No Santa this year!

December 24th, 2012

The good thing about being agnostic this time of year is that we’ve got no expectations, religious or secular.  And that’s a good thing, because Santa sure isn’t coming down our chimney this year!

We’ve got a fancy-schmancy hot water heater working now, vented through the wall, plus a pulse boiler to be installed and connected to the radiators soon (currently using a hot air furnace in the basement, keeping the basement door open and it’s just fine, though it was on so low when we were in DE that it’s taken a couple of days to really get the house warmed up again).  The chimney sticks up through the middle of the house and really gets in the way in the attic, so it’s long been on the agenda to get rid of it.  Today’s the day, so that’s it for Santa!

First, a hole in the basement to pull out the liner:


Then a hole in the attic roof to break up the chimney and bring the top inside and start tearing down and making room in the attic:


dsc01218And now, to button it up… quick!

There’s the ongoing rulemaking at Office of Administrative Hearings, and now there’s a notice from the Public Utilities Commission requesting comments.

‘Bout time — here we go, the preamble to rulemaking notice:

Comments Requested 201212-81506-01

At this point, there’s nothing to comment on, it’s a free form free-for-all about what needs to be changed and how in Minnesota Rules Chapters 7849 and 7850.  Ch. 7849 doesn’t exist now, but they’re going to move the Certificate of Need Notice Plan rules in 7829 to 7849.  But 7828.7849 is Certificate of Need and 7850 is Siting/Routing.  EH?

Here’s what they say:

Subject of Rules. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission requests comments on
possible amendments to two rule chapters governing large electric power plants and high-voltage transmission lines: Chapter 7849 and Chapter 7850. The Commission also intends to move the notice plan requirements for high-voltage transmission lines contained in Minn. R., part 7829.2550 into Chapter 7849. The Commission is considering rule amendments to streamline and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of both processes. The Commission aims to align the procedures of both rule chapters to the extent feasible, to clarify the structural framework of the processes, to resolve inherent timing conflicts, to maximize citizen participation, and to
incorporate new statutory criteria required for demonstrating that a project is needed.

Links to the rules they’re looking at:

Minn. R. 7829.2550  Notice Plan when seeking certification of high voltage transmission lines

Minn. R. Ch. 7850 (it’s LARGE)

Go figure…  Does this mean they’re looking at applying Notice Plan rules to both Certificate of Need and Siting/Routing?

Comments are due by 4:30 p.m. January 24, 2012.

Kate Kahlert, Staff Attorney
Public Utilities Commission
121 Seventh Place East, Suite 350
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-2147

Telephone: 651-201-2239,
FAX: 651-297-7073

email kate.kahlert(a)

TTY users may call the Commission at 1-800-627-3529

Anyway, now we have yet another opportunity to propose specific changes, as I’ve done over the years at the PPSA in filing rulemaking Petitions:

Overland Rulemaking Petition – 2010

Goodhue Wind Truth Rulemaking Petition 2011

Wind on the Wires Gala…

In Chicago, Bill Clinton calls for national grid to boost renewable energy.

Yes, it’s all connected…There goes Clinton promoting transmission that enables coal.

We all know Bill Clinton has his warts:


But did you know that yesterday Clinton exhibited a major outbreak of warts as a transmission toady for Obama?


And we all know Obama loves transmission and declared seven transmission projects for “accelerated permitting and construction” including two of “my” projects, the PSEG Susquehanna-Roseland line and Xcel’s CapX 2020 Hampton-Rochester-LaCrosse line.  I’ve posted a few times about this:

Obama “fast tracks” transmission?!?!?!

Obama’s Transmission BS in the News

What does Obama’s Xmsn push mean?

Here’s the plan in the Midwest — check out the blue solid lines and dashed lines:


… and it gets worse:


These JCSP lines are in the MTEP 11 Appendices, 765kV lines across the Midwest:

MTEP11 Appendices ABC

But do you know the level of toadyism and sell-out of so called “environmental” groups that made this transmission build-out possible?  Transmission is just one of the legacies of the Izaak Walton League (and its program “Wind on the Wires”), Fresh Energy, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, and North American Water Office.  There’s also coal gasification, burning turkey shit, and rolling for nuclear power in a deal to stick nuclear waste in Florence Township and taking the money for compensation of the Prairie Island Indian Community and shift that into the Renewable Energy Development Fund, Community Based Energy Development (C-BED) legislation that gave House Speaker Steve Sviggum a turbine and substation on his land in the first C-BED project applied for (and thankfully failed).  Gee, thanks for all of this and more from Minnesota’s “environmental” organizations over the years… the 1994 Prairie Island deal, the 2002 Transmission deal, the 2003 Prairie Island deal… it makes me ill.  Who do they think they are to make these deals, who are they representing?  Not the people!  Not the public interest!


Here’s some primary documentation:

Settlement Agreement – ME3(Fresh Energy), Izaak Walton League, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, North American Water Office

$8.1 Million to Wind on Wires – grant from McKnight/Energy Foundation

$4.5 Million to Wind on Wires – grant from McKnight/Energy Foundation

2005 Session Laws Chapter 97 Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell

“Wind on the Wires” website – remember, this is a subset of Walton’s, they’re on Walton’s payroll until after 2010 election

Bill Grant – Sawmill Presentation – Promotion of Coal Gasification

Presentations at IEDC (Legalectric – posted February 16th, 2007)

IEDC gets carried away (Legalectric – posted February 15th, 2007)


You might think this is old news, but it’s not, it’s got an impact right now, an impact felt by the thousands of landowners whose land is being condemned right now for CapX 2020 transmission routed over their land.  Why?  Well, just after Mark Dayton won the election in 2010, the Waltons and Wind on the Wires did a spin off (note their numbers don’t match), separating the two, that’s just after the election, and just before Gov. Mark Dayton announced the Walton’s Bill Grant would be the new Deputy Commissioner of Dept. of Commerce in charge of Energy Facilities Permitting.

2010 Izaak Walton League of America IRS Form 990

2009 Izaak Walton League of America IRS Form 990

And “Wind on the Wires” IRS 990s:

Wind on the Wires 2009 IRS Form 990 (signed 11-12-10, a week after the election)

Wind on the Wires 2010 IRS Form 990 (signed 11-14-2011)

How could anyone be more unsuitable for a position heading the state Energy Facilities Permitting department at Commerce?

Here’s the article in its entirety for posterity — from Midwest Energy News, brought to us by (buy) RE-AMP!

In Chicago, Bill Clinton calls for national grid to boost renewable energy

“Look what happened to civilizations that had their day in the sun and then declined,” he said. “Progress is a long road, a lot of rolling big rocks up steep hills.” Read the rest of this entry »

We’re in Delaware!  As of 12:30 Saturday, we have not only electricity but water, the pump started right up, nothing like a toilet that flushes!!!!  … the small things in life…


We got here very late Wednesday, and first thing Thursday, headed over to see what we could see.  Within an hour, Alan ordered a dumpster.  We had one day to start shoveling out, and what a long and tiring day it was, and then Friday, another day to do a hundred loads of laundry, vacuumming and more shoveling, desquirreling, and waiting and waiting in vain for Delmarva Power to reconnect the power.  But last night, we gladly abandoned that work to head to Wilmington for the Delaware Audubon Annual Dinner where they were giving Alan Muller their Conservation Award (as we were heading up, Delmarva Power called at 5:30 to say they were on the way… fine, have at it, and yes, they did connect the power).  The Annual Dinner was held at Film Bros. Co-op, a rehabbed building downtown, the perfect space for this sort of gathering:


The brains and hard work behind it all were Matt del Pizzo and Linda Whaley, who Alan has known forever, and who have given me a hearty welcome to Delaware.  They’ve worked together on many environmental issues over the years and have even had out and out wins!  Linda did the food, OH MY DOG… table after table of appetizers and entrees and desserts to die for:

dsc01132 dsc01158

Even Alan and my mentor in Delaware joined us, Jake Kreshtool, THE original environmental attorney in Delaware:


There was a great crowd, people Alan’s worked with over his career, many of whom told stories of their work together!

Rep. John Kowalko gave a great presentation:


Which he capped with the story of their ouster from Legislative Hall after preparing to make a presentation, and Alan, who knew they’d not be allowed, handed out gags, which were applied after they were refused time to speak, and which was not appreciated by the Committee chair who ordered the state police to remove them from the building, and after that happened, the chair instructed a reporter present NOT to report on this, and it was on the front page of the paper the following day!


And Ali and Ravi from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) were there:


They were armed with transcript quotes that only Alan Muller could have said:


And a calculation that Alan made during one of the hearings where he demonstrated that the clean-up claimed by the applicants was just not possible:



Noting, of course that Alan would go on for page after page after page of transcript… And one of the hearing officer, trying to shut him up, wondering just how much more he’d be talking:


Apparently Alan is the only one thus far to get “fart” into the record.  There was no doubt that they appreciated the work Alan had done, keeping them on their toes and “informing the record.”

And the fish… I’d intended to clean up the fish we have hanging on the bedroom wall, a beautiful 6 foot blue sequined number that Linda Whaley had made ages ago and which Alan wore at a hearing while Matt testified, and I didn’t get to it, it needed to be vacuumed off and then washed, no time, and he kept asking, “where’s the other fish” and I hadn’t a clue, I’d never seen another fish… only the “Tommy the Turd” costume collecting dust upstairs.  Sure enough, Matt had the other fish, a tan one!  One fish, two fish, tan fish, blue fish!  TA-DA!!!!


We’ve got to have retirement parties more often!


dsc01137 dsc01142

And the camera died right at the wrong time…


This morning we’re having pizzelles and stuffed dates for breakfast:



Gov. Mark Dayton rolled out the plan early in his term — GUT environmental review and protection.  What do Minnesotans think?  This week we got a chance to tell him.

Surprise!  The first meeting about the state’s environmental review was standing room only, when we got there a line started at the door going back and winding in.  They’d supposedly expected 30-40 but got about 200, 175 signed in and I’d bet quite a few didn’t.  Keep in mind that this was a meeting held at 9:30 a.m. on a weekday.  Suzanne found a spot with just enough room for us to stand.  As it was getting started, I noticed, DUH, that there was a white board behind me, so because there was no designated way to make comments other than holler, well, of course I did that too, particularly regarding FUNDING, because there was no mention of funding and how all the agencies are hurting to the point of being unable to regulate, anyway, a few of my comments (click photo for larger view):


There were meetings this week, and there are more the week of December 10 — SHOW UP AND LET THEM KNOW WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THE STATE’S JOB ON ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW:

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

I’ve posted before about Gov. Dayton’s brown environmental initiatives — right off the bat he muzzled and prodded MPCA and DNR to ram permits through:

Dayton’s Executive Order 11-04

And then he announced plans to “streamline” environmental review, and we all know what “streamline” means”

Executive Order 11-32

So at these meetings ostensibly about “environmental review” we were funneled into a “multiple guess” exercise about the “Environmental Report Card” and nothing about “Improvement of Environmental Review” or “EQB Governance and Coordination” which were reports that, in addition to the “Environmental Report Card” were approved by the EQB on November 14, 2012.  There was a “comment” opportunity at the EQB, but there were maybe 5 people who commented, utterly ineffective solicitation.

EARTH TO MARS!  With the EQB approving those reports November 14, BEFORE the public meetings, there was pretty much ZERO input into those reports.  Although it’s heartening to see that there’s been some pull-back from the overt gutting of the EQB laid out in the draft report, and maybe, MAYBE, pull back from reframing the whole intent of environmental review, it’s a problem where the fix is in and where the important policy documents are done before we’re invited to join the game.  Thanks, guys…

Here are the reports:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, someone like Bill Grant, formerly Izaak Walton League, now Dayton’s Deputy Commissioner in charge of Energy Facility Permitting, the guy who facilitated the CapX 2020 transmission buildout, and who promoted coal gasification, he has no business being involved in siting of utility permits.  He has an egregious conflict of interest, having been part of energy project promotional efforts, and needs to be fired.  Here’s Grant eing interviewed before the program started:


At two recent frac sand mining meetings in Red Wing and Wabasha, I handed out at least 270 flyers, , posted info on this blog and sent info out on lists.  I’m hoping that had something to do with so many turning out.  Frac sand was a major topic, I really stressed the need to fund the state’s regulatory agencies so they can do their job, and others way over across the room were not happy with how the discussion was an exercise in control of discussion.  It’s safe to say that they got an earful.


Rep. Denny McNamara came in and worked his way back to a tiny open spot by us, he ended up next to Alan, and Alan quietly said hello and noted that they’d first met at a meeting in Cottage Grove regarding the 3M incinerator, and he gives Alan a nasty look and makes a gratuitous snide comment about “Oh, did you get a haircut?” and looks at the back of his head.  EH?  Alan said something in his oh so nice way, and I piped up from behind, “At least he doesn’t dye his!”


Denny McNamara’s trainer better put a muzzle on him.  That guy is supposed to be representing the people in his district, and in that case he represented the interests of 3M, notorious polluter of the water and air, and he has the nerve to be a defensive jerk when there’s no need to be.  If mere mention of meeting him at a hearing regarding the 3M incinerator elicits that brand of obnoxiousness, oh my, he must be guilty of more offensive rolling to corporate interests than suspected!

A google pops up this article right at the top:

McNamara plans big refashioning of LCCMR projects

Rep. Denny McNamara tonight plans to take an axe to a swath of proposed environmental projects that are paid for by Minnesota Lottery money.

McNamara, R-Hastings, is planning to initiate a challenge to about $8 million worth of projects that were previously recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). The total bill recommends $52 million in projects that are paid over a two-year period out of the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, which is built up by Lottery proceeds.

Check out that post… Hey Denny, how about addressing the extreme environmental issues around Hastings?  So glad he’s been ousted as Chair of the House Environment Committee.