We’re in another day of Enbridge Line 3, today no oral argument or comments, it’s deliberation only.  In the intro, Commissioner Sieben introduced a lot of modifications, laid out on a sheet of paper which was passed around to Commissioners, and then Commissioner Tuma did the same with I believe a couple of sheets (he seems to introduce something at every meeting, spring it on people, with no time to review).  Now they seem to be negotiating how they’re going to approve the Certificate of Need.  ??  I have no idea what they’re talking about, there are no copies for the public, and the documents Commissioners Sieben and Tuma have not been eFiled.  ???

Sierra Club and other intervenors have filed a Motion objecting to entry of new information that has not been subject to review, and that the information should be subject to a contested case proceeding before the Administrative Law Judge.

20186-144310-01_New Info_Remand for Contested Case Proceeding

As they’re going now, it’s as if they are negotiating a settlement with Enbridge, but hey, what about the intervenors, who are parties with equal standing in this?

They’re talking about “beneficiary,” but what they’re searching for is “additional insured.”  And they’re talking about unavailability of insurance for this, well, this is right along the lines of Price-Anderson for nuclear, where we subsidize the industry with no-fault coverage with nominal recovery allowed!

I have tried to get copies eFiled of the Sieben and Tuma sheets that have been passed around, struck out.  Ain’t happening.

They’re talking about a “landowner choice” program where landowners have the option of removal of the old Line 3 from their land.  Schuerger is raising issue of need for informed consent.  YES!  So can we hear from intervenors about all this?  Big issue — all of this is proposed to be handled in a Compliance Filing, and there’s no procedural option for anyone to comment on compliance filngs, unless people just jump in and take it upon themselves to file comments — but there’s no suggestion or guarantee that any comments on what Enbridge comes up with, that it will even be considered.

What a mess…  Certificate of Need approved, with directive to adopt the Recommendation of the Administrative Law Judge to the extent that it is consistent with their decision — that’s backwards, putting the cart before the horse.  Are they making such a mess of this so that on appeal the court will throw it out?

Now on to the route permit.


That’s the mess that stopped Amtrak’s Coastal Starlight train, and we had to take a bus around it, from Redding down to Sacramento (that leg is up and running again, but now Costal Starlight between San Luis Obispo and LA is down).  Climate change and extreme weather is the theme of the month, particularly during this “vacation” which is turning into a “Climate Change Tour.”

Yesterday’s storm fortunately was focused on southern California, so the Oroville dam area didn’t get hit as hard as was thought earlier:

Deadly storm slams Southern California – CNN.com

But this Oroville dam safety issue is nothing new:

Releasing water at Oroville Dam a lingering problem

How Did the Oroville Dam Crisis Get So Dire? – The Atlantic

Oroville Dam Disaster Is a Wake-Up Call for Infrastructure Investment

Sacramento Bee –Check out this interactive 3D model of Oroville Dam

For years there has been ongoing safety analysis and scrutiny, yet here we are now. ???  In crisis… many people evacuated, over 180,000 in many cities and surrounding areas:

Look up FERC Docket P-2100 for more info, much is about Thermalito, but much is about Oroville.  It’s about 50/50.  The “good stuff” is CEII, which means that regular folks can’t look.

CEII Generally (FERC)

FERC: CEII – Designation of Incoming Dam Safety Documents

I’d heard there was a 2005 safety report in the relicensing docket, but can’t find a public copy.  Here’s an example of what I found most interesting in the Oroville docket… BUT WAIT… it’s CEII, so we have no way of knowing what’s at issue:

Doc Date/
Filed Date
Description Class/
Files Size
Document Components
P-2100-000 Department of Water Resources under P-2100 submits Ninth Part 12D Independent Consultant’s Safety Inspection Report and Supporting Technical Information Document for Oroville Dam.
Availability: CEII
Report/Form /
Part 12 Consultant Safety Inspection Reports
 PDF     8758K
 PDF     30388K
 PDF     36417K
 PDF     33640K
 PDF     3773K
 PDF     48602K
 PDF     43905K
 PDF     49545K
 PDF     45365K
 PDF     42240K
 PDF     40681K
More Files – See List.


Document Components
P-2100-000 Department of Water Resources submits CEII Potential Failure Mode Analysis Report for Oroville Dam under P-2100.
Availability: Public
Report/Form /
Other Dam Safety Report
 PDF     128K
 FERC Generated PDF     128K


Document Components
P-2100-000 Department of Water Resources submits CEII Potential Failure Mode Analysis Report for Oroville Dam under P-2100.
Availability: CEII
Report/Form /
Other Dam Safety Report
 PDF     153K
 PDF     3056K
 PDF     48629K
 PDF     45437K
 FERC Generated PDF     96911K


P-2100-000 Update to Service List for Pierce Atwood LLP Under P-2100.
Availability: Public
Pleading/Motion /
Procedural Motion
 PDF     166K
 FERC Generated PDF     166K



The Delaware Water Gap is one of the few National Park Service Wild and Scenic Rivers, and it’s in a struggle to stay that way.  I represented Stop the Lines before the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities administrative proceeding, which ended with a permit issued to PSEG.  Boooo-hisssss.

TODAY, a lawsuit was filed by National Parks Conservation Assoc.,  Appalachian Mountain Club, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, New Jersey Highlands Coalition, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, Rock the Earth, Sierra Club, Stop the Lines versus Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior and head of National Park Service, and Dennis Reidenbach as Northeast Regional Director of National Park Service:

Complaint – National Parks Conservation Assoc., et al. v. Salazar & Reidenbach

GOOD!  Serves them right, after caving to Obama’s transmission fast-tracking!

So what’s the scoop?  PSEG and PPL have targeted the Delaware Water Gap for a crossing of its Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line.  Here’s the NATIONAL PARK SERVICE PAGE for the project.

Here’s the full map:


Which is a small part of the bigger picture, part of line #1 on this Project Mountaineer, the transmission for coal scenario hatched at a top secret FERC meeting in 2005:


The alternatives evaluated by the National Park Service’s Delaware Water Gap in their EIS looks like this (click on map for larger version):


Here’s the link to the National Park Service’s Final EIS.  Inexplicably, National Park Service went from identifying the “no action alternative” as the Environmentally Preferred Alternative,  to a (rolling over) “STICK IT HERE!”  Oh, and a payoff of $30-40 million.  And then there’s “pre-approval” of the project by NPS…

Stay tuned!



The South Dakota Hyperion Refinery and IGCC plant, “affectionately” known as the Gorilla project, is being challenged by Sierra Club, Save Union County, and Citizens Opposed to Oil Pollution, and here is a link to watch/hear the arguments before the South Dakota Supreme Court, a BIG thank you to Sioux Falls’ Arugs Leader for putting up this link (I lost it 2/3 of the way through, and am trying to get back there):

Hyperion Supreme Court Arguments

Sierra Club, et al., are represented by Gabrielle Segal and Robert Graham, There’s a really annoying 60 cycle hum, grrrrrrrrrr…

WOW, at least one judge on this case doesn’t understand the difference between the South Dakota state PSC’s construction permit, an air permit, and an Environmental Impact Statement, another asked a surprising question about authority, I’d guess this hasn’t come up often in South Dakota.  Looks like there’s very little understanding of what the scope of environmental review should be and how environmental review fits within permitting review for a project, questions about jurisdiction and authority.  Oh my… the judge on the far right is astounding ignorant of fundamental administrative and permit law, and it seems he’s looking to limit what is under review in this case… oh… my… dog..

Sierra Club Hyperion timeline

All the attorneys are doing a good job, direct and specific responses to questions, well argued.  But the questions from the Supreme Court justices…. very disturbing… seems they’ve not read the briefs or looked up the statutes at issue.

A few reports in the media:

South Dakota Supreme Court asked to strike down permit

Hyperion “committed” to building in Union County South Dakota

There’s a repository of info in this case on the Sierra Club’s Hyperion site, but it takes a password to get into it, so I’ve requested, am waiting, and will post more info as it becomes available.


Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline

The Washington Post says:

Allen Staggers, a spokesman for Allegheny Energy and the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, or PATH project, as it’s commonly known, said it was too soon to determine the effect of the ruling. “Our legal staff is reviewing the decision so we can determine how to proceed with next steps,” he said.

Allen Staggers — Ja, I’ll bet he sure does now!!!


Yes, “transmission from hell” is everywhere… here are some sites for opponents of the PATH line:

PATH of Destruction

People Against Transmission Hell-Lines

Pennsylvania Land Trust Association

Sierra Club’s “Pull the Plug on Coal by Wire”

Piedmont Environmental Council – Transmission

The Applicants who just got slapped up by Maryland:

Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline

And here’s the TOADIES for PATH – dig the logo, compare with PATH:

Path Education & Awareness Team


Maryland’s Public Service Commission seems, indeed, to be dedicated to the public!  It has rejected the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, PATH, transmission project application.

The Baltimore Sun gets it:

PSC right to reject power line

In the Frederick News-Post:

State rejects PATH application

Maryland Commission Rejects PATH Transmission Application

Posted Thursday, September 10, 2009

Commission says state law requires that an “electric company” make the application.

Story by Pam Kasey

The Maryland Public Service Commission has rejected The Potomac Edison Co.’s application on behalf of PATH Allegheny Transmission Co. for authorization to construct the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline for procedural reasons.

“The Public Utility Companies article authorizes us to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) only to an ‘electric company,’ a status PATH undeniably lacks,” commission wrote in a Sept. 9 order.

“The law does not allow us to ignore or circumvent this requirement by granting a CPCN to Potomac Edison ‘on behalf of’ PATH when Potomac Edison will neither construct nor operate the proposed line,” the order reads.

The issue fundamentally is about what entity can properly make the application, said Allegheny spokesman Doug Colafella.

“We see it as a procedural decision based on interpretation of Maryland law,” Colafella said.

The situation is analogous to that faced by in West Virginia when it applied to build the 500-kilovolt line now under construction across northern West Virginia.

An analogous situation exists in West Virginia, where the commission has to confer status as public utilities on Allegheny Energy’s Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Co. and the Allegheny-AEP joint venture PATH in order to grant them Certificates of Convenience and Necessity to construct power lines.

While one of four Maryland commissioners dissented, three judged that their authority is not so broad.

About 20 miles of the 270-mile Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, planned to stretch from the John Amos plant in St. Albans to West Virginia’s eastern panhandle and across Virginia, would run through Maryland, Colafella said.

“The Kemptown substation in Maryland is a critical piece of the PATH project,” he said. “It’s the terminus point of the PATH transmission line for a good reason: It’s the point in the transmission system where several key lines intersect, and PATH will reinforce the grid by tying in at that point.”

Allegheny and AEP will continue to pursue the line in Virginia and West Virginia, he said.

And he emphasized the commission’s note in its order that the decision “should not be read to foreshadow any views on the merits of the proposed transmission line project.”

“We’re looking at what options exist to successfully file an application for PATH in Maryland,” he said.