Carol Overland - Legalectric

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Carol A. Overland, Overland Law Office -- Utility Regulatory and Land Use Advocacy
Updated: 29 min 9 sec ago

U of M Humphrey “report” on CapX 2020

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 11:51am

It’s out, the report from U of M Humphrey School of Public Affairs about CapX 2020, headlining it as a “Model for addressing climate change.

Transmission Planning and CapX 2020: Building Trust to Build Regional Transmission Systems

Oh, please, this is all about coal, and you know it.  This is all about enabling marketing of electricity.  In fact, Xcel’s Tim Carlsbad testified most honestly that CapX 2020 was not for wind!  That’s because electrical energy isn’t ID’d by generation source, as Jimbo Alders also testified, and under FERC, discrimination in generation sources is not allowed, transmission must serve whatever is there.  And the report early on, p. 4, notes:

Both North and South Dakota have strong wind resources and North Dakota also has low-BTU lignite
coal resources that it wants to continue to use. New high-voltage transmission lines are needed to
support the Dakotas’ ability to export electricity to neighboring states.

See also: ICF-Independent Assessment MISO Benefits

Anyway, here it is, and it’s much like Phyllis Reha’s puff piece promoting CapX 2020 years ago while she was on the Public Utilities Commission, that this is the model other states should use:

MN PUC Commissioner Reha’s Feb 15 2006 presentation promoting CapX 2020

So put on your waders and reading glasses and have at it.  And note how opposition is addressed, countered by an organization that received how much to promote transmission.  This is SO condescending:

… and opposition discounted because it’s so technical, what with load flow studies, energy consumption trends, how could we possibly understand?  We couldn’t possibly understand… nevermind that the decreased demand we warned of, and which demonstrated lack of need, was the reality that we were entering in 2008.

And remember Steve Rakow’s chart of demand, entered at the very end of the Certificate of Need hearing when demand was at issue???  In addition to NO identification of axis values, the trend he promoted, and which was adopted by the ALJ and Commission, has NOT happened, and instead Xcel is adjusting to the “new normal” and whining that the grid is only 55% utilized in its e21 and rate case filings.  Here’s Steve Rakow’s chart:

Reality peak demand trajectory was lower than Rakow’s “slow growth” line, in fact, it’s the opposite from 2007 to present.  Suffice it to say:

Categories: Citizens

Yes, it’s true, Prince died

Thu, 04/21/2016 - 2:32pm

Governor Dayton orders I-35W Bridge to remain purple all weekend KMOJ – Listen Up!

Prince was found dead today at Paisley Park.  57 years old.  Not surprised, because I just can’t imagine him being old, and that thought popped into my head when I’d heard about that “medical emergency” last week, how he’d age… maybe it’s just my latest milestone birthday, or that his memoir is due out soon, but the idea of a crochety Prince, an oxymoron.

I didn’t know him, just literally “in passing” in the halls of Central H.S., but friends in music did, and, well, that memoir could be interesting…

STrib: ORAL HISTORY: Prince’s life, as told by people who knew him best

Questlove’s Weeklong Master Class on Prince

Mpls Central?  Yearbook photos — from P. Nelson, 2nd column from left, go down one row and over three, and there’s my little bro!

Prince was talented and musically influential beyond measure.  He put Minneapolis on the map, and how long was it that he was at top of charts elsewhere, yet metro radio wouldn’t give him air time?  Who was it that called Purple Rain the best country western song ever written?

RIP Prince!

And on Barn Bluff, here in Red Wing, before the City “redacted” it:

Categories: Citizens

Criminal Charges Begin re: Flint Water

Wed, 04/20/2016 - 10:12am

Yesterday, Alan and I were in Hastings, and we were talking about the extreme pollution of 3M, and of DuPont in Delaware. In Flint, it appears that it’s being taken seriously, though these first three charged may just be the sacrificial offerings:

In Michigan, the dominos are starting to fall.  Susan Hedman, former head of EPA Region 5, did the right thing, and quickly, but since then?  Well, now the criminal charges have begun:

Flint water crisis: Criminal charges against three state and city workers

From the article:

Glasgow is accused of tampering with evidence when he allegedly changed testing results to show there was less lead in city water than there actually was. He is also charged with willful neglect of office.

Prysby and Busch are charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to tamper with evidence, tampering with evidence, a treatment violation of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act and a monitoring violation of the Safe Drinking Water.

I would hope they’ll go deeper and that more will be charged.

It’s different in Minnesota.  3M knew enough to stop manufacturing PFOA, but it was dumped and made its way into our water, there’s a lawsuit initiated by our Minnesota Attorney General, but no criminal charges:

Study finds link between 3M-made chemical and cancer

Lawsuits Charge that 3M Knew About the Dangers of its Chemicals

A few snippets from the above article:

State Attorney General Lori Swanson first filed the lawsuit against 3M on behalf of the people of Minnesota in 2010, claiming that the company polluted more than 100 square miles of groundwater near its plant in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, as well as four aquifers serving as drinking water for some 125,000 people in the Twin Cities. The suit charges that the company piped PFC-polluted wastewater into a stream that flows into the Mississippi River and disposed of it on land near the river, which allowed it to leach into the river.

… and (the red links are to EPA testing):

After the initial discovery of PFCs in drinking water near the Cottage Grove plant, 3M installed filtration systems on the water supply for the nearby community of Oakdale, provided bottled water for residents with private wells, and remediated three of its former dump sites. However, the most recent water tests, released by the EPA in January, still showed 25 detections of PFCs in wells that provide drinking water to Woodbury, Oakdale, and Hastings — all of which are near 3M headquarters — as well as in the Cottage Grove water utility, which serves more than 33,000 people.

In two wells in Oakdale, PFOS contamination detected by EPA tests released in January exceeded the provisional health levels set by the agency. And several Oakdale wells had PFOA levels higher than those that qualified residents to participate in a class-action suit against DuPont in West Virginia and Ohio.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has a page on this, where dangers are minimized, and where not much has been posted past 2009 (note landowners with wells have to pay over $300 for testing their water!):

The 3M Cottage Grove Facility and Perfluorochemicals

Why has no one been charged at 3M?  Why is this surface and ground water pollution not front and center?

What about the bad water in Pennsylvania from fracking, Dimock, PA comes to mind, and that was public knowledge over 7 years ago:

Gas in wells in Dimock Twp. PA

And remember that National Geographic article with astonishing photos way back in 2007 about the poisoned and dry wells in Wyoming?  That was a decade ago.  What’s been done?

Drilling in the West – in National Geographic this month
Categories: Citizens

US Supremes Weigh in on Electric Market

Tue, 04/19/2016 - 5:24pm

Here’s an interesting case (oh, how I hate that word “interesting”).  It’s about whether a state can offer “incentives” over and above FERC wholesale electric rates that would incentivize construction of new in-state generation.  US SCt says NO!  The states can only regulate retail rates.

Hughes v Talen Energy Marketing_14-614 April 19, 2016

This is a case regarding Maryland “incentives” and PJM, but it’s applicable to our good friends at MISO too.

So do tell, what does this mean for FERC set rates of recovery and cost allocation for all this transmission to enable the wholesale market?  What happens when FERC rates stick their nose under the tent in state rate proceedings, i.e., Schedule 26A covering return and cost allocation for these big transmission projects we know and love?  From what I can see of Schedule 26A, they’re allocating a “retail share” and, well, what business does FERC, via MISO (in this area), have with retail rates?

Transmission Rate Information

Schedule 26A – Indicative Rate Charges MISO (last updated 3/31/2016)

Look at all the ways we’re charged for transmission:

Transmission Pricing – MISO


Categories: Citizens

Sandpiper Scoping Meetings Scheduled

Wed, 04/13/2016 - 12:52pm

An old Enbridge map of proposed Sandpiper route

The Minnesota Department of Commerce has released Notice of Scoping Meetings for the Sandpiper pipeline:

Here’s the full Notice:

Scoping & Meeting Notice_20164-119967-01

There’s also a lot of new information posted to go along with this, routes and alternatives and modifications are posted.

To look at the entire docket, go to the PUC’s Seach eDockets page, and search for dockets 13-473 (Certificate of Need) or 13-474 (Routing Docket).

Check out this weeks filings regarding environmental review filed by Commerce:

20164-119946-04 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX C – ACCESS ROADS TABLE 04/11/2016 20164-119944-09 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A2 – SURVEY MAPS 70-82 04/11/2016 20164-119945-05 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A3 – SOIL MAPS 37-49 04/11/2016 20164-119944-01 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A2 – SURVEY MAPS 1-24 04/11/2016 20164-119946-02 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX B – TAX PARCEL LIST 04/11/2016 20164-119946-08 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX E – WETLAND CROSSING TABLE 04/11/2016 20164-119944-15 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A2 – SURVEY MAPS 109-121 04/11/2016 20164-119944-07 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A2 – SURVEY MAPS 54-69 04/11/2016 20164-119946-16 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX I – ROAD AND RAILROAD CROSSING TABLE 04/11/2016 20164-119945-01 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A3 – SOIL MAPS 1-21 04/11/2016 20164-119944-13 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A2 – SURVEY MAPS 95-108 04/11/2016 20164-119945-11 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A3 – SOIL MAPS 77-88 04/11/2016 20164-119944-11 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A2 SURVEY MAPS 83-94 04/11/2016 20164-119946-10 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX F – WATERBODIES IN MN WITHIN 1 MILE DOWNSTREAM OF CROSSINGS 04/11/2016 20164-119945-09 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A3 – SOIL MAPS 64-76 04/11/2016 20164-119944-17 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A2 – SURVEY MAPS 122-125 04/11/2016 20164-119946-12 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX G – LOG FOR WELL 653274 04/11/2016 20164-119944-05 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A2 – SURVEY MAPS 41-53 04/11/2016 20164-119943-07 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A – DETAILED ROUTE MAPS 19-29 04/11/2016 20164-119943-09 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A – DETAILED ROUTE MAPS 30-43 04/11/2016 20164-119943-13 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A – DETAILED ROUTE MAPS 58-61 04/11/2016 20164-119943-03 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–EAW PART 2 04/11/2016 20164-119943-01 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–EAW PART 1 04/11/2016 20164-119945-13 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A3 – SOIL MAPS 89-101 04/11/2016 20164-119944-03 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A2 – SURVEY MAPS 25-40 04/11/2016 20164-119943-05 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A – DETAILED ROUTE MAPS 1-18 04/11/2016 20164-119945-15 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A3 – SOIL MAPS 102-114 04/11/2016 20164-119945-07 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A3 – SOIL MAPS – 50-63 04/11/2016 20164-119945-17 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A3 – SOIL MAPS 115-125 04/11/2016 20164-119943-11 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A – DETAILED ROUTE MAPS 44-57 04/11/2016 20164-119945-03 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX A3 – SOIL MAPS 22-36 04/11/2016 20164-119947-02 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–DRAFT SCOPING DECISION DOCUMENT 04/11/2016 20164-119946-06 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX D – WATERBODY CROSSING TABLE 04/11/2016 20164-119946-14 13-473 DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX H – SENSITIVE NOISE RECEPTORS 04/11/2016
Categories: Citizens

On a roll — Bernie wins Wisconsin!

Tue, 04/05/2016 - 9:58pm


Categories: Citizens

Major pipeline rupture in SD

Tue, 04/05/2016 - 2:33pm

Photo from CBC(“supplied”)

There’s a big pipeline eruption underground, to the point that it’s bubbling up out of the ground, discovered by a passerby/landowner, near, but not at, a pumping station.

Why do I say big?  Well, for a pipeline to spring a leak, and for it to reach the surface, it must be a lot of oil.  And it will be a major effort to find the problem, fix it, and clean up the damage.  I won’t use the words “spill” or “leak” to describe it, because those sound so pesky and innocent, and will stick to “eruption” or “disgorge” or some such, to convey the impact and damage expected from something like this.

TransCanada’s Russ Girling

Try finding news articles about this!  Try, I dare ya!  There’s not more than a handful.

Keystone pipeline shut down after crude leak in South Dakota

Keystone pipeline springs leak in South Dakota

TransCanada shuts down Keystone pipeline after oil spill in South Dakota

TransCanada shuts down Keystone pipeline after oil seeps to surface

This isn’t going to just go away.  Cindy Myers has been posting some great photos, maybe those “supplied” to the CBC are hers?  I’ve asked for permission to post… waiting for response.

Categories: Citizens

Freeman fails Jamar Clark and ALL of us

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 12:16pm

This is about Jamar Clark.  It is also about such basic rights, right to life, and Constitutional rights. It’s also about our obligation and responsibility to stand up when there is no justice.  As an attorney sworn to uphold the Constitution, it’s important to loudly object.  I’m not a criminal attorney, and I’ve had very little experience in criminal law, long ago, but this case stinks of _________ (corruption?  fear?  obligation?  indebtedness?).

Hot off the press:

NAACP calls for new probe into Jamar Clark shooting

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman decided, against evidence, that he would not charge officers involved in the killing of Jamar Clark with any crime.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, reconsider!

The federal review of this case is not complete, and there may be federal charges.  But that potential does not relieve Freeman of his responsibility as prosecutor.  If he’s not up for the job, he should appoint a special prosecutor for this case, and to review every case of a killing by a police officer.

Freeman was praised for his decision not to refer this case to a Grand Jury, which notoriously fail to charge police officers, this case and all such cases going forward.  But in this case, could it have been more of an issue that given the evidence different than his recitation, the very different story than the one he told, that a Grand Jury may have charged the officers?!?!  We’ll never know.

Evidence that conflicts with his recitation?  Here’s what was released and posted as evidence (but it’s NOT all inclusive):

Hennepin County’s page on County Attorney Decision and Evidence

A number of issues come up that individually or combined call Freeman’s decision of NO charges whatsoever into question.

This STrib headline and article reveals both Freeman’s defensiveness and one reason his decision makes no sense:

Freeman gives emphatic defense of decision not to charge officers, questions why officers didn’t have tasers

The police have training, experience, and equipment to handle people, and yet in this case, they didn’t even have tasers?  They threw him down in an admittedly “not favored” move?  And then one officer shot him point blank in the head, his weapon not firing the first time…

Freeman wondered why the officers did not have Tasers they possibly could have used instead of a firearm to de-escalate the conflict with Clark

All along, Clark has been presented as a domestic abuser (as if that provides justification for officers to kill him?), yet the report of the “victim” reveals she is not a “victim” of domestic assault and has come out publicly now stating this in televised interviews.  It looks as though her statement to the police has been suppressed.

Rayann Hayes Police Interview

City Pages: I wasn’t Jamar Clark’s girlfriend, and he didn’t break my ankle

Exclusive: Alleged Jamar Clark Victim Speaks Out

At issue also is Jamar Clark’s behavior, where initially it was said that he was interfering with treatment of Hayes.  That’s not how Freeman reported it at the press conference, where he said more than once that Clark was “tapping” on the ambulance doors.  Hayes’ statement reports conversation going on in the ambulance where those treating her were pushing the “domestic assault” version, which she states at the time she denied and corrected.

A claim by the police shooter that he was afraid doesn’t seem credible in the situation as facts unfold.

This does not add up, and it does not add up to “no charges.”  Freeman should take this up again in light of the exposed conflicts between evidence he relied on, and other evidence that was not posted on the County Attorney website above.

Why is Jamar Clark’s 2015 “Fleeing Case” information posted on that site?  That’s an inflammatory choice on Freeman’s part.  There is no legitimate reason to post it, it is not relevant to this decision.  The “Fleeing Case” can only be being brought in to bolster public opinion of Freeman’s support of the officers’ behavior — if he has a record, then he deserves to be shot.  NO, not acceptable.  And by the way, “fleeing” is not an aggressive act.  Hennepin County, remove that 2015 “Fleeing Case” information from the page.

Why aren’t the prior Complaints against the two officers, Dustin Schwarze and Mark Ringgenberg, also posted?

What will the civil suit look like on this?  I’d guess the result would be very different, and unfortunately, it looks like it will take a civil suit to get some justice for Jamar.


Attorney Jordan Kushner had some thoughts he put out on the Mpls. yak-yak list that I’m attaching below.  This is his area of law, he is an attorney fiercely dedicated to protecting our civil rights (and now is faced, perversely, with charges himself after being arrested at the U of M for filming the police).  I met Kushner decades ago when a number of us were defending the Crandon 29, where 29 protestors of the proposed mine in Crandon, Wisconsin, were arrested (my two clients were arrested for “blocking the highway” despite the video of the protest which showed clearly that my clients were on the sidewalk or next to the curb in the street, and there were police cars blocking the highway!!) and the trial was a circus, literally “three rings” with defendants from three locations and fact situations all in court at once.  Kushner was one of the defense attorneys for the RNC 8, and he was designated “The pro for the protesters” by the STrib.

Here’s what Kushner had to say about the Jamar Clark case and Freeman’s non-decision, most importantly about the role of a prosecutor, which Freeman did not fulfill:

I have not yet had a chance to carefully review the materials on the police killing of Jamar Clark to be able to pretend to render an informed opinion about whether the police should be prosecuted. I can say with certainty that Mike Freeman’s presentation of the evidence makes it clear that justice has NOT been done. Freeman did not play the role of a public prosecutor. He acted as a defense attorney for the two police officers, and a PR advocate for the police position in general. The normal role of a prosecutor would be to first consider the evidence supporting the victim, then examine the evidence supporting the suspects, and then consider whether all of the available evidence justified bringing charges. Freeman set forth all of the evidence that he had in favor of the police, assumed it to be true, and ignored or dismissed arguments – including many obvious ones, that challenged the police accounts. He also summarily dismissed all of the eyewitness accounts that disputed the police story on the grounds they were “contradictory.” It is common for eyewitness accounts to be contradictory to some degree, but that rarely stops prosecutions from going forward. In a typical case, a prosecutor would begin by considering eyewitness accounts supporting prosecution and looking for ways they could be corroborated. There is no indication that Freeman made any attempt to support they eyewitness accounts. Definitely, Freeman’s office regularly pursues prosecutions with eyewitness accounts that are as or more contradictory, and in weaker cases. But here Freeman did not play his typical role as prosecutor but assumed the role as advocate for the police.

Freeman does deserve some credit for taking direct responsibility and accountability for the decision not to prosecute, and abandoning the time honored practice of hiding behind a grand
jury. (I posted commentary on the grand jury sham on this list a few years ago after the last high profile Minneapolis police killing of an unarmed young African American man –…/topic/13KH7mtNjlyCwAkoUpqHiY ) Thanks to Freeman’s willingness to own and explain his decision, the public can be informed about where the County Attorney really stands. We learn clearly how it is inevitable that a prosecutor who works with police on a daily basis and is politically accountable to police interests probably more than any other group, will not seriously act as a prosecutor when it comes to reviewing possibly criminal actions of police officers. This leads to the next necessary demand that such cases not be reviewed and prosecuted by regular prosecutors, and particularly political and police hacks. Police killings need to be reviewed and pursued by independent “special” prosecutors who do not normally work with police or are politically tied to police interests. A special prosecutor needs to be appointed to review Jamar Clark’s case and future police killings.

Categories: Citizens

Beautiful weather, but dismal sights today

Sun, 04/03/2016 - 8:29pm

It was such a beautiful day today.  Got a good share of garden work in, pulled and raked out the back 40″, well, half of it anyway, and cut down all the big milkweed stalks.  We grabbed a sub and went out for a picnic.  The river had crested last week or earlier, but it was still very “spring brown” though there were a lot of fishing boats out, and people fishing from shore too.

Next stop, a look at CapX 2020 transmission now that it’s strung.  It is so depressing.

And here’s that “boat landing” that was brought up the last day or so of the hearing, the one that’s now permanently closed and now a locked gate at the road going down to the river:




Categories: Citizens

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