Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category
Frank Hornstein represents a Twin Cities district. That’s why it isn’t surprising that he opposes the Sandpiper Pipeline project in northern Minnesota. What’s odd is his reason for opposing it:
Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis, said many frame pipelines as a safer alternative to oil-carrying trains but that it shouldn’t be a choice between the two.
“Pipelines leak and explode and so do trains. The choice is: Are we going to continue our dependence on oil or get serious about conserving?” said Hornstein, who called the debate a symptom of “America’s gluttonous appetite for oil. The science is in, the data is screaming at us. And what goes on inside here,” he said pointing to the Capitol, “is unfortunately not helping.”
Bulletin for Hornstein: The vote is in. People love their oil-loving ways. They don’t care that we’re using lots of oil.
Americans processed all of the data that’s “screaming at us.” The perspective that Rep. Hornstein prefers lost. Actually, it got its butt kicked. It isn’t surprising, though, that Rep. Hornstein isn’t paying attention to what the American people want. He’ a hardline progressive who knows what’s best for Americans. Because knows what’s best for Americans, his policies should be implemented ASAP.
That sounds like a certain pen-wielding president who hates Congress and the courts, doesn’t it?
With all due respect to Rep. Hornstein, the American people don’t care that he thinks he knows what’s best for them. Though he’ll probably continue getting re-elected for as long as he wants, Minnesotans will reject his attitude.
Protesters carried makeshift signs and banners and chanted, “We don’t want your tar sands oil, we won’t let you kill our soil,” and “Pipelines spill, tar sands kill.”
I’d love to see the autopsy report that states that tar sands were the cause of death. These environmental activists are from the outer fringes of the outer fringe of the DFL.
When the PUC approved the certificate of need for the Sandpiper Pipeline project, it was predictable that the DFL’s army of environmental activists would start complaining. MN350 quickly criticized the decision:
“It seems Enbridge has a new office in Minnesota today, staffed by the members of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission,” said Andy Pearson of environmental rights group MN350. “The record clearly shows that the Sandpiper pipeline poses unacceptable risks to water, climate, and treaty rights. A better commission would have stood up against Enbridge to protect Minnesotans, but that is not the commission which met on Friday. This decision is an embarrassment to Minnesota and a disservice to its citizens.”
Here’s a series of questions for Mr. Pearson and the other extremists in the environmental movement:
- What is an acceptable risk to water and climate?
- Is there an acceptable risk?
- Are all risks unacceptable?
- If all risks are unacceptable, explain why they’re unacceptable.
It’s more than interesting that Pearson first attacked the PUC, essentially accusing them of being bought and paid for by big corporations. What proof does Mr. Pearson have that substantiates that accusation? Or is he just shooting his mouth off? I suspect it’s the latter.
Shouldn’t people question MN350? Haven’t they made enough statements that have demolished their credibility? I’ve been following environmental organizations for decades. Their predictions are wildly inaccurate. That’s on a good day. Their predictions and/or statements read more like outright propaganda than statements that should be taken seriously.
If Republicans were smart, which is questionable, they’d start championing regulatory reform. They’d start with a conversation that explains how the environmental activist wing of the DFL hurts farmers and businesses. They’d probably do a series of videos that highlight how not building pipelines hurt farmers. They could include another video series that shows that the ‘science’ that these regulations is more voodoo than science.
If all we do is complain, then we should just shut up because we’re getting the government we deserve.
Predictably, environmental activists protested the PUC’s approval of the Sandpiper Pipeline project:
Hundreds gathered Saturday to protest Minnesota’s proposed Sandpiper pipeline. The rally in St. Paul came one day after Minnesota regulators endorsed the $2.6 billion Sandpiper pipeline that would carry crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields to Superior, Wisconsin, according to the Star Tribune. That’s where pipeline owner Enbridge Energy operates an oil terminal tied to other pipelines supplying refineries in the East and Midwest.
Anti-pipeline activists said they expected as many as several thousand people. Activists who led the battle against the giant Keystone pipeline say they hope to turn Minnesota’s pipeline into the next national organizing symbol against tar sands and climate change.
These professional protesters show up wherever a fossil fuel project has been approved. If someone wants to build a pipeline, these professional protesters will protest there. What’s more, they’ll be insisting that the project being built shouldn’t be built if there’s the slightest chance of any sort of accident.
That’s an impossible standard. It can’t be met, which is why these activists insist on that standard.
Richard Smith, who heads the group Friends of the Headwaters, told Minnesota Public Radio News the Enbridge project could put sensitive water resources at risk. “They shouldn’t have the right to exploit our water resources, our headwaters of the Mississippi, our lakes and streams, our wild rice and our drinking water,” he said.
Sharon Day, with the Indigenous People’s Task Force, fears expanding oil production in Canada and moving more oil through the state will hurt the environment. “If you want your grandchildren’s grandchildren to have life, to have clean water, then we must all do what we can,” Day said.
Richard Smith says that Enbridge “shouldn’t have the right to exploit our water resources, our headwaters of the Mississippi, our lakes and streams, our wild rice and our drinking water.” I’d state it differently. Friends of the Headwaters shouldn’t have the right to tell Minnesotans that they have to pay higher prices for energy, whether it’s gas prices or higher home heating bills, just to meet their impossible goals.
I stated earlier that FoH and other environmental activist organizations insist that projects meet their ‘no accidents ever policy’. It’s time to insist that building Minnesota’s energy infrastructure is just as important as protecting Minnesota’s natural resources. Thus far, DFL politicians have said that that’s possible. Then they’ve nitpicked every single project to death. The environmental activist wing of the DFL, led by the MCEA, has literally litigated these energy projects into oblivion.
It’s time the DFL’s actions matched their words.
Technorati: Protests, Public Utilities Commission, Certificate of Need, Sandpiper Pipeline, Friends of the Headwaters, Environmental Activists, MCEA, Litigation, DFL, Natural Resources, Infrastructure
Now that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, aka PUC, has issued a certificate of need for the Sandpiper Pipeline project, it’s time to ask an important question. First, here’s what happened:
ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has approved a certificate of need for the proposed Sandpiper pipeline from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields to Superior, Wisconsin. While the PUC agreed 5-0 Friday that the $2.6 billion, 610-mile pipeline is necessary, they didn’t foreclose the possibility of rerouting it away from environmentally sensitive lakes, streams and wetlands in northern Minnesota. Enbridge Energy will still have to go through a lengthy review of its proposed route and a proposed alternative.
It’s great that they approved the project but I’m just a little worried about why they’re involved. Their primary responsibility is monitoring public utilities. There’s no doubt that politicians create ‘innovative’ definitions for words but that doesn’t mean a pipeline is a public utility.
There’s no justification for adding the PUC into the regulatory process — except if the goal is to create another hoop for companies to jump through. Then it makes perfect sense. If creating multiple hoops is the goal, then having the PUC review pipeline projects is imperative.
There are multiple agencies that review these types of proposals. Why? Shouldn’t Minnesota create a one-stop shopping center for reviews? Shouldn’t there be a time limit placed on both parties to speed up the review process? That way, companies can’t run out the clock by withholding important information and regulators can’t string companies along with endless amounts of questions.
Streamlining the review process gets important projects approved quickly while still asking the important questions.
There’s a throng of anti-corporation organizations filled with environmental activists attempting to kill the Sandpiper Pipeline project. They thrive off of multiple bites at the apple during the regulatory process. They’re assisted by politicians like Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken, not to mention Gov. Dayton, Lt. Gov. Smith and legislators like Rep. Thissen and Sen. Marty.
These environmentalists will stand in the way of this type of reform. They’ll insist that the process isn’t broken and that it doesn’t need fixing. That’s a fantasy. Any system that requires years to get a project approved isn’t just fractured. It’s broken. Companies should be held accountable but they shouldn’t be required to spend tens of millions of dollars on each step of the regulatory process.
A strong national economy relies on cheap energy. If that’s our goal, which it should be, then it’s time we stepped into the 21st Century.
It isn’t a secret that environmental activists don’t want the Sandpiper Pipeline built. That’s because they’re pushing for an all-renewable energy economy. Here’s what they’re saying this year:
“We’ve just suggested that there should be a safer place to put it across the state, environmentally,” said Richard Smith, president of Friends of the Headwaters. “The state would still retain whatever property tax dollars come from the company from the pipeline itself, plus there’d still be construction jobs.”
That’s a lie. Here’s what they said about their earlier actions:
The Friends of the Headwaters (“FOH”) was successful in educating Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Associations (HCCOLA) Board Members who submitted a resolution to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that the Sandpiper Pipeline Route must be relocated in order to protect and preserve the lake country’s natural resources http://www.hubbardcolamn.org/sandpiper-pipeline.html. FOH also successfully educated the Hubbard County Board of Commissioners and the County Soil and Water Conservation District (“SWCD”) so that they submitted resolutions to the PUC requesting that it include a non-water alternate route in its proceedings regarding the Sandpiper route.
For the first time in an energy request before the PUC, both the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (“MPCA”) and the Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”), the state agencies charged with protecting the state’s environment and natural resources, have raised very serious concerns regarding the North Dakota Pipeline Company, LLC, an Enbridge affiliate (“Enbridge”) Route. The MPCA concluded Enbridge’s route is the least environmentally sensitive of 6 of the routes proposed. See http://www.friendsoftheheadwaters.org/latest-news-and-information.html.
The Friends of the Headwaters are doing everything within their power to prevent the building of the Sandpiper Pipeline. Meanwhile, there’s a massive railcar shortage that’s preventing farmers from getting their crops to market and creating safety issues for towns that the oil trains pass through.
Here’s more proof that the FOH is attempting to kill the Sandpiper Pipeline:
Leading up to the June hearing before PUC regulators in St. Paul, Administrative Law Judge Eric Lipman criticized the regulatory procedure for being “a lot harder than it ought to be.”
Lipman’s 106 page ruling advised the PUC to exclude “rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels…global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict” from consideration in future proceedings. “The addition of those larger items to the hearing agenda has a significant impact. It adds genuine complexity and expense to a contested case—and the burdens of coping with that complexity and expense falls upon energy companies, government agencies and ordinary citizens alike.”
Here’s a little interesting information about FOH:
Friends of the Headwaters is represented by the legal team at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA). Arguably the most respected environmental stewardship organization in Minnesota, MCEA is staffed with knowledgeable and passionate people fighting for environmental best practices across Minnesota.
That MCEA is mentioned as FOH’s attorneys speak volumes. I wrote about MCEA way back in this post. Here’s what MCEA bragged about in their op-ed:
Along with our allies at the Izaak Walton League of America, the Union of Concerned Scientists and Wind on the Wires, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and Fresh Energy argued, first in South Dakota, then before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), that the new plant was a bad idea. Our message was simple: The utilities had not proven the need for the energy, and what energy they did need could be acquired less expensively through energy efficiency and wind.
We kept losing, but a funny thing happened. With each passing year, it became clearer that we were right. In 2007, two of the Minnesota utilities dropped out, citing some of the same points we had been making. The remaining utilities had to go through the process again with a scaled-down 580-megawatt plant.
MCEA has a lengthy history of stopping fossil fuel projects. They’re in the legal sabotage business. Frankly, they don’t care if farmers get hurt. FOH and MCEA’s highest priority is stopping any project that makes fossil fuel more available.
Sen. Franken’s solution to high home heating prices isn’t a serious proposal:
The Democratic senator’s measure would put in place a coordinated response to growing coal supply emergencies that affect power plants across the country, including in Minnesota. “In Minnesota, we know that our utilities need dependable fuel supplies so they can provide heat to homes and businesses, and prevent rising energy costs for consumers,” Franken said.
The proposed Severe Fuel Supply Emergency Response Act of 2015 would direct the Secretary of Energy to lead the response to coal fuel supply emergencies by:
- Promptly investigating the cause of the fuel shortage and informing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Surface Transportation Board.
- Convening a meeting with stakeholders involved.
- Making written publicly available recommendations for actions that would help alleviate the problems.
If Sen. Franken won’t propose a serious solution that doesn’t create a different crisis, he shouldn’t be a U.S. senator. This isn’t a serious proposal because Sen. Franken is still owned by environmental activists. These environmental activists, along with the Putin administration, don’t want the Sandpiper Pipeline project built. Before progressives start questioning the logic, here’s why the Pipeline is at the heart of the coal shortage problem. Because the Sandpiper Pipeline hasn’t been built, oil from the Bakken is getting shipped via rail to refineries in Superior, WI, and elsewhere. The last I heard there were either 6 or 7 trains dedicated to transporting oil from the Bakken to the refineries in Superior.
That’s led to a railcar shortage that’s affecting the shipping of iron to steel mills in the Rust Belt, the shipping of agricultural products to the Twin Cities in addition to the shipping of home heating products to anywhere in Minnesota.
Sen. Franken knows this. He doesn’t care about creating rail space to transport agricultural products to market or taconite to steel mills. Sen. Franken’s highest priority is to appease the environmental activists. Instead of appeasing theses special interests, he should attempt to represent his constituents. I know that’s a revolutionary concept with Democrats but it’s a worthwhile endeavor.
This NY Times article isn’t what the Clinton Machine needs right now:
Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.
And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.
Will Podesta accuse the NY Times of cherrypicking the information? Will he accuse them of being a Bush operative who “wove in a bunch of conspiracy theories about” the Clintons in their attempt to vilify the Clintons’ good name?
I’ll be blunt. I don’t believe in coincidences. When the words coincidence and the Clintons are used in the same sentence, I’m more cynical than Charles Krauthammer, which takes some doing.
Jazz Shaw put this into his post:
That’s why it seems to me that the speech payment to Bill (who shares family resources with Hillary) is the more startling story than the other donations.
Another statement from the NY Times article that’s utterly laughable:
In a statement, Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, said no one “has ever produced a shred of evidence supporting the theory that Hillary Clinton ever took action as secretary of state to support the interests of donors to the Clinton Foundation.”
Considering the fact that Hillary’s lawyer testified that Hillary had deleted all ‘personal’ emails from their private server, I wouldn’t doubt Mr. Fallon’s statement. In fact, if I was a cynical man, I’d probably think that Mr. Fallon had just come close to admitting that the proof was destroyed.
That’s fair because I think the Clintons’ credibility was destroyed long ago.
Gov. Dayton is trying to shift the spotlight away from building oil pipelines by preaching the gospel of railroad safety:
ST. PAUL, Minn. — State officials estimate that 326,170 Minnesotans live within a half mile of railroad tracks that carry crude oil, a distance often known as the danger zone. People within a half mile of tracks usually will be evacuated if an oil train could explode or catch fire after a derailment.
The estimate, released this morning after state officials could not answer a Forum News Service question about the issue last week, is the first time Minnesotans had an idea about the number of people that state transportation and public safety officials say could be in danger of oil train explosions like those seen elsewhere in the United States and Canada.
“This data provides a greater emphasis on the need for a strong rail safety program,” Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle said. “If trains derail and an emergency occurs, many lives could be in danger.”
This is a phony issue created by belligerent environmental activists serving on the Public Utilities Commission, aka the PUC. If the PUC hadn’t delayed by at least 2 years the building of the Sandpiper Pipeline, the amount of oil shipped via railroad would drop significantly.
Environmental activists are fighting the building of the Sandpiper Pipeline and other proposed pipelines because these activists hate the use of fossil fuels. As long as people don’t criticize Gov. Dayton and these environmental activists, the activists will continue needlessly putting Minnesotans in harm’s way. Even if this money would get spent, the danger would still exist because millions of barrels of oil would still be shipped via trains.
The truth is that pipelines are dramatically safer than shipping oil via railcar. If Gov. Dayton doesn’t change that policy, the problem will still exist. It’s that simple.
Gov. Dayton and the DFL are insisting on spending $330,000,000 on railroad safety to prevent oil car derailments/fires. This article shows how short-sighted the Dayton-DFL plan is:
With a throng of officials from towns dealing with the headaches of heavier train traffic behind him, Dayton called it “totally unacceptable” that railroads would oppose contributing more money to the state’s safety efforts. The governor and other fellow DFL lawmakers have proposed a series of tax increases and annual fees on railroads to upgrade railroad crossings and ease congestion across Minnesota.
As usual, Gov. Dayton is removing all doubt that he’s a blithering idiot. Railroads are already spending $500,000,000 on safety improvements in Minnesota. Further, the Dayton-DFL plan isn’t a solution, though Rep. Paul Marquardt isn’t bright enough to figure that out:
“That is the responsibility of the railroad,” Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, said of improvements.
These improvements don’t do anything to solve the underlying problem, which is to free up rail capacity to transport agricultural products to market. The only way to do that is to build more pipelines, which the DFL is unwilling to do. Gov. Dayton and the DFL aren’t willing to do that because the anti-fossil fuel activists won’t tolerate the building of pipelines. That’s because they’re the dominant wing of the DFL.
The only way to improve railroad safety is to stop shipping oil on trains. I’ve yet to hear of a grain car derailing and exploding. Oil should be transported via pipelines because it’s the safest way to transport oil to the refineries.
I can’t emphasize this point enough: Money spent on railway safety won’t be efficiently spent if oil is shipped by railroad.
Brian Beutler’s article is a testimony to how warped hardline progressives’ thinking is. Check this out:
At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years. So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works.
As a theme, this riff should have struck a chord with the conservative movement’s myriad Reaganologists.
This, supposedly, is Beutler’s attempt to prove that Barack Obama is the next Reagan. Let’s check that comparison. The ‘Obama Recovery’ is still the slowest recovery in history. It’s created few full-time jobs. Most of the jobs it’s created are part-time jobs. Economic growth has stagnated because a) regulation has skyrocketed and b) Obamacare became the law of the land.
Most of the full-time jobs that’ve been created were created in spite of Obama’s policies. Think Texas, which is pretty much putting anti-Obama policies in place, and North Dakota, where the Bakken Boom is happening because they didn’t have to deal with Obama’s oppressive, stifling regulations.
Any comparison with Reagan is foolish. In September, 1983, the economy created 1,100,000 jobs. For 6 straight quarters, GDP topped 5%. Thus far, the economy hasn’t grown by 4% two quarters in a row. It hasn’t had back-to-back quarters topping 3.5%.
Comparing Obamanomics with Reaganomics is like comparing a small plate of tofu with a thick, juicy steak with a side of hash browns. They’re both food but that’s where the similarity ends.
The economy’s rapid growth in recent quarters has scrambled these assumptions, and now the White House is pitching the Reagan comparison to political reporters in Washington.
What rapid growth? Seriously? Economists will slap down Beutler’s claims in a New York minute.
“All historical analogies are imperfect,” Obama’s senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer told me recently, but “people connected the economic success of the ’80s to Reagan’s policies and Democrats also became convinced that the only way to win was to move to the middle. … We want to make sure people understand the policies we put in place, how they work, how they’ve improved their situation, so when Republicans get back into it we’ll have shifted the four corners of the political debate to the left.”
First, there’s no question that President Obama’s policies are definitely to the left of where people are at. Further, there’s no question that it’ll take time to fix the myriad of messes President Obama has created.
Finally, here are the biggest ways to show Obama isn’t like Reagan:
- Economic growth was robust during the last 6 years of Reagan’s time in office.
- Economic growth during President Obama’s time in office has been pathetic.
- Reagan’s national security policies brought the Soviet empire to its knees.
- President Obama’s policies of appeasement has helped terrorism expand its control while threatening most of the civilized world.
Other than that, Obama’s accomplishments are virtually identical with Reagan’s.