Carol Overland - Legalectric

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Carol A. Overland, Overland Law Office -- Utility Regulatory and Land Use Advocacy
Updated: 1 hour 20 min ago

It’s been a year since McIntyre was shot in BC

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 11:38am

It’s been a year now since this shooting, and still no Investigation Report:

 

Here is an anniversary article, and note that the “investigation” has not been completed — come on, it’s been a YEAR!

‘I will never know what got into him’: One year later, family remembers masked man shot by RCMP

Here’s an article that they “shot wrong man” though I find it bizarre that tipping over tables and tearing maps is a justification for shooting someone:

Police shot wrong man at Site C dam open house, Peace River farmer says

Another:

Police mum on link between police shooting, Anonymous group

And another about James McIntyre, the man who was shot, note from above article, police knew with certainty on Day 2 that McIntyre was not the one who “disrupted” the open house:

Police keep Site C disruptor investigation under raps

Here are previous posts on Legalectric:

James McIntyre ID’d as man shot by RCMP – July 23, 2015

And my Letter to the Editor was published shortly after the shooting:

And in the Alaska Highway News… – August 3, 2015

UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEAVES DEEP IMPACTS

Your coverage of the RCMP shooting of James McIntyre has been thorough in this general dearth of information.

I’ve spent the last 20 years advocating against utility infrastructure in the U.S., and the killing of McIntyre by RCMP is horrifying.  

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!  

Is the Site C project worth the impacts?  Is generating electricity and profiting from it sufficient reason to inflict these impacts, including this death?  Maybe BC Hydro should think again.

—Carol A. Overland, Utility Regulatory Attorney, Minnesota

 

 

 

Categories: Citizens

Speak Up at Xcel Energy Rate Case Public Hearing

Sun, 07/24/2016 - 10:21pm

Wednesday, at 7 p.m. at SE Tech College in Red Wing, there’s a public hearing about the Xcel Energy rate case (PUC Docket 15-826 — to look at all the filings GO HERE TO PUC SEARCH PAGE and search for docket 15-826).

Here’s my LTE in the Red Wing Republican bEagle:

Letter: Speak up at Xcel rate case hearing

To the Editor:

No one is excited about shelling out more money to Xcel, but the utility has requested an increase in rates, and it’s up to us to speak up. Xcel wants more money to cover the cost of transmission its been building and for upgrades to power plants. But there’s more to this story.

As Xcel’s Ben Fowkes notes, the industry has a “new normal.” Wholesale cost of electricity is down and holding. Fuel prices, the main variable cost, are low, whether coal or gas. Cost of energy via power purchase agreements is low. Cost of financing construction is also low. Xcel’s peak demand is down, 8,621 MW for 2015, from the 2006 all-time peak of 9,859. Xcel’s 2016 1Q energy sales are down 1.9 percent despite a 0.9 percent increase in customer growth.

We’re conserving – why should we pay more? Why are residential rates higher than large energy users?

Xcel’s rate case is transmission driven. Four CapX 2020 transmission lines in Minnesota cost $2+ billion. The MISO MVP 17 project portfolio of transmission across the Midwest will cost $5.24 billion-plus, of which we pay a share. This transmission moves electricity through Minnesota to points east, for the private purpose of market sales of electricity, from any point A to any point B in the eastern Interconnect.

And that’s the rub. Transmission is not necessary to serve Xcel’s load in Minnesota — it’s transmission for market access — and we should not bear those costs.

Xcel worked hard to reach consensus with the usual rate case intervenors on its e21 Initiative, including a “Multi Year Rate Plan” based on its corporate business case rather than cost-based rates. Xcel worked hard to ram through e21’s legislation, with those usual suspects sitting quietly in committee as Senate and House toadies greased the skids. What’s in it for those who agreed? What about ratepayers?

Who is speaking for the ratepayers? The judge has rejected intervenors — some who would object to Xcel’s plans are shut out. AARP and the state’s Office of Attorney General-RUD are making a valiant effort, but your voice is needed. If you’re an Xcel ratepayer and are dubious of Xcel’s business plan, if you want Xcel to justify costs, if you want consideration of what costs are recoverable, if you want limitations on recovery for travel, lobbying expenses, or prohibition of market-based infrastructure and activities to sell electricity beyond Xcel’s service territory, here’s your chance.

I pushed for a hearing in Red Wing at the prehearing conference, and it’s next Wednesday: Xcel Rate Case Public Hearing, 7 p.m., Minnesota State College Southeast.

Carol A. Overland

Red Wing

Categories: Citizens

DOE “Consent-Based” Nuclear Waste Mtg.

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 12:48pm

Well, that was interesting… and it took all evening!

First a sidebar, but an important one.  The Agenda CBS Public Meeting-Minneapolis caught my attention, seeing PUC Commissioner John Tuma named front and center. The PUC’s page  on Commissioner ex parte, conflict, and basic decorum has disappeared — I called the PUC about Commissioner Tuma’s appearance (fair warning, prior to event), and noted that the page had disappeared.  Here are the rules (the page was what stressed the importance of avoiding even the appearance of impropriety:

7845.0400 CONFLICT OF INTEREST; IMPROPRIETY.

Subpart 1. General behavior.

A commissioner or employee shall respect and comply with the law and shall behave in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the commission’s decision making process.

Subp. 2. Actions prohibited.

Commissioners and employees shall avoid any action that might result in or create a conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety, including:

A. using public office for private gain;

B. giving preferential treatment to an interested person or entity;

C. impeding the efficiency or economy of commission decision making;

D. losing independence or impartiality of action;

E. making a commission decision outside official channels; and

F. affecting adversely the confidence of the public in the integrity of the commission.

7845.0700 PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES.

Subp. 4. Outside employment.

A commissioner or employee shall not negotiate for or accept outside employment or other involvement in a business or activity that will impair the person’s independence of judgment in the exercise of official duties.

I registered this in a Comment section, provided copies of the rules, and expected something similar to Commissioner Koppendrayer’s response in a similar situation years ago (see below). Commissioner Tuma is new, and being there was not the worst of possible activities, other past and present Commissioners have done much worse, but it’s not OK.  His presence on the panel, on the stage, lends the impression of support of the DOE’s efforts, and nuclear waste, nuclear decommissioning funds, nuclear uprates and rehab, all are issues that have been and will be in front of the Commission in highly contested cases.  It lends the appearance of losing independence, impartiality, and impairment of judgment in future exercise of official duties.

I’ve seen this a few times.  One positive experience was at the Sawmill Inn when Commissioner Koppendrayer was named on a coal gasification love-fest panel when Excelsior’s Mesaba Project was before the PUC, and I’d called the Commission ahead of time and spoken to the then Asst. A.G. who said, not to worry, they knew ex parte and conflict of interest and rules of decorum.  Yet at that meeting, which Koppendrayer DID attend despite advance warning, I jumped up and objected from the back of the room, noting the PUC’s focus on avoiding even the appearance of impropriety, and Koppendrayer said something like “Overland’s got a point, and I should leave” and he did!  He earned quite a few “respect” points that day.   IEDC gets carried away  February 15, 2007.

On the other hand, I’m also remembering Commissioner Phyllis Reha’s coal gasification junket to Belgium via Great Plains Institute, a well-funded toady for coal gasification (and GPI was on panel last night, another cause for concern, how much were they paid!).  How blatant can you get?  MCGP Request for Recusal (Commission saw no problem!).

… and there’s her stumping for CapX 2020 transmission: PUC Commissioner Reha: Enhancing the Nation’s Electricity Delivery System.  That was the basis of another Motion, but of course, Commissioner Reha and the Commission saw no problem with her actions!  NoCapX Motion to Recuse Commissioner Reha & Exhibit A – Reha Power Point Presentation.

And then there’s Great Plains Institute’s involvement.  After their intense and well funded toadying for coal gasification ($437,000 over 21 months), and transmission, and then Xcel Energy’s e21, Dog help us!  Anything GPISD in involved with has got my attention, and not in a good way!

Last night’s agenda was packed, and we got a lot done.  A guy name Scott Thomas (the NSP engineer perhaps?) was at my table and jumped up and objected when we had a bit of opposition theater, I jumped up to counter, DOH, every hear of freedom of speech.  I mean really, it took all of 5 minutes, let people speak up!

Here’s my comment, in large part based on “consent” a la SNUY’s approach for sexual consent, substituting “nuclear” for sexual — if we’re going to get screwed, this is the best possible of consent definitions:

DOE – Overland Comment 7-21-2016

Here’s the DOE’s Consent-Based Siting page.  Notice was in the Federal Register, who reads that? Invitation for Public Comment in the Federal Register.  Comments are being taken through July 31 or email to them at consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov.

Here’s how they’re framing it, with questions to be answered:

  • How can the Department ensure that the process for selecting a site is fair?
  • What models and experience should the Department use in designing the process?
  • Who should be involved in the process for selecting a site, and what is their role?
  • What information and resources do you think would facilitate your participation?
  • What else should be considered?

We broke into small groups and actually had a pretty good discussion.  Peggy Rehder, Red Wing City Council, was also at “Table 2” and of course we’re disagreeing.  She’s frustrated at having spent 6 years on this and getting nowhere, but in terms of nuclear waste, 6 years is but a second or two…  I’ve got 22 years in, and some there had many more.  A key point was that the DOE must restore trust if it wants to get anywhere, and how would that happen?  Stopping production of more nuclear waste is a key step.  Dream on… this process is a move to enable continued generation of nuclear waste, continued operation of nuclear plants, now being relicensed, uprated, nuclear waste expanded.

Prairie Island’s President Shelly Buck was on the panel, and that was good — PIIC is in such a mess, the plant and nuclear waste right next door, and they’ve been screwed over so many ways, so many times.  Will they be regarded as a “stakeholder” this time around?  They’ve intervened in so many nuclear matters, doing everything they can to protect the Community…

Parts of it were webcast.  There will be a video of the evening’s festivities sometime, LINK HERE (when it’s posted, scroll down to “Minneapolis”) and there was a photographer snapping shots every few seconds (hmmmm, well, I guess that will be added to all our files!).

Karen Hadden, SEED Coalition (that SEED Coalition grew from Energy Foundation funding, same as MN’s defunct “SEED Coalition” which morphed into “RE-AMP” about 2005), was present, and vocal (YES!), regarding their concerns about nuclear waste siting in Texas and New Mexico, particularly about a recent application to NRC for a nuclear waste storage facility in western Texas, near the New Mexico border. See www.NoNuclearWasteAqui.org for more info.

Alan Muller, environmental consultant in Minnesota, and Exec. Dir. of Green Delaware, spoke of his having TWO Prairie Island reactors on the other side of town here in Red Wing, and the THREE Salem and Hope Creek reactors, visible from the office window in Port Penn, Delaware.

Here’s the Arizona meeting, CHECK OUT THE VIDEO HERE.  Well worth the listen, the panel is much better qualified than the one in Minnesota (with the exception of Prairie Island’s Shelly Buck, and Canada’s Kathryn Shaver from their Adaptive Phases Management Engagement and Site Selection, Nuclear Waste Management Organization, listen up to them when Mpls. video is released).

Take some time and consider the DOE’s informational booklet.  Put your thoughts together and send in comments: consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov.

I think it’s worth trotting out the EQB Citizens Advisory Task Force report on nuclear waste, from the Florence Township Nuclear Waste Daze:

Florence Twp Site – Citizens Advisory Task Force – Nuclear Dry Cask Storage

And also thing about the many casks on Prairie Island — those TN-40s and TN-29 have aluminum seals that need to be replaced EVERY 20 YEARS, and to my knowledge they’ve not been replaced, and there are casks that have been loaded and sitting there for more than 20 years.  What’s up with that?  What’s the plan?  Back when they were permitting that, there was no plan.  So…

Consider this 3 Stooges approach to cask unloading — don’t know of any other attempt to unload casks, maybe that’s one of the lessons learned here:

INEL TN-24P stuck

Here’s an INEL report on a TN24 leak:

10813-TN-24P leak

And an NRC report on unloading:

NRC INFORMATION NOTICE 97-51: PROBLEMS EXPERIENCED WITH LOADING AND UNLOADING SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL STORAGE AND TRANSPORTATION CASKS

Here’s an EPRI report on (these technical reports are important!) Creep and Crud, which occurs with storage:

100217 – Creep & Crud

Here’s a report generated after the “ignition event” at Pt. Beach, where spent fuel was loaded in a cask, then set out of the pool, and let sit overnight, then they attempted to well it, well, welding cask full of bubbles of hydrogen from the interaction of zinc and the acidic solution the assemblies are sitting in, left overnight, BOOM!

NRC_ Bulletin 96-04_ Chemical, Galvanic, or Other Reactions in Spent Fuel Storage and Transportation Casks

Where are all the reports about the weld flaws on the VSC-24 casks?  They’re in Pt. Beach, Palisades, and Arkansas One.

Estimated Risk Contribution for Dry Spent Fuel Storage Cask

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis of Welded Stainless Steel Canisters for Dry Cask Storage Systems – EPRI

And here’s a report relevant to us here in Minnesota, given all our granite and our “2nd place” position in the federal site selection resulting in “choice” of Yucca Mountain:

Granite report SAND2011 6203

 

Categories: Citizens

Center of the American Experiment is off track

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 2:24pm

 

Under a meme “Raise your voice… before they raise your rates” on a friend’s fb page, the Center of the American Experiment goes off the rails.  They’re fixated on renewable energy as the driver of the Xcel Energy rate case and rate increase, but don’t want to bother with the facts.  Well, it is the Center of the American Experiment, after all…

There’s no posting of the public hearing schedule, and no links to send comments, so what’s the point?  Guess they just want to rant.  I posted info on the schedule, and info about the transmission driver, and surprise, they deleted my comments!

Time to trot out this old favorite:

In Grist today: Transmission Lies

And here’s CAE‘s take:

Renewable Mandate Drives New Increase in Utility Bills Posted by Tom Steward on July 12, 2016

Minnesotans continue to pay through the nose for one of the nation’s most expensive renewable energy programs. Electric prices rose by 12.5 percent here from 2007 to 2014, versus a 1.6 percent decline in the average price nationwide.

Today the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is taking public testimony in the Twin Cities on Xcel Energy’s latest request for permission to jack up ratepayers’ utility bills by another 9.8 percent over the next three years. The request follows five consecutive years of rate increases for Xcel ratepayers, which begs the question of why.

The liberal grassroots group American Association of Retired Persons is leading the charge against a rate hike that will cost average ratepayers an average of $132 more per year.  AARP took out an expensive ad in the Star Tribune this week urging members to show up in force and “raise your voice against another Xcel Energy rate increase” at the PUC hearings.

“AARP knows that when utility bills go up, it hurts Minnesota families, especially those on fixed incomes or struggling to make ends meet. That’s why we’re fighting make sure you only pay what’s fair and reasonable for reliable utility service.” (the quotes aren’t formatting correctly, hence “)

So far, so good. AARP’s website also offers an “easy online tool” to help seniors “share their comments and concerns directly with the PUC.” Of course, doing so automatically opts you in “to receive periodic text, picture and video messages” and “action alerts about the issues that matter the most to older Americans.”

But when it comes to educating AARP’s members on the root cause of the problem, the powerful senior citizens lobbying group gives its usually like-minded environmentalist allies and government supporters a pass.

There’s no mention of why its thousands of members’ utility bills have escalated higher and faster than in most other states, in line with the increase in Minnesota’s renewable energy mandate.

Yet Xcel Energy makes it clear that renewable energy costs are driving much of the rate hike on a website dedicated to the issue.

“We’re making improvements to our distribution and transmission systems for continued reliability, the ability to safely integrate new energy on our system and to continue to provide carbon-free nuclear energy. Those improvements require investments, so we’re also working with regulators to bring more predictability to your energy bills.”  (the quotes aren’t formatting correctly, hence “)

The predictability in our energy bills comes in the form of annual rate increases. And 28 percent of the increase can be directly attributed to “carbon-free energy generation” and “diverse energy,” according to the utility. Another 58 percent goes into the grid for transmission, distribution and technology upgrades, but it’s not clear exactly how much is directly tied to renewable energy development.

Minnesota residents might as well get used to it. If state regulators okay the proposed hike, Xcel customers will have seen their rates increase for eight straight years.

Above is the public hearing schedule for the Rate Case, which apparently CAE does not want published. IF YOU GO TO THE HEARING AND OFFER ORAL COMMENTS, ASK TO BE PUT UNDER OATH (swear or affirm) TO GIVE YOUR TESTIMONY EXTRA OOOOOOMPH!

And to send in written comments, here’s from the PUC blessed  Xcel Notice:

 

Categories: Citizens

Xcel Rate Case Hearings on Tuesday & Wednesday

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 3:37pm

There are a few more hearings for Xcel Energy’s rate case coming up:

Who cares about this rate case?  Center for American Experiment does, but it’s a pretty myopic view, claiming that “Renewable Mandate Drives New Increase in Utility Bills.”  Wish they’d read the testimony.  Anyway, you all should care because this is a transmission driven rate case (see 2A2_MYRP_Chuck Burdick Testimony p. 28-30; 2C2_Xmsn_Benson)     Greasing the skids was a consensus agreement reached by Xcel Energy  on many issues, including Xcel’s proposal for a “Multi-Year Rate” plan prior to legislation being introduced to give Xcel what it wanted:

Exhibit 1B – e21_Initiative_Phase_I_Report_2014 – Xcel Filing PUC Docket 14-1055

Note this snippet, where they’re whining that their grid is only 55% utilized:

(N) Identify and develop opportunities to reduce customer costs by improving overall grid efficiency.  In Minnesota, the total electric system utilization is approximately 55 percent (average demand divided by peak demand), thus providing an opportunity to reduce system costs by better utilizing existing system assets (e.g., generation, wires, etc.). (e21_Initiative_Phase_I_Report, p. 11).

Well, DOH, we know that CapX 2020 wasn’t needed, we know the purpose was evident in the map starting at the Dakota coal fields, and putting it on our land wasn’t enough (for those who think it’s “for wind” no, it’s not, what a crock, you should have heard the testimony, seen the exhibits, the record demonstrates it isn’t, www.nocapx2020.info), now they want a whole new scheme for us to pay for their infrastructure to sell coal eastward?

For some reason, this docket disappeared… wonder who all on this consensus e21_Initiative_Phase_I_Report made that happen!?!

Or maybe the e21 Project Team?

Does anyone else care that Matt Schuerger, most recent Dayton appointee to the Public Utilities Commission, was instrumental in working the e21 scam?  Shouldn’t he have to recuse himself from any consideration of Xcel Energy’s e21 Initiative rate case?

And look at Bill Grant’s role in e21.  He’s now Deputy Commissioner at Commerce in charge of energy issues, and was for 20+ years head of Midwest Izaak Walton League (working over then employee Beth Solholt and IWLA employee, now PUC Commissioner, Nancy Lange).  Given Nancy Lange’s role in e21, she should also recuse herself.

And then there’s Mikey Bull’s role, as he recounts, and look who all is involved:

The e21 Initiative started as little more than a glimmer in my eye a couple of years ago, when I was a Manager of Policy and Strategy for Xcel Energy.  I’d just come back from a meeting at the Edison Electric Institute about the impact of various dynamics – low load growth, increasing infrastructure investments, deeper penetrations of distributed resources – on the current utility business model. In general, rates were going to rise under the current model far faster as a result of those forces, and utility revenues become more uncertain.

Those dynamics were later chronicled in the Disruptive Challenges report issued by the Edison Electric Institute in January 2013. I realized that it was important for Xcel to try and get out ahead of the curve.

So I reached out from Xcel to Rolf Nordstrom at the Great Plains Institute and Nancy Lange then at CEE (now a Minnesota PUC commissioner), to start putting the e21 project together. Rolf and I worked to put a strong core project team together – CEE, Great Plains, Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, George Washington University Law School and consultant Matt Schuerger. We then compiled a terrific group of stakeholders who together represent much of what constitutes the public interest – low income customer advocates, small and large business representatives, utilities, environmental organization, cities and other public entities, and regulators. Beginning last February, this group of 25-30 stakeholders met monthly for day-long sessions that were wonderfully facilitated by Rolf and Jennifer Christenson, his colleague at GPI, toiling together deep in the weeds of utility regulation.
It was an honor to work with all of them, as we coalesced around the set of consensus recommendations detailed in the report.

Here’s the full recap:

e21_MikeBull_Center for Energy and Environment

The legislation, SF1735, well, check the links below, and you can see how that went down.  I was there, seeing is believing.  First it was introduced, but despite the full room of SILENT “usual suspects” who had acquiesced to e21, and only a couple of us objecting to the bill, Sen. John Marty pulled it from consideration, initially on the Senate Energy and Environment Committee same days as legislative extension of the Getty and Black Oak wind contracts (the project couldn’t do it before the PUC so they go to the legislature), stuck in a placeholder “e21 Lite” and then put it in later as part of the Energy Ominous Bill, SF 1431:

These issues were raised, e21 marches onward, and here we are, in a rate case.

 

 

Categories: Citizens

Public participation? Tough in Xcel rate case

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 12:48pm

Last night there was a hearing in Mankato on the Xcel Energy rate case (Docket E002/GR-15-826).  Public participation in Public Utilities Commission dockets is supposed to be a happenin’ thang…   But there were no witnesses to question yesterday at the public hearing, and the Xcel representative who was there could not answer questions.  Worse, there was no commitment to have witnesses available to the public at the public hearings, and only advice that the public could attend the evidentiary hearing.  ATTEND?!?  When might we be able to question witnesses?

Sent this Data Practices Act Request this morning to round up the Information Requests and Responses regarding transmission, transmission riders, MISO and FERC:

Data Practices Act Request

Xcel Energy wants to shift its transmission rate recovery from CWIP and AFUDC to general rates, but there was no one there to talk about it.  These are the MVP projects at issue, in Schedule 26A, below, which are worked into MISO tariff and FERC blessed:

And here’s the projects in Schedule 26, below, but hmmmm, no project costs shown (click for larger view):

I entered these exhibits:

Exhibit 1A – XcelCover_e21_Request for Planning Meeting and Dialogue – PUC Docket 14-1055

Exhibit 1B – e21_Initiative_Phase_I_Report_2014 – Xcel Filing PUC Docket 14-1055

Exhibit 2_MISO Schedule 26A Indicative Annual Charges_02262014

Exhibit 3 – FERC EL-14-12-002_ALJ Order – ROE on MISO Transmission

Next meeting I’ll have some more:

e21_MikeBull_Center for Energy and Environment

MISO Schedule 26 Indicative Annual Charges

1Q_Earnings Release Presentation_5-9-2016_1500085150

Investor Presentation – NYC-Boston_3-1-2=16_1001207698

Investor Presentation – NYInvestorMtgs_5-10-2016_1500085349

2015 10K – Xcel Energy

2015 10K – NSP

Back to last night’s hearing…

Check the rules about public participation:

1400.6200 INTERVENTION IN PROCEEDINGS AS PARTY.

Subp. 5.  Participation by public.

The judge may, in the absence of a petition to intervene, nevertheless hear the testimony and receive exhibits from any person at the hearing, or allow a person to note that person’s appearance, or allow a person to question witnesses, but no person shall become, or be deemed to have become, a party by reason of such participation. Persons offering testimony or exhibits may be questioned by parties to the proceeding.

Another, the PUC practice rules:

7829.0900 PARTICIPANT.

A person may file comments in a proceeding before the commission without requesting or obtaining party status. A participant may also be granted an opportunity for oral presentations.

And yet another:

1400.7150 RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF NONPARTIES.

Subpart 1.  Offering evidence.

With the approval of the judge, any person may offer testimony or other evidence relevant to the case. Any nonparty offering testimony or other evidence may be questioned by parties to the case and by the judge.

Subp. 2.  Questioning witnesses.

The judge may allow nonparties to question witnesses if deemed necessary for the development of a full and complete record.

And this one (though they’ll say it isn’t applicable because a rate case isn’t part o the Power Plant Siting Act):

1405.0800 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION.

At all hearings conducted pursuant to parts1405.0200 to 1405.2800, all persons will be allowed and encouraged to participate without the necessity of intervening as parties. Such participation shall include, but not be limited to:

A.  Offering direct testimony with or without benefit of oath or affirmation and without the necessity of prefiling as required by part 1405.1900.

B.  Offering direct testimony or other material in written form at or following the hearing. However, testimony which is offered without benefit of oath or affirmation, or written testimony which is not subject to cross-examination, shall be given such weight as the administrative law judge deems appropriate.

C.  Questioning all persons testifying. Any person who wishes to cross-examine a witness but who does not want to ask questions orally, may submit questions in writing to the administrative law judge, who will then ask the questions of the witness. Questions may be submitted before or during the hearings.

What about the mediation next week?  How is the public interest represented?
Categories: Citizens

“Consent-based” nuclear waste siting?

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 12:47pm

The DOE is hosting a meeting on “consent-based” nuclear waste siting?  Who are stakeholders?  What does it take to become a “stakeholder?”  Who has legitimate authority to give consent for storing nuclear waste?  Who would agree?  And who would agree and on whose behalf, i.e., City of Red Wing, Goodhue County agreeing on behalf of those of us living here?  AAAAAAAAACK!?!?!  And given how the Minnesota legislature has dealt with nuclear waste, mandating siting “in Goodhue County.”

DOE Meeting

Thursday, July 21 from 5-9 p.m.

Hilton – 1001 Marquette

Minneapolis

From the south, hop on light rail at Ft. Snelling, and transfer or hoof it down to 10th & Marquette.

If you can’t make the meeting, check the Invitation for Public Comment in the Federal Register and email Comments to consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov by July 31, 2016.

Info available online at energy.gov/consentbasedsiting and the DOE’s informational booklet.

From the DOE:

The purpose of the consent-based siting public meeting is to hear from the public and interested stakeholders on what matters to you as the Department of Energy moves forward in developing a consent-based process for siting the facilities needed to manage spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The agenda includes a presentation from the Department of Energy’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, John Kotek. Mr. Kotek will discuss the nuclear energy activities that have brought us to this point, as well as describe the Department’s vision for an integrated waste management system and the need for a consent-based approach to siting. This presentation will be followed by a panel session with several experts providing diverse perspectives on the primary issues that need to be resolved in the design and implementation of a consent-based process. Participants will then have the opportunity to comment or ask questions to the Department and the panelists.

Following this session, there will be facilitated small group discussions on a variety of topics related to consent-based siting and integrated waste management. These small group discussions will provide the opportunity for participants to engage more closely on topics of interest to them. The Department intends for these small group discussions to be frank and open sessions on key topics that will inform the design of a consent-based process. The consent-based process will in turn serve as a framework for working with potential host communities in the future.

The agenda also includes a public comment period and two open houses with poster sessions before and after the formal meeting. The open house sessions provide participants with an opportunity to engage in less formal discussions with the Department and other meeting attendees.

Categories: Citizens

Philando Castile — dead. What’re we going to do about it?

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 12:41pm

Philando Castile.  Another police shooting death, another police murder.  How do we turn this around?  Why do police officers have their hands on their guns, and not tasers?  Was nothing learned from Jamar Clark’s shooting?  It goes beyond a matter of prosecuting the shooters, it goes beyond training, it goes to the fear, profiling, and systemic racism that triggers these shootings by police.  Again, how do we turn that around?

What to do, what can be done… and it seems to me here’s a start: It’s time for systemic change to address the race/class/religious profiling and fear, for police protocol putting tasers as the first option (not guns), training all police officers on the use of deescalation techniques, raising the legal threshold for justifiable use of force, and a serious look at police psych testing and reevaluation of criteria for hiring.  After the fact, we need an independent investigation, truth, and restorative justice process.  Attend vigils and demonstrations, particularly us white folks.  We can push in all venues, and action sure helps the existential angst!

Minnesota House Members

Minnesota Senate Members

Federal — Members of House and Senate

A vigil for Castile being planned for 5:30 p.m. today at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School, where he worked and was well-respected. He was a cafeteria supervisor there and had worked St. Paul Public Schools since 2002.

Diamond (used Lavish fb account) Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend, recorded this right after the shooting last night and posted it to facebook — facebook disappeared it for a while, but it’s back, and even the STrib has posted it, that probably won’t disappear.

Video recorded by Diamond Reynolds, via STrib.

The whole world is watching… It’s gone national, the police murder of Philando Castile, pulled over for a tail light out, and shot while sitting in his car while following directive of police to produce his license and reaching for his wallet.

From the New York Times:

Philando Castile Shooting in Minnesota Leads Governor to Seek U.S. …

And NPR:

‘I’m Outraged’: Mother Of Philando Castile, Slain By Police, Speaks Out …

Who was Philando Castile? From the St. Paul School District:

“Saint Paul Public Schools and its staff grieve the tragic death of a former student and current employee, Philando Castile.

He graduated from Central High School in 2001 and had worked for Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) since he was 19 years old, beginning in 2002, in the Nutrition Services Department.

Mr. Castile was promoted to a supervisory position two years ago and was currently working in one of our schools during the summer term.

Colleagues describe him as a team player who maintained great relationships with staff and students alike. He had a cheerful disposition and his colleagues enjoyed working with him. He was quick to greet former coworkers with a smile and hug.

One coworker said, “Kids loved him. He was smart, over-qualified. He was quiet, respectful, and kind. I knew him as warm and funny; he called me his ‘wing man.’ He wore a shirt and tie to his supervisor interview and said his goal was to one day ‘sit on the other side of this table.’”

Those who worked with him daily said he will be greatly missed.”

And thanks to the STrib for posting a transcript of Diamond Reynolds’ video:

Lavish Reynolds: Stay with me. We got pulled over for a busted tail light in the back and the police he’s he’s he’s covered [inaudible]  they killed my boyfriend. He’s licensed he’s carried so he’s licensed to carry. He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out his pocket and he let the officer know that he was that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm.

Officer: Ma’am, keep your hands where they are.

Reynolds: I will sir, no worries, I will.

Officer: [Yells expletive.]

Reynolds: He just got his arm shot off. We got pulled over on Larpenteur.

Officer: I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his head up.

Reynolds: He had, you told him to get his ID, sir, his driver’s license. Oh my god please don’t tell me he’s dead.

Officer: [Expletive.]

Reynolds: Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that.

Officer: Keep your hands where they are please.

Reynolds: Yes I will, sir. I will keep my hands where they are. Please don’t tell me this Lord please Jesus don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.

[Silence]

Officer: Get the female passenger out.

Other officer: Ma’am exit the car right now with your hands up. Let me see your hands. Exit now. Keep ‘em up, keep ‘em up.

Reynolds: Where’s my daughter? You got my daughter?”

Other officer: Face away from me and walk backwards. Walk backwards towards me. Keep walking. Keep walking. Keep walking. Get on your knees. Get on your knees. Ma’am you’re just being detained right now until we get this all sorted out OK?

Reynolds: They threw my phone Facebook. Please don’t tell me Lord Jesus please don’t tell me [inaudible].

Officer: Let me see your purse. You have any weapons or anything?

Reynolds: No. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend is gone. You can take it off my hand. Please don’t tell me he’s gone. Please Jesus no. Please no. Please no don’t let him be gone Lord.

Officer: [Expletive]

Officer: [Expletive]

Reynolds: He told him to get his license and registration. He told him he was licensed to carry and that he had his gun on him and then he started shooting. He started shooting for no reason.

Officer: [Expletive]

Officer: [Expletive]

Officer: [Expletive]

Officer: [Expletive]

Officer: [Expletive]

Reynolds: His wallet and license and registration you told him to get it, sir. You told him and he tried to tell you he had a license to carry and was gonna take it off. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend’s gone. He don’t deserve this. Please. He’s a good man he works for St. Paul Public school. He doesn’t have no record of anything. He’s never been in jail anything. He’s not a gang member anything.

Reynolds: [inaudible] and that you cover him Lord. That you allow him to still be here with us Lord. Still with me [inaudible] Lord. Please Lord wrap your arms around him. Please Lord make sure that he’s OK, breathing Lord. [inaudible] Please Lord you know our rights Lord you know we are innocent people Lord. We are innocent people. We are innocent. My four-year-old [inaudible]

Reynolds: Could you please get my phone for me?

Other officer: I’ll talk to my supervisor.

Reynolds: It’s right there it’s on the floor. It’s right there.

Other officer: Could you just stand here sweetie?

Child: I want to get my mommy’s purse.

Other officer: I’ll take care of that OK? Just stand right here for me.

Reynolds: Stay right here. Before you take the handcuffs off of me can you [inaudible]

Other officer: Can you search her before [inaudible]? I can’t it’s got to be processed OK?

Reynolds: Come here (to child).

Other officer: Is that your phone?

Reynolds: We’re in the back seat of the police car. [inaudible] call me the police just shot my boyfriend for no apparent reason. My phone is about to die. They shot him. He shot him three times because we had a busted tail light. He asked him for license and registration he told him that it was in his wallet but he had a pistol on him because he’s licensed to carry and the officer told him don’t move and as he was putting his hands back up the officer shot him in his arm about four or five times. I’m on Larpenteur and Fry. Whoever can come to Larpenteur and Fry that’s where I’m at. I’m gonna need a ride home. We’re on Larpenteur and Fry. [inaudible] if you can come to Larpenteur and Fry we’re right here in Roseville. Got the Roseville Police they got me handcuffed, my phone is about to die. I’m on Larpenteur and Fry and the Roseville Police Department just shot my boyfriend. They shot him four times. He’s licensed to carry. We had a busted tail light. And we had some weed in the car that’s about it.

It was a Chinese police officer that shot him. He’s Chinese he’s about 5.5, 5.6-1/2, heavy set guy. He asked him for his license and registration which was in the back of his pocket because he keeps his wallet in his pocket. And as he went to reach he let the officer know before he was reaching that he had a firearm on him and before he can let the officer know anything the officer took off shots. About 4 or 5 rounds were shot and my boyfriend I don’t know what condition he’s in. I don’t know if he’s OK or if he’s not OK. I’m in the back seat of the police car, in the back seat of the police car handcuffed. I need a ride. I’m on Larpenteur and Fry they’ve got machine guns pointed.

Reynolds: Don’t be scared. My daughter just witnessed this. The police just shot him for no apparent reason. No reason at all. They asked for license and registration. That’s the police officer over there that did it with the black on. I can’t really do shit because they have me handcuffed.

Child: It’s OK mommy.

Reynolds: I can’t believe they just did this I’m [expletive] [screams].

Child: It’s OK, I’m right here with you.

Reynolds:[Cries]

Reynolds: Y’all please pray for us Jesus please y’all. I ask everybody on Facebook everybody that’s watching everybody that’s tuned in please pray for us. Sister I know I just dropped you off but I need you to pick me up I need [inaudible] to call my phone.

Categories: Citizens

Peaking gas generator for Rochester

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 10:13am

Way back during the CapX 2020 proceeding, it became clear that Rochester Public Utilities planned to build gas generation just west of town, at the “Westside” site.  But this was downplayed, and ignored by the ALJ, because it would be evidence that CapX 2020 wasn’t “needed.”  And of course demand was way down, which we knew but which was also ignored, and that was one more reason CapX 2020 wasn’t needed.  The Rochester gas generation was delayed.

But recently they announced the new gas pipeline around the city, and now, the gas plant.  Today, from the MPCA:

Intent to Construct Air Emission Permit for Rochester Public Utilities Westside

Open for public comment through Thursday, August 4, 2016

MPCA requests/expects certain things to be addressed in Comments, “you must state” per the MPCA:

(1) Your interest in the permit application or the draft permit.
(2) The action you wish the MPCA to take, including specific references to the section of the draft permit you believe should be changed.
(3) The reasons supporting your position, stated with sufficient specificity as to allow the MPCA to investigate the merits of the position.

Send Comments to:

Rachel Yucuis
Industrial Division
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone: 651-757-2863
Email: rachel.yucuis@state.mn.us

Categories: Citizens

Comments filed on Dairyland Q-1

Fri, 07/01/2016 - 3:53pm


Time for a nap.  Just filed Comments on the USDA RUS’s Environmental Assessment for Dairyland’s Q-1 D South transmission line.  Here’s the EA:

Q1-South_Environmental Assessment

And here are the Comments I filed on behalf of No CapX 2020:

No CapX 2020 EA Comment_July 1, 2016

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Oh, and the interesting thing is that just this morning, I got a copy of the “Briggs Road-La Crosse Tap 161 kV Rebuild Study”  Thank you, Chuck Thompson!

 

Categories: Citizens

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