- Go! Northfield-Dundas
- Submit Content
Carol Overland - Legalectric
Carol A. Overland, Overland Law Office -- Utility Regulatory and Land Use Advocacy
Updated: 55 min 25 sec ago
See Smoke From Wildfires Threatens Health in the West from NPR yesterday. Back when we had RED air quality warnings in Minnesota, a couple of months ago now, I was feeling it. But the last week or so, I’ve been waking up totally stuffed, headache, and it takes about an hour and a half to get my schnozz cleared out. We have no German Shepherds, and even though little one-coated Sadie does shed, and even though I nuzzled a cat day before yesterday, that’s not enough to cause this. Could it be seasonal allergies, which are admittedly worse with age (OH MY DOG, no German Sheperds is bad enough, but just breathing?)? I’m not convinced. This headache and being stuffed up isn’t my typical response, which tends to be runny eyes, sandpaper nose and sniffles. It’s got to be the fires.
Meanwhile, I know a few folks who live out there, and in addition to having to evacuate and be on alert, others with relatives heading out to fight the fires, there are more subtle affects, where it’s showing up unbidden in photography jobs, an added interference with chemo for cancer, and a hazard for COPDers.
Here’s the chart of emissions for the Midtown Burner, from Saying NO to Midtown Burner Permits prepared by Alan Muller based on the Midtown Burner proposed air permit for the roughly 38MW biomass plant that was to burn “clean” trees in a much smaller amount than these wildfires across the west:
So if these are the numbers for the small biomass burner, what are the emissions for these wildfires? Is anyone doing testing in the plumes for what people are exposed to? There’s the emissions as above of things like formaldehyde that come from “clean” trees, the tremendous Particulate Matter, but what about all the other things too that are burned in these fires, like plastics, tires, creosote and penta poles? I’m not finding anything, and it seems this is something that should be done by the Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, etc., state environmental agencies. There should be active warnings to people to wear masks outdoors, and indoors to filter the air. We have a HEPA filter for every room, but we’re not normal. The impacts of breathing this air will be felt immediately by some people, but there’s a high likelihood that impacts are cumulative and/or take time to develop. Protection now is crucial.
Little Sadie celebrates National Dog Day, and gives me a bit of whale-eye for daring to take her picture:
And to all the dogs I’ve loved before…Ode to Summer… November 26th, 2012 Saying good bye to Kady November 22nd, 2014 Oh, it’s a sad day… May 26th, 2010 Krie, doggie with the winglet ears, died today January 2nd, 2010
And dear Katze:
And dear ol’ Maggie Mae:
Commentary by Alan Muller, Green Delaware, in today’s Delaware State News:Commentary: Time to think about Delaware’s Peterson, Coastal Zone Act
Delaware’s a mess. The water is rising. We are a major destination for bomb trains. One of the most leaky and dangerous nuke power complexes threatens and pollutes the state and is trying to expand with new reactors. The air and water are polluted. The economy is stagnant and the political system corrupt. The public schools are under attack. The court system is openly dedicated to protecting corporate crime. A tale of woe, to be sure.
Some of it is self-inflicted, like the reopening of the mega-toxic Delaware City Refinery and the resulting routing of bomb trains to Delaware. Some, like global climate change and sea level rise, is mostly beyond the ability of Delaware to do much about. On the other hand, it could well be argued that little three-county Delaware has done way-out-of-proportion damage to the world, has been a damaging leader in the “race to the bottom.”
What is the cumulative damage to individuals and families done by out-of-control credit card “banks?” Would that have happened anyway, with or without Delaware’s shameful Financial Center Development Act? Would so many electric ratepayers been screwed over so much without the hundreds of Enron subsidiaries incorporated in Delaware? Maybe they would have just been set up somewhere else. Would there have been so many bogus bankruptcies and stolen pension plans? Would the US, or the world, be in better shape without Delaware? Alternative history can’t be much more than speculative, but there is a case to be made.
Is it possible to imagine a better Delaware? A place to be proud of rather than ashamed of? A Delaware, for example, where John Kowalko is Speaker of the House rather than Pete Schwartzkopf? A place where the University of Delaware symbolizes intellectual freedom rather than civil liberties violations and the worship of capital at the expense of labor?
Russ Peterson died in 2011. (Here’s his obit in the New York Times.) Peterson was a significant figure in environmental matters in Delaware, nationally, and sometimes globally. But it seemed to me that most of what was being written about Russ was the same old stuff, regurgitated for the umpteenth time and not giving us much new or insightful to think about.
Now, three years have gone by, and Delaware’s rulers are pursuing another major attack on the Delaware Coastal Zone Act, the centerpiece, the masterpiece, of Peterson’s public policy work in Delaware. So, this seems an appropriate time to think about Russ Peterson.
Peterson was likely the most significant person ever to operate out of little Delaware. But he didn’t walk on water and he wasn’t God. He was both more flawed and more interesting than one might see from most writings about him. He deserves more thoughtful commentary than he’s so far received.
Peterson, first of all, not a “Delaware Native.” He was born, raised, and educated in Wisconsin, and was a product of the relatively progressive atmosphere, at least at that time, of the Upper Midwest. (For factual information on Russ Peterson see this Wikipedia article.)
If Peterson had grown up in the plantation culture of Delaware, and learned his chemistry at the University of Delaware, would he have made the same contributions? Maybe, but it’s doubtful. In general, the human intellect does not seem to blossom in Delaware.
Russ was educated as a chemist and was recruited by E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company as a research chemist. He rose to be director of Central Research and Development. This would be considered, at least at the time, high in the pecking order of the technical world, or at least its industrial side. Peterson was a smart man.
Peterson’s interests eventually shifted out of DuPont. My favorite story of Peterson and DuPont: At one time he was in charge of a suburban office/lab site known as Chestnut Run Plaza. At the time, in DuPont, black people could generally have only menial, broom-pushing jobs. Peterson set up a program to enable and encourage black workers to move up. DuPont’s response was to schedule Peterson for an interview with “the company psychiatrist.” Mental illness was suspected.
In any case, Peterson got involved in reform efforts in Delaware, notably prison reform. Being of an analytical turn of mind, he figured out how to organize such efforts: a committee in every Representative district, and so on. Some years of this work gave him good, if imperfect, insight into the workings of Delaware politics.
He wasn’t without his critics. Tom Colgan, long time campaigner against housing discrimination, used to say “Russ always showed up when the fighting was over.” Perhaps so. But Delaware is a place with a narrow intellectual and political space, where perceptions of non-mainstream views generally relegate people to a gadfly role. In a sense, Russ Peterson’s achievement was to keep close enough to the political mainstream to achieve, at least briefly, real power, yet he was not co-opted from the neck up.
In 1968, Peterson resigned from DuPont and ran for Governor as a Republican. At the time, the DuPont Company was behind him. I recall, as the teenage son of a DuPont manager, being turned out to flyer for Russ Peterson. He won.
But, after the enactment of the Coastal Zone Act in his first term, DuPont turned on him, and told its 25,000 Delaware employees–there are way fewer now, or course–to vote for Democrat Sherman W. Tribbitt, a hardware store owner in the small town of Odessa. Peterson was out of office after one term.
There were other factors in his defeat, including budgetary miscalculations that required the state to “claw back” spending. Whether this was a genuine screwup or a trap set for Peterson has never been entirely clear to me. The budget shortfall was five million dollars.
Peterson also pushed a transition from Delaware’s “commission” form of government to a “cabinet” system. Traditionally, many governmental functions had been run by citizen commissions. Some still are, such as utility regulation by the “Public Service Commission.” The members of these commissions were mostly appointed by the governor but were not, afterwards, directly under his control. On the other hand, departments of the Executive Branch were. and are, headed by officials reporting to the Governor. This increased the power of the governor; it made for a more centralized decision-making process. Like most change, it was resented.
This centralization of power continues: a disturbing example is the shift of power over schools from elected district school boards to a state Department of Education controlled by the governor. Many people these days feel that Governor Jack Markell is using this power to attack the fundamental features of public schools and public education, and to implement privatization of the public schools to the benefit of for-profit “education” companies.
After Tribbitt’s one term, hard right winger and special interest servant Pierre S. du Pont IV was installed as Governor for two terms. DuPont shut down the state planning office and, in general, tried to reverse many of the Peterson reforms. Many people see his two terms as the time during which Delaware abandoned real representative government and adopted the “Delaware Way” of governance. The “Delaware Way” could better be called the “Dirty Deals Behind Closed Doors” approach.
It was based on an understanding that coastal areas, that is, where the water meets the land and the air, are crucial from an ecological perspective and need special protections. The wording of it is pretty clear:
It is hereby determined that the coastal areas of Delaware are the most critical areas for the future of the State in terms of the quality of life in the State. It is, therefore, the declared public policy of the State to control the location, extent and type of industrial development in Delaware’s coastal areas. In so doing, the State can better protect the natural environment of its bay and coastal areas and safeguard their use primarily for recreation and tourism. Specifically, this chapter seeks to prohibit entirely the construction of new heavy industry in its coastal areas, which industry is determined to be incompatible with the protection of that natural environment in those areas. While it is the declared public policy of the State to encourage the introduction of new industry into Delaware, the protection of the environment, natural beauty and recreation potential of the State is also of great concern. In order to strike the correct balance between these 2 policies, careful planning based on a thorough understanding of Delaware’s potential and the State’s needs is required. Therefore, control of industrial development other than that of heavy industry in the coastal zone of Delaware through a permit system at the state level is called for. It is further determined that offshore bulk product transfer facilities represent a significant danger of pollution to the coastal zone and generate pressure for the construction of industrial plants in the coastal zone, which construction is declared to be against public policy. For these reasons, prohibition against bulk product transfer facilities in the coastal zone is deemed imperative.
The immediate tactical driver for the bill was an attempt to build a second oil refinery in Delaware. Shell had bought the land, designed the refinery, and survey monuments were in the ground. The threat was immediate. The damage being done by the existing Delaware City Refinery, one of the dirtiest in the world, was obvious.
It’s worth noting that Peterson and the leaders of the General Assembly were Republicans. The President of the US was Richard Nixon. The Nixon administration wanted to increase oil imports and wanted a lot of it to come up the Delaware River and be refined alongside it. So, in effect, Peterson was not only defying Delaware’s fat-cat industrial establishment, and many labor leaders, he was defying the US federal government and his fellow Republicans.
“U. S. Secretary of Commerce Maurice Stans accused Peterson of being disloyal to his country. Peterson famously replied, ‘Hell no, I’m being loyal to future generations of Americans.’” (Man and Nature in Delaware. Williams, 2008)
There were, however, flaws in the Coastal Zone Act, like most legislation a product of compromise. A key weakness is that the Act covers “industry” but not residential and commercial activities. Over the years, as coastal industry has tended to contract and sprawl development expand, the CZA has increasingly failed to control many of the greatest threats to the Coastal Zone including runoff and sewage. It has been obvious for many years that the scope of the Act needs to be expanded, but the vision and leadership to accomplish that has been lacking.
Another weakness is that regulations implementing the act we not adopted for many years, and when they were adopted they were inconsistent with the purposes of the act and tended to weaken it. Thus, interpretation of the Act has mostly been left to Delaware’s courts, with unpredictable and increasingly bad results, as the quality of Delaware’s judiciary has declined.
But, despite these issues, the Delaware Coastal Zone Act was groundbreaking, whether one regards it as primarily a “land use” law or an “environmental” law. It came about because a visionary governor was supported by a generation of reform-minded legislators and a relatively-active “environmental community.” Where are the visionary governors and the generation of reform-minded legislators when we need them now?? Gov. Jack Markell is certainly not cast in that mold.
Peterson went on to serve as President of the National Audubon Society, Chaired the federal Council on Environmental Quality, and worked with various commissions, environmental organizations and projects. He never again held elective office or a high position in the business or scientific worlds.
Peterson stayed, at least episodically, involved in environmental politics in Delaware, until his death in 2011 at the age of about 95. He was, for example, a supporter of the Bluewater Wind project, which eventually collapsed but potentially could have been the first large offshore wind project in North America. He usually popped up when the Coastal Zone Act was being attacked.
His love-hate relationship with the chemical industry. Perhaps Peterson never got over being pushed out of his job as Governor by DuPont. It seemed to me that he carried deep and legitimate grievances, and of course he knew intellectually that the policies pursued by big corporate interests were destroying the planet. On the other hand, Peterson had money, identified socially with the powers-that-be, and seemed to crave forgiveness and acceptance from the leaders of DuPont, etc. Thus, he could and did alternate between sucking up and lashing out. He wasn’t always reliable or predictable. He could and did make serious mistakes and publish stupid things, such as an endorsement of a bad waste incineration company.
Russ’ key mistake was to be politically seduced by “Toxic Tom” Carper. Carper was elected Governor in 1992, with the naive support of some Delaware enviros. At that time, a long Coastal Zone Act negotiation between enviro types and Chamber of Commerce types had been in progress under Gov. Mike Castle and was coming to conclusion. Carper came in with a pure “Chamber of Commerce” agenda and one of his first actions was to call in the enviros and tell them to yield to the Chamber on Coastal Zone issues. Initially, they resisted. So Carper went after Peterson, knowing that if Russ yielded, inevitably the mainstream enviros would go along. Peterson fell for it. I remember him yelling at me that Tom Carper and Chris Tolou, then Secretary of DNREC, were “great environmentalists.” He hired a bogus “neutral facilitator” shop called the “Consensus Building Institute” to give the enviros cover for their sellout. In the sad end, the enviros–many controlled by DuPont–wimped out and rolled over. They signed an agreement essentially abandoning the clear language of the Coastal Zone Act in favor of “environmental indicators,” “offsets,” and other excuses for abandoning the plain meaning of the Act. It’s been mostly downhill since.
There have been some high moments. John Hughes, as Secretary of DNREC, denied a permit for a Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) terminal in Logan Township, NJ. This he could do because at that point Delaware owns the Delaware River all the way across. The case went to the US Supreme Court and Delaware prevailed. At the time, the oil and gas people were saying that more gas imports were essential. Now, of course, they are saying that gas exports are essential…..
So what’s the relevance of this to 2015? Delaware faces more severe threats now than when Peterson was governor. The land is sinking, the sea is rising, and much of Delaware is subject to flooding. How is the state reacting to this? So far, with nothing but words. Decades of pandering to business interests, without foresight or planning, have left Delaware’s economy in bad shape and our quality of life degraded. Compare Peterson’s visionary Coastal Zone Act, which kept a Shell refinery out of Delaware, with Jack Markell’s dirty backdoor deal to reopen the Delaware City Refinery, and bring bomb trains into the state. Delaware is the big loser.
Alan Muller is Executive Director of Green Delaware.
We’ve been working on the rules for the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s chapters covering Certificate of Need and Siting/Routing of electric utility infrastructure, ranging from transmission to power plants. WHEW! It takes forever, and thus far it’s been over two and a half years, just for the “pre-Commission-sends-it-out-for-comments” rulemaking advisory group part.
Who cares about rules? Well I do, as to many others who have been dealing with Certificate of Need and Routing/Siting issues over the years. It’s important because so many things are wrong with the process, from awkward to just plain wrong/unfair, even in light of the enabling statutes for these rules (rules need to operate within some pretty restrictive statutory framing).
This is, again, still informal, and PUC is open to any and all comments, ones on point, that is, and so comment on specific language, and suggest specific language! Here’s the latest (and I’ve filed them on the PUC site):
To see the versions and comments thus far, go to the PUC’s SEARCH PAGE HERE, and search for PUC Docket 12-1246.
Air Permits at the MPCA! Time to sit right down and write a Comment to the MPCA about the Titan Lansing sand processing and loading facility in North Branch. Scroll down for the primary documents.
Send Comments, by Friday, August 28, 2015, to:Andrew Luberda email: email@example.com Air Quality Permits Section Industrial Division MN Pollution Control Agency 520 Lafeyette Road North St Paul MN 55155
The notice does not list an email for Luberda or a MPCA comment url, so I called him up to get his email. I asked if they’d correct this omission, and got a non-responsive response.
Tiller Sand transloading facility… If you recall, this was that Tiller Sand facility that they built and started operating WITHOUT ANY PERMITS, just went ahead and did it. That said, their history isn’t exactly as pristine as… well… as pristine as frac sand!
Then it was sold to Titan Lansing in November 2014 (see comments about air quality and permits in this article).
In the Chisago County Press here’s the poop about the MPCA Air Permit and info on how to file a Comment, great info about various Comment and administrative options (not that the MPCA ever does contested cases):
Here’s the scoop from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency:
Open for public comment through Friday, August 28, 2015. Send Comments to:Andrew Luberda email: firstname.lastname@example.org Air Quality Permits Section Industrial Division MN Pollution Control Agency 520 Lafeyette Road North St Paul MN 55155
In what world is something like this needed or wanted in a 16,000 population city like Red Wing, or in a rural county like Goodhue County? What would be the envisioned purpose?
Goodhue County and the City of Red Wing have applied for Homeland Security money to buy one of these, a Lenco Bearcat. Cost is $332,246.00. They call the current one the “PeaceKeeper” armored vehicle. They’re saying it’s too slow, and they’ve been having problems with it. I saw it cruising toward downtown on West Ave. a few years ago, and was stunned, didn’t know they had one here — I mean really, whatever for?!?! Meth labs? Militaristic cults? The Republican National Convention contractual obligations? Folks, this isn’t St. Paul…
I’ve heard that the Goodhue County vote recently was that it would not opt in to this grant, but that there is another vote about it. Red Wing will decide soon.
Goodhue County Commissioners (for your cut and pasting pleasure): email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
City of Red Wing Mayor and Council (for your cut and pasting pleasure): firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
A memo to the County Board from a Sheriff’s Deputy states:
The Emergency Response Team uses an armored vehicle on every mission and at events that may take place at the PINGP.
What does this mean? How many “missions” and what are the details? The phrase “at events that may take place at the PINGP” is odd — please explain! Does this mean response to nuclear emergencies? Does this mean response to Xcel Energy security concerns? If this is about the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, shouldn’t Xcel Energy be paying for it? They’ll probably say that these expenses are what the Utility Personal Property Tax is for, but I don’t think that’s how it works, it’s a separate issue!
Again, cost is $332,246.00. For this amount, the County and City could buy roughly 10 fully equipped squad cars (based on this linked Goodhue County purchase of 4). Think of the computer equipment they could buy with that kind of money!
This is overkill, it is not needed in Red Wing, not needed in Goodhue County. This is not “policing,” but is militarization of policing. Not a trend I want in my community.
Yesterday, I received a missive about the Plains & Eastern Clean Line that was disconcerting to say the least. After all the Comment periods have closed, both DEIS and Section 1222, the DOE now says that based on comments received, there have been changes, and we get this:Route Variations and Modified Converter Station Siting Areas
Here’s an example that makes no sense to me — look at the site for the so-called Arkansas Converter Station — it’s surrounded. Does DOE think it can ram through Wildlife Management Areas?
Given all this new information, where’s the announcement of opportunity to review and file DEIS Comments on this?
Given the alterations of routes, are new landowners affected? If so, where’s the announcement of opportunity to review the whole mess and file Section 1222 Comments?
Check out this great slap down of Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois by the Missouri Court of Appeals when Ameren challenged the lower court’s dismissal of their attempt to circumvent state regulation (thanks to Paul Henry for passing this on):
As you know, Missouri is the state that had the wherewithall to declare that Grain Belt Express and its Clean Line was not a utility. In this case, Ameren went in and said, with it seems quite a bit of arrogance, Missouri, don’t touch me, we don’t have to play with you, you don’t regulate me:
Thinking Presidential, John Kennedy & Jimmy Carter’s “Life is unfair.” Right now, I regret the passage of time, oh, to be young again… but Dog I love the internet, love this “Too-Much-Information Age” and our broad range of ability to speak out. From The Independent:Women are live-tweeting their periods at Donald Trump to prove menstruation can’t be used against them as an insult
Thanks to Sheila in Frontenac who gave us TWO van loads of day lilies. They’re in, looking kinda bent up and tired, they’ve had quite a journey, but they’re perking up and next year they’ll look like something, and the year after, even better. The grass wasn’t coming in on the boulevard after the West Avenue redo, it looks like crap, so let’s see how the day lilies do. To be covered with chips soon, we have lots of the left over from the West Avenue construction. And on the other side, in the yard, in addition to the day lilies, I’ve added a bee balm and a few cone flowers. Soon, the Little Free Library on the metal post, and I found the perfect browsing chair to chain to the post. Before winter?
And speaking of plantings, we often have a picnic up on Memorial Bluff at the lower quarry, the beautiful newly refurbished area with huge stone benches overlooking the garbage burner. They’d reopened it last year, but this year, it was clear most of the newly planted trees had died. Tonight I saw there were new ones… GREAT! But look, really, 6 of them are planted under the transmission line. It’s bad enough that they put two big stone picnic benches under the transmission line, but TREES? How long will it be before our friends at Xcel Energy mow them down?
Joe Biden and Champ
I wish Joe Biden would get over himself and stop musing about a Presidential run. He is not a contender. Biden’s intent? I’d guess it’s nothing more than a distraction from the strong showing by Bernie Sanders. Bernie is the nightmare of Democratic leadership, precisely because he’s the most compelling candidate for democratic voters (small “d”), people interested in preservation, revival, of our democracy.
Biden sure isn’t what I’d look for in a candidate. A recent post on Politico, How a Young Joe Biden Turned Liberals Against Integration, brings to light Biden’s efforts to preserve segregation. That should be enough to take him off anyone’s potential Presidential candidate list.
Alan Muller, Green Delaware, has had to deal with Biden for a long time now, and has a lot of insight into Biden’s character based on Biden’s record and actions. One story I’ve heard often is of a group opposing the Iraq war meeting with Biden in his office, and of Biden’s absolute and nasty dismissal of them and their concerns (expletives deleted for this PG-13 post).
Racial issues have been a struggle for Delaware, and Biden provides an example of white resistance to integration. Delaware was a slave state. Though it bills itself “The First State,” and though Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution, it was also the first state outside the Confederacy to reject the 14th Amendment, in 1867, and Delaware was very slow to ratify the 14th Amendment — it held off until 1901, 33 years after it was approved by enough states to be added to the Constitution.
Here’s an example of Biden’s “leadership,” a reminder of Biden’s efforts as a U.S. Senator to maintain segregation:How a Young Joe Biden Turned Liberals Against Integration From the article, the bottom line:
Then, as a court-ordered integration plan loomed over Wilmington, Delaware, in 1974, Biden’s constituents transformed their resistance to busing into an organized—and angry—opposition. So Biden transformed, too. That year, Joe Biden morphed into a leading anti-busing crusader—all the while continuing to insist that he supported the goal of school desegregation, he only opposed busing as the means to achieve that end.White parents trembled with rage as they envisioned scenarios in which their children would be bused into African-American neighborhoods.” Though white parents did indeed have this fear, the plans were not to bus white children, the plans were to “integrate” the white schools, and to desegregate the black schools, by moving black students to the white schools — that’s what they did not want to see happen. Busing was most often a burden on the black students, transported to white schools, as white parents, school board and local elected officials did a George Wallace and blocked the doors. This focus on “dilution” was evident in the court ordered Minneapolis arrangement, which was based on a bizarre definition of segregation, which in Minneapolis was that a school 35% black was “segregated,” but a school that was 100% white was not (note that in an failed effort to avoid a lawsuit, but in my experience a very educationally successful effort, Minneapolis formed the Central H.S. “Magnet School” to draw white students in from other schools to dilute the student population.) How was Biden, and how were all the other Senators, able to couch their opposition to integration, their efforts to preserve segregation, as opposition to “busing.” Yes, it is disingenuous, but that’s too nice a word. Same goes for the term “neighborhood school” a thinly-veiled cry for continuation of segregation — after all, the neighborhoods are segregated. The framing goes directly back to George Wallace and his development of the language of racism and hate that continues today (I’ve just finished reading “The Politics of Rage,” a must read to see the roots of today’s euphemisms — it’s nothing new.). I’m glad Politico brought this to light.
Here’s today’s 5th Circuit decision, remanding the Texas voter ID law. It’s pretty convoluted:
What really bothers me is the vacuous claims of “voter fraud” as justification for these restrictions on voting. Show me the cases! We’ve got that one case of voter fraud orchestrated by “Jake” (who was acquitted!), but let’s hear about the convictions, I think it’s something like 85 since 2004 or some such.
Here are posts on Legalectric about the Coates case:Jake acquitted of voter fraud!!!! March 14th, 2007 Voter Registration – Ray Cox, strip joints, and voter fraud October 6th, 2005
There’s a piece in The Atlantic about the “my outrage is better than your outrage” or “my outrage is more legitimate than your outrage” challenge going around, and folks, get real, who cares? People are posting outrage, and then getting worked up about challenges like “what about #(your favorite cause hashtag here)” and reacting defensively about challenges to their outrage de jour. So what? Why take objections personally? Why object to a challenge, rather than think about it? Why would you regard a challenge to your thoughts as a restriction to your speech? It’s a conversation, and it’s a conversation that needs to be had. It a trigger to thinking about whatever we’re ranting about.
Take a look at your expressions of outrage and see what’s there. Take a look at those you know expressing outrage and see what’s there. What’s the range of depth and breadth? What is important to you and yours?
And of course, it’s not binary. We can care about a lot of things, and can care about many things at the same time. Just look at people’s many posts to see what they care about! Multiple issue syndrome? Ask anyone with ADHD! Most of the people I know of who are outraged about Cecil are outraged about many, many things, and express that outrage regularly.
I’d guess the reason for someone objecting to the “what about #(your favorite cause hashtag here)?” and reacting defensively is that those issues raised are ones they’d rather not think about. Oh well… Maybe it’s time to get started, continue, or choose otherwise, but there’s no need to get defensive or competitive.
If the issue you’re writing about, if the position you’re advocating, can’t take some challenge, what does that say about your advocacy? If someone else thinks you should be pushing something else, well, what does it matter what someone else thinks? Do they make a good point? Raise an issue you need to consider? Is it something you should care about? Maybe it’s something you should at least think about, and it might be a good time to dive in, a time to do some self-examination! And hey, that’s just their opinion, just like you have your opinion! That’s what free speech is all about. Well, partially, because free speech is accompanied by responsibility, an obligation to speak the truth, to care and investigate the truth about what you’re saying, to express opinions with some basis, and to not toss around slanderous nonsense — check things out before you go off on a rant — and if you screw up, correct it, LOUDLY and WIDELY! That’s pretty basic. Think! Speak up! Stand up!From Cecil the Lion to Climate Change: A Perfect Storm of Outrage Oneupmanship
Instead, the people who hadn’t jumped on the Cecil-outrage bandwagon jumped on the superiority-outrage bandwagon. It’s a bandwagon of outrage one-upmanship, and it’s just as rewarding as the original outrage bandwagon.
The bottom line in that piece:
Many people are drawn to defend nature and underdogs (even when they are apex predators) and to hate wealthy, lying, violent dentists. But even more than that they are drawn to feeling superior and appearing wise, and being validated accordingly.
Methinks there’s a little more to it than that.
Here’s the piece that woke me up to this “rightness” thing going around — AAARGH, it’s so all about MEEEE! From Michelle Krabill, who on many points it seems I agree with, but on this, nope, no way, no how:Dammit! I care more (about the right things) than you do!
From the start…
Not allowed? This from a blogger? Someone with a very public platform accessible to all? Do tell, how is your speech limited, how are you “not allowed?” OH PUH-LEEEEZE… $50 says that she’s been challenged. And what she’s doing here is just what she objects to! She’s objecting to other people’s statements and lack of boundaries, and yet the headline is the words “I care MORE” and “about the RIGHT things” and “than YOU,” making a moral/ethical judgment about others, comparative and outward focused. That’s not something someone can claim in relation to others with any validity. We only know ourselves, what we care about… we control what we do, and have every right and obligation to say it, to act on our moral compass, and to stand up for our right to do it. That headline, though, is the type of statement she’s objecting to from others.
Just do your homework, write about it, agitate and advocate.
Yet Krabill does end on the important point, though with question marks rather than declaratory statements:
What if instead, we mourn every death? Celebrate every act of courage? Call out every injustice? Recognize every act of altruism? What if we actually believed that humanity’s best qualities could multiply with use and worst qualities would necessarily and absolutely atrophy in the presence of love?
Yes, I’d guess it would be a better world, though I sure don’t buy into the passive notion that “humanity’s worst qualities would necessarily and absolutely atrophy in the presence of love.” Each of us here needs to be an active participant in this thing we call life. “Humanity’s worst qualities” won’t just go away, that we can see in what history we know of, it takes a lot of concerted effort to overcome the ugly side of humanity. And that’s our job…
My clients have a tendency to hang around like bad habits — once awake to utility schemes, they take a bite and won’t let go. I’ve been blessed with an active bunch, and today I woke up to another example. Nancy “BOOM!” Prehn is one of my faves, she lives on top of the only natural gas underground storage dome in Minnesota, under about 10 square miles north of Waseca. She singlehandedly got an EAW on how the gas company was handling water. At the time, they were releasing water from wells onto their fields, and it wasn’t helping the corn and beans any. Turns out it wasn’t seriously polluted, and the gas company had to build a water treatment facility and storage tanks at each well to contain the water, and then suck it out, bring it over to HQ and run it through the treatment system before releasing it.
Nancy has a way of being ahead of the curve, and when she starts digging, look out. Now she’s working on tax credits for those with utility infrastructure on their land, like a natural gas dome! It’s needed for gas and oil pipelines too!
Here’s what she found today, from the 1979 legislative session, check Article 2, Section 20, a tax credit for landowners living under transmission lines — how did I not know this?Chapter 303 HF1495
And it’s still law today:
How much is this tax credit? Well, it’s complicated… and there’s a ceiling, see the statute for specifics:
It was enacted during the last transmission build-out, circa 1979, and has been changed many times over the years:History:
(2012-3) 1925 c 306 s 3; 1949 c 554 s 3; 1978 c 658 s 4; 1979 c 303 art 2 s 20; 1980 c 607 art 10 s 3; 1Sp1981 c 1 art 2 s 15; 1982 c 523 art 16 s 1; 1Sp1985 c 14 art 4 s 70; 1Sp1986 c 1 art 4 s 24; 1987 c 268 art 6 s 35; 1Sp1989 c 1 art 2 s 11; 1990 c 604 art 3 s 22; 1Sp2001 c 5 art 3 s 44; 2003 c 127 art 5 s 21; 2014 c 275 art 1 s 90
Note this one that changed it from any “high voltage transmission line” as defined by then PPSA 116C.52, Subd. 3, to a high voltage transmission line “with a capacity of 200 kilovolts or more”
which also happened in the Buy the Farm statute:
Bottom line — it’s good people affected by transmission get a tax credit for their burden, but it’s bad that it’s not assessed to the ones that took that easement. It should be assessed to utilities/energy companies, the ones causing it and benefiting from it, not the rest of us taxpayers who have to make up the difference for local governments who need the tax revenues.
TO DO: We need to make this tax credit applicable to all energy infrastructure (Note I said “energy” and not “utility” because there’s a lot of infrastructure being built that is NOT utility. but oil companies, and those “transmission only” private purpose companies.) and to assess the entity that burdened the property for the amount of that tax credit.
A big part of my schtick is to stand at the door (not inside where I’d be “interfering”) and enthusiastically greet everyone, hand them a flyer about how to participate, and direct them to the meeting. Had I been at that open house, I’d be the one they found at the door. Had they told me to leave, I’d have argued and resisted, as always, ramping up if they pushed.
In my experience, utilities have now and then requested police presence, and when I see it, I let the organizers know it’s offensive and off putting, chilling public participation. People have a right to speak out against a project, and they have a right to be angry! I talk to the officers too, find out if I can who wanted them there, and let them know it’s inhibiting and threatening to the public. I figure they just add me to their list of people to watch. But this atmosphere of blind fear is not acceptable. Don’t Canadians have a right to free speech? Civil disobedience is an appropriate response. Civil disobedience is NOT a death sentence with law enforcement as judge, jury and executioner.
People are being steam-rolled by utility infrastructure projects such as dams, transmission lines, and pipelines, and no one wants to hear about it. They want opposition to just go away. People are losing their land, communities are deeply affected, and those affected are not compensated sufficiently to make it acceptable — and money is not the answer to everything!
That’s the Coal Creek plant, a photo I took on a tour. If you’re an electric co-op member in Minnesota (elsewhere too?), they offer tours regularly, and it’s something you should do! Check your co-op’s newsletter for info.
State Register Notice:
Just released FEDERAL Clean Power Plan:
Look at how the “adjusted” Minnesota’s baseline levels due to Sherco 3 being out for nearly 2 years:
The EPA examined units nationwide with 2012 outages to determine where an individual unit-level outage might yield a significant difference in state goal computation. When applying this test to all of the units informing the computation of the BSER, emission performance rates, and statewide goals, the EPA determined that the only unit with a 2012 outage that 1) decreased its output relative to preceding and subsequent years by 75 percent or more (signifying an outage), and 2) could potentially impact the state’s goal as it constituted more than 10 percent of the state’s generation was the Sherburne County Unit 3 in Minnesota. The EPA therefore adjusted this state’s baseline coal steam generation upwards to reflect a more representative year for the state in which this 900 MW unit operates.
And from the state, which acknowledges imminent release of FEDERAL Clean Power Plan Final Rule , also released today, just in from the MPCA (direct quote):
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued a request for comments on possible rule amendments to bring Minnesota into compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Power Plan. You can read the full request in the August 3, 2015, edition of the State Register, available at www.comm.media.state.mn.us/bookstore/mnbookstore.asp?page=register.
The amendments we are considering will help Minnesota meet standards established by the Clean Power Plan, which sets state-specific carbon dioxide emission targets and requires each state to submit a plan detailing its strategy for meeting the targets. As of State Register press time, we have not yet started drafting a plan because the EPA has not yet published the standards that Minnesota’s plan will need to meet, so the MPCA requests public input to help guide our considerations of methods for meeting the EPA’s targets, as well as any other objectives that the state’s plan might include.
Stakeholder meeting agendas, notes, and other related documents are posted on the website for this rulemaking at www.pca.state.mn.us/w9y3awr.
To access information about a particular Minnesota rulemaking, visit the Public Rulemaking Docket.
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!
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.N-A-R-C-I-S-S-I-S-M
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”):
And on NPR (I’d write that headline a bit different… “hunter?” … maybe just “Walt, call home!”):
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%.
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:
And for those of you into charts and graphs (from the 2Q 2015 Report_1001200774):
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
“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:
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?