Released yesterday by National Institute for Science, Law, and Public Policy (NISLAPP) (never heard of it before, need to do some checking):

Green Electricity or Green Money?

Why is this a question?  We know it’s a problem. But this report focuses on things like “Smart Meters” and doesn’t dig into the the even worse toadying for coal gasification and other harebrained promotional schemes of these orgs.

Here in Minnesota, the money goes to Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Fresh Energy f/k/a ME3, Izaak Walton League and its former program now independent 501(c)(3) Wind on the Wires (conveniently separate since just after election, when Bill Grant was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Commerce in charge of all things energy)(oh, and Nancy Lange appointed to Public Utilities Commission).  And then there’s RE-AMP.  There’s so much money flying around for promotion of transmission and coal gasification.

Bill Clinton toadying for transmission

WOW’s devil we know… ummm… WOW!!!

Walton’s Bill Grant – Deputy Commissioner of Energy?

Wind up to ELPC Transmission Strategy Meeting



Yes, MISO is at it again, no, not the good MISO as above, but the other MISO, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.  Once again, they’re asking FERC for termination of a Generation Interconnection Agreement (GIA) for the failed and revoked Goodhue Wind Project, the part with MISO queue number H062 (it’s been assigned Docket No. ER15-254-000).

2014-10-30 Docket No. ER15-___-000-1

This is the docket that never ends, but keeps inching toward the cliff.  For all intents and purposes it’s over, but here’s another housekeeping detail.  It’s permits are revoked, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has closed the docket… but wait… didn’t they already do this in August?

Mastic’s H061 & H062 Interconnection Agmts TERMINATEDAugust 18th, 2014

Here’s the FERC Order in docket ER14-1684-000, about H062 from then:


I’ve asked the MISO attorney for clarification.  Will report back on any response.

Has Peter Mastic cleared out his office?



Do you have a Living Will?!?!

November 3rd, 2014


Yes, that’s a headset — don’t be using a cell phone without one, DOH!

It’s almost winter, plants are shriveling up, we’ve just celebrated Dia de los Meurtos, and now is the time!  Make or revise your Living Will, your Health Care Declaration.  Just do it!

It’s my belief that having gone through this with parents, and so many times with our dogs and cats, and with clients, it’s a lot more clear how I’d like to wrap up this life and what I want to avoid.  It’s easier to talk about it because we’ve had to make these decisions, look at quality of life, what a “good life” and a “good death” mean, what efforts and torture we’d want to go through, and I’m pretty clear: ALAN, CALL THE VET!!!

Recently an advocate activist cohort, Jan Greenfield, died of lymphoma.  Most people have also heard of Brittany Maynard, who at 29 was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and opted out of treatment and life a couple days ago.  Ted Kennedy, Lee Atwater, Janet Johnson… The list goes on, cancer is everywhere, particularly as we get older.  And dear Kady, well, I found another tumor on her yesterday…

There’s an editorial in the STrib that I recommend, “To treat or not to treat a brain tumor,”  about a couple’s journey through brain cancer, and it’s important particularly for this one section on how doctors view treatment and death:

“What’s unusual about [doctors],” Murray wrote, “is not how much treatment they get compared to most Americans, but how little.”

Physicians are much more likely than the general public to sign a living will, specifying what, if any, treatments they want in the event of serious illness, according to a 2003 study.

In a recent Stanford University School of Medicine study of 1,081 doctors, 88 percent said they would choose a do-not-resuscitate order for themselves. Further, this group agreed they did not want treatment if they had an “incurable and irreversible condition that will result in … death.”

Doctors are more familiar not just with death but with the foibles of trying to flout it.

“Of course, doctors don’t want to die,” wrote Murray. “But they know enough about modern medicine to know its limits.”

Think about that… “They know enough about modern medicine to know its limits.”

Here’s some information on Living Wills, a/k/a Health Care Directives.  Don’t wait — take time before year end to wrestle with your mortality, your thoughts and choices, so that those around you know what you want and won’t have to guess.  Talk with your “decider” so that you are confident they understand your wishes, and more importantly, can and WILL advocate for you if necessary — not everyone can do it.  Make provisions for your animals, line up a guardian and let the neighbors know — they’re the ones on the scene — and set aside a little fund for their care.  And clean the house so they won’t have to!!! (no really, figure out what to do with all those files and books and tools!  That’s too much to dump on anyone.)

Questions and Answers about Health Care Directives – Minnesota Dept. of Health

Here are some examples, and your health care provider may have their own version.  Talk to your trusted medical minds and go over options.  Make some decisions so that others can know and act.  From the Twin Cities Medical Society:


David Schultz1_thumb

Risk Management for Nonprofits

David Schultz, Hamline Professor

Tuesday, November 11, beginning at 6 p.m.

Fiesta Mexicana

2918 North Service Drive, Red Wing, MN

Free and open to the public

Bring your appetites to learn and for Mexican food (cost on you)

I first became aware of David Schultz’s expertise in nonprofit fiduciary responsibility when I read his op ed in the STrib when the misdoings of Community Action of Minneapolis came to light.  This was a major issue recently on the Mpls. yak-yak list, and reminded me of several experiences I’ve had on various Boards, and in nonprofits and others, and have unfortunately seen in other community and client boards as well. After reading his commentary, the tip of the iceberg of information that a board member needs to know, I extended an invitation to Schultz to come to Red Wing for area nonprofit board members and anyone interested on learning about what it means to be a member of a Board.  A big thanks to David Schultz for his willingness to come to Red Wing and share his expertise.

After sending preliminary info out, a board member from another Red Wing organization contacted me and said, “Is the presenter the same David Schultz who appears on Almanac as a political analyst?  If so, he’s one of the best!”  Yes, indeed he is!  One of her board had brought Schultz’s STrib piece to their last board meeting, and they’re ramped up and ready to go.  There’s a need here — let’s get informed!

Here’s Schultz’s view on Board responsibility and the Community Action case:

Nonprofit boards are no place for light duty

davidschultz office photo_thumb

Being a board member is an active task, not for the faint of heart.  There is a duty to show up — to assure the operation has adequate funding, that members be informed, and if there are problems, to stand up and correct the problems.  Here’s the pamphlet from the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General on Board Fiduciary Responsibility.

Schultz is a Professor at Hamline and has a C.V. that shows he’s got intense experience in many areas, far beyond the political analysis and issues I’d known about.  His work teaching and training for nonprofits is part of a wide ranging career including housing issues (just ordered a copy of his book “Evicted!” on eminent domain) and ethics.

And, yes, David Schultz is coming to Red Wing!  Join us at Fiesta Mexicana, for “Risk Management for Nonprofits.”  Tuesday, November 11, starting at 6 p.m.


From the STrib:

Nonprofit boards are no place for light duty

In the case of Community Action of Minneapolis, oversight broke down at personal, internal and external levels.

The troubles of Community Action of Minneapolis are a textbook study in what can go wrong with nonprofits, both from the point of internal governance and external regulation. CAM’s story is a warning to other nonprofits and governmental agencies on what not to do and what reforms are needed.

I have taught nonprofit law for 15 years, have done training sessions for hundreds of nonprofits, and have been an executive director, officer and board member for many others. These experiences have shown me that the root cause of so many problems with nonprofits starts with bad governance and the failure of boards of directors to take their duties seriously.

Many view nonprofit board service as a line on a résumé. Others think it’s a great idea to place rich, powerful or famous people on the board, asking no more from them than simply to give money or add prestige to the organization. If that is what you want from individuals, place them on an advisory board, not on the board of directors. Minnesota law is clear: Being a board member brings with it serious legal responsibilities. Board members have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of a nonprofit. They have a duty of care, obedience and loyalty to it. They are expected to support the nonprofit, be active participants in its governance and take seriously their duties. At the very least, CAM board members should be pressed to say why they let an organization dedicated to the poor spend almost none of its money on serving its constituents.

Minnesota law imposes the business judgment rule on nonprofit board members. This rule says “do your homework”: you are required to attend board meetings, read the minutes and be informed about the operations of the organization. Other state laws demand that you attend meetings and speak up if you think something is wrong. Silence is considered assent to decisions. It is no excuse that you did not attend board meetings or had no idea what was going on. That, or sending surrogates in your place, is negligent behavior, running the risk of personal legal liability for what the nonprofit did wrong. No-show CAM board members should have been removed. The failure to do that raises the question of how complicit all were in enabling bad governance.

If there was a real governing board, there should have been an audit committee and a yearly review of CAM’s books with an outside auditor. These annual audits, along with following other good practices as dictated by the Sarbanes-Oxley law, should have caught CAM’s problems.

Internal governance is only part of the problem. External governance and oversight failed, too. The legislative auditor pointed to $4.7 billion per year of state money — dating to 2007 — that was awarded to 1,900 nonprofits with either no-bid contracts, little oversight, or minimal or no auditing. In 2010, a similar study by the legislative auditor again found little accountability with billions of dollars in state-awarded contracts. There is little oversight for much of the money the state gives to other third parties such as CAM, violating generally accepted accounting principles. Stories in this paper also have reported how the city of Minneapolis for years structured contracts to escape competitive bidding, and it is unclear how much it has audited groups such as CAM.

Finally, as a nonprofit, CAM is supposed to file yearly Form 990 tax reports with the IRS. At best, the IRS has been lax in oversight. U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has been sharply critical of this, along with the growing trend of nonprofits of all political stripes to abuse their tax status and engage in questionable political activities. Thus, several governmental agencies should have caught what was happening at CAM, and why they did not is a story of overlapping jurisdictions and lack of coordination.

The point is that the Community Action of Minneapolis debacle was a combination of personal failure, internal governance breakdown and external regulatory negligence. Some of this was illegal, perhaps even criminal. What happened here is not typical of most nonprofits, but it still serves as a warning to others about what can go wrong and what needs to be fixed.


David Schultz is a professor of political science at Hamline University and editor of the Journal of Public Affairs Education.


Look what AWEA wants for us!

November 1st, 2014


There’s the Forbes article about American Wind Energy Ass (AWEA) advocating for this massive mess of new 765 kV lines.

Experts: Reducing Carbon Emissions and Increasing Grid Reliability are Doable

Experts?  Ummmm, AWEA?  No, they are NOT transmission experts, they are only expert in doing what their masters pay them to do.  Here’s their “vision” from a couple of years ago:

Green Power Superhighways

Report – Update to the Superhighways report that AWEA’s Michael Goggin wrote in fall 2013.

In Minnesota, there’s one paralleling the CapX 2020 line, then another cutting the state in two from Big Stone to the Metro, and another from Split Rock to Adams along I-90.  Who the hell do they think they are to advocate for this overkill of transmission?  And note that in the Dakotas, as always, they start at the big coal plants.  Infrastructure like this is the best way to assure coal never shuts down, adding capacity instead of shutting coal down and using that capacity.  And if they do it this way, then they can run our coal plants forever.  Oh, right… this is the plan AEP supports.

First and foremost, remember that this is about economics — money and profit from building transmission and providing transmission service — the grid IS electrically reliable, so says NERC in its latest State of Reliability 2013 Report:

And here’s the NERC Report (one should be due out soon, used to be October, but they’ve pushed it back):

2013 NERC Reliability Assessment

What strikes me is that so many are willing to believe that the electric grid is not “reliable” and are willing to attribute economic issues like “congestion” to claims that the system is not reliable.  And then there’s their successful effort to shift cost allocation so that the generators no longer pay for transmission necessary to access and safely operate the grid.  In the past, generators paid, but then in the gas plant surge over a decade ago, so many were built without transmission upgrades that we were in transmission deficit, evidenced in the 2001-2004 SW MN 345 kV Four Certificates of Need (MN PUC Docket 01-1958).  Check this TLTG Table, click for a larger version:

TLTG_1-H_PUCDocket01-1958For their 1-H option, the one that the enviros agreed to in this project, acquiesced to (remember, this was the project where they got a group together and asked “What would it take to support this project?”), the system starts out with a 1475 MW deficit.  It’s not until they’ve fixed some long standing problems, such as the sagging Wilmarth line, and the FT. CALHOUN INTERFACE which is in the base case (!!!!), and after spending over $138 million including their wide ranging “base case” of necessary fixes, that they start actually adding some system capacity.  DOH!  Give me a break…

The real problem is failure to make those added generators pay for fixing the system impacts, and then the desire to add wind projects without making them pay for system impacts, and more importantly, of wanting to add wind on top of the existing coal generation, without removing the coal which would make plenty of room for wind.  The price of their wanting to “find a way forward for coal.”

American Wind Energy Ass, how dare you.  This one’s for you:


From AWEA’s 2012 IRS 990 (the most recent one on Guidestar), p. 25 and 29: