August 31st, 2013
Notices were sent of “open house” meetings for the Not-So-Great Northern Transmission Line but guess who didn’t get one! And I’ve spent some time looking at their site, and I can’t find a meeting schedule anywhere. But thanks to two little birdies, we’re in luck!
HEY NOT-SO-GREAT TRANSMISSION:
PUBLISH YOUR OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULE ON YOUR SITE!
I know, what people care about is the map, but it’s hard to see the map, and that’s all we’ve got.
The application has not yet been filed, but it’s working its way toward the Public Utilities Commission. There’s a docket, so you can check to see what all has been filed. Go HERE TO SEARCH DOCKETS and then search for docket number 12-1163.
Now is the time to get involved, at the Certificate of Need stage, because NOW is when they determine “IF” a line is needed, and if it’s deemed “needed,” then it WILL go somewhere and it’s a very difficult struggle. The Certificate of Need stage is a bit more esoteric but it’s where the action is, and in this line in particular, they don’t have much to show as a “need.” It’s a want (as are most, if not all, transmission lines).
Meetings are the second and third week in September. Check out one near you and come on down for coffee and treats to settle your stomach while they explain their plans.
August 30th, 2013
Now things are making more sense. A Bloomberg article, via the STrib, written by a Greiling, puts it all together. When the rail cars blew up and took out the heart of Lac-Megantic, I couldn’t understand how crude oil had exploded so horrifically. It turns out that the contents of the cars being shipped out of Bakken had been under investigation for at least three months prior to that explosion, and as the article below notes, “Most grades of crude would not be that volatile.” DOH!
The investigation began in March, and the explosion was July 6, 2013. Thus far, the railroad crew has been blamed for not properly setting the brakes, but it seems there’s more to the story. There have been murmurs of whether the brakes that had been repaired previously had been repaired properly or if they were overheated and triggered the explosion. But if what was inside the car wasn’t crude, and was more volatile, it’s an entirely different animal.
Let’s see the FOIA responses to questions about what triggered the investigation!
This is an issue for us both here and there, Red Wing and Port Penn, Delaware. These Bakken cars go through Red Wing, the heart of Red Wing, as they did in Lac-Megantic — that’s the rail station right smack dab in the middle. If things went BOOM! in the night, there goes Red Wing Shoe, the St. James Hotel, the ADM oil plant, downtown Red Wing good bye!
And on to Delaware… in Delaware City, just up the road from Port Penn, it’s same thing. The refinery there was reopened, thanks to Gov. Jack Markell, the brown governor, and Bakken rail cars are sitting around and going through to the Delaware City refinery. They built a big spur near Hwy. 1 for staging the cars (so new it’s on the map but not on google earth!) and are taking in Bakken oil, even adding a new unloading facility.
The oil going to Delaware City is loaded at the same “New Town” Bakken oil loading facility that’s under investigation and where inspections are being conducted, the same one where the Lac-Megantic cars were loaded. They stage the cars off to the west of the refinery, it looks like a horse track, and then they run the cars through the middle of the refinery, in the middle of this map, and way to the eastern end:
It seems to me that Delaware City has more security/terrorist issues that just the three nuclear reactors across the river in Salem. And it seems that the risks of pollution and harm to the people nearby is heightened beyond the already horribly polluted air and water due to this hornets’ nest of industry. They’re already having to bring water in for people. What are they thinking to reopen this refinery?
U.S. rail safety regulators began a “Bakken blitz” of inspections of crude oil tank cars this week as they seek to prevent a railroad disaster in the United States similar to July’s fatal inferno in Quebec.
Inspectors from the Federal Railroad Administration and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are examining rail cars moving crude from North Dakota’s Bakken region, Cynthia Quarterman, PHMSA administrator, told reporters Thursday during a break in a Washington meeting to discuss U.S. rail safety risks.
August 29th, 2013
For those of you interested in filing a complaint against Judge G. Todd Baugh in Montana, here’s the Complaint form and the Judicial Standards and Judicial Ethics (those rules are important because you need to cite the ones he violated):
If these links don’t work, here’s the link to their JUDICIAL COMPLAINT PAGE.
This guy is so off the wall that I hope thousands file solid well written complaints that they’ll have to deal with.
BILLINGS, Mont. — A Montana judge on Wednesday stood by his decision to send a former teacher to prison for 30 days for raping a 14-year-old girl who later killed herself, but said he “deserved to be chastised” for his comments about the young victim.
Faced with a backlash over the comments and calls for his resignation, Baugh, 71, wrote an apology in a letter to the editor of The Billings Gazette. He said his comments were demeaning of all women and not reflective of his beliefs.
Rambold was charged in October 2008 with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent after authorities alleged he had an ongoing sexual relationship with Cherice Moralez, starting the previous year when she was 14. Moralez killed herself in 2010 at age 16 while the case was pending, and the girl’s mother, Auleia Hanlon, said her daughter’s relationship with Rambold was a “major factor.”
“She wasn’t even old enough to get a driver’s license. But Judge Baugh, who never met our daughter, justified the paltry sentence saying she was older than her chronological age,” Hanlon said. “I guess somehow it makes a rape more acceptable if you blame the victim, even if she was only 14.”
Yellowstone County officials previously agreed to defer Rambold’s prosecution for three years and dismiss the charges if he completed a sexual offender treatment program. The case was revived in December after prosecutors learned Rambold, 54, was kicked out of the program for having unsupervised visits with minors who were family members and not telling counselors he was having a sexual relationship with a woman.
“My thought was, given the relatively minor violations in the sex offender treatment program, it didn’t seem appropriate to put him in jail, put him in prison” for a longer time, Baugh said. “It didn’t seem to me that the violations were such that the state should be able to back out of their agreement.”
August 23rd, 2013
Yesterday was the quarterly meeting of Minnesota’s Mississippi River Parkway Commission. Attorney Bill Mavity, accompanied by several others from Wisconsin, presented on frac sand mining and impacts on the Great River Road. He authored and promoted the Pepin County ordinance:
He brought up the economic report that they’d completed in association with the Ordinance:
He noted that the Ordinance is economic regulation, and if challenged, this report essential because it provides the rational basis necessary to support the Ordinance. This points to the necessity of having an economic analysis for this type of ordinance, without it, or some other substantive support, it is much weaker and susceptible to challenge.
The Minnesota MRPC is sensitive to the impacts of frac sand mining on the Great River Road and the Mississippi, and has agreed to pull together a Resolution similar to that of the Wisconsin MRCP, which they’ll discuss at their November meeting. They also will be considering a silica sand presentation at the annual convention.
I gave a short update on the completion of permitting for CapX 2020 transmission, what with this week’s Supreme Court denial of Oronoco Township’s Petition for Review. MRPC submitted comments for a number of the CapX 2020 dockets — CapX 2020 transmission will have a significant impact on the Great River Road. Any day now they’ll start the 345kV part of the Hampton-La Crosse route which crosses the Mississippi River at Alma. Staff also got the scoop from me about agencies’ silica sand mining agenda including Standards and Criteria (which includes bluff and road impacts).
This was a very effective presentation by Mavity. It’s unfortunate that no one else from frac sand mining land showed up!