cecil-and-lioness-brent-stapelkampPhoto by Brent Stapelkamp

Yes, this whole Cecil thing does bother me.  I’ve seen a lot of criticism of people posting about Cecil when there are so many other awful things going on in the world these days.  But it’s not binary. And it’s not about “hunting,” because dragging an elephant as bait to lure a protected animal out of its sanctuary, wounding it with a bow and arrow and not tracking it immediately and not ending its suffering until 40 hours later, that is not hunting. And there’s also an interest curve, things pop and wane.  There are trends though about those who are making public waves about this.

Another issue, think about Palmer’s choice when he learned that he’d injured and then killed a protected lion. His response was not to contact authorities and report the dead lion. Instead it was to behead and skin him and take those “trophies.” That moment he had a choice, he blew it. Since then, he’s hidden, sent out messages avoiding his responsibility, and not until the shitstorm hit did he acknowledge his actions. This is indicative of his moral compass and code, and consistent with prior acts of poaching and sexual harassment.

I’ve had some time now to consider what shows up in my computer… Of those of us who are commenting on Cecil, we can be concerned about many issues at once, we MUST be concerned about many issues at once.  Most of the people I’ve seen posting about Cecil are activist sorts, people also standing up for equal rights, those who worked for gay marriage, an end to police shootings and abuse, prosecution of bank fraud and rabid capitalism, sex trafficking, homelessness, essentially, demonstrating that we need to pay attention to all these issues for anything to change.  We can and will be concerned about many, many things.  Cecil will be high on the “interest curve” for a while and then we’ll be following the Ray Tensing trail, and then there’s the four Clean Line transmission proposals trying to steamroll their way through state and federal scrutiny. On the other hand, those who are not commenting about Cecil are the same ones not standing up about all things political, ethical, and illegal. I’m noticing the silence. Will watch this over time and see if this hypothesis holds!

The Science of why you are so upset about Cecil the Lion

Bottom line:

Small writes that “most humans are… not just ignorant of but indifferent to almost all of the species on the planet.” In fact, people are “biophobic” meaning they are “slightly to extremely negative towards the majority of species they encounter.”

My issue here is that this is such a blatant case of narcissism on parade, a demonstration of white male privilege in the extreme:


This guy is a privileged white male dentist who pays out more money than most of us make in a year to go around the world and kill beautiful rare animals and bring pieces of them home and display on his walls.   Oh, and he wants to convince us that he’s Putin II.  Oh, please…  urp… Well, then again, considering what we know of Putin, perhaps there are similarities.


As a part of his sentence, I’d like to see it include restitution of all he’s paid for this “hunting” to animal sanctuaries; that he must photograph in the wild each of the animals he’s listed as having killed, whether by his “hunting groups” or in criminal records (yes, go photograph a bear); that he face a public (and protected) public shaming; that he get a psych evaluation and follow the recommendation; that he lost his dentistry license for ethical breeches/unethical breaches.

That’s a start.

Here’s the Board of Dentistry’s Settlement regarding the sexual harassment claim against him in 2009 (note it is expressly not “Disciplinary Action”):

Walter Palmer_Agreement for Corrective Action – MN Board of Dentistry

And on NPR (I’d write that headline a bit different… “hunter?” … maybe just “Walt, call home!”):

U.S. Authorities Can’t Find Hunter Who Killed ‘Cecil the Lion’

Let’s keep on this guy… and let’s keep on all the other issues we care about, stop the Clean Line, all four of them, keep demonstrating at the Mall of America, jump up and with with glee as they shut down sand mines in the Driftless area, and run “Greenmark Solar” out of Red Wing!


Xcel Energy’s 2nd quarter call was this morning.

Xcel Energy (XEL) Benjamin G. S. Fowke on Q2 2015 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

From the Seeking Alpha transcript, a cute tidbut:

The decline in residential sales is driven by lower customer usage. We believe this trend is due to a combination of factors including appliance efficiency, conservation efforts, and an increase in multi-unit dwellings. We have adjusted our annual electric sales guidance to reflect year-to-date results, which lowers our expected growth rate for 2015 to about 0.5%.

Got that?


That’s a ways away from the 2.49% upon which the CapX 2020 transmission build-out was based.  DOH!

And about multi-year plans and why they “underperformed,” there was this snippet on the Seeking Alpha transcript:

And I think if you look at why we’ve under-earned, we’ve had a lot of CapEx going through a funnel. We had to relicense our nuclear plants. We had some challenges there as everyone in the industry did. And we didn’t have a lot of forums to communicate some of those challenges. So it’s not only the mechanisms associated with the legislation in the multi-year plan; it’s kind of what that frees you up to do. And I am optimistic that we will make good progress next year and in the years to come.

And from our friends at Xcel:

2Q 2015 Report_1001200774

And more:

• Xcel Energy Second Quarter 2015 Earnings Report
• Xcel Energy Second Quarter 2015 Earnings Presentation

And for those of you into charts and graphs (from the 2Q 2015 Report_1001200774):

Xcel 2Q 2015

PJM_ArtificialIslandProjectRecommendationPJM’s Plan for Delaware

Sure hope so — they’ve got it coming.  Cost apportionment is a big issue, and for PJM, well, they’d taken their cost apportionment dream to FERC, got the FERC rubber stamp, but it seems they’ve not done a good job of it, according to the Federal Court — that’s old news:

Illinois Commerce Commission v. FERC August 6, 2009

Fast forward to today — turns out Delaware’s Gov. Markell is objecting to costs assessed to Delaware ratepayers, (though I’m not seeing any objection to the project itself coming out of Delaware).  DOH!  He’d better, this project does nothing for Delaware.

Here’s the PJM Planning doc that tells all:

PJM White Paper Artificial Island Project

Note on the first page the statement of need, of why this project is wanted — this is really important:

PJM specified that solution proposals must improve stability margins, reduce Artificial Island MVAR output requirements and address high voltage reliability issues.

So let me get this straight — they’re having stability and reliability issues and PSEG wants to reduce Artificial Island MVAR output requirements, and want to charge Delaware ratepayers for this?  PUH-LEEZE… This is a benefit to PSEG, not Delmarva…

And look what our big-coal friends at ODEC have to say:

ODEC letter regarding Artificial Island 7-29-2015

This project taps into the new line that was built not long ago:


Delaware has no regulation of transmission need or siting — so utilities can pretty much do whatever they want.  Further, it’s a FERC tariff, so the state doesn’t have anything to say about it going into the rates, and cost apportionment.  Great, just great.  So now Markell is objecting?  It’s a little late…

Delaware needs legislation — legislation like a “Power Plant Siting Act” and a legislative requirement of a need determination for whatever infrastructure they think they want.  They need legislation specifying that only Delaware utilities can own and operate transmission in Delaware (see House Bill 387 from the 2014 session).  Here’s what House Bill 387 would have done (It would have been an effective good start, protective of Delaware!), establish that a utility wanting to construct and operate transmission demonstrate NEED!  Here’s the wording, though it would require quite a bit more, and some solid rules, to be effective:

(5)Public utility electric transmission service providers must have a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the construction and operation of any new electric transmission lines operating at 100KV or greater and located in the State or offshore waters and integrated with the State electric transmission grid.In granting such certificate, the Commission shall consider:

a.the need for the proposed transmission line;

b.the impact on the reliability of the transmission grid

c.the long term viability of the public utility proposing the line;

d.the technical engineering and operating expertise of the public utility;

e.the technology and design proposed for the new transmission line; and

f.the economic and safety impact of the proposed transmission line.

Here’s the report about this PJM approval from Jeff Montgomery, News Journal:

Disputed cost-shares remain in plan for new power line

Note this snippet:

PJM officials said regional and federal rules and precedents obliged the organization to assign 99.99 percent of costs to Delmarva’s transmission zone, mostly in Delaware and Maryland.

The total includes the cost of a $146 million power line installation under the Delaware River and $68 million worth of transformer and substation work by Public Service Electric and Gas at the Artificial Island nuclear complex along the Delaware River southeast of Port Penn.

The Delaware Public Service Commission estimated that transmission costs would increase by about 25 percent in Delaware because of the plan.

“For the average residential consumer, monthly electric bills could increase by several dollars. For the average business, the increase may be more significant,” Markell said in his objection. “Some of our heaviest users could see increases of hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

And here’s the schedule for this project going forward from the PJM Board meeting yesterday:


Seems there’s an opportunity before the FERC ALJ.  But before then?  What is Delaware going to do?  Well, take a look at what Illinois did when it didn’t appreciate the FERC Cost Apportionment scheme — they sued FERC and won, based on the notion that if they weren’t benefitting, they shouldn’t be the ones paying:

Illinois Commerce Commission v. FERC August 6, 2009

The FERC Cost Apportionment scheme was remanded, and it’s in settlement negotiations right now.  What is Delaware doing in that docket?  To review the public postings, go HERE and search for FERC Docket EL05-121.  The next settlement conference is Thursday, August 6, 2015, starting at 10:15 a.m. in a hearing room at FERC HQ.  Delaware is represented in this, at least there are Delaware PSC staff listed on the service list, Janis Dillard, John Farber, and Robert Howatt.  So what are they doing about this cost apportionment scheme?  Seems this settlement conference is just the place for raising a stink about the PJM cost apportionment scheme, to raise issues of “benefits” and “cause cost, pay” arguments.  Are they showing up and speaking up for Delaware?

SPP Map 2013

As if they don’t exist?  Yes, and that’s because they don’t.  That’s because they’re transmission projects in their own minds, and not in reality.

What?  SPP, the Southwest Power Pool, dissing Clean Line?  See for yourself!  It’s as simple as doing a simple search of the SPP planning reports.

We know, Clean Line is all about Clean Line, but there’s a significant disconnect between what Clean Line is saying about SPP, claiming “approval” of its projects and incorporation of those projects into SPP’s plans, and the reality of what shows up in those plans.  Or more correctly, what DOESN’T show up in those plans:




Whadda ya mean?  Well, on November 19, 2012, Plains & Eastern Clean Line sent out this press release:

SPP Transmission Working Group approves Plains & Eastern Clean Line reliability studies

This press release was EVERYWHERE, with Clean Line jubilant, jumping up and down, so excited and so elated, and stated that:

The Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) Transmission Working Group today unanimously passed a motion accepting that the Plains & Eastern Clean Line reliability studies completed to date have met the coordinated planning requirements.

And went on to say (emphasis added) that:

Clean Line is also pleased to announce that it recently submitted the Plains & Eastern Clean Line and Grain Belt Express Clean Line projects, both +/- 600 kV high voltage direct current transmission projects capable of transmitting 3,500 MW from the SPP footprint to external-to-SPP sinks, in each of the ITP20 Futures 1 through 4. The objective of ITP20 is to develop an EHV backbone (345 kV and above) transmission plan for a 20-year horizon. The assessment will identify a robust transmission plan that is capable of reliably and economically providing deliverability of energy to the SPP market while enabling policy initiatives. The current ITP20 process is the second Integrated Transmission Planning Year 20 Assessment (ITP20). The assessment is conducted in accordance with the SPP Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) Attachment O, and the approved ITP Manual. The assessment begins in January 2012 and is scheduled to be finalized in July 2013.

Here’s that 2013 ITP 20:

2013 ITP20 Report – Southwest Power Pool

Now check out the map of their ITP20 projects in this report — do you see either the Plains & Eastern or Grain Belt mentioned above on this map:

SPP 2013 ITP20 Consolidated Portfolio 1Nope, neither do I.  I did a search of the narrative, and “Clean Line” isn’t even mentioned once!

And there are no ITP20s after that 2013 one above, either HERE on the ITP Assessments page or HERE on the ITP20 Documents page!

Oh, OK, so what about the SPP Planning and SPP’s STEP (not unlike the MTEP and RTEP!):


Do a search — nada… so I tried a search on “transmission” and blew up the computer.  So the search function works and in this report also, there’s no mention of Clean Line whatsoever, be it Plains & Eastern Clean Line or Grain Belt Clean Line or just plain ol’ Clean Line.

And there’s nothing here either:

2014 ITPNT Report

It’s only in the 2015 ITP10 SCOPE that there’s any mention of “Clean Line” and it’s only the Plains & Eastern Clean Line, not both, AND it’s only for sensitivity analysis.  This is not being included as a project, contemplated or promoted.

2015 ITP10 Scope Final MOPC

And in the resulting 2015 ITP10?  A mention in the list of sensitivities, and then three mentions on p. 103:


And in the SPP 2015 Final Near Term Assessment, not a mention:


When it comes to the scope of their next ITP10, Clean Line disappears, not even one mention, nada, again, not even an honorable mention as a “sensitivity” in the scope:


Meanwhile, Illinois is holding “public hearings” that are very limited for what a large project this is, and very odd, considering that there are pending Motions for Reconsideration in this docket (Grain Belt Express Docket #15-0277 online at ICC’s e-docket system at www.icc.illinois.gov).

Public hearings tonight and tomorrow in Illinois:

ILL Hearings

I’d hope that Illinois, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee pay attention to this lack of incorporation of any Clean Line project into SPP Planning!

Oh, and of course, the DOE should be paying attention!  Hey Office of Electric Deliverability and Energy Reliability, are you paying attention?





This killing is very disheartening.  I’m shook.  As one who spends an inordinate amount of time outside the doorway of nearly every utility infrastructure meeting, open house, and hearing, handing out flyers and greeting everyone as the come in (just attended this last round of GNTL, printer not working so no flyers to be handed out!), this killing by RCMP is most disturbing.  When stationed outside meetings, I’ve been told to leave, to stop handing out flyers (pretty revolutionary flyers, too, telling people how to file comments on the records, urging them to show up at hearings), and I’ve been told to get off private property, that’s happened a few times over the years.  And each time I’ve objected, “resisted” following their directions, standing my ground.  I’ve also objected to police presence at these meetings — sometimes they’re called to keep an eye on things (?? exactly what and why??), and admittedly certain people, and I tell the organizers and the officers that I object, and stress that it has a chilling effect on participation.  Now?  Guess I’ll think twice, or maybe three times, about getting vocal when told to leave.

What happened in Dawson Creek?  There was a tweet prior to the meeting saying “Anonymous splinter group (to) attend the scheduled meeting in Dawson Creek tonight starting at 6pm,” (seems to have been deleted?).  One protester attended the open house, and he got rowdy at a meeting, it’s not clear exactly what happened, did he have a mask on or not, but it sounds like he dumped over displays and tore up maps, and then was asked to leave and he did leave the meeting without further hassle.  Meanwhile someone called police.  RCMP arrived on high alert, found a man at the entrance wearing a mask, according to statements, officers presumed it was same one disrupting the open house, they had an agitated back and forth with the man near the door, it’s reported he had a knife, in hand or in case on belt.  RCMP shoots and kills him.  The youtube shows the aftermath.  Photos show a guy with hood up, Guy Fawkes mask on, hands in front of him.  He visibly bled out on the sidewalk.  Initially, it was reported that it was the same guy as was inside the open house, and then, many hours afterwards, they revealed that no, the man who was killed was not the same person who was causing the disturbance at the open house (not that causing a disturbance should be a death sentence), and the one causing the disturbance had left the scene, he was alive and well.  There were also reports that the man shot and killed was involved in an unrelated domestic disturbance in the bar but that has disappeared from reports and appears not to be true.  An apartment was raided, and it seems it was the “disruptors” family’s apartment.

Regional District wants BC Hydro to hit brakes on Site C

Site C Dam and Powerplant Not Needed

And let’s not have anymore gatherings about this project for a while, makes sense:

BC Hydro Site C protest in Vancouver cancelled due to concerns about violence


B.C. Hydro delays Site C job fair events in three northern B.C. communities, citing safety concerns

But I sure hope everyone’s keeping in mind just who’s being violent here!

Alaska Highway News seems to be doing the most thorough coverage of this, and where else is this being reported?  The man shot by RCMP outside the BC Hydro Site C meeting, about the proposed new dam project, was identified as James McIntire:

Police shooting victim identified as James McIntyre

Victim was an employee at another Dawson Creek restaurant

From Vice Media:
But wait… it gets weirder, an apartment was raided, and “I’m going to let you read between the lines on that” was the RCMP comment:

Police are releasing little information about a raid at a Dawson Creek apartment building Saturday connected with last week’s deadly police shooting.

According to North District RCMP, police searched an apartment building on 13th Street around noon as part of their investigation into the disturbance at a BC Hydro Site C open house Thursday night in the banquet hall of Fixx Urban Grill. 

RCMP media relations officer Dave Tyreman said police did not target a specific apartment and instead searched the entire building.

“Members attended that apartment building and searched it for public safety,” Tyreman said, stating, “I’m going to let you read between the lines on that.”

The search turned up nothing. 

“Nothing came of it. To us, it’s a moot point,” Tyreman added. 

Anonymous threat

It is unclear if the search was related to a threat received Saturday afternoon from the hacker group Anonymous.

The group released a statement that afternoon claiming the victim of the deadly police-involved shooting was one of their own, while swearing “vengeance.”

Tyreman couldn’t say much about the threat.

“We’re aware of the online information and currently reviewing it,” he said. “We get information and in this case we forward it on to the appropriate people and they’re reviewing it.”

The Coroners Service is expected to release the identity of the victim today.

– See more at: http://www.alaskahighwaynews.ca/dawson-creek/police-raid-apartment-connected-to-site-c-disruptor-1.2006137#sthash.GCbQ3H6v.dpuf