Red Wing 2020 on frac sand

November 16th, 2012


Last night, “Red Wing 20/20” had a “Community Forum” about frac sand mining.  Red Wing 20/20 is an entity formed by the Red Wing Port Authority, and from its Red Wing page:

Red Wing 2020’s goal is to develop a community vision to improve residents’ quality of life and promote economic growth.

“Promote economic growth.”  That’s a phrase I don’t like because it usually means “promote economic growth” no matter what the impacts are.

The program was introduced by Pam Gorman, she’s the chair of Red Wing 20/20, and that gets my red flags up given she’s Xcel Energy,.  Mayor Dennis Eagan played a part as well, members of Red Wing 20/20 are appointed by the Mayor, and he’s a lobbyist for some pretty nefarious entitites (google “Altria”).  Oh my!


  • Frac Sand Operations in Minnesota—History and Outlook—Heather Arends, DNR
  • Applicable State Regulations—Environmental Permits—Wendi Turri, MPCA
  • Transport Issues—Dave Christianson, MnDOT
  • Frac Sand Operations: Public Health Concerns—Silica Toxicity—Hillary Carpenter, MDH
  • Other Tools for Addressing New Operations—Environmental Review—Bob Patton, EQB
  • I had a flyer to pass, because I want those concerned with frac sand issues to weigh in on the gutting of the EQB, started by Pawlenty and gang, and which Gov. Dayton joined with his E.O. 11-32.  There was an EQB meeting recently about this, with a frac sand agenda item afterwards, and the frac sand people who were there just sat there, didn’t say a peep, as the EQB heard public comments on their plans!  Come on, folks, this affects you and your project!  Show up before it’s too late!

    Executive Order 11-32

    Here’s my flyer, urging people to attend the public meetings and Environmental Congress, to contact Gov. Dayton (click here!), and to contact legislators.

    Handout – RW 2020 Forum

    We missed the introduction, Heather Arends, DNR, and Wendi Turri from MPCA.

    It was weird, mostly because the guy from the DOT, Dave Christianson, who was speaking when we got there, he was to talk about “Transport Issues” instead was in promotional mode, and even said that sand isn’t a health problem.  WHAT???  That went far beyond his area.  But he also said that he’s a friend of a guy who has a frac sand mine on his land in Wisconsin… hmmmmm…

    Hillary Carpenter, from the Dept. of Health, was excellent, clearly knew what he was talking about, openly noting that this was something there wasn’t a lot of information about, but that it IS a health hazard.

    Bob Patton, EQB. explained Environmental Review, pretty realistically, the purpose, scope and limits and also about Generic EIS and how that works (Other Tools for Addressing New Operations???  EH?  Should have been in the “Applicable State Regulations” part.  It’s not separate, and it’s applicable regulation.) Patton  brought up the Environmental Congress as something people should participate in.  YEAAAA!  The EQB once was a working entity, but now it’s been gutted so severely, with duties shuffled elsewhere, worst case was power plant siting going over to Commerce, what does Commerce have to do with environmental review for transmission?  So that helped lend some oomph to my flyers, which the organizers didn’t want me to pass out during the program, said I  had to wait until they called a break because they were running behind, I declined, “I’m not going to be delaying anything!” and passed them out during speaker changes.  I know, it’s such revolutionary stuff, info about the Environmental Congress and the meeting schedule.

    With the Governor’s push to redefine the intent of environmental review, and with the budget cuts that have neutered agencies, I’m not feeling hopeful that frac sand will get the vetting it needs.

    Now’s the time to weigh in on the importance of ROBUST and THOROUGH environmental review!  Public Meetings soon:

    Blue Check Mark November 27 – Rochester, Wood Lake Meeting Center 9:30am – 12:00pm

    Blue Check Mark November 27 – Bloomington, Normandale Community College 6:30pm – 9:00pm

    Blue Check Mark November 28 – Duluth, Lake Superior College 5:30pm – 8:00pm

    Blue Check Mark December 10 – Worthington, Worthington High School 3:30pm – 6:00pm

    Blue Check Mark December 12 – St. Cloud, Stearns County Service Center 5:30pm – 8:00pm

    Blue Check Mark December 14 – Moorhead, Minnesota State University 3:00pm – 5:30pm

    More on the Environmental Congress page.


    PJM Demand is DOWN!

    November 15th, 2012

    But we knew that…

    PJM State of the Market Report 3Q 2012

    Here’s the part I’m most interested, demand is DOWN, from the intro, summarizing p. 23 of the report linked above:

    The PJM system peak load for the first nine months of 2012 was 154,344
    MW, which was 3,672 MW, or 2.3 percent, lower than the PJM peak
    load for the first nine months of 2011.  The DEOK Transmission Zone
    accounted for 5,360 MW in the peak hour of the first nine months of
    2012. The peak load in 2012 excluding the DEOK Transmission Zone was
    148,984 MW, a decrease of 9,032 MW, or 5.7 percent, from the peak load
    for the first nine months 2011. (See page 23)

    2.3%, 5.7%, DUH!  Demand is DOWN!  Here’s the specifics:

    20123qpeaksI love it when that happens…

    Frac sand fracas

    November 14th, 2012


    OH MY!  Quite a fracas…

    Citizens have also criticized the county because the information in the EAWs was so similar to the information submitted by the mine applicants’ consultant. Johanna Rupprecht of the Land Stewardship Project said the county’s role in the EAW preparation, as outlined in EQB guidelines, showed the county had more work to do on the documents. She said the county was supposed to conduct independent review and analysis of the information submitted by the applicants, and that any “conclusions” about environmental impacts should come from the county, not the mine applicants. “The language in there is what the [mine] proposers wrote,” she said. “That’s not how that is supposed to work. The RGU is responsible for that independent analysis. Essentially, I think it was an issue of the county not exercising enough independent judgement.”

    That’s not too surprising.  I remember over in Freeborn County on the Bent Tree wind project, the yahoo doing the environmental review CUT & PASTED the Application and called it environmental review.  The only thing different was the cover sheet.  NO, I DON’T THINK SO!

    The problem though is that local governments don’t have the expertise, staff, or budget to handle full blown environmental review on a technical and new issue.  Funding is needed NOW!

    Here’s the full article from Winona Post:

    County bungled frac sand environmental studies

    And here are the primary documents via the Winona County website:

    Name Size
    File:archive.pst 1305510 KB
    File:Dabelstein CUP Resubmittal 09-21-2012.pdf 9351 KB
    File:EAW – Dabelstein FINAL 10-4-12.pdf 13880 KB
    File:EAW – Yoder FINAL 10-4-12.pdf 17740 KB
    File:Yoder CUP Resubmittal 09-21-2012.pdf 25615 KB

    billboard Love that billboard!

    Today, Goodhue Wind Truth’s Complaint to the PUC about the Goodhue Wind Project f/k/a __________ (I forget… so many names…).  It took a while, it took some digging, and here it is:

    Complaint to PUC – Goodhue Wind Truth

    The short version?  Revoke the permit.  Check out the exhibits backing up the narrative.


    Got that?  NO hockey sticks in the hotel!

    Yesterday, both meetings, in Hermantown and in Grand Rapids, were well attended.  The Hermantown municipal building is new, nothing like that was there last time I was in town, it’s been a while.  Very nice building, wonder if Minnesota Power’s Arrowhead transmission line had anything to do with that?


    Here are copies of what I’ve been handing out:

    Handout – November GNTL Meetings

    Notice Plan Comment Form – click to download editable form

    Notice Plan Comments are due November 19, 2012, and Reply Comments due December 10, 2012.  Send to, with “Great Northern Notice Plan Comments – Docket 12-1163” in subject line.

    Minnesota Power’s Notice Plan for Great Northern Transmission Line


    I’ve been looking for the studies that support this line, made some progress, but not enough, MISO has a page on the Northern Area Study.  Here’s the kind of map I find interesting, one that shows the flows and areas where they want more, from 20120921 Northern Area Study Transmission Design:


    Here are the docs listed (hey MISO, don’t bother deleting them, I’ve got them saved…):

    Northern Area Study TRG