Arrowhead VII

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Sat, 01/25/2020 - 11:40pm

Monday morning at 7:00, I’ll start my seventh Arrowhead Ultra, my seventh attempt to ride my fatbike down the 135 miles of snowmobile trail across northern Minnesota from International Falls to Tower.

Sundogs just after the start of the 2019 Arrowhead

So far I’ve finished the race each time I’ve started, with times ranging from 19.5 hours in 2015 to 29 hours in 2014. My best placing was my first year, when we rode in the polar vortex and I wound up in 7th place.

The forecast (as of Saturday night) looks increasingly good, with highs near 25° on Monday afternoon and lows near 0° at the start and then overnight — which likely means actual air temps near -10°’ when we hit the low swampy areas. Those temperatures are very manageable and should mean the trail will be hard and fast.

This year — after a very busy few months at work and much less riding than I’d like — I’m in less good physical shape than I’d like, although I rode well at the Tuscobia 160 a month ago. I’m primarily gunning for another finish and I’ll be happy to go under 24 hours.

If you want to see how I am doing, check Trackleaders, a cool free service that uses GPS data to plot some (but not all) of us on a map of the course!

Categories: Citizens

Energy Committee – Roch PB headline says it all

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sat, 01/25/2020 - 3:30pm
Photo by moi

Here’s the bill everyone’s talking about:

DRAFT sc5558-6_Rochester_Energy CommitteeDownload

Comments? It’s important to let them know what you think. Here’s the contact info for the Senate Energy Committee (LINKED HERE).

In last week’s Rochester Post Bulletin, about the Senate Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee meeting in Rochester:

Senators take heat on waste-burning energy
Categories: Citizens

NEW “Navigable Waters” Rule

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 12:11pm

Something that drives me crazy — posting things without the underlying links. I’m seeing so many posts about slashing existing water rules and release of new dreadful rules that allow pollution, but there are no links to the actual rules they’ve trotted out. So I added to my Federal Register alert, still nothing. OK, and now yesterday and today there’s another wave of posts about it, that something was released, and still no links. Digging and digging here, and found it.

Final Rule: The Navigable Waters Protection Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States” pre-publication version

Water’s not my area, admittedly I don’t know much about it. That new rule, following on the repeal, is on the EPA website (what’s left of it).

There’s the “Clean Water Act” which I hear LOUDLY is being decimated. I’ve found the “new” rule is rooted in this administration’s objections to the 2015 expanded definition of “navigable waters” in the Clean Water Rule.

Intention to Review and Rescind or Revise the Clean Water Rule (Federal Register)

And so it goes… EPA and Army Repeal the 2015 Definition of “waters of the United States” oh, yeah, they did that..

Trump Administration Rolls Back Clean Water Protections

The focus is on discharging into streams and wetlands, well, correction, the focus is on Trump administration slashing, eliminating rules, to ALLOW discharging into streams and wetland.

So what happened yesterday, what I’ve been looking for, is that they signed a new “Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” which is really one of those Orwellian things, name is just the opposite of what it does, because it changes the definition of waters to be protected, eliminates protections, and allows formerly waters that were protected to now be open season for pollution. Here’s the final “pre-publication” rule (which is why I’ve not been able to find it, not published yet, not published in FR Public Inspection yet either). Here it is, once more with feeling:

Final Rule: The Navigable Waters Protection Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States” pre-publication version

There’s also this, a different link: The Navigable Waters Protection Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States” – pre-publication version (PDF)(340 pp, 2 MB)

Check out this “Federalism Consultation” section from EPA page, a Clinton Administration E.O. that’s to address unfunded mandates and consult with states where federal changes can affect states (from EPA site):

Federalism Consultation – Consistent with E.O. 13132, Federalism, the EPA, Department of Army, and the Army Corps of Engineers consulted with state and local government officials, or their representative national organization, while developing a revised definition of “waters of the United States.”

And public comments on this rule change were posted to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0149 and can be found here (from EPA site).

It’s similar to the way the Minnesota Senate DRAFT 5558-6 would change the definitions of “renewable energy” to incorporate burning garbage and nuclear as “renewable” cutting regulatory authority.

Categories: Citizens

Senate Energy Bill… again

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 12:31pm

Last night in Performing Arts Center, Westonka H.S., Sen. Osmek held the second Senate Energy Committee meeting, taking testimony and discussing the bill. Good grief, burning garbage is RENEWABLE?!?! Eliminate the new nuclear prohibition?!?! CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE!?!?!?! Where on earth do these ideas come from? Lobbyists paid by who?

sc5558-6-1_Rochester_Energy CommitteeDownload

They put together a list of testifiers. This meeting’s list included TWO who had testified in Rochester! I spoke up and objected to allowing those two to testify before others who had not testified could, and near the end of testimony one was crossed off, BUT, well, guess who was second to the bottom, despite having requested to be put on list 8 days prior in Rochester, and didn’t get to testify.

For the first hearing, they put the three regular folks at the very bottom of the list, those not affiliated with an organization, those NOT paid to show up in suits and testify, and at the outset at Westonka last night, Osmek said, at least twice, “we may not get through the list.” They did in Rochester.

And at the outset of last night’s meeting, he again said, “we may not get through the list” and he limited testimony to 30 minutes total, but didn’t put any limit on individual testimony. AND he said, “we didn’t get through the list in Rochester.” FALSE, you DID get through the list in Rochester. Why say that? Prelude to a dis…

They’re talking about “carbon capture and storage,” “CCS” as if it’s real. It is not. No one else in the room has the knowledge and direct experience working on a project proposing carbon capture that I have, and no one else in the room had signed the non-disclosure agreement in the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project and knows the details of cost and energy loss. Most of the Senators on that committee weren’t even around during the Mesaba Project, and I do not recall a single one of them weighing in on that boondoggle project. So what all do they know about it? Do they know only what paid toadies are telling them? Do some research! We do not need to reinvent the wheel, and folks, this is rock science, not rocket science.

We went through this “carbon capture” nonsense on the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project, where it was talked about a lot, but wasn’t part of the actual project, and then, when it was clear the project Power Purchase Agreement “PPA” was tanking, SURPRISE, they popped in a “Plan” at the last minute, in Rebuttal testimony:

Suddenly, a Plan for Carbon Capture and Sequestration
October 19th, 2006

For sure it was utter bullshit, and not enough to save the day and get that PPA through. Here it is:

Ex_EE1067_Plan for Carbon Capture and SequestrationDownload

From MCGPs Initial Brief in Mesaba Project PPA docket (M-05-1993), but first the full brief, the CCS pages are 22-24, with references:

MCGP Initial BriefDownload

And the section on the Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project bogus “Plan for Carbon Capture and Sequestration”

Well DOH! What’s changed since then? Only a large funding of “research” and a larger funding scheme of promotion, a la Great Plains Institute, etc.,

… but carbon capture and storage is no more doable, either in percentage of capture feasible, or in potential for creating seismic activity and earthquakes, well, there is more evidence now that pumping gas into the earth DOES create earthquakes. It’s even made it into corporate news media, REAL NEWS from 2013 and 2016:

Fracking and energy exploration connected to earthquakes, say studies

7 million Americans at risk of man-made earthquakes

From USGS:

Are earthquakes induced by fluid-injection activities always located close to the point of injection?

Also from USGS, 2018:

What more information do you need? Do some research, folks.

Those of us who went through the 5+ years that was the Mesaba Project have the facts. If you want us to do this all over again, yes, phenomenal waste of time, but yeah, OK. Been there, done that, have the files, have the facts, here we go!

To look at the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project docket at PUC (05-1993) go to eDocketsand search for PUC Docket 05 (year) 1993 (docket no.) in the search field.


Categories: Citizens

Freeborn EAW – more time!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 12:10pm

The PUC has asked for additional time, noting that our Petition for EAW for the Freeborn Wind project is expected to come before the Commission on February 6, 2020. PUC asked and PUC received:

PUC Extension Request_20201-159284-01Download EQB Extension Approval Letter Jan 21 2020Download

Old news on Legalectric:

EQB forwards EAW Petition to PUC
January 3rd, 2020
Petition for EAW – Freeborn Wind
January 2nd, 2020
Categories: Citizens

Crackerjacks in the Stacks

My Musical Family - Joy Riggs - Tue, 01/21/2020 - 3:26pm
When I was in kindergarten, I wanted to become a librarian when I grew up. I devised my own Dewey Decimal system for my collection of books at home, and my little book-loving heart filled with ... pleasure (you thought I was going to say joy, didn't you) every time I presented a stack of books to the children's librarian at the Carnegie Library in my hometown of Alexandria, Minn. There was something immensely gratifying about that book check-out process: the librarian would take out her pad of ink, pull the cards from the books, stamp the due date on the cards, and hand the books back to me. It was marked in ink, this approval I had, to go home and read.

My career plans changed after that kindergarten year, but my love of books and of libraries endured. If possible, it became even stronger when I met someone who shared my love of books and libraries in — of course — a library. Steve and I both had work study jobs at Drake University's Cowles Library during our first year of college, and that's where he first asked me out on a date. Thirty years and three kids later, we live in a house overflowing with bookshelves and stacks of books.

Recreating my days as a clicker, a library work study job that no longer existsWhen I mentioned on Facebook recently that our love story started in a library, our middle child, Sebastian, commented, "Ya know, maybe that's why we all love books."

As soon as our kids were old enough to sign their names, we helped them get their own library cards at the wonderful Carnegie Library in our town of Northfield. I continue to believe that libraries are a vital public good. So you can imagine how happy it makes me to know that my book, Crackerjack Bands and Hometown Boosters: The Story of a Minnesota Music Man, is now available in several libraries.

As of today, Jan. 21, according to a search of the WorldCat site, copies of my book are available at these Minnesota locations:

• College of St. Benedict/St. John's University library: one copy

• Hennepin County Library: one copy each at the Minneapolis Central and Southdale locations

• Minnesota Historical Society Library in St. Paul: two copies

• St. Mary's University of Minnesota, Winona campus: one copy

The book is also available at Carleton College's Gould Library and at the Drake Community Library in Grinnell, Iowa.

The Northfield Public Library doesn't have it yet, but it's on the list of books they plan to purchase in 2020. If your local library doesn't have it, feel free to request it, either online or in person.

If you do check out my book from your local library, don't expect anyone to take out an ink pad and stamp a due date on a card for you. But know that you have my virtual approval to go home and read.
Categories: Citizens

Carbon capture & storage and seismic activity

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sun, 01/19/2020 - 10:44pm

There’s mention of “carbon capture and storage,” a/k/a/ CCS, in a DRAFT bill, SC5558-6, being considered by Minnesota’s Senate Energy Committee:

sc5558-6_Rochester_Energy CommitteeDownload

The part about CCS is this:

What’s the problem? Get out your waders…

This DRAFT bill reads as if “carbon capture and storage” is real. It reads as if “carbon capture and storage” can capture at least 80 percent of carbon dioxide generated. It reads as if carbon captured can be stored by injection. It reads as if “transferring” for use (EOR?) is a good thing.

Why are we going through this again? Well, for example, in the most recent IRS 990 posted for Great Plains Institute, they got $937,931 for “Carbon Management.”

Money talks. And they are pushing it as if — what a crock — look at this “report” and check p. 3 of 4, and decipher what it means — it’s just a map that shows ethanol plants, coal plants, EOR (note North Dakota has no little green triangles!) and saline formations (interesting that our salty aquifer way way down underneath Minnesota isn’t shown):

The Importance of Carbon Capture to Decarbonizing the Electricity Sector

They post this chart as if CCS plays a significant role, but look at the small little slivers of CCS shown:

  1. Carbon capture is not real and cannot readily capture 80%.
  2. To be stored, carbon must be transported to storage, and where might that be and how will that storage be monitored?
  3. Use of carbon for fracking has potential for and causes earthquakes, seismic activity, and associated disasters.

Years ago, July 2005, to be exact, National Geographic had a great article about impacts of gas drilling on water in Wyoming, “All Fired Up,” a/k/a/ “Tapping the Rockies,” with stunning photography by Joel Sartore:

A school bus-sized flare signals the completion phase of a coal bed methane well near Pinedale, Wyoming.

It’s gone now… links dead… I have the hard copy, but…

Anyway, Wyoming is an example of the disasters of fracking, North Dakota another, and around Youngstown, OH, where they were injecting fracking waste, yet another:

Fracking Led to Ohio Earthquakes

Oklahoma Toughens Oil Fracking Rules After Shale Earthquakes

There’s a great piece on The Narwhal the other day about fracking and injecting gas into the earth and the instability of an existing dam and the “Site C” dam now under construction:

Peace Canyon dam at risk of failure from fracking-induced earthquakes, documents reveal

Let’s trot this one out again:

Pipedreams of Green and Clean

But there is a silver lining to this:

Trump Dumps ‘Clean Coal’ Research Despite Lauding Its Potential Budget Guts U.S. Carbon Capture, Storage Research

Then this:

Coal industry begs Congress to save carbon capture from Trump

And so then this:

White House will promote carbon capture technology in climate change fight EPA finalizes Trump administration’s coal-friendly climate plan

Once again, IGCC toady org Clean Air Task Force is out there in front:

Everyone Wants Carbon Capture And Sequestration — Now How To Make It A Reality?

And from that article, DOH, what we’re seeing here with Xcel, wanting to keep burning but sell their surplus on the market:

Four utilities—DTE Energy, Duke, Southern Company, and Xcel Energy—that collectively emit about a quarter of a gigaton of carbon emissions a year pledged to go “carbon-neutral” by 2050.

None, however, has pledged to stop burning fossil fuels.

This is the CCS market’s holy grail.

From the “have we learned nothing,” gleaned in all those years working on Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project, the zombie boondoggle from hell, here are a few Legalectric posts:

More on Carbon Capture Pipedream June 28th, 2010 DOE announces Capture & Release program May 7th, 2008 Walton’s Bill Grant and “low carbon coal” May 14th, 2007 Carbon sequestration still ain’t ahappenin’… February 9th, 2007 Suddenly, a Plan for Carbon Capture and Sequestration October 19th, 2006

It’s not rocket science… “carbon capture and storage” is not real.

Categories: Citizens

Impeachment Trial Briefs of House & tRump

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sun, 01/19/2020 - 10:12am

UPDATE! House Trial Brief and tRump Answer.

Read the House brief, even just flip through the pages, to get a sense of the specifics, and there are specifics here, citations, evidence, etc., it’s intense and thorough.


Then read the tRump team Answer:

Answer of Donald J TrumpDownload

Not a single citation to law or evidence in the record. But statements like this:

Senator Ron Johnson reported that, when he asked the President whether there was any connection between security assistance and investigations, the President responded: “No way. I would never do that.”

And just before that, the famous lines:

“I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo.”

That “Answer” wouldn’t get a passing grade in Jr. High Civics, much less any law school.

Categories: Citizens

A Crackerjack Playlist

My Musical Family - Joy Riggs - Fri, 01/17/2020 - 2:48pm
People who attended my reading at Little Joy Coffee last night got a bonus slice of entertainment, although some may not have noticed; it was subtle. The music that played over the coffee shop's speakers as patrons ordered drinks and nibbled on cheese, crackers and (G.) olives was inspired by my book, Crackerjack Bands and Hometown Boosters: The Story of a Minnesota Music Man.

Author Joy at Little Joy/photo by Heather LawrenzAuthor Joy with Giant G/photo by Steve LawlerThe book explores the life and career of my paternal great-grandfather, G. Oliver Riggs. If you're not familiar with its structure, I'll explain. It's a book of memoir and biography, told in alternating chapters. The titles of the even-numbered, biography chapters are taken from popular songs of the day, from the time period the chapter covers. For example, Chapter 26 is titled The Night We Called it a Day, which is the name of a song published in 1941; events in that chapter take place between January 1941 and January 1946.

In an early version of the book, I included song lyrics at the start of each biography chapter, but I ditched that idea that when I realized it could cause copyright problems — and also because I was seeking to reduce the manuscript's total word count.

(The titles of the odd-numbered chapters don't have anything to do with songs, except for Chapter 21: Building My Wings. That title was inspired by a part of the chapter that eventually got cut, where I talk about a song St. Paul composer Elizabeth Alexander wrote for the Northfield Youth Choirs, Jump! The song incorporates text from a Ray Bradbury poem: "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down." Although that part wasn't included in the final version of the book, I felt the title was still appropriate for what happens in that chapter.)

Steve, Elias and me (and my delicious crackerjack steamer); photo by Heather LawrenzIn case you couldn't attend last night's reading, or if you did and want to hear the songs again, here's the list I gave to Little Joy event planner extraordinaire Carrissa Glarner:

You Won't Do Any Business If You Haven't Got a Band, George M. Cohan (Chapter 6)

I'm Sitting Pretty in a Pretty Little City, the Georgians (Chapter 12)

I Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle, Bessie Smith (Chapter 14)

Back in Your Own Backyard, Billie Holliday (Chapter 16)

On the Sunny Side of the Street, Louis Armstrong (Chapter 18)

Rhythm is Our Business, Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra (Chapter 20)

Let's Face the Music and Dance, Nat King Cole (Chapter 22)

Do I Worry? The Ink Spots (Chapter 24)

The Night We Called it a Day, Diana Krall (Chapter 26); there's also a nice Frank Sinatra version

Astute readers will notice that not all of the biography chapters are represented in this list. That's because I couldn't find good links for the songs that are connected to Chapters 2, 4, 8 and 10. In their place I have listed four other songs mentioned in the book. It seems appropriate to conclude with some John Philip Sousa marches!

• Herbert L. Clarke's Bride of the Waves

• Sousa's The Charlatan

• Sousa's The Washington Post

• Sousa's El Capitan
Categories: Citizens

SC5558-6 Last night in Rochester

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 01/16/2020 - 4:57pm

Last night, Sen. Osmek held a Senate Energy Committee meeting in Rochester. It was standing room only, at least 100 showed up (I had 100 flyers, and had 4 left and I know I missed a few).

Here’s the bill DRAFT, SC5558-6:

sc5558-6-1_Rochester_Energy CommitteeDownload Summary SC 5558-6Download

Here’s the powerpoint explaining the bill:

Clean Energy First ActDownload

Who all showed up and testified? All a bunch of paid suits, with just three exceptions, pushed to the very end. Check the list of lobbyists here:

Meeting Agenda_TestimonyDownload

Alan Muller got on the list to testify, he’ll be writing to the Committee soon:

And here’s my comment sent to the committee:

Letter to Energy Committee 1-15-2020Download

Where were Senators Dibble and Marty? I must confess, I was so disgusted by Sen. Marty’s handling of the e21 debacle back in 2015 that I’ve not been back to the Senate Energy Committee since then (Marty tried to introduce Xcel’s e21 bill, and tried to shut down testimony opposing that bill…
(report from that meeting) though the room was packed with those who had rolled over supporting it, only three of us there opposed it, myself, Alan Muller, and Office of Attorney General’s RUD James Canneday. Sen. Marty pulled the bill as he “introduced” it and then substituted an e21 light and wouldn’t allow testimony on anything else! Well, we did what we could, and it wasn’t until the very end in conference committee or just before that he put the awful Xcel-desired language back in. SF 1735 – SHAME on each Senator who voted for it). Back into the fray, I guess!

My take is that Sen. Senjem, or the Republican caucus, or ???, are concerned about Sen. Senjem’s seat, why else would they put Mikey Bull up there beside him, emitting puffery about the bill? Seems there’s just one other Senate hearing scheduled, info below.

Next up, next week, Mound, Minnesota, in Sen. Ozmek’s district:

Wednesday, January 22, 2020, 4:00 PM

Mound Westonka High School’s Performing Arts Center

905 Sunnyfield Road East

Minnetrista, MN 55364

Now, Mikey, about “carbon capture and storage,” good grief. Did you learn nothing from all those years of Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project? Here’s why it’s good the Mesaba Project was not built!

Pipedreams of Green and Clean

Categories: Citizens

E.O. 13888 INJUNCTION!!!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 01/15/2020 - 10:43pm

Once again, tRump is on the wrong side of the Constitution in his continued attempts to limit refugees, immigrants, Muslims, from entering the U.S. LEGALLY! Today, the Maryland federal district court said NO, YOU CAN”T DO THAT!

Order-1-15-2020Download Opinion_Refugee-Resettlement-Executive-OrderDownload

Love it when this happens. But to have to keep going to court, over and over and over and over and over and over… at what point can these unconstitutional Executive Orders be ground to a halt?

Categories: Citizens

Today – Senate Energy Comm. in Rochester

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 01/15/2020 - 2:57pm

Minnesota Senator Osmek is convening a Senate Energy Committee meeting in Rochester this evening to discuss a DRAFT bill SC5558-6:

sc5558-6-1_Rochester_Energy CommitteeDownload

6 p.m. on January 15, 2020

Rochester Community and Technical College

Heintz Center Commons

1926 College View Rd E

Rochester, MN 55904

Here’s the letter I just fired off to Committee members:

Letter to Energy Committee 1-15-2020Download

Be there or be square!

Categories: Citizens

Commerce “response” to AFCL’s data request

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 01/14/2020 - 1:28pm

Just in, Commerce-EERA responses to Association of Freeborn County Landowners’ 11/25/2019 Data Practices Act Request:

Commerce_DPA Request_11-25-2019Download

This was the one we sent trying to get information on a Pre-Construction meeting that we’d not heard anything about, and damned if the meeting didn’t start about half an hour after we sent this request!!! Here’s the response to that 11/25/2019 request:

Data Practices Act Response – AFCL 11-25-19 – Commerce Response 1-14-20 FinalDownload

Some highlights:

Yes, there is that statement again of that “quick, delete those emails” Commerce policy, stated above: “As your request was received on November 25, 2019, unless I have saved an email, emails that I could provide you with would be from August 27, 2019 to November 25, 2019. ” And six times in that missive, “EERA must reiterate that email correspondence prior to August 27, 2019 had been automatically deleted by the Agency’s email system.” Yeah, we get it…

OK, fine, we send Data Practices Act Request every 90 days… we can do that.

And when we request notice of Pre-Construction meetings, after all, after all, we’re a party, have been for years now, yet from PUC’s Kaluzniak’s email about our April 23, 2019 Data Practices Request there’s an inference drawn about AFCL attendance at meetings…

And EERA says about notice to meetings:

FYI – Here’s Xcel’s Summary of the 11/25/2019 Pre-Construction meeting that no one told us about, filed December 6, 2019:

17-0410+Compliance+Filing-Preconstruction Mtg-Section+10.1+120619+NSP_Mtg 11-25-3019Download

That same day, just before that Xcel filing and almost 2 weeks after getting confirmation of our 11-25-2019 Data Practices Request from the Data gurus at both PUC and Commerce, this arrives from Rich Davis… can you spell “oppositional” anyone?

Yeah, it’s just more of the “Davis Shuffle.” Save, document, wait… we’re already sitting at the Court of Appeals, and we’re waiting for PUC to address our EAW Petition. Just keep it up…


Minn. Stat. 216E.08

Subd. 2. Other public participation.The commission shall adopt broad spectrum citizen participation​as a principal of operation. The form of public participation shall not be limited to public hearings and​advisory task forces and shall be consistent with the commission’s rules and guidelines as provided for in​section 216E.16.

Categories: Citizens

Where were you the night of June 25, 1998?

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Mon, 01/13/2020 - 6:27pm

The June 25, 1998 blackout report needs to be on the interwebs available to the world.

June 25, 1998? That’s the night of the transmission fail that disconnected the Midwest from the Eastern Interconnect. That question was asked by Minnesota Power’s attorney of each and every witness, I think other than MP, but maybe MP witnesses too, in the Arrowhead transmission project hearing, circa 1999-2000. There were cries of “Hospitals will go dark without the Arrowhead project,” “We’re going to freeze in the dark in an incubator” which became “We’re going to freeze in the dark on a respirator without a job” — it was so histrionic.

The Arrowhead transmission project was project 13J of the WRAO Report, and the WIREs Report, which presented many transmission lines, but chose the Arrowhead transmission project as the “be all and end all” of transmission in the Midwest, that it would fix all the transmission problems:

WRAO-report1Download WRAO-Appa1-WIREsPhaseIIDownload WRAO-APPa2-WIREsPhaseIIappBDownload

The hearing went forward, 2 weeks in Minnesota, where MP got an exemption from Minnesota Power Plant siting law, and for TWO MONTHS in Wisconsin, for Round 1, then 2 weeks after the cost went way up, and another 3-5 days of hearing later when cost went up again. They got their permit, it’s up…

But in that first hearing, I did get to introduce the report that showed that the June 25, 1998, blackout was NOT caused by too little capacity, it was not caused by an unreliable transmission system. It was caused by corporate greed, transmission operators running the Prairie Island-Byron 345kV’s TCEX flow over the limit, disregarding operating guides, and disregarding requests and demands to ramp the power down, violating MAPP Operating Standards and NERC Operating Policies. SHAME, NSP, SHAME!!! And MP was so tacky, trying to attribute their desire for bulk power transfer to the blackout, that the Arrowhead project would save us. Yeah, right…

Here’s the report, below, it’s a gem, I’m posting this today because I’m shoveling off my desk and there are a lot of gems here, so posting them will get them out into the world in perpetuity — can’t disappear something from the internet! Scanning them in is taking a while, a royal and dusty pain in the patoot, but just for you inquiring minds, HERE IT IS:

Northern MAPP Northwestern Ontario Disturbance June 25 1988 FINAL REPORTDownload

Here are a couple snippets, starting with p. 2:

Bottom line?



The report goes on and on with stupid human tricks – the flow was NOT reduced by NSP System Operators:

From pps 10-11:

So if the operators had been doing the job, not focused on keeping that line operating with all that power flowing through it, selling that power, the blackout may not have happened. Great…

And for some reason, NSP operators were not communicating:

300 MW above the operating guide limits:


Operator error is a too-generous way to put it — but for the efforts to NOT reduce power flows, the inadequate response of system operators and their failure to communicate the degree of the problem, the blackout may not have happened. And then utilities have the nerve to say that because of the June 25, 1998 blackout, we need the 13j Arrowhead transmission project?

Categories: Citizens

Goodhue County mtg in news

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sat, 01/11/2020 - 6:44pm
RW Republican-bEagle photo – HEY, there’s Muller!! Goodhue County approves refugee resettlement

County Board as they discussed refugee resettlement. There were extensive comments and questions by the Goodhue Co. Commissioners, a couple handouts in the packet, but they were not provided with the federal law.

What didn’t they get in the packet? Executive Order 13888_2019-21505, which initiated the requirement for consent, prior consent, to accept refugees. That’s new. The consent however, is a restatement of existing county policy. There was no copy of the ” Presidential Determination – 2019-26082_Refugee Admissions FY 2020″ which limits refugee admissions to 18,000, a severe cut from prior years. And a basic outline of the Refugee Resettlement Act and implementation of the law. So I sent the Commissioners that info. Also missing was Gov. Walz’ proclamation of consent:

Governor Walz to Trump Administration: ‘The Inn is Not Full in Minnesota’

Categories: Citizens

Xcel wants to sell coal on market… DOH!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 6:04pm

How many years have I been saying that the purpose of this massive transmission build-out is to market coal elsewhere? Decades, folks, it’s been decades… And this latest from Xcel Energy, Notice of Comment period just out today, is demonstration that they plan to keep running those coal plants and selling it. Will the Public Utilities Commission care?

Here’s the newly released Xcel Energy plan, and a comment period:

Xcel Petition to Sell to MISO Market_201912-158520-01Download

The plan?

Here’s the Notice:

PUC Notice of Comment Period_20201-159014-01Download

What to comment about? From the Commission’s Notice:

Bulk power transfer was the whole point of the transmission build-out, to be able to sell anything generated at any Point A to any Point B. And then coal generated here could be sold elsewhere, eastward via transmission, while we use generation that isn’t quite so dirty (but that’s dirty in its own way). We’re so clean here in Minnesota… NOT! We’ve been a pass through for Dakotas’ coal for a while, and now, they’re asking permission to keep burning coal here and send that energy eastward.

They built all that transmission, no Commission I’ve seen has ever found a transmission plan they didn’t like and roll over for, and now we’re paying for it. Rate increases anyone? Are you paying attention to what’s pushing those rates up?

Why ever would I say that it’s all about selling coal? Well… there’s a bit of a pattern going here. There was the Chisago project, starting in 1996 and three iterations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, not to mention the WRAO report:

WRAO laid out many transmission lines and the Arrowhead transmission project, circa 1999, was selected as the be all and end all of transmission after many hearings were held, one hearing in Minnesota and THREE before Wisconsin PSC, the price kept going UP, UP, UP!

But then on September 8, 2001, a meeting with likely intervenors to see if they could be convinced to “approve” of the SW Minnesota 345kV line, remember that, Commissioner Matt Schuerger? I pointed out all that coal lined up in the SW MN 345kV study… and from there on to the SW MN 345kV line, part of ABB plan for coal:

Lignite Vision 21 Transmission Study IIDownload

Don’t ya just love that name? It says it all. Why the ABB Lignite Vision 21 Transmission Study? The opening paragraph, linked above, DOH! says:

The SW MN 345kV line was the part that’s running east to west on the lower part of that yellow map, from Split Rock sub to Lakefield Junction. Some claimed it was an “It’s for WIND!” line, but that’s a lie, just read that ABB study again. The powerflows showed that it wasn’t to carry energy off of Buffalo Ridge, there was just 213-302 MVA coming off Buffalo Ridge into the over 2,000 MVA capacity line:

How stupid do they think we are? Well, money talked, and that money ruled the day. That SW MN 345kV line and the TRANSLink Settlement Agreement and 2005 Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell (and changes to Minn. Stat. 117.189) laid the groundwork to bring us $2+ BILLION of CapX 2020:

And then the MISO MVP 17 project portfolio, now over $6 BILLION:

And then they have the audacity to suggest we need MORE transmission?

Upper Midwest utilities to study transmission grid in light of ambitious carbon reduction goals

CapX 2050 Vision Study

So please explain how selling coal generated electricity on the MISO market is consistent with carbon reduction goals?

What a crock…

Categories: Citizens

Office Hours

My Musical Family - Joy Riggs - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 5:12pm

The sign outside his door must have listed his office hours, but I don’t remember paying much attention to it. Instead, I’d follow the well-traveled path from The Times-Delphic newspaper office to the northeast side of Meredith Hall and crane my neck to assess the situation: was the sturdy brown wood door closed, or was it open?

Sometimes it was closed, and I'd wander around the north wing of the building, in case he was talking to a colleague in the hallway. Sometimes his door was open and another student was there, usually someone I knew (the J school was not large), and I'd have to wait my turn. But in my memory, when I really needed him, like the room of requirement in Harry Potter, he was there, ready and willing to listen to my problem or piece of news. He'd motion for me to sit in the guest chair, which was surrounded by near-toppling towers of books, newspapers and magazines, he'd lean back in his desk chair, and he'd look at me, expectantly.

When I delivered good news, his eyes would crinkle at the corners, his mouth would curve in a smile, and he'd say, "Wonderful, that's wonderful." When I posed a concern or described a problem, he'd stroke his long graying beard (made grayer, no doubt, with the help of those accumulated student concerns), and ask a series of thoughtful questions. He'd also listen, intently, to my answers. He was a masterful listener.

Every time I sat in that chair with a problem to solve, I hoped he'd simply tell me what to do. He never did. That was not his way. He would listen and elicit responses from me until I had thoroughly analyzed the situation and arrived at my own conclusion. He had a gift, a sometimes maddening in the moment but ultimately generous gift, of teaching us how to not need him.

No, that's not quite right; we do still need him. But he knew we would move on, into our professions and our adult lives, so he taught us how to think critically, to trust our instincts, to remain curious, and to learn from our failures. Because of that gift, a part of him will always be with us.

Amy Ryder, Randy Brown, Professor Woodward, and me in spring 1990Robert Woodward (1936-2020) arrived on the Drake University campus in 1972 and taught there until 2004 (and he continued to teach Honors classes after his retirement). As my friend and classmate Randy Brown says, when we attended Drake in the late 1980s, Woodward seemed timeless. He wore sport coats, collared shirts, and ties; he had a mane of brownish gray hair and the aforementioned beard; and he had numerous and varied interests including politics, baseball, and monarch butterflies.

I didn't piece it together until after he died that I am now the age he was, 52, when I was a college junior. I didn't know until I read his obituary that he wrote more than 200 songs in his younger days, that he had learned Swahili, that he served as editor of his own student newspaper.

As my friend and classmate Amy Ryder Butters says, "I don't think we knew how lucky we were to have him."

We do know, now.

Regrettably, I can't go back to his office and have one more chat with him. When I return to Meredith Hall tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 10), to celebrate his life, it will be difficult to walk those polished floors and know that his office door is permanently closed. I won't find him there, physically, ever again.

Instead, I will look for him in the faces of the people who knew and loved him as I did. I will picture him there in the crowd, smiling at the legacy he has left, nodding his approval while saying, "Wonderful. Just wonderful."
Categories: Citizens

Goodhue County consents to continue to accept refugees

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 01/08/2020 - 4:56pm

THANK YOU, Goodhue County Board.

Yesterday, the Goodhue County Board‘s Committee of the Whole consented to refugee resettlement, continuing its long-standing policy of accepting refugees. This meeting left me feeling that despite the loud, angry, misinformed, in some cases outright lying and inciting, opposition, “the right thing to do” prevailed. I spent two days researching, lobbying, emailing, fbing, twitting (naaah, not much), Legalectricing, and phone calling, many others doing the same, and so many showing up.

This whole mess started with years of anti-Islamic rhetoric (How Minnesota Republican Operatives are sowing distrust of Muslims) and then tRump’s open campaign to end Muslim entry into the U.S.

Then came the Muslim Ban Executive Orders, challenged in court at every turn and almost always the court finds them unconstitutional (how many times do we have to do this… well, we have to do this EVERY time he issues one of these Orders).

Executive Order 13769 -Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States ???

Then last fall, along comes Executive Order 13888, which requires that a state and local government must give prior consent before any refugees can be resettled in that jurisdiction:

Executive Order 13888_2019-21505-1Download

Note Pending legal challenge to tRump’s E.O. 13888.

And don’t forget that tRump cut refugee admissions to just 18,000 for the entire U.S.:

2019-26082_Refugee Admissions FY 2020Download

Anyhoo, state by state, county by county, we’re going through this process to consent to refugee resettlement. If there’s no consent, then no refugees can settle here (initially, they can be settled elsewhere, and move here, though if they do move into a non-consenting state, their 90 days of financial aid ends). Goodhue County addressed consent last night, and granted consent, which means that the County will continue its long-standing policy of acceptance of refugees. It was an administrative action, because the County policy is, has been forever, to accept refugees. Accepting refugees, for Goodhue County, doesn’t mean much, as the last refugee resettled here was in 2011, exactly ONE, and in 2010, also exactly ONE. None since. But it’s an important symbolic statement to make in light of EO 13888.

Last night it was a packed room. Here’s the Board:

Here are the documents included in the County packet:

1. Refugee Resettlement in Goodhue County


Refugee Resettlement Presentation.pdf

Refugee Resettlement Additional Information.pdf

And it’s been an ugly time here in River City, with the Red Wing Tea Party agitating, with an irresponsible “candidate” for MN’s Congressional District 2 (this time around) delivering an inciteful rant about Goodhue County’s consideration of consent, a decision required by E.O. 13888. There’s been a rash of anti-Muslim wildly false and hateful statements, things that are jaw-dropping. When we got to the county building, all the entrances were roped off, saying to go around to the 5th street entrance, and going in, we’re greeted bydeputies galore, a sign in sheet, and metal detector. At the beginning of the meeting, there was an announcement that there was a credible threat, hence security beefed up like I’ve never seen at the County.

In the Red Wing Republican-bEagle:

Goodhue County approves refugee resettlement

A prior post here on Legalectric:

Refugee Resettlement in Goodhue County

THANK YOU, Goodhue County Board.

Categories: Citizens

Stearns County EO1388 Consent tabled to next mtg

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 01/07/2020 - 1:50pm
Stearns County 1986

Stearns County tabled its E.O. 13888 Consent agenda item until the next meeting, a request for a letter from county consenting to refugee settlement. In Stearns County, there have been 662, 22 in 2019, and 12 in 2018. The County documents are below.

Stearns County Board – Video – Refugee Settlement begins at about 19 minutes in: VIDEO HERE

Stearns County_Action RequestedDownload Stearns County_Information Summary-1-7-20 mtgDownload

Categories: Citizens

Pending legal challenge to tRump’s E.O. 13888

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 8:21pm

There’s quite a discussion here in Red Wing about Goodhue County’s upcoming decision whether the County will continue to allow refugee resettlement in the County. This decision is necessary due to Trump’s issuance of Executive Order 13888, which prohibits resettlement of refugees unless the Governor of the state and the head of the local governmental unit have consented in advance to refugee settlement.

EO 13888_2019-21505-1Download

That means that for refugees to be able to settle somewhere, there must be an affirmative YES! to allow settlement. Minnesota’s Gov. Walz has given his consent and has welcomed refugees to Minnesota:

Governor Walz to Trump Administration: ‘The Inn is Not Full in Minnesota’

In Minnesota, that means that local governments now also must consent to be able to settle refugees in the area. County by County, here are the numbers for Minnesota counties that admitted any refugees, ones not listed, such as Goodhue County, admitted ZERO. NONE! NADA!

Goodhue County will be discussing this in a Committee of the Whole meeting tomorrow, here’s my post on that:

Refugee Resettlement in Goodhue County

In the meantime, there a federal case working its way through Maryland Southern District — keep in mind that the tRump administration is not doing well in federal challenges of its immigration Executive Orders, tRump has lost most, if not all of them (so many, it’s hard to keep track!). Here’s the Complaint and Amici filings available online:



This is everything I can find, and I need to call PACER to get into my account (new computer, AAAAAAAAAARGH!) and look at the filings in the docket, so there may be more. I can’t find the Administration’s Answer, which should have been filed in December. I’ll be digging for that and more when I can get into the court’s docket file.

Categories: Citizens
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