Carol Overland - Legalectric

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Carol A. Overland, Overland Law Office -- Utility Regulatory and Land Use Advocacy
Updated: 35 min 48 sec ago

Steiner’s not doing well, even for an OLD cat…

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 8:20am

Dear ol’ Steiner has lost a lot of weight, and her intake and output is way down.  Today she didn’t even want to eat chicken bits or get up to say “Good Morning” to her friend Kady.  She’s also not hanging around in the kitchen asking for treats, and for a while was quietly huddled in a corner near the fridge.  She’s resting on a pillow near a window… I wish we had a southern window where she could lay in the sun, it would probably feel good on her old bones.  She’s at least 14 I think, I inherited her around 2001? 2002?  Time for some medicinal catnip!

Categories: Citizens

The Great Wall of West

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 3:45pm

Today Alan got to stake the locations for the new trees, after the City Forester had come by to talk about options and locations.  We’re getting four, three to replace the three we’ve lost, and one to get a head start on the BIG, MASSIVE one that will come out when the redo Sturdevant.  Hate to lose it but they say no way, it’s up so high over the curb, the sidewalk is coming up.  But this tree is at least twice the height of the house, as is the one across the street, probably planted way back in the 1920s when they built our house and the one across the street.  Do NOT want to lose it.  Oh well.  As Alan says, we’ll be in the nursing home before they look like anything.

And the Great Wall?  It’s coming together, they poured the first couple panels last week and the forms came off, and today they’re pouring the second group of panels:

And here they are pouring the concrete:

Categories: Citizens

Internet Slow Loading Day

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 10:39am

Long live net neutrality!

Categories: Citizens

Only in Red Wing, a “company” town

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 9:03am

Last night we went for another picnic, this time near home, at Memorial Bluff.  They’ve spent a lot of time, money, and effort to rehab the park, and at the Upper Stone Quarry, have put in the most amazing stone picnic tables and benches, HUGE hunks of rock.  The trail near our old house on 8th is now dubbed the “Cow Path,” apparently they regularly herded cows up to the top to graze!

We went to the Upper Quarry, and again picked the table with the view:

Yes, it’s got the “best view,” but look at this!  Who would put a picnic table directly under a transmission line, with the upfront close and personal view of this transmission tower?  What were they thinking?  Not everyone has an affinity for transmission!!!

But some do — we were joined by two flapping and calling birds, hawks or immature eagles, who hung out on top of the structure objecting to our presence.  Lighten up, birds!

Categories: Citizens

Last night under the transmission line!

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 8:46am

Alan and I were invited to attend a climate change bicycle tour meeting, joined/hosted by Red Wing locals Mayor Dan Bender, and Evan Brown, cook extraordinaire (see his blog, Cooking for the Future) and member of the Sustainability Commission, so we went.  What’s a climate change bicycle tour meeting?  Well, they’re on tour, and there have been other meetings as a part of this tour, in Lakeville, Northfield, Winona, and here in Red Wing, other locations perhaps?  I think there were five.

Participating organizations were:

Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Cool Planet

MN350

When I first heard about this, what came to mind was Neil Ritchie & the solar bike tour back in 2004, they were in Northfield in September, 2004, and many other locations in SD, IA, and MN, raising awareness about renewable energy and urging people to contact their legislators!

This was similar but slightly different, focused on getting word out about climate change.  Hopefully, it raised awareness and got Red Wing residents interested in the doings of Red Wing’s Sustainability Commission.  The Sustainability Commission played a large role in getting the City’s solar project going.  It’s a treat to go to City Hall, which we did yesterday to attend the West Avenue Construction meeting, and see the city vehicles parked under the solar array canopy.  LOVE IT!!  And there’s additional solar on the roof of the fire station and at the city’s Public Works vehicle parking lot.  Yes, PUBLIC WORKS!

We had to do the “go around the circle” thing, and I noted “garbage” (the loud and stinky incinerator right behind me), “transmission” (directly overhead), and “nuclear” just up wind and upriver in the city limits, and that RES must be tied to shutting down coal.

Here’s that transmission line, and it seems to have been redone recently, look at that beautiful, decorative cortend steel:

Alan raised the incinerator issues he’s been working on, that the City of Red Wing burner has been shut down, and it was clear that they’d not really thought about incineration and the contribution of burning to CO2 generation/climate change.  In discussing garbage and shutting down the incinerator, “zero waste” was not part of their vocabulary, and instead the binary response was “well, where will we put it?”

Here’s a photo as we were leaving of that former coal plant, now garbage plant, the one David Sparby and an IRP said would be shut down — ask Ramsey and Washington Counties about that:

Their handouts didn’t note shutdown of incinerators or coal plants:

Promote a just transition to clean energy to stop the progression of climate change.

Resist the aggressive expansion of extreme fossil fuel extraction, including tar sands, that threatens life itself.

Nothing about shutting down coal.  ???  Nothing about decreasing burning.  But again, there’s that insidious link that “clean energy = less CO2″ which we know isn’t true.  Now that we have the electric market set up, and the transmission infrastructure in place to ship all that excess generation from the Dakotas through Minnesota eastward, they won’t be shutting it down anytime soon.  Now that Sherco 3 is up and running after a year and a half off-line, we lost that opportunity to keep the biggest coal plant in Minnesota shuttered.

If you’re looking for reduction of CO2, and Renewable Energy Standards won’t do anything towards that goal unless it’s explicitly linked.  RES MUST BE LINKED TO SHUTDOWN OF COAL.  Otherwise, it’s just adding “renewable” generation on top of a surplus, and they can sell that surplus coal generation now that they’ve got the transmission to do it.

 

 

 

Categories: Citizens

West Avenue Update

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 10:27am

West Avenue construction update:

City of Red Wing – West Avenue Project Page

Those huge fish ladders are done — thought I’d posted this but can’t find it!  Today some poor delivery guys were dropping off a mattress to some house up on Sturtevant, maybe the new neighbors up the block at the top of that hill, and the were CARRYING THEM down from somewhere up the top of West, down around our house, and back up the hill on Sturtevant.  Lucky for them it was just a twin and box spring!

Anyway, now that the fish ladders are set, they’re building the walls and are almost done with that now:

August 25, 2014, the upper fish ladders and beginning of the walls:

And these from August 13, 2014:

Categories: Citizens

PUC Rulemaking — send Comments on Drafts!

Mon, 09/01/2014 - 11:36am

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is winding up its rulemaking on the Certificate of Need (Minn. R. Ch. 7849) and Siting/Routing (Minn. R. Ch. 7850) chapters.  My clients Goodhue Wind Truth and North Route Group have been participating all along, and their experience with the Certificate of Need and Routing/Siting process has helped inform this record and we sure hope leads to more sensible and workable rules, AND increased public participation.

Now is the time to download and make your comments on what should be included, what’s included that’s important and needs to go forward, and what needs to be reworded.

August 13 Draft 7849

7850 July 8 draft

August 13 Ch. 7850 comparison

Send Comments to:

  • kate.kahlert@state.mn.us
  • and/or post to the Rulemaking Docket.  To do that go HERE to the eDocket Filing Page, register if you’re not registered (it’s easy and almost instant), and post to Docket 12-1246.

It’s highly likely that the LAST meeting of the PUC’s Rulemaking Advisory Committee will be September 24, 2014 (9:30 a.m. at the PUC, in the basement).

A few things that need work:

  • Ch. 7849 & 7850: Need language mirroring statutory language regarding testimony by members of the public UNDER OATH (ALJs have refused to offer people opportunity to testify under oath, and PUC has stated that it makes a difference, “but were those statements made under oath” and if not, less weight.
  • Ch. 7849: Advisory Task Forces need language of statute, and membership not limited to “local units of government.”
  • Ch. 7849 & 7850: Transcripts available online — need to address this in rules and reporter contracts.
  • Ch. 7849: Scoping and Alternatives — compare with Ch. 7850.  Similar process?
  • Ch. 7849.1450: When is it Commerce EER & DER
  • Ch. 7849 & 7850 – timing should be similar for completeness review, etc.
  • Ch. 7850: Public Meeting separate from Scoping Meeting (Public Meeting is to disseminate information, Scoping Meeting is for intake).
  • Ch. 7850: Power Plant Siting Act includes “Buy the Farm.”  Need rules regarding Buy the Farm.

Now is the time to review the drafts, above, and send in Comments.  There may be, I hope there are, revisions released prior to the next meeting, but usually it happens just before, and there’s no time.  So here’s where we are now, and Comments would be helpful.

Categories: Citizens

Off to the boneyard…

Sat, 08/30/2014 - 7:27pm

She’s gone… 232,000 miles, still full of life until the idiot down the block ran into the driver’s door and front quarter panel, insurance company totalled it out, and though I kept it, it wasn’t worth it to fix her, and we limped along for a while… She’s gone, and nothin’s gonna bring her back.

 

Categories: Citizens

Silica Sand Rulemaking — Mtg. Thursday 8/28

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 6:46pm

It’s that time again — the Silica Sand Advisory Committee is meeting again on Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the People’s Energy Cooperative in Oronoco, Minn.

Here’s the Agenda:

Agenda

Dig this:

In my experience, the search/stretch for consensus is the first step in unreasonable compromise.  It takes a push to change things, and it’s important not to give up too soon.

As you know, I’ve been frustrated at the way these meetings are handled, in that they’re NOT doing what a rulemaking advisory committee is supposed to do, which is review and comment on draft rules.  And we’re not getting representation on this committee, there are no regular updates from members that I’m aware of, unless I ask on a list, so we’re not getting any opportunity for input or feedback from the representatives.  Plus there’s Charlie Peterson

I was listening to the July meeting, and for introductions, there were only six members of the committee present:

Tara Wetzel – MN Aggregate Ready Mix Assoc.

Beth Procter – Lime Twp., Blue Earth County

Al Frechette – Scott County

Doug Losee – Unimin

Tom Rowekamp – IT Sand

Kelly Stanage – Citizen Rep. from Houston County

I’ve heard from Amy Nelson that she, Keith, and Vincent Ready were there.  Katie just let me know she was there.  Others?  Were introductions not broadcast?  Did anyone come in later?   Can’t tell, it was audio only (unless I’m missing something), and the audio was out for a large part of the presentation.  Where are the alternates?  Where are the alternates?  And if members are determining that it’s a big waste of time and don’t want to show up, well, it seems they ought to let the agencies know so replacements can be found!  And so the meetings can be changed to become more ___________ and less _________ so members can and will attend!

Here’s the bright spot of the day, from what I’ve seen:

Look where they put the “Advisory Panel.” IT’S IN THE RIGHT PLACE!!!  YES!!!  Now, there needs to be another arrow, though, or a expansion of the purple square that says, “Advisory Panel review of draft rules.”  They’re sidestepping by saying that, even the EQB Board, will “review draft rule concepts.”  NOPE, not good enough, eliminate that word “concepts” and let’s start reviewing rules, the Advisory Panel and the EQB.  DRAFT RULES!  It’s that simple.

From the site, here are the future planned meetings:

Upcoming meetings

All of these meetings will be held at the People’s Energy Cooperative (Oronoco, Minn.) and run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Categories: Citizens

Release PSEG from reactive power requirement? NOT!

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 10:20am

PSEG wants out of its reactive power requirement for its Artificial Island Salem-Hope Creek generators, to get “maximum generation” and wants to build transmission to enable that plan.  Reactive power stabilizes the system, and there’s no reason to exempt PSEG from that requirement.  None!  And that is certainly no reason to build transmission.

Our other home is in Delaware, Port Penn, to be precise, and I’ve just learned that even though the MAPP transmission project is dead, dead, dead, they’ve kept its heart alive, and are proposing to run a transmission line from Salem/Hope Creek across the Delaware Bay to Delaware City. An “Artifical Island – Red Lion” (AI-RL) transmission line.  Great…

Here’s the map.  Note that they don’t show the existing “Artificial Island-Red Lion” transmission line on this map — is this to use the same route, different, and why isn’t it shown on any of the maps?

Why is this needed?

Redacted Artificial Island Problem Statement

It’s not a need, it’s a want.

The idea of the project was to allow the three nuclear power units to generate the most power possible, and to simplify transmission operations, said Ray Dotter, PJM spokesman.

WHAT??? Yes, that’s the PJMese for “ramp up the generation and not have any reactive power requirement” that stabilizes the electrical system, because, he, that takes away from the generation available to sell, can’t be doing that, can we, what’s more important, profit or stability?

Here’s the PJM “Problem Statement” from their site:

WOW… once more with feeling:

Generate maximum power without a minimum MVAr requirement

… and that’s their basis for more transmission? NO, I DON’T THINK SO!

PJM then runs

Ummmmm… oh… OK… well, then, PJM, it says to itself, it says, hey, let’s just produce some “stability test results” to make it look better, yeah, that’s the ticket:

Artificial Island Projects Stability Test Results Summary (Public Non CEII)

How stupid do they think we are?  Well, if you don’t know the secrets of reactive power, here’s “everything you wanted to know about reactive power.”  The basic premise:

Except in a very few special situations, electrical energy is generated, transmitted, distributed, and utilized as alternating current (AC). However, alternating current has several distinct disadvantages. One of these is the necessity of reactive power that needs to be supplied along with active power. Reactive power can be leading or lagging.While it is the active power that contributes to the energy consumed, or transmitted, reactive power does not contribute to the energy. Reactive power is an inherent part of the ‘‘total power.’’

Plus it turns out the AI-RL project proposals don’t meet PJM’s cost/benefit criteria:

The extent to which the relative benefits of the project meets a Benefit/Cost Ratio Threshold of at least 1.25:1 as calculated pursuant to Section 1.5.7(d) of this Schedule 6.

Even PJM had to admit that economic benefits were virtually nonexistent!

These simulations showed that there were market efficiency benefits of the proposals however they were only on the order of several million dollars per year and were far below the savings that would be required to satisfy the market efficiency criteria.

p. 3-4, 8.22.2014 July 2014 – PJM Board Approval of RTEP Whitepaper  PDF

HAH!  So despite this, PJM staff made a recommendation to the PJM Board, which said:

“To ensure a thorough and fair review, given the complexities of the issues, the Board has determined that it will take the matter under advisement and defer a selection at this time.”

OK, transmission wonks, have you ever heard of a proposal that PJM didn’t like?  Sounds like a significant “need” failure to me, that their desire just wasn’t enough.  So back to the drawing board — but who gets a pencil?

But PJM officials, environmentalists and power transmission companies are locked in an ongoing disagreement over the best way to do that. They are considering various options for a costly crossing of the river to a Delaware substation, but a Delaware official said the state’s ratepayers run the risk of shouldering the burden of a project that would mainly benefit people in other states.

Let’s see, PJM rejected it, and now they’re arguing about river crossings?  How do you get from “lack of need” to “options for a costly crossing of the river?”  From PJM’s report:

In April 2013, PJM Interconnection, LLC (PJM) requested technical solutions for improving PJM operational performance in the Artificial Island area under a range of anticipated system conditions and to eliminate potential planning criteria violations. In response to the Artificial Island-Red Lion Window, PJM received conceptual design level proposals from five (5) developers for the design and construction of a 500kV transmission line between Public Service Electric and Gas Company’s (PSE&G’s) Salem and Hope Creek Substations, which are located at Artificial Island in Salem County, New Jersey (NJ), and Delmarva Power & Light’s Red Lion Substation in New Castle County, Delaware (DE). The project is generally referred to as the Artificial Island-Red Lion 500kV Transmission Line.

PJM initiated, and note that:

The assessment of these proposals with regard to their ability to address electrical system needs or reliability is not included in the scope of this study.

Here’s the PJM PAGE WITH ALL THE PROPOSALS

And constructability analysis, here’s one (note they have it backwards, RL-AI):

GIA Red Lion-Artificial Island Constructability Analysis AI-RL Xmsn

And another constructability analysis:

US Synergetic Constructability Analysis AI-RL Xmsn

And a third that bears closer examination, because if the point of this is generation without reactive power requirement, look at the option that addresses reactive power:

Burns & Roe – Constructability – Static Compensation VARs on AI-RL

Here are comments from interested parties:

New Jersey Sierra Club Letter – AI-RL Xmsn

New Jersey BPU and Rate Counsel Letter AI-RL Xmsn

Delaware “Public Advocate” Letter – AI-RL Xmsn

Northeast Transmission (LS Power) Letter AI-RL Xmsn

Atlantic Grid Letter AI-RL Xmsn

PEPCO & Exelon Letter AI-RL Xmsn

Dominion Letter AI-RL Xmsn

In the News Journal today:

Indecision remains on power line route

Aaron Nathans, The News Journal 5:20 p.m. EDT August 22, 2014

(Photo: GARY EMEIGH/THE NEWS JOURNAL )

4 CONNECTTWEETLINKEDIN 1 COMMENTEMAILMORE

The nuclear power plants across the Delaware River in New Jersey need their electrical reliability and transmission capabilities strengthened, say officials at the regional grid management company, PJM Interconnection.

But PJM officials, environmentalists and power transmission companies are locked in an ongoing disagreement over the best way to do that. They are considering various options for a costly crossing of the river to a Delaware substation, but a Delaware official said the state’s ratepayers run the risk of shouldering the burden of a project that would mainly benefit people in other states.

The idea of the project was to allow the three nuclear power units to generate the most power possible, and to simplify transmission operations, said Ray Dotter, PJM spokesman.

Developers were invited to make proposals to fix the problem, resulting in 26 proposals in all. In June, PJM staff recommended to its board of directors a PSE&G proposal for an 18-mile, 500 kilovolt power line that crosses the Delaware River next to an existing power line. The crossing would lead to the Red Lion substation near Delaware City.

It was the first example of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s order requiring competition for transmission projects. That, Dotter said, means someone other than the local utility can propose and build a transmission project to solve a problem.

PSE&G officials in June said they expected final approval from the PJM board in July. PSE&G estimated the project would cost between $280-320 million. The costs of the project would be spread out among all PJM customers.

In choosing PSE&G, PJM staff rejected an alternative plan by LS Power to construct a 230 kv line through Delaware, crossing the river at a new substation directly across from the nuclear power plants.

But at the July meeting, the PJM board declined to endorse its staff’s recommendation. The board did not explicitly state a rationale. It sent a letter to the four finalist developers, stating: “To ensure a thorough and fair review, given the complexities of the issues, the Board has determined that it will take the matter under advisement and defer a selection at this time.”

The board invited the finalists to revise their proposals. The finalists, besides PSE&G and LS, are Transource and Dominion.

The Delaware Public Advocate has supported the 500 kv line, and was concerned the 230 kv line proposal would saddle Delaware ratepayers with the cost of construction, citing PJM transmission tariffs.

“We just thought that was enormously unfair for the Delaware ratepayers,” said Ruth Ann Price, deputy public advocate. The proposal made by PJM staff was expensive but ultimately cost effective in that it addressed the problem, Price said.

Maya van Rossum, who directs the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, said in a letter to PJM that the PSE&G option is “very damaging environmentally, and not just to one ecological resource, but to hundreds.” The crossing would require dredging, filling and pilings, which she said would harm water quality and hurt endangered species of fish.

“The development that this option would require will most certainly transform forested wetlands to a less productive condition,” she wrote.

Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark, said he was concerned about the environmental impacts of PSE&G’s proposal, and urged public hearings. He said the advocate’s office had weighed in too soon.

Delaware Public Service Commission spokesman Matt Hartigan said: “We feel it’s premature to express an opinion regarding the ultimate result of PJM’s decision making process. Having said that, Staff does have concerns with the high cost of any new transmission project, the potential environmental impacts and the economic impact on Delaware ratepayers.”

Karen Johnson, PSE&G spokeswoman, said the company remains “hopeful that the PJM board will make a decision soon and approve our proposal.”

Contact Aaron Nathans at 324-2786 or anathans@delawareonline.com.

Categories: Citizens

Overland Comments on Zip Rail

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 4:04pm

Today’s the day — Comments on the Zip Rail are due RIGHT NOW!  Just filed mine and Alan Muller filed his:

Overland_Zip Rail Comment

How about you?

Categories: Citizens

Silica Sand Mining 1,000 ft setback from Public Waters

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 10:58pm

At long last, here it is — only took a gazillion phone calls, emails, and finally a Data Practices Act Request…

TA-DA!!!

The Goodhue County Silica Sand Mining Ordinance 1,000 foot set back from Public Waters:

1000_BlufflandEco_MEFsetback – BIG map, can enlarge for great detail!

Categories: Citizens

My Comments on Goodhue Co.’s Solar Ordinance

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 1:25pm

Last night was the Goodhue County Planning Advisory Committee.  On the Agenda was the new Solar Ordinance, something we need to get moving on, but which needs work.

Here are the Comments I sent, though not until 2:50 p.m. yesterday:

Cover_and_Overland_Comments

FERC Order Terminating GIAs  ER14-1719-000_H061

FERC Order Terminating GIAs ER14-1684-000-5_H062

There was an open house before hand, and then the PAC meeting and a hearing on it.  This was a noticed “Public Hearing,” the purpose of which is to take comments on the Proposed Ordinance, not the price of solar, or interesting new designs, but on their proposed Ordinance.  There were a few commentors, most of whom had energy infrastructure siting experience.  Everyone was on point and specific, and it didn’t last all that long.

Bernie Overby was being his usual inciteful self — someday soon, Bernie, we’ve got to have a chat about what your nephew is hauling with the lime green large car and that shiny steel trailer.

But in deliberations and discussion, Dan “Wrongzigel” started with a low key rant about the number of comments and the detail (hello?  We’re supposed to be commenting on the specific Ordinance, anything else would be off point!) as if that’s a problem, and then goes off about the U.S. Constitution and how it’s vague, doesn’t even specify the number of Supreme Court justices, and then there’s Russia trying to control everything down to the last detail, “and guess who’s still around.”  So was the implication that attention to detail means collapse, that we commentors are Communists, that there’s too much information for him to handle, too much effort to fill in the blanks, that considering issues raised might slow down his steamroller, or ??  What do you mean, Dan?

And these comments from a teacher who “teaches classes such as Honors American Government… [who] takes great pride in bringing government into his classrooms.“  Wrongzigel’s taken some notes and proceeds to diss almost every comment, one by one, waving it away with his hand, towards Bernie, saying “we can deal with that in the CUP.”  And he even argued against setting some guidelines for how much ag land could be taken out of production by saying,”we’re for preserving agriculture, not preserving ag land.”  This, Mr. Wrongzigel, is a topic for some discussion — what exactly do you mean?  What’s the race to get this Ordinance through?  Whose interest are you representing?

And Dan, on August 18, 2014, looking at the state of our Constitution, can you really “guess who’s still around.”

Yeah, right, Dan, look around… our Constitution has been shot full of holes…  Yesterday was not the day to make such a bizarre statement!

Categories: Citizens

Mastic’s H061 & H062 Interconnection Agmts TERMINATED

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:45pm

Peter Mastic, a/k/a New Era Wind, and Peter J. Mastic Holdings, LLC, has apparently been trying to leverage his MISO Interconnection Agreements into some sort of advantage as a proposer of a solar project in Goodhue County.

DOH!  That won’t work — MISO went to FERC and requested that Mastic’s Interconnection Agreements for MISO queue projects H061 and H062 be terminated.  “New Era” vigorously defended its Interconnection Agreements, and against claims it had not paid requisite costs.  Oh well, that didn’t fly.  FERC complied and issued the orders a couple months ago.  H061 and H062 are TERMINATED!

FERC Docket No. ER14-1719-000_Order – TERMINATION of Interconnection Agmt H061

FERC Docket No. ER14-1684-000_Order – TERMINATION of Interconnection Agmt H062

So given the public nature of these Terminations, and MISO requests to FERC for termination which Mastic was obviously aware of, what would you call statements claiming that these Interconnection Agreements and spots on the MISO queue are Mastic’s asset, or that they could be used for any purpose?  Hmmmmmm…

 

 

Categories: Citizens

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