Pawlenty’s legacy…

December 29th, 2010

It’s on the MN eDemocracy Forum, it’s in the STrib, and his dreams of being President are my nightmare.

From the STrib:

Where will Pawlenty’s legacy lead?

My take is another matter:


Pawlenty’s legacy — I was reminded of it yesterday as I testified for the 13, 14 or15th time at the
PPSA Annual Hearing and spent too many hours in prep, reminded of the changes over his tenure.

Pawlenty is the “Green Chameleon,” all the PR of being “green” yet promoting the most environmentally devastating options.

“Green Chameleon” for his promotion of the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project, a coal gasification boondoggle on the range, throwing tens of millions of state (IRRB, RDF, DEED) money at it, illegally because environmental review wasn’t completed;

“Green Chameleon” for his promotion of the biggest and most costly transmission line build-out in Minnesota history, so big that Phase I required notification to over 80,000 landowners;

“Green Chameleon” for his promotion of ethanol as it stunk up St. Paul and drained one southwestern MN city’s aquifer dry;

“Green Chameleon” for the shift of “environmental review” of utility infrastructure projects to Dept. of Commerce under his watch;

“Green Chameleon” for promoting the 2005 Energy Omnibus Bill (Ch. 97) that substituted “regional” need for “Minnesota” need as a criteria for utility infrastructure, allowed transmission only companies (another step of deregulation);

“Green Chameleon” for, in 2006, signing off on the changes to Minn. Stat. 117.189 that exempted utilities from the landowner protective provisions in eminent domain;

“Green Chameleon” for no new taxes and failure to adequately fund agencies during a time of unprecedented number of permit proceedings, including a Commerce Dept. that doesn’t even have an electrical engineer on staff(!);

“Green Chameleon” for ushering in relicensing of Monticello and Prairie Island nuclear plants and increasing dry cask storage of high level nuclear waste on the Mississippi River at Monticello and Prairie Island at a time of unprecedented decrease in demand for electricity, Xcel alone down nearly 1,500MW since the 2006 peak;

“Green Chameleon” for doing everything possible through his agencies to limit, hamstring, thwart and silence public participation and fully informed decisions by Public Utilities Commission.

Can you tell I’m disgusted?  I could go on… it’s been a long 8 years.  The legacy of his energy policy, agency direction and muzzling of the public should have him aspirating on his aspirations.  We shall see…

And unfortunately I’m not confident it will be much different going forward.  Again, we shall see…

Carol A. Overland

Attorney representing citizens groups and landowners in utility infrastructure proceedings at PUC and local governments.
Living and officing in City of Red Wing, County of Goodhue, home of the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, the Goodhue County Wind Ordinance, and two garbage burners