Goodhue County Board Special Election

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 4:26pm
Photo by “Jonathunder

Special County Board meeting TOMORROW, 9 a.m.

We now have an official vacancy for District 1 on the Goodhue County Board that will need to be filled via a special election. Scott Safe took over when Ron Allen took a leave of absence for treatment for leukemia. Ron Allen died recently, creating a statutory vacancy and now Scott Safe is no longer in that position.

Safe stepping in for Allen during cancer treatment

Obituary – Ronald C. Allen

Commissioner Ron Allen remembered as good listener, caring friend

TOMORROW at 9 a.m., the County Board will meet to determine whether to appoint someone in the interim (again) or leave it vacant until the special election.

Special elections are only allowed on specific dates, the first possible one in August (May 14 is apparently too close to schedule), August 13th, 2019.

If they want to appoint someone to fill the vacancy until the special election, there are some rules… including:

Before making an appointment to fill a vacancy under subdivision 4, the county board must hold a public hearing not more than 30 days after the vacancy occurs with public notice given in the same manner as for a special meeting of the county board. At the public hearing the board must invite public testimony from persons residing in the district in which the vacancy occurs relating to the qualifications of prospective appointees to fill the vacancy. Minn. Stat. 375.01, Subd 5 (in part).

I don’t recall the circumstances, yes, I wasn’t paying attention, and I should have, this is my county district! I do recall being surprised someone was appointed, and having no say in that appointment. But there is a problem: The statute puts a 90 day limit on an appointment where Board member is unable to serve (Minn. Stat. 375.01, Subd. 3), and in this case, it began December 1, 2018, and would have ended March 1, 2019. That didn’t happen.

Goodhue, we have a problem.

Tomorrow’s morning should give us a clue as to what will happen.

I vote for the temporary appointment and to have the election in August. That and $0.50…

Categories: Citizens

Mueller Report – Hard Copy

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 1:42pm

Hot off the press from the Harvard Bookstore. Get yours, just $18.95 + $7 shipping priority. (617) 661-1515.

Just what I need, more to add to the 3 Public Service Commission orders filed last Thursday… lots of reading!

Categories: Citizens

Best Climate-Hardy Trees for the North

My Northern Garden - Mary Schier - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 5:23am

In real estate, the mantra is “Location. Location. Location.” For northern gardeners facing urban conditions and a changing climate, the advice to follow is “Diversity. Diversity. Diversity.” Choosing a variety of trees that can handle salt, weird winters, difficult storm events and new insect predators is the best way to ensure your landscape remains healthy ... Read More about Best Climate-Hardy Trees for the North

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Categories: Citizens

Convoluted conflations don’t help…

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sun, 04/21/2019 - 2:38pm
Comparison of wind and tobacco is apples and oranges

The Center of the American Experiment is at it again, dodging the legitimate issues and emphasizing the non-issues and flat out misrepresenting. It’s distractivism… Janna Swanson has it right in her STrib LTE:

“If President Trump said that industrial wind turbines cause cancer, that is unfortunate, because it downplays the real negative impacts that do come with living next to or within an industrial wind installation.”

It’s like the billboards CAE pasted across southern Minnesota, in the Freeborn Wind territory, going on about the “high cost of wind.”

That’s demonstrably false, which anyone involved in energy can see by the PPAs and overnight costs in any docket. Why were CAE’s costs inflated in their “study?” Because they included the PPA cost PLUS the overnight cost — really, read the study, the words and between the lines — that math doesn’t work.

What’s conflated about the Rosenquist/CAE piece below? What’s convoluted about the piece below? Simple: Causation and coal.

  1. It drives me crazy when people repeatedly use the word “cause” and “causation,” regarding in this case, wind noise, and in others, EMF. Yes, it’s a logical result of applicants who have promoted use of those words in utility administrative proceedings (“Dr.” Mark Roberts always submits testimony that causation is not proven, but why? Causation or not isn’t a siting criteria!), but it’s most unfortunate that so many have bought into this framing and spent good money on experts fighting this non-issue, in administrative permit proceedings and in district court eminent domain proceedings (i.e., the distractivism of the Cedar Summit focus on EMF diversion to causation, rather than reasonableness of concern, in an eminent domain proceeding, and despite expert witnesses and much discussion at the hearing, the judge was clear that causation was NOT an issue, see para. 15.). We ran up against that in every transmission docket, in every wind docket, and most recently, the Freeborn Wind docket. Earth to Mars, causation is NOT at issue in an administrative permitting docket — that’s NOT a personal injury suit! It is not helpful to go on and on about causation. Remember the tobacco cases — yes, that is a good comparison — because they’re so different. Those cases were tort cases, where causation is at issue — this is not. The two landowner families in Bent Tree were bought out after Commerce’s contracted noise studies showed probably “exceedences” of noise (notice how PUC staff also tries to frame it as causation issue?) over the state noise standards (Minn. R. 7030.0400) and the PUC approved the buy-out agreement. Causation is for tort actions — administrative permitting has zero to do with causation (click for explanatory link). Really… It’s that simple. This is why it’s important for an applicant to demonstrate that they can comply with the noise standards, and why in the Freeborn Wind docket, it’s a problem that the PUC is allowing them to avoid that public pre-construction review.
  2. Coal… S-C-I-E-N-C-E. DOH! Do some research before publishing something like this. Speaking in ignorance about coal and “black lung” (Thing of the past? Ask those suffering from it, those many who are still alive.) and the toxic nature coal mining and coal burning and the waste of both., not to mention overflowing coal impoundments, and the coal ash rule which tRump administration is gutting. Everyone in Minnesota should be aware of the mercury fish consumption restrictions/warnings for every body of water tested in Minnesota. Coal burning emissions include (consider any externalities docket), from the EIA:
ESeveral principal emissions result from coal combustion:

So, here we go… Kristi Rosenquist in a Center for the American Experiment post:

Guest Column: ‘Wind Turbine Cancer’ – Is President Donald Trump Crazy? Maybe Not.

Energy, Environment on April 18, 2019 Print

The following article is a guest column by Kristi Rosenquist, a Grassroots Citizen Activist in Minnesota:

When President Trump said, “The noise [from wind turbines] causes cancer,” the reactions were immediate. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley called Trump’s statement “idiotic.”  Democratic Presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders mocked Trump in a Bernie 2020 video – standing alongside a road in Iowa with wind turbines in the background. And, no discussion of wind energy, no matter how minor, would be complete without the comparison to “dirty coal:” “A power source that does cause many health problems, including cancer, is coal, an extremely dirty fuel…,” Said Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine.

Thousands of rural residents with direct knowledge and experience with wind turbines had a different response.  Rural Iowa resident Janna Swanson, President of the Coalition for Rural Property Rights, expressed what I saw as the most common reaction – matching my initial reaction – in her response published in the StarTribune (but not in the Des Moines Register to which she also submitted).

“If President Trump said that industrial wind turbines cause cancer, that is unfortunate, because it downplays the real negative impacts that do come with living next to or within an industrial wind installation.

Rural residents the world over have complained of headache, vertigo, dizziness, sleeplessness, chest tightness and tinnitus from turbines being sited too close to their homes. In contracts wind companies … freely admit that turbines can …“cause or emit noise, vibration, air turbulence, wake, and electromagnetic and frequency interference.”

On further reflection, I think Trump was only partially wrong by using one very important word – “cause.” What turbine noise does most consistently “cause” in rural communities across the globe is sleep deprivation.  What does sleep deprivation cause?

“…The extensive and longstanding peer reviewed published clinical research detail[s] the known interconnections and associations between chronic sleep deprivation,  [and] immune suppression resulting in increased …malignancies (cancers)….  [Observation of these] health problems worsening with exposure to wind turbine noise is not surprising to clinicians …when they understand the way infrasound and low frequency noise ….are known to affect health….” Testimony to the Appeals Tribunal of the State of Victoria, Australia by Dr. Sarah Laurie, MD. 

Getting enough sleep is important for overall health and may be related to cancer risk:

“From a biological perspective, there are a lot of good reasons for us to suspect that insufficient sleep, chronic sleep debt or short sleep duration could have an impact on the development of cancer….” Amanda Phipps, an epidemiologist and researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle quoted in U.S. News and World Report

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has been quite clear and consistent in their statements to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) about wind turbine noise and health. In turn, the PUC has been quite consistent in ignoring MDH’s advice as they issue “certificates of need” and “site permits” to industrial wind complexes in Minnesota.

“…It is unknown whether reported health impacts are direct health effects or indirect stress impacts from annoyance and/or lack of sleep resulting from turbine noise….” “…Health impacts from wind turbine projects should be acknowledged, and provision should be made to mitigate these effects for residents within and near proposed project areas.” (PUC Document ID: 20176-132804-03; pages 59-61)

“…Low frequency [wind turbine] noise is primarily a problem …in …homes, especially at night.” “The most common complaints are sleeplessness and headache.” “The Minnesota nighttime standard …appears to underweight penetration of low frequency noise into dwellings.” The PUC should “…evaluate the low frequency noise component.”Public Health Impacts of Wind Turbines 5/22/2009. 

In 2016, when I and other citizens met with MDH Commission Ed Ehlinger to discuss the negative health impacts of wind turbines, one of the other citizens said that the wind industry acts a lot like ‘Big Tobacco.’ Both the tobacco industry (in the past) and the wind industry deny their product causes any health problems thereby forcing sick people to individually attempt the very expensive and very high legal bar of proving “medical causation.”  Ehlinger agreed that’s “a good comparison.”

I asked Ehlinger, “How many reports of people sick from wind turbines do you need to receive at MDH before you are obligated to act?”  He responded, “I’m never obligated to act unless forced to do so by the Governor or the legislature.”  I notice that Ehlinger was forced to resign when he failed to act on thousands of reports of neglect and abuse in Minnesota care facilities.

I can’t find a clear distinction between Senator Grassley’s position on industrial wind energy and that contained in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal – their stated motivations are different, but their policy proposals look similar. August 7, 2018 was a busy day for Grassley with two Townhall meetings that both featured discussion of Iowans opposed to wind energy, and a private photo-op with Alliant Energy and the American Wind Energy Association to receive AWEA’s ‘Wind Champion Award.’

I notice they didn’t hold the Wind Champion Award ceremony at Alliant’s Bent Tree Wind project – where Alliant had just finalized the buy-out of Minnesotan’s homes that are no-longer inhabitable due to wind turbine noise. Bernie and Cheryl Hagen are just one sample of people who;s home was bought by Alliant energy after years of sleep deprivation and low-frequency noise after the Bent Tree Wind facility began operation (MN PUC docket ID 08-573).

Bernie Sanders apparently failed to notice the significant wide-spread hatred of wind turbines in rural Vermont that resulted in a significant noise limitation in Vermont’s wind turbine siting rules in 2017.

Mark me ‘Safe from coal cancer,” Jonathan Chait. I’m not a coal miner. The only coal cancer I’m aware of might be from coal miners without sufficient respiratory protection. I thought “black lung” was a thing of the past? Union of Concerned Scientists claim coal plants cause cancer through emitting arsenic that gets into drinking water in concentrations high enough to cause cancer….  I think if that claim had any medically provable credibility, one of the well-funded faux-environmental coal-hate groups would already have successfully sued a coal-fired power plant that “caused” arsenic cancer.

Perhaps Grassley, Sanders, and Chait believe that rural residents are suffering from a “global hallucination event.” The Minnesota Legislative Energy Commission held a hearing on wind energy and health.  I asked expert witness Dr. Mariana Alves-Pereira what she thought about wind developers’ repeated assertions to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that their turbines don’t cause the health problems that people report.  Dr. Alves-Pereira said, “Unless everybody’s going through a collective hallucination around the world, I don’t see how that statement can be upheld scientifically.” (Oct. 19, 2017 audio; Dr. Alves Pereira testimony starts at 23 minutes)

I think Sherri Lange, CEO of the North American Platform Against Wind Power, sums this up beautifully:

  • Do stress and lack of sleep contribute to the development of cancer? Yes.
  • Does wind turbine noise raise stress levels and interrupt sleep? Yes.
Categories: Citizens

Badger Hollow Orders

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 04/19/2019 - 10:22am

Yesterday all the Badger Hollow Orders were issued by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. Here they are:

FINAL ORDER 9697-CE-100 (CPCN)Download FINAL ORDER 9697-CE-101 (XmsnDownload FINAL ORDER 5-BS-228 (Acquisition)Download

As of yesterday’s release, there are 20 days to file a Petition for Rehearing, soooooo, lots to do in the next 3 weeks!

Categories: Citizens

Another ICE detention center tanked!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 8:49pm

YES! The City of New Richmond, WI, had received a zoning change request to allow an ICE detention facility in that town. WHAT?!?! After the one in Pine Island, MN, went south, this was most disturbing to see another pop up. Here’s the short version:

The full press release:


This is the best news today, well, there is that other report released… OK, it’s a toss-up, but THIS IS VERY GOOD NEWS!

Here’s the city analysis of the proposal, and note that after the project proposer read it, they withdrew the application. Scanning the review, the findings are that in each instance, for each section, it “does not meet Evaluation Criterion…” Well, that’s pretty clear.

Good, leave, tail between your legs, SCOOT, don’t let the door hit you on your way out:

Categories: Citizens

No obstruction…

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 11:34am

Mueller Report is released, quite redacted. But there are choice parts:

I predict much worse things in his future…

No obstruction because people wouldn’t follow his orders! Now that’s an interesting twist… the intent was there, but fails on the execution. SNORT!

It’s too big to upload, trying to reduce. In the meantime, here’s a direct link:

And a searchable version:

And from Joshua Frank: Top 20 Mueller Report “Findings”

Categories: Citizens

Homework for Thursday with David Schultz

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 04/16/2019 - 3:18pm

Remember, David Schultz will be here Thursday for an ethics presentation, sponsored by the City of Red Wing! David Schultz in Red Wing on roles, open meeting, and conflicts

Thursday, April 18th

6 pm at the Sheldon Theatre

Here’s your homework — get to it and come with your questions:

Red Wing Ethics Training April 18, 2019Download Gifting – SchultzDownload
Categories: Citizens

The Bones of Your Garden

My Northern Garden - Mary Schier - Tue, 04/16/2019 - 11:46am

If you watch home improvement shows, you’ve probably heard the host say, “This house has good bones,” as he/she looks over a royal mess of a house. Having good bones means the house is solid—its walls are square, the original construction was done with care, it has good proportions, a bit of personality and is ... Read More about The Bones of Your Garden

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Categories: Citizens

The Interstitial Curriculum

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Fri, 04/12/2019 - 8:17pm

It occurred to me recently that we in higher education talk about the curriculum and the co-curriculum, and there are departments and offices and structures involved in making those parallel structures work (hopefully) to the benefit of our students. But there’s another curriculum at play as well — a curriculum that is every bit as fundamental to our institutional learning outcomes as the formal curriculum but that isn’t “owned” by any department and isn’t administered in any systematic way across the institution. I’ve started thinking of this as the “interstitial curriculum.”

The interstitial curriculum is where students learn the intellectual habits and skills that cut across curricular and co-curricular lines. It doesn’t have a home in the formal curriculum, and it can’t happen exclusively in the co-curriculum, either. Instead, it lives in the multiple and cumulative experiences that individual students have as they live out their college experiences through, among, and between the intertwinings of the curriculum and the co-curriculum. Depending on the institution, these are probably things like writing (never something that any single department can teach fully), metacognition, project management, time management, interpersonal “soft” skills, and yes, information literacy.

These are things that might even be named in mission statements or in institutional and departmental learning objectives, or that tons of faculty say are critical … but there’s often no course or formal home for them in the institutional structures that ensure other learning objectives. Everyone relies on students building these intellectual muscles by working with someone else somewhere else in the institution. They may not be sure who or where or when this work happens or should happen, but they really hope that does happen because otherwise their own goals for students in their courses or majors can’t happen, or can’t happen well.

In my own work, I live in the tension between the deeply rewarding, mission-critical work that I get to do with students every day, and the dismissal of some who assume that the work I want to do with their students has surely already been done by someone else at some other time — probably in their first year seminar. I live in a liminal space, where literally dozens of departments on campus list learning outcomes directly related to information literacy, the campus mission and learning goals invoke information literacy, and yet no department has a formal plan to ensure that their students get intentional, scaffolded practice with the intellectual habits of information literacy. And I’m not saying that this is a bad place to be! There are many good reasons at play in this state of affairs. But it does mean that my entire existence feels similar to the work of the fascia in the human body: necessary, often invisible, existing between the better-known structures of the body, not well understood, but instrumental in encouraging and even allowing the intellectual work of the disciplines. I live in the spaces between.

It’s a very, very interesting space to inhabit. Not easy, but interesting.

Categories: Citizens

tRump promoting COAL! And crude oil and natural gas…

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 04/12/2019 - 3:08pm

Here is is, hot off the Federal Register:

2019-07656-EO 13868 Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic GrowthDownload

The point of this is to push crude oil and natural gas production, to do what it takes to get it to market (regardless of risks); to revise (gut) the Clean Water Act; to renew leases on federal lands that are now on hold; whether there are “trends” in energy investments and whether proxy voting and regulations should be changed; and to determine whether states’ exercising of their rights is a “barrier” to the national energy market.

There’s a lot between the lines, but in essence, the plan is to put tRump energy policy over states’ and sovereign rights, to put market over safety and environmental concerns. The “market” has already decided, so how does he think this will operate, and what of the cost of these market manipulations?

Categories: Citizens

Wrestling with Reference

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Thu, 04/11/2019 - 8:59pm

In the last few weeks I’ve been part of several conversations with other librarians about reference services. And now that I’m at an academic librarian conference (Hello ACRL!), I’m having even more of these conversations. Some people talk about moving away from the reference desk model entirely, others are conflicted, or shifting the service in various ways. All have very good reasons for making the decisions they’re making.

Like so many things in life, though, I find that there are a lot of unstated assumptions and values at play in these conversations. This morning I attended a great talk about navigating change, and one of the biggest assertions in that presentation was that we have to unpack the words we use when we state our values because our working definitions and the behaviors associated with those working definitions can vary significantly. People may think they’re talking about the same thing because they both say “Openness” or “Respect,” but they’re actually not. And if people think that there are gaps between their experience of your stated values and your working, behavioral definitions of those values, that’s when trust erodes.

This connected in my connection-seeking brain with all the librarian conversations where people decide what kind of librarian you are based on your stance on staffing models for reference desks. Are you That Kind of Librarian who wants to staff the desk “just in case” there are questions, or are you That Kind Of Librarian who “doesn’t value reference?” Whole identities can be decided in a moment on this one issue.

But here’s the thing, if we start to unpack what we actually mean when we talk about “the desk” — just like we use the reference interview to unpack patron needs — I think it uncovers a much more fundamental set of values. These values may or may not be served by a reference service at any given institution, but where a reference desk is not the option, these values still need to be enacted by some other service model somehow.

So here are three of the things that have bubbled to the surface during these conversations I’ve been having in the last few weeks. None of these were true 100% of the time at desks, of course, and none of them will be true 100% of the time in any model. But they are values that I think are key to building and sustaining a research/reference service.

Visible Demonstration of Function (Especially Interest)

Even if patrons aren’t actively seeking out the service or actively learning about support options, they should be able to see you being kind and welcoming and helpful and engaged and excited about other patrons’ information needs. Maybe your patrons will walk past you a million times on the way to and from the printers, or the bathrooms, or whatever, but they become passively aware of the service and its function. And they become passively aware that librarians love the act of information seeking, love the hunt, love the puzzle, and love more than anything else the opportunity to engage with people who are curious or confused and who will have their lives made easier by access to some information or a more nuanced ability to evaluate and use what they have found.

We’re nerds at heart, and pathologically helpful, and we find our reason for existing in the ability to both help people and geek out at the same time. But our “brand” on campus is often much blander than this – much more tied to the mechanics of access. And the only way to help people see that we’re good for more than “My professor said I needed 3 peer reviewed articles…” is for people to see that we’re broadly interested in information seeking and use, information-based rhetoric, and information structures. Without this, we run the real risk of having ever fewer questions, and then cutting services back further, and then having fewer questions… in a vicious cycle to oblivion. And all this not because we’re no longer relevant or whatever, but because people can’t see what we actually do and care about.

Low Barriers to Use

Barriers come in all shapes and sizes, of course, and different people find different things to be barriers. This is one reason to have multiple methods of getting and receiving help.

At least one of these methods should allow people to somewhat randomly get drop-in help without doing a lot of information seeking to find out how to get help or to formally schedule things. Predictable drop-in hours and locations (physical or virtual) that are well matched with people’s existing habits help tremendously with this. So does shared language and modes of engagement that match existing cultures and contexts.

For the librarians: Access to a broad cross-section of questions – especially “basic” questions

We know better what’s working and what’s not, what instruction worked and what didn’t, what tools work and what tools are confusing, etc, by being exposed to as many questions as possible from as broad a cross-section of a community as possible. The questions from just the people who know you already or just the people who specialize in the same things you do are good and important and useful, but more than that is even better.

In a lot of ways, the “easy” questions are more telling than the complex ones if your goal is to keep tabs on what your population finds easy or hard. These “basic” questions may be accommodated by a variety of service models, but they are decidedly not unimportant questions. If anything, they may be the most important questions — the questions that tell us valuable things about tools or services that we haven’t set up right. It’s not the patron’s fault for asking the “wrong” questions — The User Is Not Broken. It’s on us to make it so that, wherever possible, “easy” things are easy for our users, too. Or if we make the decision to opt for a set-up that isn’t strictly the easiest option, we should have well-considered reasons for this choice. In academic libraries, for example, there are times when the better solution is one that helps our students learn things even if it means an extra click or two. But these decisions should be weighed carefully, and monitoring the tenor of these most basic questions is one way of figuring out if you’ve struck the right balance for your context.

These are some of the things that I think lurk beneath the surface for people who “value the desk.” And for people who have moved away from the desk, these are some of things that they have to recreate in their new service models.

What else is lurking? What else do we value in a reference service, no matter that service’s model? What are effective modes of enacting those values so that they are apparent and transparent to our communities? Let’s build an actually articulated definition, and then test our services against that definition.

Categories: Citizens

Massive agenda at PSC tomorrow, and we’re at the tail end!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 8:47pm

Here’s the agenda, Badger Hollow and the acquisition docket, #28, 29 and 30!!!

PSC Agenda 4-11-2019Download

Watch it here: LIVE WEBCAST Starts at 9:30 a.m.

Categories: Citizens

Small Batch Composting: Assembly Required

My Northern Garden - Mary Schier - Tue, 04/09/2019 - 11:50am

In my prior garden, I had the room and the setting to take a relaxed attitude toward composting. I built a cage for food and yard waste, tossed things in there and once or twice a year, gave it a turn with the garden fork. It took a couple of years, but I had nice ... Read More about Small Batch Composting: Assembly Required

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Categories: Citizens

ADUs: Reframing the discussion

Betsey Buckheit - Tue, 04/09/2019 - 10:11am
After what seemed like unanimity and a strong sense of purpose at the Planning Commission, the Council discussion about Accessory Dwelling Units has been dispiriting to watch thus far and the public comments even more so. Since the Council will have another go at ADUs today, Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at their worksession, I’d like …
Categories: Citizens

Xcel’s IRP

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 04/03/2019 - 2:28pm

Alan Muller and I went to a meeting last night about Xcel Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan – coming soon to a Public Utilities Commission near you! Here in Minnesota, it’s expected to be filed July 1, 2019. Right now they’re filing a lot of documents in the prior IRP, PUC Docket 15-21. To search it go to PUC SEARCH PAGE and search for “year” 15 and docket 21. After they file their 2019 IRP, it will be given a new docket number and filings will be in that docket.

Here’s their presentation from last night:

Xcel Presentation-4-2-2019Download

I found this slide particularly troubling because of the overstatement of demand:

Reality, well, they say “existing resources” are at 10,000MW and peak demand at 9,400 or so… but, peak demand from Xcel’s SEC 10-K filings:

There are indeed issues with Xcel and its forecasting, almost always overstated. Remember the CapX 2020 “forecasts” of a 2.49% annual increase? Here’s Xcel’s forecast from the last IRP, Docket 15-21 (as above), p. 45 of 102:

What is Xcel doing to reduce peak? There’s a statutory requirement to reduce demand by 1.5% annually, so don’t think it’s going up anytime soon.

What is Xcel doing to shift the useage from peak to off peak?

And one thing that really sticks in my craw… Sherco 3. The turbine crashed/blew up/fell apart, and did a lot of damage. Sherco 3 was down for 22 months, and we did just fine without it. BUT Xcel proposed, and the PUC agreed, to rehabbing Sherco 3 at tremendous cost to us ratepayers. Now it’s back in service, and they’re agreeing to shut down Sherco 1 and Sherco 2 in the future, and then shut down Sherco 3 further out. Why did this happen? Why spend all that money to rehap Sherco 3, when we likely didn’t need it then, and THEN shut down Sherco 1 & 2. Why wasn’t Sherco 3 left closed, and then shut down Sherco 1 and 2 in the future? Why revive Sherco 3?

I also don’t at all like the way they call nuclear “carbon free” because it is NOT, look at the fuel cycle, and look at all the other problems. Nope, not OK.

And what is Xcel doing to partner with local governments, big box stores, warehouses, apartment buildings, over parking lots, to get solar on thousands of acres of rooftops?

What is Xcel doing to get PV solar, hot water solar, and simple solar heaters on every residence?

And what is Xcel doing to put up solar on brownfields, such as closed sand mines, closed coal plants, closed turkey-shit plants, closed garbage burners (Red Wind did put up solar at its closed incinerator site, but its small, need MORE!)?

Sooo, here we go. Xcel is trying to get everyone on board so there will be no serious challenges to their IRP, just as they did with e21 Initiative (what a load that was… grrrrrrrr).

Categories: Citizens

Book Review: Beyond Rosemary, Basil and Thyme

My Northern Garden - Mary Schier - Mon, 04/01/2019 - 6:30am

There are many reasons to grow herbs and many herbs to grow. But most gardeners confine themselves to just a few favorites: basil, mint, chives, rosemary, oregano and thyme. In her book Beyond Rosemary, Basil and Thyme: Unusual, Interesting and Uncommon Herbs to Enjoy, Minnesota author Theresa Mieseler encourages gardeners to expand their herb knowledge ... Read More about Book Review: Beyond Rosemary, Basil and Thyme

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Categories: Citizens

Contact A.G. Barr daily!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 03/28/2019 - 5:53pm
Look, he’s flashing signs too…

Every day until it’s released, take 2 minutes and send A.G. Barr a simple missive:


Call the Department Comment Line: 202-353-1555 or use their Contact Form:

While you’re at it, send a missive here too, every day:

Categories: Citizens

Published today – FERC Inquiry – Transmission

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 03/28/2019 - 2:28pm

In today’s Federal Register:

Inquiry Regarding the Commission’s Electric Transmission Incentives Policy


Initial Comments are due June 25, 2019, and Reply Comments are due July 25, 2019.

So what’s this about? My guess, big picture, is that they’re rethinking the wisdom of subsidies of transmission, these incentives that have, well, incentives, to build transmission that isn’t needed. We’ve got enough! The claimed purpose of “incentives” was to benefit consumers by “reducing cost of delivered power by reducing transmission congestion” and “promoting capital investment” and “providing an ROE that attracts investment…” FR 11762. Well, they sure did that! Utilities and transmission owners can make a lot more ROE by investing in, building transmission, than they can selling electricity, and that’s not considering providing transmission service, that’s separate.

FERC does ask some specific questions, my favorite section is about “risks and challenges.” FERC can provide a guarantee of ROI if the project doesn’t go forward, as they’ve done for Cardinal-Hickory Creek (is this anything more than a financing leg-up?). For example:

ITC_Order_ER19-355-000Download ATC_Order_ER19-360-000Download

Where’d that Dairyland one go?

FERC is also asking questions about benefits, but in this case, they don’t ask the question most important — who gets the benefits? The “benefits” claimed in MISO’s MVP 17 project portfolio, of which the CapX 2020 Hampton-La Crosse line was one, Badger Coulee was another, and right now, the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission project is one to take a close look at. First, from MTEP 2012:

And where are we today, or more currently? Let’s look at the MTEP17 MVP Triennial Review:

The categories are absurd… BENEFITS?

And in the Badger Coulee proceeding at Wisconsin’s PSC, the Applicant’s Henn admits that the benefits accrue to the utilities, and any benefits to Wisconsin ratepayers are not distinct or identifiable — shame MISO’s Schedule 26A and MM of the MISO tariff didn’t get in that record:

I mean, the savings of the project are to our interconnected utilities. How they pass those savings on to the ratepayers is, you know, within their tariff and pay structures and things of that nature. So, you know, I personally can’t speak to, you know, to a direct savings of any magnitude to the ratepayers of Wisconsin or, in fact, the ratepayers throughout the MISO footprint. to a direct savings of any magnitude to the ratepayers of Wisconsin or, in fact, the ratepayers throughout the MISO footprint.

Henn. Tr. Vol. 8, p. 9, l. 13-20. DOH!

It’s about time FERC took a look at this.

Remember, Initial Comments are due June 25, 2019, and Reply Comments due July 25, 2019.

Categories: Citizens

DEIS for Cardinal-Hickory Creek

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 03/28/2019 - 8:45am

Comments are due Sunday, April 14, 2019 (11:59!):

Here’s the DEIS in full:

DEIS_NarrativeDownload DEIS_Appendix_A_Maps_Part 1Download DEIS_Appendix_A_Maps_Part 2Download DEIS_Appendix_B_Impact Table-Proposed RoutesDownload DEIS_Appendix_C_RUS RoutesDownload DEIS_Appendix_D_Typical Structure DiagramsDownload DEIS_Appendix_E_PC Publications and InformationDownload DEIS_Appendix_E2_UndergroundDownload DEIS_Appendix_F_Supplemental Info_Easement K_Avian Risk ReviewDownload

Note the “need” section beginning on p. 49. It’s dependent on MISO — yes, that MISO, the one that blessed the so dramatically overstated “need” for the CapX 2020 build-out… the MISO that claims “need” when its LMP Coutour map is nearly always a bright or dark blue! The MISO that is all about “market” which has nothing to do with “need.” This section takes it back to “Upper Midwest Transmission Development Initiative” (hard to tell their mission, eh? But we know it was all about coal). If they’re going to go back to the history of this big transmission build-out, methinks that, particularly in Wisconsin, they should go back to the Wisconsin Reliability Assessment Organization (WRAO) Report that laid out the wish list of the transmission build-out.

Now, head to p. 80, Section 3.9, entitled “Applicants’ Alternatives to the Proposed Project.” This section presents ONLY the APPLICANTS’ alternatives, they get to determine what is or is not an alternatives, the parameters. Show me where it says in the WI statutes or rules that it only the APPLICANTS’ choice of alternatives to be considered?

Folks, we’ve got a lot of work to do…

Categories: Citizens
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