Carol Overland - Legalectric

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Carol A. Overland, Overland Law Office -- Utility Regulatory and Land Use Advocacy
Updated: 2 weeks 5 days ago

tRump loses again in Federal Court! Oh, Baltimore…

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 2:39pm

Our Loser-in-Chief has lost again, this time in his attempt to torpedo the Consent Decree, settled after the investigation by the Department of Justice into practices of the Baltimore Police Department.

Judge-Bredar-ruling-on-Baltimore-consent-decree_4-7-2017

It all started with a complaint, after the Freddie Gray shooting and subsequent unrest in Baltimore, against the Baltimore Police and the City, alleging Constitutional violations, and then an intense investigation of the Baltimore Police Department.  Since tRump’s inauguration, and after the settlement was reached, a Motion was filed by “the Government” in essence requesting “an additional opportunity to consider whether it wants the Court to enter the decree at all, or at least the current version of it.”  From the Order:

The parties have already agreed to the draft before the Court. It would be extraordinary for the Court to permit one side to unilaterally amend an agreement already jointly reached and signed. Moreover, early in the Court‟s review of the joint motion, but after the new administration was in office in Washington, the Government affirmed its commitment to this draft and urged the Court to sign it. (Tr. of Hrg. 7:10-24, ECF No. 20.) The Defendants, for their part, continue to urge entry of the proposed decree, consistent with the earlier joint submission. (Statement of Acting City Solicitor David Ralph in open Court, Hrg. on April 6, 2017, transcript not yet available.)

As between the parties, this case is settled. All that remains is for the Court to make its determinations under United States v. North Carolina, and it has done so above.1 The case is no longer in a phase where any party is unilaterally entitled to reconsider the terms of the settlement; the parties are bound to each other by their prior agreement. The time for negotiating the agreement is over.

As always, the footnotes are where it’s at, in this case pointing out the paucity of tRump’s arguments:

There’s a distinct trend when tRump’s administration goes to court.  L-O-S-E-R!  Now, tRump, just stop it, and take all these federal court orders and decisions into account before you stick your foot in it again.

Categories: Citizens

Lab USA Ash Mining – PCA says “No EIS needed”

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 10:57am

No surprise.  BUT, many issues not addressed, and many comments not registering, much less considered, it seems.  Minnesota Pollution Control Agency “reviewed” the Lab USA Environmental Assessment and Comments and determined that:

And the bottom line:

Here’s the full document, check it out:

Lab USA FOF (MPCA Final)

Note they do not address the Water Tank Mound, which comprises much of the Red Wing lay down yard site, and there is no acknowledgement, much less characterization or use in modeling, of the La Crosse incinerator ash that’s trucked in, and something like 50% of that is old railroad ties full of creosote.  Pretty toxic stuff, that creosote.

Something odd — if not for a little birdie, I’d not have known that this was issued, no service, no notice, nada. ???  Thank you, little birdie!!!

Categories: Citizens

THIS! Trump’s own words, and words matter

Sun, 04/02/2017 - 12:03pm

“Throw him the hell out of here!” and worse:

 

 

 

Judge to Trump: No protection for speech inciting violence By The Associated Press Associated Press April 1, 2017 — 7:05pm

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal judge has rejected President Donald Trump’s free speech defense against a lawsuit accusing him of inciting violence against protesters at a campaign rally.

Trump’s lawyers sought to dismiss the lawsuit by three protesters who say they were roughed up by his supporters at a March 1, 2016 rally in Louisville, Kentucky. They argued that Trump didn’t intend for his supporters to use force.

Two women and a man say they were shoved and punched by audience members at Trump’s command. Much of it was captured on video and widely broadcast during the campaign, showing Trump pointing at the protesters and repeating “get them out.”

Judge David J. Hale in Louisville ruled Friday that the suit against Trump, his campaign and three of his supporters can proceed. Hale found ample facts supporting allegations that the protesters’ injuries were a “direct and proximate result” of Trump’s actions, and noted that the Supreme Court has ruled out constitutional protections for speech that incites violence.

“It is plausible that Trump’s direction to ‘get ’em out of here’ advocated the use of force,” the judge wrote. “It was an order, an instruction, a command.”

Plaintiffs Kashiya Nwanguma, Molly Shah and Henry Brousseau allege that they were physically attacked by several members of the audience, including Matthew Heimbach, Alvin Bamberger and an unnamed defendant they have yet to be able to identify.

Bamberger later apologized to the Korean War Veterans Association, whose uniform he wore at the rally. He wrote that he “physically pushed a young woman down the aisle toward the exit” after “Trump kept saying ‘get them out, get them out,” according to the lawsuit.

Heimbach, for his part, sought to dismiss the lawsuit’s discussion of his association with a white nationalist group and of statements he made about how Trump could advance the group’s interests. The judge declined, saying such information could be important context when determining punitive damages.

The judge also declined to remove allegations that Nwanguma, an African-American, was the victim of racial, ethnic and sexist slurs from the crowd at the rally. This context may support the plaintiffs’ claims of negligence and incitement by Trump and his campaign, the judge said.

“While the words themselves are repulsive, they are relevant to show the atmosphere in which the alleged events occurred,” Hale wrote.

Lawyers for Trump and his campaign also argued that they cannot be held liable because they had no duty to the plaintiffs, who assumed the risk of injury when they decided to protest at the rally. The judge countered that under the law, every person has a duty to every other person to use care to prevent foreseeable injury.

“In sum, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have adequately alleged that their harm was foreseeable and that the Trump Defendants had a duty to prevent it,” the judge ruled, referring the case to a federal magistrate, Judge H. Brent Brennenstuhl, to handle preliminary litigation, discovery and settlement efforts.

Categories: Citizens

TrumpCo’s got to go — Government is NOT a business

Thu, 03/30/2017 - 12:46pm

Each day it’s something.  In the beginning, it was a flurry of Executive Orders and Memoranda that were poorly thought out, worsely executed, even posted on White House website with different wording than what was actually signed — I know because I was tracking them closely as they were coming out and posting them and resulting court losses via Temporary Restraining Orders and decisions  here and here and here,  for example.

A friend was looking at how to frame this problem, and branded it “TrumpCo.”  TrumpCo is what’s developed from Trump’s claim that government should be run like a business, and his efforts to initiate that plan.  Just the facts about how tRump runs businesses (into the ground, fact check on that, yes, multiple bankruptcies) should give us pause, but deeper thought about the purpose and functions of government should stop this in its tracks.  Dream on… these guys are relentless.  Meanwhile, Republican #notmyPresident Donald Trump is putting his son-in-law Jared Kushner in charge of ??(hard to tell, Senior White House Advisor, etc?), his daughter Ivanka installed in an office and requesting security clearance, and sons on US taxpayer business trips, WTF?

Son-in-law Jared Kushner has a large role in TrumpCo:

Reinventing government

The Office of American Innovation is expected to tackle domestic issues such as Veterans’ Affairs, workforce development and opioid addiction, the Associated Press reports.

“The government should be run like a great American company,” Kushner told the Washington Post of the initiative, one of the few interviews he has granted since becoming a senior adviser. “Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens.”

Categories: Citizens

Keystone XL Pipeline – Complaint for Injunctive Relief

Thu, 03/30/2017 - 11:57am

tRump signed a Memorandum pushing Keystone XL (and Dakota Access) pipeline inviting them to reapply, which they did two days later:

#notmyPresident – Keystone XL pipeline is baaaaaaaaack

And today, a Complaint has been filed by Northern Plains Resource Council, Bold alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club to stop KXL from going forward:

Complaint filed 2017 03 30 FINAL

The focus is on the extensive record of the earlier proceeding, the prior rejection of the Presidential Permit, NEPA violations, and the arbitrary and capricious nature of the Memorandum and moving forward with this project.  The specific claims are:

  • Violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321 et seq., and Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706, by Defendants State Department and Under Secretary Shannon
  • Violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321 et seq., and Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706, by Defendants Interior Department, Bureau of Land Management, and Secretary Zinke
  • Violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706, by Defendants State Department and Under Secretary Shannon

The third claim is what I’d been noting after tRump issued the Memorandum.  With the lengthy and voluminous record, and the denial, to with the stroke of a pen say “go ahead,” that’s arbitrary and capricious on its face.  From the Complaint:

The State Department has failed to adequately explain and justify (a) its reversal of positions on whether Keystone XL is in the national interest, and (b) its reliance on a stale and inadequate environmental review. Its approval decision is arbitrary and capricious.

… and oh, what a good example that Memorandum is, itching for challenge.  Well, here it is.

Categories: Citizens

Transmission CCN? NO!!! A win for Neighbors United!

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 2:22pm

Hot off the press from the Federal Appellate Court — Missouri Western District

Western-District-Appeal-Results

From the Order:

ATXI is an Illinois corporation authorized to do business in Missouri and engaged in the construction, ownership, and operation of interstate transmission lines that transmit electricity for the public use. It does not generate, distribute, or sell electricity to the general public or serve any retail service territory.

And the law is clear:

“If any of the items required under this rule are unavailable at the time the application is filed, they shall be furnished prior to the granting of the authority sought.”  4 CSR 240-3.105(2) (emphasis added).

And interpretation of the law:

The general language of section 393.170.3 authorizes the PSC to impose “reasonable and necessary” conditions on a CCN. However, the specific language of section 393.170.2 states that evidence of the county commission consents “shall” be on file before the PSC grants a CCN.  “Where one provision of a statute contains general language and another provision in the same statute contains more specific language, the general language should give way to the specific.” Id.

And bottom line?

The PSC’s Report and Order is vacated as it was entered in excess of the PSC’s statutory authority.

Love it when this happens!

Categories: Citizens

Rehab… for the Palomino pop up, that is!

Sun, 03/26/2017 - 9:08pm

And now for something completely different… Way back a year and a half ago we got our “new” 1997 Palomino Yearling, and it took a awhile to get set up, figure out what we needed, but we’re there.   Little Sadie loves it too:

We’ve put a lot of miles on it, got to many of the State Parks here in Minnesota.  Frontenac 1st, and Scenic which was fully booked, and which had no internet or phone at all:

Wild River,where we had a pesto festo with friends and campground neighbors, but alas, sketchy internet:

Charles Lindbergh, which rents canoes, has internet access, and right by town, highly recommend:

Itasca (which has WiFi at the bathrooms in both campgrounds!) Prefer Bear Paw Campground and the lake view sites :

Tettegouche, and this year Cascade River for the Grand Marais Wooden Boat Show.  Not long after we got it, we took it up to Big Bog for the Great Northern Transmission Road Show, cool place because it has docks for the campsites, a fishing camp for sure with all the big BIG trailers and pick up trucks, HUGE RVs (and the flies and mosquitos as big, they remain trapped in the screens to this day, never seen so many ever, do NOT recommend going up there) and NO internet access whatsoever, what a pain, nope, take it off your list:

Nerstrand with good internet through the phone, close to home and Tokyo Grill, a great sushi restaurant in Northfield:

Even Wisconsin.  Wisconsin State Parks seem to be set up a little better than Minnesota (gasp!), with sites further apart, and much larger, there’d be room for two campers and two cars in most of the Wisconsin sites I’ve seen.  Mirror Lake State Park is very popular, and the best site — it’s booked solid already, had to grab a few early days:

Perrot State Park soon, I hope.  We also went down to Arkansas and back, out to the Black Hills with buffalo in a pasture right next to the campground bathrooms, and Hell Creek State Park in Montana (got to tour the dam while we were out there, how cool is that?!?) that has 26 miles of the dirt road from hell to get there.

Here’s Hell Creek State Park in Montana then and now.  First is Hell Creek State Park, MT, in 1966 and the next is last spring at the same spot, it only took 50 years to get back:

It was a lot more hospitable now, but May v. August in 1966, no surprise.  No park ranger with a bag of rattlesnakes this time either!  And after going through the Bakken BUST, we even got to Ft. Stevenson, North Dakota (no relation to anyone at Xcel Energy):

It’s been a long winter.  As a kid, I remember my father spent the winter with maps, and planning our month of August on the road.  So in that tradition, I’ve spend the winter looking at camp sites, picking out our next trips, campsites, and we’re ready to hit the road… but wait, not so fast.  Over the winter, I also got carried away looking at rehabs on The Pop Up Princess, and the thought of spending another summer with those 1990s maroon and green cushions is more than I can bear.

Alan’s been busy working on the camper, well, me too.  And as you can see, it’s good to go.  We’ve already added what we need to camp in comfort, roughing it has no appeal to me anymore, yes, we’re old farts.  We’ve now got a deep cycle battery, new propane tank, Alan scraped and primed the frame, put in bearing buddies of course, new tires too (had a flat in Arkansas, at least we were prepared).

Alan has wired in outlets and USBs in the small dinette (office!), some other lights repaired inside and out, LED all around, and a 6″ PVC pipe on the back for all the poles so they don’t mar the floor bouncing around.

Also my fridge from the truck to replace the icebox, a toaster, a conveciton/toaster oven and a fold up Coleman oven too, microwave, CampChef storage and toolbags for cooking equipment and spices/condiments…

… and a couple of tables for kitchen duty, YUGE outdoor mat, chairs, and doofy awning lites, and I even sewed a cover for it (to match the air conditioner covers!!):

And I gots me a chuckbox, what more could one want in life!

Best of all, I’ve now got my Subaruski to pull it!

We’re all set… and we’ve really been getting around!  Yes, it’s just fine the way it is, but… but… that inside is SO 90s.  And that’s where The Pop Up Princess comes in.  Check these rehabs, like wow!  And it’s not all that hard.  It can be a real mess if you really want to rip everything up, but a makeover can be done fairly easily.

That fabric, URP!  It is so gross, dark, and scratchy, it’s got to go.

With something different, something cheery and bright, it’s a whole new camper.  And SR Harris had a big sale on fabric, $3.99/yard, so… TA DA!!!!  Cheeriness personified!

It’s mostly a light blue with tan, brown, and seafoam and green and some off white.

Have the cushion fabric riding around in the back of the Subaru, and will pick up some of the cushions to get a start on it this week. The floor, well, we have laminate that came up off the mud room floor, but it is so butt ugly, yes, it would match, but it would also be heavy, a lot more work, so I found a rich brown poly rug to cut and trim with off white twill tape, it’s thin enough to sew, a lot easier than those ($*%)#(*)#*% Subaru seat covers I made out of throw rugs!  Cut this to fit, glue the back edges so it doesn’t fray, and sew on twill tape binding all around, and toss it on the floor, take it out to hose it off now and then, how hard can it be?!?!

The off white twill tape arrived last week, and the rug is resting up on the couch. The cabinets will be glaze off white, got the deglosser and found great pulls at Restore $0.25 each, and Rustoleum spray metallic paint so the hinges will match the pulls. Don’t need to redo the curtains because they’re the same seafoam green and dark green of the new fabric, and they will look just fine after those 90s cushions are covered.  The countertops and tables are OK as is, because they’re off white too.

This will be a good project to do so I’m not thinking about tRump at least now and then!

 

Categories: Citizens

HHS Inspector General also scrutinizing tRump

Sat, 03/25/2017 - 12:41pm

How many investigations on Trump, his campaign, and his administration are now in the works?  Well, here’s another!

The Inspector General of Department of Health and Human Services has opened an investigation into Trump’s “decision to stop paid advertisements and temporarily suspend other outreach efforts directed at Marketplace enrollment in the final days of the 2016-2017 open enrollment season.”  What that means is that tRump stopped advertising and outreach for registration for Obamacare.

Here’s his letter acknowledging the investigation:

2017-3-23_HHS_IG_Letter_re_ACA_enrollment

When the Inspector General gets going, that’s something to take seriously.  There was no authorization to stop advertising, already paid by Obama administration, nor was there authorization to stop free social media/email notice to folks of the deadline.  The tail end of the open enrollment period is always when there are the most sign-ups, and reaching people in that time frame is crucial.  Failing to advertise, stopping outreach, works against filling the pool to spread the risk.  Some call that sabotage.  Yeah, that sounds apt.

One more thing to nail tRump and his administration on, it just keeps piling up.

Categories: Citizens

My LTE of the month in the bEagle

Sat, 03/25/2017 - 10:24am

This week in the Republican Eagle:

Letter: Why an exemption from overtime?

To the editor:

Sen. Mike Goggin’s SF899 takes advantage of workers’ tenuous H2A status.

Goggin argues, “The choice is solely up to the employee; the bill does not require or expect any worker to work overtime.”

No, let’s be clear. What employee wouldn’t prefer overtime? This exemption is for the employer. It legislates lower wages for the employer. Hours and length of employment is specified in the H2A employment contract.

The only “choice” left to employees is to work hours the employer wants or lose their job and leave the U.S. if they can’t find another job immediately. That’s not “choice,” it’s extortion.

Most of us have worked “at will.” Employers set the hours and work is “at will” on the employer’s terms. You are “at will” to comply, quit, or be fired “at will.”

Goggin works for Xcel, which has a high pay rate and likely pays hourly workers overtime for over 40 hours a week. H2A workers must have an employment contract, are covered by federal wage laws, and employers must meet specific employment and reporting requirements to recruit and hire H2A workers, including declarations that they can’t find U.S. workers.

From Leviticus 19:33-34: “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born.”

The senator should instead promote equity and a legislative mandate of overtime pay for over 40 hours weekly.

Why exploit H2A guest workers? Is SF 899 the Christian thing to do?

Carol A. Overland

Red Wing

Categories: Citizens

CO2 pipelines? It’s a red herring!

Wed, 03/22/2017 - 5:42pm

The Great Plains Institute has long been a problem, and it remains a problem, evidenced in today’s missive trying to bootstrap onto tRump’s “infrastructure” agenda, by releasing a “White Paper” “calling on President Trump and Congress to make CO2 pipelines a priority component of a broader national infrastructure agenda and recommending that the federal government support the development of CO2 pipeline networks.”  Oh, great… brilliant idea, just brilliant.

Great Plains Institute a problem?  Yes.  They were paid handsomely to promote coal gasification, projects including but not limited to Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project, the boondoggle of boondoggles.  For example:

Great Plains Institute – is Joyce getting their $$ worth? January 18th, 2007

Carbon capture and storage/sequestration was seen by many circa 2005 as a “way forward for coal.”  So the Walton’s Bill Grant said.  No.  It wasn’t.

CO2 sequestration is so… like… not happening!

It wasn’t a “way forward for coal” then, and it isn’t now.

The market has spoken on coal, and it’s clear that coal is on the way out as coal companies go bankrupt, as coal generated electricity languishes on the energy market, and as the inefficient and costly older coal plants have closed, with newer larger plants waiting in queue to be shuttered.

And CO2 capture and storage/sequestration is a farce.  Why? Well, we learned a lot about CO2 capture in our fight against Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project.  That’s where the Public Utilities Commission determined that it was just to expensive and risky to approve a Power Purchase Agreement — go HERE and search for PUC Docket 05-1933. Here’s a rough visual of CO2 capture and storage/use:

From Global CCS Institute HERE

So what’s the problem?

  • First, capture is costly and difficult, particularly capturing any significant portion of CO2 generated.
  • The higher percentage captured, the higher the cost of that capture, and high percentage capture has not been achieved.
  • The cost of capture is not only the cost to physically do it, the hardware, technology, and engineering, but there is a high cost in efficiency of the CO2 producer, a parasitic cost, meaning that if you’re capturing that CO2, you’re paying a high price in efficiency of an already inefficient process (burning is always inefficient).
  • And another parasitic cost, these pipelines require pumping stations to pressurize andpump it into the pipeline, a pumping station every 75 miles or so to keep that pressure up, and a pumping station at the destination, and those pumping stations require 4-10 MW of power, depending.
  • Environmentally, the impacts of digging up land for hundreds of miles is immense.
  • These are private projects and for a private project, a private purpose, eminent domain isn’t available for the taking of people’s land.

Yet this CO2 capture and storage/sequestration farce continues, evidenced in the most recent Great Plains Institute missive I found in the inbox, here the missive’s link to CO2 capture and storage for oil extraction, “Enhanced Oil Recovery”.

Here’s their “White Paper” with what they’ll be lobbying for:

21st Century Energy Infrastructure: Policy Recommendations for Development of American CO2 Pipeline Networks

Short version:  The federal government should make this CO2 pipeline and infrastructure build out happen across the country, a la the Interstate highway system.

In light of tRump’s Executive Order 13766, Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects, that’s a scary notion.

Check out this site from Global CCS Institute, and note, they talk of benefits, but look for talk of costs.  Hmm…

A “way forward for coal?”  CO2 capture?  Over my dead polar bear.

Categories: Citizens

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