It’s that County Convention time of year, so we hustled on down to Goodhue for the DFL convention and voted on resolutions.  Alan spoke to let people know what his most important resolution was about:


2) That the words “the heat value of mixed municipal waste or refuse derived fuel” be removed from the definition of biomass included in Minn. Stat. 216B.1691: Renewable Energy Options.

They screwed up the Resolutions, mislabeling statutes” as “legislation#” or “legislative bill #” — very strange.

Anyway, I wasn’t really in the mood this morning, it was kind of hard to stomach the DFL when the headlines today state that the legislature passed, and Dayton signed,  a bill that “kills some taxes for businesses.” Here’s the STrib article:

Dayton signs $444 M in tax relief; more than a million Minnesotans to see tax breaks

TAX RELIEF FOR BUSINESSES?  If businesses are paying lots of taxes, they are making lots of money, and that’s after they take deductions for expenses and then some — there is NO excuse for cutting taxes for business.  AAAAARGH!



$3.00!!!  PROGRESS!

There are so many of Obama’s policies I detest, particularly his spying, promotion of transmission lines, stumping for coal gasification, but for the Affordable Care Act, I say, THANK YOU!!!  Thanks to the Obama administration, to the elected Representatives and Senators who voted for it, to all of us who pay taxes that provide for basic economic services… Thanks to all those who made it happen.  This is what taxes are for, not war, not drones, not subsidizing coal gasification plants, not rescuing billion dollar bankers, not enforcing the “Patriot Act,” but for health and medical care, public education, higher education, highways and transportation infrastructure, veterans benefits, social security, this is what it’s about.

This is progress.  But the success and impact of access to health care should also increase the urgency to shift to single-payer health care, as a “civilized” country it’s time we take care of everyone, as other “civilized” countries do.  This is an issue that I’m dedicating some time every month to advocate for, and to help people navigate this frustrating MNsure mess to get coverage.  We need fundamental change in our health care system.  This is a step, but just a step, and it needs to be more than placating the insurance companies — we need to get them out of the picture, but that’s another rant for another day.  This is a happy day, one filled with relief.

Alan and I now have regular, reasonable, and reliable access to health care for the first time in 30 years or more, and it makes such a difference, particularly where we’re at the age where things come up that require treatment.  We’ve been going to the Care Clinic, open only on Tuesdays, for urgent care and keeping an eye on our blood chemistry.  I’ve got allergy problems that put me out of commission for a couple weeks every year or two, Alan’s got eye issues that we’ll have to deal with in the foreseeable future and borderline high cholesterol, and then there’s my ADHD, diagnosed as an adult, for which I take Ritalin (speed slows us down, provides mental traction).  Alan can start on Medicare next year, but I’ve got a while, 7 1/2 years, so with this, maybe I won’t die of a sinus infection before then!  The monthly price is affordable, just right, and the plan seems a lot like the CUHCC Clinic, which I went to when I cooked at Seward Cafe, available preventative care through the U of M.  And it’s such a relief to have this, and know that if something dreadful does happen, if Alan keels over of a heart attack while shoveling the roof, if I stroke out reading a particularly egregious Xcel Energy Filing, we won’t lose everything to cover the bill (I know from my mother’s last hospital bills that those without “INSURANCE” are charged more than twice as much as the insurance companies pay, and hundreds of times more than the $100 co-pay that she paid as an insured.).

So what happened today?

$3.  THREE DOLLARS!  I just picked my ADHD drugs.  Since I was diagnosed in 1997 (what a DUH!  A “so that’s it” moment!) it’s been a constant struggle to be on them, to find and pay for a doctor at $100-200 a pop  every 3 months, to have the prescriptions sent (they don’t hand prescriptions to people, has to go in mail to Pharmacy), and then to pay for Ritalin Extended Release, at $43 (42.xx) every month.  But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I can go to a doctor, and I can get my prescription filled for $3 co-pay.  THREE DOLLARS!  That’s $40 a month less, or $480 a year, just for ADHD drugs.  There will be a nominal co-pay for the doctor, so a savings of $90-180 every 3 months, $30-60/month, so for something as simple as treating Attention Deficit (and believe me, the world is a much better place for all of you when I’m calm and collected), it’s now $13/mo. and not $133-223/mo.

$133-223 month?  WOW!  For someone like me who is self-employed, living modestly and doing public interest advocacy work, with lots of volunteer projects like the PUC Minn. R. Ch. 7849 and 7850 rulemaking, and silica sand activities, saving that much every month means there’s that much more time and money for agitating and advocacy.  $133 buys a lot of flyers.  $233 almost covers gas and hotel for a week of transmission road show.  This makes a significant difference in our lives.



Today in my inbox arrived a few very disheartening links, scary links, showing what we’re in for.  Those who think we’re in good hands in Minnesota haven’t looked at the actions of Gov. Mark Dayton.  His being a shep nut does not make up for the policy disasters of his administration.  Remember Dayton’s Executive Order 11-04 and Executive Order 11-32?  Now, there’s MORE!

What a friend we have in Day-ton,
he would take our rights away.
With the public’s voice so stifled,
blind “streamlining” rules the day!
O, what peace we often forfeit,
O, what needless pain we bear.
All to speak to those unhearing,
taking as much as they dare.

(sorry, my tape loop started going around, and the only way to stop it is to spit it out there)

Call Gov. Dayton’s office and tell him what you think — read these proposals below and, for example, let him know about your experience in permitting projects or in rulemaking, and what it would mean if these proposals were enacted:

Gov. Dayton’s “Contact Us” Form

Office of the Governor
130 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155

Telephone: 651-201-3400
Toll Free: 800-657-3717
Minnesota Relay 800-627-3529
Fax: 651-797-1850

I just sent this regarding Dayton’s agenda, and filed in the PUC’s Ch. 7850 Rulemaking docket:

Comments of No CapX 2020, U-CAN anad CETF March 18 2014

Here’s what he’s proposing in his “unsession” at the legislature:

The Unsession

·         The Unsession: Plain Language

·         The Unsession: Plain Language Examples

·         The Unsession: Permitting Reform

·         The Unsession: Eliminating Unneeded, Outdated Laws

·         The Unsession: Simpler Taxes

·         The Unsession: Rulemaking Reform 

·         The Unsession: Governor Dayton’s 1,007 Unsession Proposals

The Permitting Reform and the Rulemaking Reform are the ones that stick in my craw, particularly that rulemaking proposal, given the proposed rule changes that appeared some time ago for 1400 and 1405:

Rulemaking on OAH Process & Procedure

July 22nd, 2012

I just spent the last few days working on Minn. R. Ch. 7850 Rulemaking Comments of NoCapX, U-CAN and CETF March 17 2014, trying to keep the public in the picture when agencies and our governor try to do an end run.  What Dayton is proposing here for Permitting makes no sense, because the delays are not delays of the process, they’re delays caused by applicant failure to provide requested information, that the applications are NOT complete, that issues abound that no matter how the agency bends over the numbers don’t add up (i.e., the HERC burner air permitting!!!), and due to previous funding cuts there is an incredible backlog of expired air permits that the state is not even bothering to work on — how’s that for regulation!!   So what exactly are they trying to do?  It’s simple, they want to further neuter the regulatory system, and that is not acceptable (click photo or link above for larger view):

Very, very disturbing.  And as for Rulemaking, better government for who?  Protecting Public Participation and “Finding the Right Time to Weigh In” is instead postponing public participation until it’s TOO LATE

Alan recalls that Dayton was speechifying in Duluth not long ago and said he wanted to get rid of the EPA… and now this, HF 3094:

A bill for an act
1.2  relating to environment; nullifying United States Environmental Protection
1.3  Agency regulations;proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes,
1.4  chapter 116.
1.8  (a) The legislature declares that the regulation authority of the United States
1.9  Environmental Protection Agency is not authorized by the Constitution of the United
1.10  States and violates its true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers,
1.11  and is hereby declared to be invalid in the state, shall not be recognized by the state, is
1.12  specifically rejected by the state, and shall be considered null and void and of no force and
1.13  effect in the state.
1.14  (b) The legislature shall adopt and enact any and all measures as may be necessary
1.15  to prevent the enforcement of regulations issued by the United States Environmental
1.16  Protection Agency that are not specifically authorized by the Congress of the United States
1.17  or specifically adopted by the legislature of the state of Minnesota.
1.18  EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.



New nuclear plant in Utah???

March 16th, 2014


Whoa! Looks like I’ve been paying attention to transmission in the Midwest.

Blue Castle Holdings: Nuclear power proposal along the Green River in Utah

This caught my attention as part of a transmission deal, see Salt Lake Tribune article below — this nuclear power plant was proposed quite a while ago, but my take is that it isn’t exactly going anywhere. 

My concern is that it just might sneak through anyway.  Why?  Because they’re making allowances for connection to the grid, and the state is caving in this “compromise” that’s not in the public interest:

Transmission line fight ends in compromise

TransWest had said it planned to build one near Delta at some point, but that assurance wasn’t enough for Utah power companies like Blue Castle Holdings, which is laying the groundwork for the state’s first commercial nuclear plant near Green River, and some solar companies.

What’s this nuclear power plant?  It’s the Blue Castle Project, planning a

“Clean energy resources…” — how dare they say this, given nuclear history in Utah. And yet, last November, they won a challenge and can take water out of the Green River, a major tributary to the Colorado River:

Here’s the judge’s decision — the opinion shows his misunderstandings about nuclear power and electric economics:

Decision regarding water access and use by nuclear power plant

Read this Blue Castle press release about an MOU where it’s claimed:

Page Electric Utility (PEU) provides electricity services as a municipal electric utility in Page, Arizona and the surrounding area.  By 2019-2020 PEU projects that it cold need as much as an additional 30 MW of base load electric resources.

30 MW as a justification for a NUCLEAR PLANT?  Yup, they’re nuts, this proves it!

Alan Muller’s Commentary in today’s Beagle (click for larger version):

Don't ignore big burning issue

Also in the Beagle today:

Incinerator decision draws closer