Remember when Jeff killed that coy-wolf?
Imagine what his mate would have done to you… if you’d run into her.
And she realized you… were with him.
Well, it has been quite a week here at the HARN. There is so much to cover I don’t hardly know where to start.
I’ll start with the overthrow of the Democratic Governor in Minnesota.
It seems the Republicans have decided that they are gonna fire a Commissioner every 30 days as they bring them up for “confirmation”. Yes, in normal proceedings, where politicians are mature and not working corrupt control mechanisms, confirmations are a standard part of everyday government. But in Minnesota, where there is no time frame for these “confirmations” to be completed (our Governor assumed office Jan.7th, 2019) and NOW the Republicans are basically hostage-taking in order to push Governor Walz to their will – REOPEN it ALL with No Masks and Let’s Build Line 3!
Now, I’m all for them taking out players who are not performing for Minnesota but when they try to take out a guy like Steve Kelley? FFS.
So this is what went down. Republicans already executed their removal of the Commissioner of Labor and Industry.
Like nearly everyone involved in the third special session of the Minnesota Legislature — other than the 35 members of the Senate GOP caucus — Walz learned that Nancy Leppink would be removed as commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry by text message just minutes before it happened Wednesday.
The sender was Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka. The time was 3:29 p.m. And the recipients of the message were Walz and Senate DFL leadership. Gazelka told the group he had the votes to oust Leppink.
House GOP Leader Kurt Daudt put it more bluntly: “Looks like the Senate is executing a prisoner today,” he tweeted during the debate on Leppink.MinnPost 8/14/20
Now, I’m not so involved with Labor & Industry to know what is what with this plan, but it seems that labor groups, from SEIU to the building trades, opposed her removal. But Republicans don’t GAF about what the PEOPLE want, they only want to push through their agenda for power? Here’s what Walz had to say:
In a media briefing Wednesday night, Walz rejected Senate criticism that Leppink had been too inflexible when enforcing regulations for business owners and operators in the state.
“To have Nancy Leppink get caught in the middle of a petty, political move puts Minnesotans at danger and highlights the fact that I’m so disappointed that Senate Republicans are not taking COVID seriously and they’re not taking the safety of Minnesotans seriously.”Walz on the Senate rejection of his acting Commissioner of Labor and Industry
That said, I am heavily involved with the Line 3 fight and what I saw with the Department of Commerce Commissioner Kelley confirmation hearing was pretty disturbing. It began with the Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee where Commissioner Kelley gave his background and defended his department’s work, noting specific people who have been instrumental in his opening statement. Chair Dahms and Chair Osmek presided.
Kelley’s background is unquestionable in its preparation for his current role. His work in the MN Legislature showed a bipartisan history of collaboration for good. Representative Rhodes wrote a letter on his behalf. Kelley had, over the years, invited many Legislators to speak in his classes, including Senator Pratt (who questioned Kelley in this session). Kelley’s history of working for Minnesotans clearly showed him to be competent and effective.
Kelley also walks us through the work done during the pandemic which worked closely with the industry. He mentions the things he’s done ALONGSIDE Republicans to help Minnesotans and Minnesota businesses, including a “model example” from March, developed with Chair Dahms, for flexibility to help Minnesotans in the crisis. His list of good works was inclusive of both parties and citizens as stakeholders and developers. He mentions the regular session bipartisan Renewable Development Account Bill, passed with help from Senators Osmek and Wagenius. He worked with resolving the high level of utility shutoffs on Tribal Lands along with Chair Dahms. And the work with consumer protections wrapped up his presentation, including a new Fraud Ombudsman who helps assure investigations are effective for our Seniors. He leads with collaboration and consultation. [He finishes at 16 minutes into the recording.]
The case against him? The “recent” concerns brought by this hearing? Chair Dahms mentions rule making in pharmacy benefit managers legislation, insurance legislation in the data call system, and workers compensation for the first hour will be followed by Energy at 10 until 10:15 and then other questions to wrap around 10:30.
Rulemaking for PBM concerns are limited for public postings to the rulemaking documents precluding participation, including “unanswered questions from your staff”. Kelley explains the advisory panel to create transparency and assure an open process. This is the first he’s heard of phamacists inability to access the system. However, they have dealt with complaints from them which are outside the jurisdiction of the state and perhaps those are the complaints you reference? Also, have worked on paying claims… [Now he’s interrupted… insurance claims for riots are not related to PBM.] Bobby Jo Champion interrupts to ask about ground rules – if the Commissioner is offering information to explain his department’s work, it is not fair to cut him off. In addition, seems this is pre-scripted with some who have things to put forward and with little room left for those who have questions to ask as well. [And Kelley is given some leeway to expound? NOPE, back to the Senator questioning him!]
Senator Koran Asking about access to the rulemaking – by login only? Make it more transparent? Kelley explains the process of communicating concerns without use of the online forms, though they are used for efficiency purposes – a good data mgmt tool. [Slight scuffle as Senator Champion is reminded to raise his hand. (Note: this is nothing compared to the patronizing tone Dahms gives him later).]
Senator Pratt comes on board with the workers comp concerns. This is a thorough discussion where Kelley stands for citizens to assure payments are received and the decisions, made in scurry to the COVID Pandemic, were made with consultation. [It seems that this is a nitpicking about not deciding this in the way the Senators wanted.] Referencing the CARES Act, Pratt says it was a source. Kelley mentions the ongoing disagreement from the MMB decision that says this was not the case. Not something that can be resolved today… but being guided by MMB, DOC made the decisions they did.
Pratt relinquishes his time to Senator Utke on the data calls. [OMFG! You have to go look at this guy’s backdrop! Bet he’s having wet dreams about Trump’s face on Mt. Rushmore.] Senator Pratt hosted the meeting, Rosen, Champion, Haden also there, along with Dahms! Attempt to ID solutions for losses due to civil unrest. Important to know what was covered by insurance and Kelley noted this was one of the things that DOC could do! The department looked at the data call referenced and it seems the Republicans are asking about how LONG this will take – are we creating a paperwork mandate? do they need to report out EVERY 2 week? – but in truth, they are ONLY CONCERNED about the ask on RACE (it’s coming). WHY does this matter??? [Well, for those of you unfamiliar yet with the systemic racism, it’s likely the only way to find out if there are discriminatory practices!] Utke was also concerned about the small insurers – ARE WE HASSLING THEM FOR THESE DATA CALLS? Kelley assures that the DOC made clear that those without filings were not required to respond with bi-weekly updates.
Utke’s last follow-up was on complaints from insurers to the department. Kelley counters with stories of complaints about payment from Minnesota businesses. [WHO is standing for the People?] And here’s where Dahms comes in with the Race questions… [48:10] which Kelley, along with support from Senator Champion, fully shows why this is required and how it is done with regard to assuring citizen protection. [Dahms gives a flip response at 52:22 requiring Bobby Joe to take a stand. This is where he gives Bobby Joe a BIG BUNCH OF PATRONIZING!]
Senator Dibble jumps in [56:10] to make clear that this dismissing Commissioner Kelley’s explanations is not based in reason. He asks Kelley to expand on what the agency has done for proactive outreach on businesses in his district affected by civil unrest. Kelley mentions his Director of Outreach and Public Engagement Leah Wilkes and her fine work. He also mentions the full collaboration of the work, including aspects being implemented based on industry recommendations.
Now, the transition to Energy with Senator Osmek… Here’s the Line 3 issue.
DOC Appeal to PUC was “disappointing”… with Osmek first asking about why Line 3 is running at half capacity. FFS. Kelley acknowledges the policy disagreements between Senators and Commissioners noting its impossible for all to be in agreement on all issues. Kelley notes that the USACE has advised Enbridge to operate at less than full capacity. [This is based on their HORRIBLE TRACK RECORD FOR SPILLS – no one mentioned that.]
From Brainard coverage in June, the case is clear. Note the use of the word SUPPLY, NOT DEMAND, from Enbridge’s spokeswoman:
In May, the (DOC) said the PUC did not consider a long-range demand forecast because Enbridge instead submitted a pipeline utilization forecast that assumed demand would continue at 2016 refinery capacity.
“To the contrary, and as the (PUC) has always recognized, supply forecasts are critical to the evaluation of need for a crude oil pipeline. By definition, crude oil pipelines transport crude oil from a given starting point to one or several endpoints. If insufficient supply exists at the starting point, all of the downstream analysis in the world is pointless,” Enbridge attorney Christina Brusven wrote. “Therefore, the (PUC) properly considered supply forecasts in its order.”Brainard Dispatch 6/2/2020
[So, basically, as long as there is oil to sell, Enbridge will ship it! And Minnesotans will pay for their infrastructure, even though the crude will NOT supply Minnesota refineries. I think it’s pretty clear from the financial collapse in Big Oil at present that their assumptions about oil use were QUITE optimistic. More on that below…]
Now Osmek moves to tech of current FF industry… safer option can certainly put in, compared to 60 years ago… Kelley notes the STATUTE directs attention to a different issue, the question of whether the proponent of a pipeline has produced a long range demand forecast and whether the PUC has evaluated that forecast. Since taxpayers are FOOTING THE BILL for the infrastructure development, the DOC must assure that this project is NECESSARY before asking the taxpayers for their hard-earned dollars.
While Osmek goes on and on about how the DOC never mentioned this – referencing historical decisions of the service of the DOC – ALL PRIOR TO STEVE KELLEY’S TENURE! Kelley puts him away soundly with facts, noting that when he joined in January 2019, after Dayton Administration had already appealed on basis of no long-range demand forecast. “In the end the record will reflect which one of us is correct.” Indeed.
While Osmek goes on to attach the “expert” the DOC referenced… noting this person has never testified on oil markets… [uh, there’s a first time for everything? FFS, these guys are so silly in their pickings!] He then notes the 4-1 vote recently by the PUC ruling AGAIN to move forward – moving ahead without the demand forecast and they are the “objective, non-biased, regulatory authority that has jurisdiction”. Kelley explains [1:09:30] how things work. [Govt 101 for the Senators who are so confused…] He notes the expertise provided by both PUC and DOC and that DOC is working for the public interest. The statutory law requires that the commission shall evaluate a long-range demand forecast.
Osmek then notes AGAIN INCORRECTLY – that the PUC can CHOOSE TO IGNORE THEIR OWN RULES! Aren’t you getting it, Commissioner Kelley??? THEY CAN DO WHAT THEY WANT!!! The DOC is a wing of the Walz Administration – political!! [FFS. Wow. Again, this is just another instance of the accuser showing his hand…] “Boggles my mind… PUC in their august opinion… determined it is completely and wholely unnecessary. Same old worn-out answer that it’s in the statutes when the PUC says it is unnecessary.” [You decide who is being “political”…] Kelley shows clearly which of them is in this discussion is acting maturely and with responsibility to the law [Kelley is legally trained!].
Senator Rarick then jumps on – his constituents are ready for this to go and he’s a member of the building trades. [He too appears to have missed the recent Jen McEwen landslide in Duluth, unseating the Good ol’ Boy candidate Simonson.] Kelley assures him the Department is looking for jobs that can easily be implemented, including providing the PUC with information on job potentials to potentially create jobs in Minnesota. [Uh, “I threw in jobs just because…” uh, Kelley derailed you?] Rarick switches to WHY DID DOC PICK ONE SIDE? Kelley disagrees with this characterization. What DOC has chosen to do is carry out their responsibility to the law as directed by this body!! The false argument is that this is a fight between environment and jobs but the statute we are evaluating is whether there is a need for an energy facility of this kind. [1:21:20]
“I think you’d understand with me why this is not just a technical issue, it’s important because the costs of these facilities are ultimately paid by consumers. Another kind of facility that’s included in the statute is transmission lines. And if there’s not a long-range demand forecast that supports the need for a transmission line, then we wouldn’t want consumers or rate payers to pay for the costs of that transmission line in the same way that if there’s not a need for um this um for the pipeline, uh if the company has not met the standards in the statute for demonstrating that need, we wouldn’t want consumers to have to pay for it.”Steve Kelley, Department of Commerce Commissioner, testifying on the DOC Appeal for Need on Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline project proposal 8/21/20.
Rarick believes this role lies with the PUC but he is mistaken. “I don’t understand this decision.” Yes, that is clear. Then Senator Rosen pushes on WHO’S DECISION THIS WAS. [Again, showing that this is really an attack on Walz, not Kelley. He is collateral damage that may result from the Senate’s short-sighted political games.] She notes the rules of engagement change all the time… has questions about this expert – would like to know more about that decision, how much that expert cost and how much litigation will cost the taxpayers. Kelley notes that she asked this question last year, and that Deputy Commissioner Sulivan answered that the costs lie with the AG’s office, not the DOC. He disagreed that rules of engagement have changed noting the Department has been consistent on this. Rosen says the rules of engagement has changed with the demand forecast requirement suddenly just “popping up”. [Rather than comment, he let’s her own idiocy speak for her. I mean, for FUCK’S SAKE, it’s the LEGISLATURE’s OWN MOTHERFUCKING REQUIREMENT!!]
Utke returns to pile on about discussions in 2019 on the “ill advised appeals” when you were “new on the job”. Driven by Governor’s office… but your office not standing up for what’s right or what’s wrong… [Uh, yeah, here’s your chance to NOT fall on the sword as we try to execute Walz via “executing” his Commissioners.] Utke notes the whole state is suffering from the Exec Orders that have shut down our businesses – “lot of small places will not survive… this would be a tremendous economic boost”. Seriously? Workers, temporarily coming through and “buying food, lodging,… supplies”. REALLY??? A month of extra shoppers for food and lodging does NOT AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN make. Kelley again reiterates his service in the Legislature with many members in these committees, denoting that even when at odds, he was always trying to do what was right and he will stand on his history. He remembers visiting with Utke on this topic as he introduced himself and doesn’t disregard how he and the people in his district [NOT ALL OF US] feel about this pipeline though he does have a requirement to carry out the statute.
Senator Dibble comes on to express the views of Senator Latz [1:30:00](currently without ability to testify due to signal as he’s on vacation with family) – noting his support for Commissioner Kelley. “Normal tensions… but no complaints or concerns, views Kelley as affirmatively reaching out… to regulated industries, and to his credit he has not lobbied GOP or Gazelka on his behalf and in the past many in the (Republican) party have credited the Commissioner with being responsive and working collaboratively as well.” Dibble then goes on to note [1:30:57 and I do love his chuckle at 1:31:10]:
“I just want to say, with respect to these comments on the PUC and Line 3, these issues around demand forecast have been around for a number of years and the nature of the comments and the speech we just heard from Senator Utke and others are actually asking the Commissioner to PICK A SIDE and to make a decision based on politics and not the law. He is entrusted with upholding the law and the public’s interest, as we authorized in the law, and the PUC and its view is not sacrosanct and I’ve heard on many occasions members of the majority party complaining about PUC decisions, … and all the dynamics around the decision that the PUC has made. The process is set forth so that the PUC is NOT a court of law and in fact the decisions that the PUC make are appealable to the Courts. That’s the PROCESS. And I’ll just say that, with respect to myself, I have strenuously disagreed with decisions that Commerce has made, as well as other state agencies, and in fact challenging laws that we have passed and have been on the losing side of those. It never causes me to question the integrity of and the competency and the capacity of the Agency nor the Commissioner. It motivates me to do MY JOB, which is to move and shape public opinion and such that laws can be changed.”
Note how he talks about HIS wheelhouse NOT being to DICTATE over other parts of the government but to do his job to HEAR THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE in order to shape law to what will serve THEM. THIS is a politician for the People, not for Enbridge. He goes on to say [1:33:01]:
Line 3 raises a LOT of questions that concern the environment and the public’s interest and those need to be vetted and tested out against the laws that we set forth around decisions on these matters. We all have our views and whether or not they’re supported by the law is really up to us to figure out those dictates and those parameters. So I think with these closing minutes I just want to say that I thought Commissioner Kelley’s opening comments and his responses to how he has been proactively reaching out, particularly to disaffected and marginalized communities in the aftermath of this civil unrest as well as those who maybe get the short end of the stick vis-a-vis the very very powerful insurance lobby speaks very very well to principles and the values and the competence and capacity he brings to this job. I thank you for having this hearing because it really shows what an amazing incredibly qualified Commissioner he is. That being said, I have to say I believe this has been a kangaroo hearing. You had a list of people you wanted to ask specific curated questions and you jumped right to them, didn’t give really any of us the opportunity and you’re cutting this hearing short. So clearly sounds like decisions have already been made and you know no matter what Commissioner Kelley has said, a decision has been made somewhere else about what’s ultimately going to become of this confirmation. So I just want the public to know that Commissioner Kelley has clearly shown himself to be highly qualified. Governor Walz is to be commended for putting him in this place and if his confirmation doesn’t stand, we’ll know that this decision was made somewhere else for other reasons.”
Senator Pratt then takes over to reiterate the questions from Senator Rosen. Looking at May 1st, page 13, the commission says it carefully reviewed the record… later in the record on page 16… Commission continues to conclude consequences” for denial are bigger than the consequences of approval. SO! They think they are PHMSA?? The PUC has NO AUTHORITY regarding the safety of the pipelines in Minnesota!! Again asking about the decision source for the Appeal. Kelley again says the Department is responsible and it is his decision but that he works to assure support of the Governor and Lt. Governor. Pratt reiterates, and is confirmed by Kelley, that the Governor “concurs” with the decision.
Kelley’s concludes with a closing statement at 1:37:33, finding himself near tears as he speaks of his people. Surely it is clear that the Republicans are playing political games that adversely affect the citizens of Minnesota.
Related to the government takeover is the continued evidence of failing Big Oil, which continues to be propped up by subsidies while it is promoted by the Right. But things aren’t making sense financially for us to ever see a “return to normal”.
Between 2010 and 2014 the average price of a barrel of oil was between $85 a barrel and $110 a barrel. This fell to $65 in 2016, and to $56 in 2017. Since 10 March, prices are below $30 a barrel. This is catastrophic for producers of oil. For example, in the U.S. the break-even point for oil production is between $48 and $54 a barrel. Many producers in other parts of the world have a higher break-even point. Oil production has been structured on prices in the range of $85 to $110 a barrel. …
The US oil industry is reeling, with the slashing of production resulting in massive lay-offs. Experts say that any price below $40 a barrel is devastating to US oil producers. But the oil crisis will also send new shock waves through the rest of the economy. …
Bankruptcies in the oil industry will spread to financial markets, which issued junk bonds on the expectation of huge payoffs from the oil industry. The oil industry in the US directly and indirectly employs close to 10 million people. This will be a further shock and drag on the financial system and the whole economy which is already collapsing into a depression. …
Monetary policy, i.e. shoveling money into the banks and financial system, will not overcome a crisis rooted in deflation and lack of demand. It will only just prop up the banks. Only creating real demand will work. Even policies like Roosevelt’s New Deal policies in the mid-1930s only gave a temporary boost to the economy, which collapsed again in 1937. It was only the ramping up of military production in preparation for the US’s entry into World War II that ended the Great Depression.China Worker blog
We’re not going backwards… Not with the current price of oil at about $40/barrel, which takes most ventures out of business. And the Fed’s response to save oil and gas will also not help us.
By propping up an industry that is intensifying climate change, which poses serious risks to financial institutions and markets, the Fed is refusing to align its emergency lending actions with its statutory mandate to promote the stability of the financial system.2 Moreover, the programs’ downside risk to public funds and financial stability is not mitigated in any way by strong benefits to workers, as these programs have either weak or nonexistent payroll maintenance requirements.The Fed’s Oil and Gas Bailout Is a Mistake 7/31/2020
The LTEs of support were already coming and I especially liked the one from Ken Pearson in the Strib.
ENBRIDGE LINE 3 Northerners’ attitudes are changing
Gov. Tim Walz is right that a project with major environmental impacts like Enbridge Line 3 requires a “social permit” as well as a building permit (“Walz’s Enbridge appeal irritates unions,” Aug. 20). His decision to allow the Commerce Department’s appeal on Line 3 also honors two new developments. First, it takes a step toward restoring balance to a Public Utilities Commission process that the legislative auditor’s office recently found was unfairly tilted to Enbridge’s advantage. Second, it acknowledges the winds of change blowing through northern Minnesota.
Just this month, clean-energy advocate Jen McEwen defeated pro-pipeline incumbent Erik Simonson in Duluth’s state Senate DFL primary. McEwen earned 73% of the vote even though Simonson was endorsed by organized labor and Walz. That result would have been unthinkable five years ago, but projects like Line 3 aren’t nearly as popular as they used to be. It’s no secret that many people north of the metro have become increasingly resentful of foreign corporations telling them environmentally destructive projects in their communities are a “good idea,” and then seeing those projects relentlessly promoted by a small group intent on breaking ground for short-term profit, no matter what the long-term cost. The DOC appeal is a nod to those changing sentiments as well.
KEN PEARSON, GOLDEN VALLEYA+ for Ken Pearson! 8/20/2020
So, why this Blog title today? Well, you can thank Hank Green! His hope comes from the light shining on the “dangers of all out individualism”, though I don’t know that I’m so hopeful as Hank. I will agree that, living the way we are… is long-term affecting our ability to “live in the world”. Again, the costs of doing nothing are clear. And, yes, we’ve seen that “people do make sacrifices when we see what’s really on the line”. I just don’t know that people are really “seeing”… until the flood waters are on their own toes… which is way too late to take action.
If there is one true thing about humans, it’s that we’re hyper-adaptable, problem-solving machines. I think, long term, we’ve got this. But there’s going to be a lot of bad along the way, and it hurts a lot to see the bad getting worse in real time.
Sometimes sacrifices are forced, and sometimes they are given. Let’s try to make a world where the former alleviates the latter.Hank’s take on Climate Change – the costs and the solution?
It’s been 686 days since the IPCC report came out giving us about a decade… and still… Greta waits.
Greetings from the Timber District.
Welcome to the Hunger Games.
So in case it hasn’t become clear to you yet, the end will not be Logan’s Run or Mad Max or even Threads (my personal prediction). It’s more like the book of the same name for the year Threads came out… 1984.
The doublespeak is insane. The arrogance with which they are acting is more blatant each year. They seemed to really kick it in to high gear with the Kavanagh debacle and I’ll be dammed if that shit didn’t stick!
They’ve escalated the antics, right through an impeachment “trial” with no witnesses or evidence. We’re living in a recession, eight months in to a global pandemic, and Congress left for recess! [Well, of course, they’re people of means… why wouldn’t they head out for vacation, while millions of Americans suffer? It seems the way of the wealthy – their Cancer of Greed has gotten to Stage 4.]
People are being evicted from their homes, finding themselves without enough money to buy food and medicine, largely due to severe unemployment, levels we haven’t seen since when? 1958? [Many of us experienced this in 2008… and many since have struggled for employment, or worked multiple shitty paying jobs to make ends meet in the “new economy” of the last decade. I will say the 2008 Recession was Dan and my clear sign to GTFO.] And yet the Stock Market is soaring! [You know, as the Federal Reserve pumps 15 Trillion of our tax dollars in, like so many little blue pills, to prop it up…
And NOW! They’re taking out the fucking mailboxes for Christ’s sake!!
So, yes, it’s the hunger games. For realz now.
Got a text this morning from a friend:
Is Mother Earth trying to give us another wake up call??? I’ve had some really dark meditations and it’s focused on the earth. Maybe it’s as simple as my mind working through all the data points.
Have you or any of your more spiritual friends sensed that something really bad is going to happen?
I don’t watch the news, don’t have any subscriptions online but the number of natural disasters I’m aware of is increasing exponentially.
You and I talked a few years ago and I ignorantly said, “nothing catastrophic has happened”. You rattled off 3-4 significant natural disasters around the world.
(Stopped) reading because I need to put this out there.
In the last 2 weeks I can think of 8-10 non precedented weather events. …
• Mumbai, India 50% of the slum population has COVID and they are experiencing monsoon rains with more rainfall than ever recorded.
• Ice melts in Serbia and Canada.
• Heat wave in CA.
• Severe thunderstorm, heavy winds, tornadoes from the Midwest to NE.
1. Cedar Rapids, IW had hurricane level 2 force winds, 1M trees down, 300K people without power.
2. IN power outages all over, trees down and damage to structures.
3. Same storm hit the NE… CT lost power for 9 days.
• Earthquake in NC or GA
• Excessive rainfall in MN
Yep. And I sat on the porch last night thinking:
• It’s August and I’m on the porch excited about drinking a WARM beverage…
• We got 8″ of rain in the last week…
• And what’s with all the rocket launches? Is there already a secret war on Mars? Who has a relative or friend in Space Force? Anyone?
I replied to my my friend:
Yeah. Dan had been saying ‘we’ve gone too far’ for a while now. I think because HE senses it based on data. I just thought he was a pessimist, which he can be, but I’m wondering more each day. Yeah. We had 8″ of rain in 6 days this past week. Sunday-Monday 4″+ in 48 hours, then Friday we got 4″+ in 24 hours…
IT is happening. (has been… for decades) again.. water on the toes… some of us have been feeling it for years now but the powers that be aren’t listening. Watch The Power – #1 movie on Netflix this week. Pretty accurate depiction of a metaphor of current situation. Mankind keeps pushing limits until there’s no breathing room. Literally. 🤨
I think it’s gonna be mass migration and starvation this year… even in the US.
Get ready, my friends. It’s seems a train is coming. A big train. It’s begun picking up passengers… thousands by the day. The climate chaos predicted is happening… at an exponentially increasing pace it seems – and the starvation and migration have been happening for years in some places on the globe. Places the humans in power don’t look at or talk about… as much as they can avoid it.
The pace seems to be quickening – or at least bumping up in fits and starts – but I am hopeful many will remain to rebuild – more sustainably, I hope – after the starving times. And there will be some who have enough to share with their communities around them to help them survive.
You’re all pretty enlightened, so you know that the Wiindigo system doesn’t work like ours. Instead of understanding and respecting the natural world or the rights of Mother Earth or the Creator’s laws—the highest laws— we live in a society that writes a bunch of laws based on who’s in power, redistributes pollution, arbitrarily changes recommended daily allowances of radiation and contaminants, and pretends that it’s all right to allocate the water in western basins until there’s no water left there. That’s the arrogance of a system that has no check with reality. And that’s what’s going on. There is no understanding for a cyclical system. We all live in a super-linear world instead of a cyclical world, and perhaps one of the best examples of that, in addition to the pipeline battles, is the fact that we live in a society with something like 13 trillion pounds of waste produced annually in the U.S. That doesn’t include waste water, and I ask myself, what is waste water? There’s no new water being made. In 2010 Americans wasted some 133 billion pounds of food. With a 430 billion pound food supply, that’s more than one-third of the whole being wasted. Economically, it’s $161.6 billion in food wastage.Excerpt: Winona LaDuke Prophecy of the Seventh Fire – late 2017
In an Anishinaabe or other indigenous economy, one’s stature is associated with one’s generosity. That is why we have massive giveaways; that is why we have massive potlatches, which are ceremonial feasts at which possessions are given away or destroyed to display wealth and enhance prestige, because your stature in your community is ensured by how much you give away. In today’s society, people’s stature is ensured by how much they accumulate, and wealth is aggrandized. We don’t ask where they got it, how they got it, and how much they need. We act as if it doesn’t matter, and what I’m saying is that perhaps the time has come to turn that around because it’s not going to work out.
Let me tell you what I think about this. And I won’t go into the consequences because I think you already know about the destruction of so many species of life. For example, fifty million buffalo, the single largest migratory herd in the world, destroyed. General Philip Sheridan, commanding armies of the west, urged destruction of the buffalo herds, foreseeing that when they disappeared, the Indians would disappear along with them; by 1885 the buffalo were virtually extinct, and the Indians were starving.
Winona goes on and I recommend reading her entire piece. [Makes one pretty pissed to realize local lumber company Potlatch is such a salt in the wound brand name…] I told my friend:
I think all this – and it’s in the “Heartbeat of Wounded Knee” and recent stories in movies – talks about this human (male/dominator/white supremacy/colonial culture) tendency to destroy being the main way we eliminate enemies.. by destroying their food sources, their villages and homes, or taking their lives… this becomes the devastation for those that follow… nothing remains when destruction – or even thoughtless overharvest – depletes completely. We’re apparently far too short sighted a species to make much more than a couple thousand years before we annihilate ourselves… and this time we’re taking a bunch of species with us.
But. Keep hope! (And plan…) it may turn out some of us make it. And enough of us may die… or be sacrificed? I imagine Billionaire Bingo… where each of the 26 richest billionaires get to face trial for their gluttony and convince us that they are worth NOT SACRIFICING because they are going to commit to full time problem resolution with their cash going to good causes. (Of course, this vision requires a planet capable of human survival, so it may be a pipe dream at this point. But hey, a girl can dream!)
Let’s hope those billionaires find their hearts soon. 26 people who could remedy it all… if only they’d share. Perhaps we can put them all on a rocket to Mars to discuss it?
There might yet be time for a peace train after all.
While I’d initially considered intervening, I decided to let go of the legal fight against the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Enbridge in the Contested Case Hearing for the proposed Line 3 project.
With everything involved, and with so little to gain – due to the VERY LIMITED SCOPE as defined by the MPCA… which denied a look at either 1) the effects of climate change or 2) the potential for a SPILL [which seem to be two things kinda important in evaluating a Tar Sands pipeline project one would think…], I decided my efforts could be better spent elsewhere. Thankfully, good Intervenors from our local Indigenous Tribes, White Earth & Red Lake, and folks at Friends of the Headwaters, Honor The Earth, and Sierra Club are taking on the challenge. So we’re providing some funding and support for their efforts.
However, still wanting to stay informed, I began reading the MPCA documents this past week.
I found the record incomplete and difficult from the very beginning. I’d already known about the Pre-Hearing miscommunications…
The SCHEDULING ORDER came out 6/26 noting that the Hearing will commence 8/24 (through 8/28, as time is needed) following pre-filing of testimony and rebuttals and expert disclosures and a Final Pre-Hearing Conference 8/19/20 at 10 AM.
6/30 Parties get administrative notice of the files available online, including text searchable files. [Granted, this first letter, “Letter 1”, if you will, was simply about noticing the contacts… so, how could that go wrong? [You know, now that all the folks are being included. Though I note the addition of Mary Rock for Environmental Law & Policy Center on the next one, so maybe she was missed?]
The trouble really started with the 200708 L3 Farrell Production Ltr No. 2, issued 7/8. This letter included an email and prints for a “Sensitive Crossings” table from Melissa Kuskie at MPCA – tech lead for the Line 3 project.
I surely hope others received this document intact because the PDF doc online shows it to be a VERY POORLY PROVIDED PIECE OF INFORMATION. It seems when the MPCA got to the edge of the “paper” in “printing” the pdf, they apparently just printed the remaining columns of data on a bunch of separate pages, making it nearly impossible to connect the last few columns of data to the particular stream or river crossing you are reviewing…
[It really took me back to the 1900’s… surreal that a modern-day government organization can’t provide data in an easily readable form. And if you try zooming in on their docs online? Well, just try it… You’ll find it frustrating until you realize there is also a zoom and expand icon in the lower right hand of the screen.] When data is presented like this… it’s hard to connect rows to columns. If only they’d matched the LAST column header printout rows with the same number of rows printed on the FIRST column header printout, you might be able to page through and connect your stream data. But, as it is, you’ll be counting rows (hopefully without issue as there are a LOT OF THEM) to find the last few columns of data on your Stream or River of interest. THIS SHITTY INFO SHARE is NOT MAKING IT ACCESSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC… For Sure. I kept thinking, “Did they do this on purpose? To keep the public from comprehending the information and finding their stream data of interest?”
OK, to recap, we’re on Ltr No. 2, right? What’s next? 7/10 Farrell issues 200710 Farrell L3 Production Ltr No. 4!! Actually, it was worse than that, administratively. The Actual Next Doc was a pdf of the COPY of Ltr No. 4. Then Ltr No. 4 followed. Just another update on the MPCA providing docs “Bates-labeled MPCA0000001 to MPCA 0031605 in text searchable form”. [Not sure WHAT was in Ltr No. 3…]
Now, to the meat… The next 15 docs are all from 7/24, the deadline for Direct testimony. First up: Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership – Bobby Hahn Direct testimony. Bobby is an Enbridge employee w/ a BS in Environmental Science from the University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry and MS in Resource Mgmt & Admin from Antioch New England University, along with 16 years in oil and gas industry, including as a consultant and employee for Enbridge, acting as Technical Manager for Project Permitting at present. He oversees federal, Tribal, state and local environmental permits.
His testimony is basically related to Enbridge’s practices and protocols for wetland disturbances and how to assure they adhere to the permit requirements. I was especially interested in his testimony at lines 348-359.
Others also testifying for Enbridge include Barry (aka “Bobby”) Simonson and:
OK, you thought I was gonna skip Bobby… but I’m not! He has a BS Mechanical Eng’g from U of MN-TC and 19 years of experience in oil/gas pipeline engineering and construction management. If you think you don’t know this guy, you do. He’s the one who writes most of the propagandized Letters to the Editor for Enbridge as they try to persuade the public that they are not gonna screw us with their shitty pipeline project. His testimony runs 52 pages.
Ms. Essick (addressing water quality and trench methods) ran 23 pages, while Mr. Tersteeg (Certified Wetland Delineator since 2008 addressing issue #3) gave 19 and Dr. Arndt (Calcareous Fen Doc addressing issues #4 & #5) provided 27.
I’ve only skimmed these and found this interesting from Mr. Tersteeg, in that he doesn’t mention characterizing any sensitive or endangered species… only “noxious and invasive species”. He’s here to testify whether Enbridge has undercounted for the full acreage of impact for the project.
Now to the MPCA testimony. First up is Doug Norris, retired Wetlands Program Coordinator for the MN DNR, another Certified Wetlands Delineator (2005) who will testify as to whether impacted wetlands have been undercounted. He gives us 23 pages.
Next is Kevin Molloy, Project Manager in the MPCA’s Section 401 Water Quality Certification program, who provides 29 pages on “whether the least degrading crossing method that is prudent and feasible has been identified for each stream crossing”. This guy grabbed my attention for lines 65 to 80:
All his testimony appears to assume NEED for the project, which the MPCA failed to determine, simply adhering to the contested decision by the PUC that the project is needed. [FFS. Epic Fail.] Lines 160-165 seemed to indicate the MPCA may require Enbridge to employ additional? independent third party monitors?
Next up is Mark Gernes, Research Scientist focused on quality and conditions of wetlands in Minnesta – primarily based on plant community indicators. I’m gonna read his 32 pages more closely, for sure.
Then we have Melissa Kuskie’s testimony… which initially said it wouldn’t have a preview and made me download it… as a preview appeared! She is the “manager of Certification, Environmental Review, and Rules Section” at the MPCA and will testify to an “overview of the MPCA’s 401 Water Quality Certification program… (and) address … whether the proposed use of trench methods… will have temporary or permanent impacts on water quality parameters of concern”. She does this in 37 pages.
MPCA’s final expert is Thomas Estabrooks, Project Manager in the Watershed Division of MPCA. In 17 pages, he will also “address … whether the proposed use of trench methods… will have temporary or permanent impacts on water quality parameters of concern”.
Now, the Concerned Citizenry. Testimony was combined for all the parties: Sierra Club, Friends of the Headwaters, Honor the Earth, The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, and The White Earth Band of Ojibwe. First up… MY GIRL!!!! CHRISTYYYYYY DOOOLLLPPPHHHH!!!!
Dr. Christy Dolph, research scientist in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the U of MN, holds a BS in Biology from Grinnell College and MS and PhD in Water Resources Science from U of MN. She’s been conducting field and academic research since 2004 and has been published broadly “on the impact of human land use on water quality, biophysical processes, and aquatic life in streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands”. Her 43 page testimony focuses on the importance of applying biological water quality standards to assess trench construction, identify potential impacts of said construction, summarize spatial analysis methods indicating Enbridge undercounted acreage of impact, and conclude that “1) pipeline construction will have both acute, short-term negative effects, as well as permanent harmful effects on aquatic life and aquatic habitat…, 2) Enbridge has therefore not identified the least degrading method for many stream crossings, and 3) Enbridge and MPCA undercounted the number of wetland acres potentially impacted by the project.” Yeah, Christy!
Dr. Joseph Magner follows. He’s research professor at the U of MN in the Dept of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering with 41 years of regulatory, research, and project management experience specific to environmental assessment, hydrology, earth science, and watershed mgmt. Widely published, he also co-authored the 4th edition of Hydrology and the Management of Watersheds. He also worked for 34 years at MPCA and has consulted widely. His testimony will offer information on water quality standards and stream crossings for the proposed Line 3 project that have been inadequately addressed by the MPCA. 50 pages of tech geek stuff.
Dr. Laura Triplett, associate professor in the Dept of Geology at Gustavus Adolphus College, testifies from a perspective of having spent a career studying how human activities on the landscape influence water quality in streams, rivers and lakes. In 37 pages, she will report that “Enbridge massively under-reported the acreage of wetlands that will be permanently impacted by this project” and that “Enbridge has not chosen the least damaging crossing method for many streams and wetlands.”
Dr. Marinus Otte – still wonder if I’m related to this dude – is next. He’s a Professor of Biological Sciences at NDSU and Editor-in Chief, WETLANDS. He’s studied wetlands around the world for more than 30 years and was recently awarded the title of Fulbright Specialist in water and wetlands. He addresses a full contingent of the issues in 54 pages.
Wrapup batter, Paul Stolen, testifies “on behalf of Friends of the Headwaters (FOH) for whom I have been an unpaid expert, volunteering by choice, because of my expertise; because of my concern and special knowledge of the Enbridge proposed route; and to encourage a scientifically based ecision on the 401 certifications.” Paul has a BS and MS in Wildlife Management from the U of MN. He worked for MT DNR&C as Project Mgr and Special Projects Coordinator responsible for environmental review (ER) for pipelines and other utility projects. He also consulted privately preparing ER docs and permit applications. He then worked for MN DNR (1990-2009) working on impact assessments, advising on approval/denial of permits, and coordinated with state, federal, and local agencies on issues of regulatory complexity. Paul’s testimony runs to 105 pages so I will be working on another blog to do into the details of his and other’s testimony. [Goddess willing.]
The last doc up until now is an OAH Order dated 7-13-20, granting the appearances of Moneen Nasmith and Sophia Jayanty, representing from New York, for Sierra Club.
OK, you’re as up to speed as I am for the moment. I’ll be reporting more here soon as I get news!
So, a friend posted on FB about an upcoming hysterectomy and how she’d like art on the theme of the Uterus, which she would soon be without, as part of that process. Always up for a challenge – especially an art challenge – I gave it some consideration.
I’d recently had my own uterine adventure… a bit of a scary one – but nothing serious in the end. [Mostly just another reminder that I seem these days to sometimes be losing my mind.] So I felt some kinship with wanting to give a little love to my uterus as well.
I decided a pendant project might be just the thing. If I could find rocks that were “uterine”… or at least could artistically be imagined into uterine-like artworks, I’d give it a go. I had just been out berry picking a few days earlier and found a cute little black rock (that I thought might be representative of a uterus no longer in use). When I initially spotted the rock, I thought, “Ah, a heart rock!” When I pulled it from the earth into my hand, it was more square. But… flipping it over, I discovered a sweet heart on it’s bottom! [Unfortunately, this was simply mud and would wash off as I further prepared the stones. 😦 ]
Alongside a couple others I’d selected from my stash, I moved forward with my project plan. I found a THICK heartish shaped stone that felt “healthy” to me. Then I found a bit larger and less vibrant, yellow tinged, stone for my “menopausal” uterine representation. But I felt something was missing. I felt like, if this was a healing project, it needed some additional focus on healing.
So I found another stone that depicted a troubled uterus, a uterus in despair. I made this pendant first, praying for all those who deal with these concerns. I used black wire to reflect the toxic world in which humans now live, a world that is likely resulting in our broken uteri and failing reproductive systems… ecosystem wide. This pendant has a very simple back with almost no adornment and simple features on front with a center glimmer heart and colorful blessing seed beads around the jasper head bead of health and passion, a stone that brings the courage to face unpleasant tasks and to rectify unjust situations.
I next moved to the healthy uterus pendant wrapping it in golden wire and including an abundance of glimmering seed/seed beads surrounding the head bead – a shell, representing water, a requirement for life. Two prominent rose colored beads give a nod to femininity and the interior of the top beading hides a precious pearl at its center. The entire piece is pink with life.
I moved on to my menopausal uterus stone, wrapped in silver wire, and with a skull head bead indicating the ending of life-bringing work. She retains a slight pinkness of life and wears a crown of pearl, again for water, though her seed beads are white and clear, no longer filled with the blood of life. Still a Queen, nonetheless.
Finally, I wrapped the stone that began it all. Purple wire, for her royal years of service. Dark beads of mystery and fluorite for a link to universal consciousness… Spirit. The bead choices resulted in some fun – a face appeared as I worked to add femininity with wire wraps. Though seriousness remains with the darkness hiding the fun until you look more closely. The deep glossy black head stone is crowned with and supported by deep purple iridescent seed beads.
The little “mouth” bead actually flips out from the pendant like a little blue claw. [I hope it lasts. Kind of a risk though I like it for several reasons.]
I’ve kept the Menopausal pendant but sent the other three to my friend to do with as she sees fit. I was thrilled to read about her idea, challenged to ponder it, healed by working the pendants to life, and honored to be a part of a bigger healing work. This woman, so rarely encountered in real life these three years I’ve known her now… but ever present in so many ways, has brought such love and light and blessing to my life. I am grateful for the gift of her friendship and the paths I’ve found with, and because of, her.