carcass that keeps coming back for more.  The Mesaba Project is still dead…
Whew!  That Mesaba hearing in January was such a farce… some was detailed in a previous post, foreshadowing mostly, and some more here in this post. The transcripts of it have to be read to be believed. They’re in St. Paul, as always, at the Dept. of Commerce, and they’re also, thanks to the efforts of CAMP (Citizens Against the Mesaba Project), in the libraries in Hoyt Lakes and Grand Rapids. Really, it’s worth the drive to check these out. This transcript has, in black and white, some of the most egregious examples of procedural bullshit I’ve ever seen, there really is no other term for it. It’s hard to say what sticks in my craw the most, but I’ve got a few more quotes that I’ll stick below.

I’ve been shaking my head in disbelief for almost a month now, and had to do something, this just couldn’t go unacknowledged, so once the transcripts arrived, I had a little help getting some choice quotes and had a couple of questioners of witnesses eager to do some more questioning so we filed this Motion for Extension of Hearing:

MCGP Motion for Extension of Hearing

MCGP Motion – Affidavit of Muller

MCGP Motion – Affidavit of Rich

Here are some snippets:

—————————————————–p. 20

6 MS. OVERLAND: Is there an MPCA representative
7 here?
8 JUDGE MIHALCHICK: Is there a what?
9 MS. OVERLAND: Is there a representative of
10 the MPCA here today? MPCA, anyone?
11 JUDGE MIHALCHICK: Nobody is raising their
12 hand.
13 MS. OVERLAND: Shouldn’t they be here?
14 JUDGE MIHALCHICK: I don’t know. That’s their
15 choice.

—————————————————–p. 28-29

9 MS. OVERLAND: I have a procedural issue.
10 Carol Overland for MCGP. I have a procedural issue
11 regarding Mr. Starns’ comments early on. Mr. Starns
12 had made a specific reference to size, type and timing.
13 And under Minnesota Rule 7849.5710, Subpart 4, under
14 issues it says, “Once the Public Utilities Commission
15 has determined the questions of need, including size,
16 type and timing, questions of system configurations and
17 questions of voltage, these issues must not be
18 addressed in the public hearing.”
19 Now, the Public Utilities Commission has not
20 determined the question of need and it has not
21 determined questions of system configuration, questions
22 of voltage. So I wanted to point that out, that this
23 proceeding is exempt — their project is exempt from
24 certificate of need requirements. But there has not
25 been a determination made by the PUC about need or any
1 of these other issues.
2 JUDGE MIHALCHICK: Mr. Starns, do you want to
3 address that?
4 MR. STARNS: Your Honor, because the project
5 is exempt from certificate of need, that’s why size,
6 type and timing are not to be considered.
7 MS. OVERLAND: Your Honor, again, that’s not
8 what the rule says. It says “The PUC has determined,”
9 and the PUC hasn’t determined, they have not.
10 JUDGE MIHALCHICK: In my judgment the statute
11 exempts this project from the certificate of need
12 requirements. In essence, it seems to me that exempts
13 them also under that rule as if — so it should be
14 interrupted as if the commission had determined that.
15 If we did otherwise, we’d be bringing back in a
16 requirement that the legislature said shouldn’t be
17 there. So I think his statement was accurate, Mr.
18 Starns’ statement was accurate.
19 Any other preliminary matters?

—————————————————–p. 308

2 JUDGE MIHALCHICK: We’re going to go back on
3 the record. This is the second session of the public
4 hearings in the matter of the joint applic366ation to the
5 Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for the following
6 pre-construction permits: Large electric generating
7 plant site permit, high voltage transmission line route
8 permit, and natural gas pipeline routing.
9 We’re going to go back, essentially, to the
10 originally scheduled process of doing the Stage 1
11 proceedings at the start of today, meaning the company
12 will call its witnesses and have them testify. If I or
13 the department have any questions, we’ll take those,
14 and then when we’ve completed those witnesses, we’ll
15 move into Stage 2, the public comments and questions.
16 Mr. Starns.

—————————————————-p. 366

2 JUDGE MIHALCHICK: We’re not taking public
3 questions. We’ve changed the process. We’ve gone back
4 to the original process that we’re going to do the
5 Stage 1 portion of the applicant putting in its
6 exhibits or testimony. Then when we’re done with that,
7 we’ll take questions from the public.
8 MS. OVERLAND: Does that mean all the
9 witnesses?
10 JUDGE MIHALCHICK: That’s right. We’re about
11 halfway done.
12 MS. OVERLAND: You mean through the entire
13 list of witnesses?

So he rammed through 16 witnesses in one day, it took all day:

Applicant witnesses:

Todd Royer
Thomas Henning
George McVehil
Jeffrey Davis
John Lee
Charles Michael
Kelly Henry
Brad Kovach
Anne Ketz
Bret Johnson
David McKenzie
Robert Mantey
Stephen Sherner
Paul Young
Richard Stone
Bob Evans

In Hoyt Lakes, the gym the hearing was held in was unheated, and Mihalchick made us sit all day through introductions of all those witnesses and it was DAMN COLD, and as Alan got up to start questioning:

15 MR. MULLER: My name is Alan Muller. Before I
16 begin, I’d like to note that Mr. Micheletti is wearing
17 gloves, representatives of the Department of Commerce
18 are wearing gloves. Many people in the room are
19 wearing gloves and overcoats. I don’t know if the
20 rules of the Office of Administrative Hearings call for
21 holding public hearings in heated facilities, but that
22 might be something to consider in the future.
23 JUDGE MIHALCHICK: Nobody is suffering more
24 than I am.

————————————- p. 629-630
16 A. I’m addressing the comments we received.

17 Q. At what point will you —
18 JUDGE MIHALCHICK: I think that’s enough. I’m
19 going to have to ask you, if you want to submit
20 anything more, please do so within the next month in
21 writing. I have one person back here who seems to
22 really want to talk, but maybe not. So I’m going to
23 take some other comments now and then adjourn.
24 MR. MULLER: Okay. Well, I’d like the record
25 to show that I do have more questions for more
1 witnesses.
2 JUDGE MIHALCHICK: Thank you. It will show
3 that.

———————————————-p. 631-632

20 JUDGE MIHALCHICK: Take one more comment. I
21 didn’t mean to have cut off Mr. Muller, but I think the
22 hearing has gone long enough. We’ve got adequate time
23 for the public comment and the company. I’ve extended
24 the public comment period. I certainly invite all of
25 you to submit comments during that time. And I think
1 we’ll close. Is there anything else, any procedural
2 things to wrap up here? Thank you all for coming and
3 enjoy the rest of the winter.

… and TB in cows in MN too…

February 19th, 2008

And another problem, as if mad cow wasn’t enough…

And will someone explain to me what pasteurization has to do with the “beef cattle industry” and TB found in 11 “beef cattle herds” in the state?  Better yet, just delete that last sentence from the article.

State beef cattle industry dealt setback with another bovine TB discovery

 By PAUL WALSH, Star Tribune

Last update: February 19, 2008 – 9:53 AM

The state’s beef cattle industry has suffered a crucial setback with news today that a Beltrami County herd has tested positive for bovine tuberculosis.

This is the fourth positive herd detected since October 2007, the state Board of Animal Health reports this morning, and it will likely result in the downgrade of Minnesota’s bovine TB status, as required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Since bovine TB was discovered in a northwest Minnesota beef cattle herd in July 2005, the disease investigation has found 11 infected beef cattle herds, all in Roseau and Beltrami counties.

USDA regulations call for a downgrade in status when more than three herds are detected within a 12-month period.

The downgrade moves Minnesota to the third of five status levels and two steps away from the highest status level, TB-free.

When the downgrade becomes official, state producers will have to adhere to stricter federal and state testing requirements when shipping cattle or bison.

“All Minnesota producers planning to ship animals interstate should still contact their veterinarian to determine state import requirements prior to movement,” said Board of Animal Health Executive Director and State Veterinarian Dr. Bill Hartmann. “Individual state import requirements may differ from federal requirements, so it’s important to verify them prior to shipment.”

Hartmann added: “While the downgrade in our status is a setback, we are committed to eliminating this disease from the state.”

Human exposure to bovine tuberculosis through the milk or meat supply is extremely unlikely, the Board of Animal Health says. Meat inspectors check all cattle entering the marketplace for signs of the disease before and after slaughter. Any animal showing these signs is withheld from the food supply. In addition, adequate cooking destroys the bacteria. Further, the milk pasteurization process at processing plants destroys any potential bacteria.


Stolen from AP-Damian Dovarganes

And another update, in the Feb. 20 STrib:

 Minnesota school districts used most of the ground beef from California company

Update on the downer cows — in a Duluth Tribune run of a Washington Post story, they’re actually talking about “BSE,” or Bovine Spongiform Encephalathophy, or “Mad Cow” disease, and about that being a factor in the massive recall of 143 million pounds of meat, the biggest in U.S. history:

One worry when an animal collapses is that it may have bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the infection known as “mad cow disease.” A small number of people who have eaten meat from such animals have developed a fatal brain infection. But Richard Raymond, USDA’s undersecretary for food safety, discounted the chance of BSE in any of the Hallmark/Westland cattle.

But most of that 143 million pounds has been eaten. What to do, send the digested remains to them in brown envelopes with no return address? Induce vomiting? This “too little, too late” effort shows the problem with after the fact recalls rather than constant inspection and rigorous enforcement of basic common sense regulation.

And from CNN’s report on it, here’s an Ag official sounding pretty reluctant and lackadaisical:

One worry when an animal collapses is that it may have bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the infection known as “mad cow disease.” A small number of people who have eaten meat from such animals have developed a fatal brain infection. But Richard Raymond, USDA’s undersecretary for food safety, discounted the chance of BSE in any of the Hallmark/Westland cattle.”We do not know how much of this product is out there at this time. We do not feel this product presents a health risk of any significance,” said Dick Raymond, the undersecretary of agriculture for food safety. “But the product was produced in noncompliance with our regulations, so therefore we do have to take this action.”

There are repeated statements in article after article that the practices at Hallmark were “common place” and “blatant.” If you go to any other slaughterhouse, is it any different? Yet these practices, these conditions, continue? There’s a recall, AFTER the meat is consumed, mostly by SCHOOL KIDS??? And people still eat meat? What will it take?

Oh, but we don’t need to worry…

“Of course there is some concern,” Derksen said. “But health experts have assured us there is a very minimal health risk from these products.”

“I think the risk for BSE is very, very small. We have not had a domestic case of BSE in this country ever,” said Mariane Kiraly, an educator with Delaware County Cornell Cooperative Extension. “They have all been animals that have been imported.”

The Jack-In-The-Box spokesperson also told News 4 they only use Hallmark/Westland Beef as a minor supplier, and, at this time, they are not using any of the beef.

143 million pounds of beef recalled, “most of it has been consumed” yet “not here!” anywhere! Yup, I sure feel good knowing that the USDA and its crew of inspectors is at work protecting the public safety…