Though Enbridge TESTIFIED in 2017 to being able to SAFELY run their current Line 3 – EVEN IF their new pipeline “replacement” project was NOT approved, the PUC used that basis – that their current Line 3 was UNSAFE – for their Line 3 approval order.
Now even Judges Jesson and Kirk appear similarly seduced. All were seemingly so bedazzled by the Enbridge narrative that they agreed it was “REASONABLE” that the MN Public Utilities Commission would agree to allow Enbridge’s new pipeline request… based on their current UNSAFE Line 3!!
It is surely an argument only a cat chasing its tail would comprehend!
One lone soul on the Minnesota Court of Appeals – celebrated Judge Peter Reyes – retained his wits and clearly demonstrated in both words and a simple chart how ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS the PUC had been in their decision.
It’s right in front of our noses and yet there has been no explanation by the PUC on how they made this LEAP to approve Line 3 while getting NONE of the data they’d gotten for their previously submitted Enbridge projects in 2008 and 2012.
How is that reasonable? How is it based on evidence? And how does it possibly adhere to the law? As Reyes notes, It Does Not. While the MN Department of Commerce approved previous projects, this one it did not. And rightfully so as is easily seen here:
Judge Reyes uses the term “arbitrary and capricious” multiple times throughout his dissent. This is a touchy legal term so it feels almost like he’s really rubbing in the point that this is so CLEARLY a violation of the law… or perhaps he’s expressing how amazed he is to be standing alone in his Dissent opinion? It’s clearly stated here.
In sum, Enbridge knows how to provide demand forecast data in a certificate-of need application, yet conspicuously chose not to do so here. The PUC knows how to evaluate demand forecast data and has in the past, but did not to do so here. The inescapable conclusion is that the PUC acted arbitrarily or capriciously by granting the certificate of need unsupported by substantial evidence. Because we afford an agency no deference if its findings are arbitrary and capricious or unsupported by substantial evidence, I would reverse the PUC’s order granting Enbridge a certificate of need.
Judge Reyes’ Dissent on MN Court of Appeals case challenging PUC approval of Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement project
When the picture is this easy to see, why is it Enbridge seems to be able to continue their progress?
Want to know more about this brilliant and brave Justice?
Among his recognitions, Minnesota Lawyer named Judge Reyes as one of the “Top Ten Minnesota Attorneys of the Year” in 2001, one of the “Attorneys of the Year” in 2012, 2016, and 2017, and as a recipient of the inaugural “Diversity & Inclusion Award” in 2017. In 2012 and 2013, Poder Magazine named him as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America.
Judge Reyes received the Ohtli Award in 2016, the highest award given out by the Mexican government to a non-Mexican citizen. He received the “HNBA Latino Judge of the Year Award” in 2018. And in 2019, Judge Reyes received the “MHBA Courage in Leadership Award” and the ABA 2019 “Spirit of Excellence Award.”
Thank goodness for the brave ones. Judge Reyes, you have my heart.
Appointed to the Court of Appeals by Governor Mark Dayton, April 7, 2014. Elected in 2016. Current term expires January 2023. William Mitchell College of Law, Juris Doctor, cum laude (1997) University of St. Thomas, Bachelor of Arts, Major: Chemistry, Minor: Biology
You and PUC Commissioner Schuerger seem in need of more brave ones in the Minnesota government to join you. I hope they do. Perhaps whistle-blowers in State agencies were awaiting the logic of your reasoning? Will we see the Department of Commerce again pursue the case. It seems unlikely in the horrific Walz administration which he continues to fill with corporation-friendly and environmentally ignorant appointments.
Meanwhile, the PUC is now screwing over landowners as well as Tribes in Minnesota? Sounds like Enbridge used the same $10/foot figure to fuck over Canadians too! Yet the PUC doesn’t agree landowners are getting hosed… Basically, Enbridge is giving landowners a pittance (1% of the cost of removal) if they agree to keep the old pipeline in place…but doesn’t sound like many of them understood the bargaining power they had with Enbridge. A story with a long history here in MN… Enbridge selling lies. And getting away with it. Makes one wonder if Enbridge is the only one making out in these deals… I mean, what’s in it for the PUC to continue fucking us all over like this?
It seems like everything is slower than normal… or faster than normal, depending on who you are. Perhaps.
If you’re a retired engineer in the north woods, awaiting some special news, time drags like an eternity, regardless of how much you do.
Days end as you talk with a friend realizing hazily that it seems two days have passed since this morning, when you happened down to the river to pray and ran into that surprise.
Days seem to have 48 hours instead of 24. And yet, so little seems to get done.
All talk. No sense of any progress. 24/7 “news” cycles crowing together in a cacophony of chaos.
Perhaps it’s those currently overwhelmed for whom time seems to race? As one tends vent tubes, receives new patients, swabs noses, or transports victims of our newest plague, perhaps the time seems to flash by as the end of the day arrives before one is aware… though grief persists around all the lost hours missed with children and lovers.
It feels a prayer for the world is in order in each moment.
Yet we are the gods creating each day here on Mother Earth. We are the ones managing the planet’s infrastructure now, as humans have become their own sort of plague upon the planet… some spewing excessive carbon for glorious lives of ease… while others toil for pennies, hoping to have enough to eat each evening.
It seems us children have gone a bit too far with Mother these days. She’s hotter than ever about our obstinance – our commitment to fashion and fast, our desires for more. In our haste, we’ve seemed to have bypassed all the tipping points She tried to provide as warnings.
The arctic waters no longer cool and the forests are burning with abandon, while floods wipe away dreams and beings perish at ever increasing rates. In the last year humans have reckoned our pending demise as the pandemic dead pile and require disposal. For those who care to heed the signs, evidence is clear. Losing a “9/11” of American victims each day seems enough, does it not, to make it clear?
So what of those who will not see? Those in denial? Is it truly all of us?
What is to be done when many among us fail to consider their fellow man? Those who fly about, not considering the tremendous impacts personal actions have for all others? Those who blast through the fast food bag, throwing it out the window as they speed to work, where they will earn only enough to afford that cheap substitute for nourishment? Those who piss into potable water as many around the world struggle to find clean water to drink? Will this be the fate of us all as we poison our surroundings to assure we can keep living faster? Giving back far too little in reciprocity to the Mother keeping us alive each day?
What of those so afraid of their loss of perceived power that they’ve allowed their secret plans for insurrection to become real… and revealed? Will we ever truly know the truth of what has transpired in our government, our agencies, our law enforcement ranks, as the power of money has trumped the power of compassion for our fellows? Will we ever find our ways forward to a place of peace?
To assure you are duly warned, LANGUAGE ALERT. Oops. Was that too late? Did the title give too much away? In case it did not, what ensues will be the ramblings on the many levels of how fucked we are. While I typically focus on the Enbridge Line 3 debacle in Northern Minnesota, there is OH SO MUCH OTHER HORRIBLE happening these days, that I will cover a bit of new or strange ground today. For those who’ve been reading a while, nothing too new, no worries. [Though at Book Club Sunday I’m pretty sure they were like, “How do we uninvite the lady who started the Book Club? She’s kinda sounding crazy.” (FYI: I hear ya’. I feel pretty crazy. Isn’t that NORMAL these days?)]
The issue in the Center Ring is the National insanity and, while I heard 45 was banned… is he back? [I swear I did a search for him yesterday and only Don, Jr popped up. 45 used to be @realDonaldTrump as you may recall. Surely this @POTUS account was there too and I missed it?] No activity of late… but maybe this account is managed by… Kayleigh McEnany? Or some other lackey?
So TWO law enforcement officers had to die for this to happen, one apparently at his own hand and one by skull fracture with a fire extinguisher, and we still see pretty much NOTHING done to those who committed the insurrection? Nothing much anyway. I hear they got the Q Shaman (is this dude serious?), the Arkansasshole, and the podium guy. But many are still at large:
The duo of 45 and Rudy – who called for the group to march to the Capitol for “Trial by Combat”
The Capitol Police officers who waved these insurrectionists in toward the Capitol, removing barriers and running away from them as they flowed through the building seeking to reek havoc and “Stop the Steal” [luckily some quick thinkers managed to secure the ballot boxes]
The Insurrectionists who wandered in as if it was any given Wednesday, rummaging through desks and destroying/stealing government property
The Republicans who encouraged – even after ALL the chaos – a continued commitment to OBJECTING to the certification of the vote [time to remove them all]
That 45 has been given until 1/11 to resign – like, WHY THE FUCK IS THIS HIS Decision? Remove that motherfucker NOW, eh? – which correlates to the 3% movement’s insignia [as we’ve already heard threats from insurrectionists who acted on 1/6/21 that they would “be back on the eleventh”] should give some rationale for a pause. A requirement that we consider what might be going down today? I mean, after the epic fail at the Capitol, I’d not be surprised by almost anything. Perhaps the police are downplaying it as they have folks staged in all the states to take over? 3% believe the County Sheriff is the highest law of the land and it was disturbing to see Deputies in Olympia, Washington giving law enforcement guarding the governor’s mansion some side-eye as they fist bumped the protestors (who eventually shouted “kill them all”).
The talk that this is “Over Now” – as I heard on On the Media – like, hey, we counted the votes so, all is fine, we’re moving on with Joe! – might be a bit premature. Those who disagree may have other plans [WARNING: that link is a bit creepy, though I think we should ALL be aware there is some portion of our country that feels that way].
45’s delight at the rioters’ response to his command, his complete disregard for what was transpiring, his subsequent submissive speech (obviously given by a clone – see, there’s a reason for everything!), are all reasons for his immediate removal and, to be honest, his commitment to a mental health facility to evaluate his current mental state. At least we get some media folks (FINALLY) speaking to this chaos and asking for accountability? Apparently 56% of us want 45 removed immediately. Regardless, too little has been done, and whatever is done in the end will be too late to allow the U.S. any means of holding authority in the world. We have become the shit-holiest of countries.
I’m not sure what % of his followers are still in love with him (the clone theorists) and what % are finally realizing that he’s never truly given a shit about them at all. But I’m concerned for all of them. For those disillusioned, perhaps suicide will feel an only option. I know how I felt when Bernie wasn’t given the nomination (the first time). It isn’t pretty – discovering of the unfairness and corruption in our government – whether true or imaginary. [I was a late bloomer when it comes to Presidential politics – hadn’t paid nearly enough attention to the Dark Money and Citizens United decisions over the years…] For those still believing in 45, I fear what they can be led to do in the name of “democracy” or “Jesus“.
Christianity is deeply interwoven with many of the ideologies that brought Trump supporters out to the National Mall and into the halls of Congress.
According to Andrew L. Whitehead, co-director of the Association of Religion Data Archives and professor of sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, understanding Christian nationalism is essential to understanding what motivated many of the demonstrators and rioters in Washington.
“I think that [the demonstrators and rioters] believe that God has a specific plan for this country, and that their vision for the country has been given to them by God,” Whitehead said. “Christian nationalism at its core is this desire to see Christianity be privileged in the public sphere.”
The Christianity of Christian nationalism is very narrow and specific, according to Whitehead. It is typically white supremacist, nativist, and authoritarian. Whitehead and his colleagues previously found that adherence to a Christian nationalist ideology was one of the strongest predictors of a Trump vote.”
Here’s what Beau had to say… [It’s just a thought… and a good one imagining Trump in Alamo, Texas – so many levels of funny! – just 225 miles away from the actual Alamo. And I’d agree with Beau that, without Twitter, he’ll surely be full of vitriole to spew as soon as he gets in front of his followers; and we should take care to assure the story stays straight. A review of the situation on the 6th by PBS Newshour journalists was quite thorough and I recommend it. Four women journalists: PBS NewsHour’s anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff talks to correspondents Lisa Desjardins, Amna Nawaz and Yamiche Alcindor.
Meanwhile, in Ring Two, we STILL have a pandemic unfolding!! The country is losing the equivalent of another “9/11” every day… and many still are giving the virus short shrift. We’re too busy talking about the insurrection and getting ‘back to normal’ just as soon as we possibly can!! Yet, since November 1st, Minnesota has lost 3205 citizens to COVID – that’s 57% of our dead in the last 6 weeks. We saw the spiking deaths as Enbridge moved workers into the area. It seems they anticipated Walz and his administration permitting them to flood Northern Minnesota with pipeliners from places like Texas, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and more. The foreign corporation is now moving at breakneck speed to drill under our rivers as quickly as possible, hoping to eradicate the Minnesota Court of Appeals authority to rule on the legal need for this pipeline. [Ring three could be your choice of: the economy failing, the pending market crash, the death of big oil, climate change, the evictions, food shortages. As all that stuff is interconnected, you eventually get around to all the others!]
Many hospitals in Los Angeles and other hard-hit areas are struggling to keep up and warned they may need to ration lifesaving care. Nurses are caring for more sick people than typically allowed under the law after the state began issuing waivers to the strict nurse-to-patient ratios.”
At least on the insurrection front we have The Governator who has spoken clearly on what we saw on the 6th. He recognizes the situation for the disturbing nightmare it truly is… because he’s lived its legacy. Patriotism is standing by the Country, not the President. Indeed, Teddy! Give him a listen – it’s worth a few moments as we face what feels like such a historic moment in time.
And on the Enbridge front, here’s a bit more good news. [See, I never let you down!!] American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation has reported that they are breaking ties with Enbridge as a sponsor, saying:
We’ve taken pause to reconsider our relationship with Enbridge Energy and have chosen to dissolve our agreement. In hindsight, we realize that this association was perhaps not a clear pathway to engaging conversation in support of education, future change, and ultimately our greater Birkie Green initiatives, nor was it in alignment with our American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) mission. For that, we are sorry. We never intended to cause concern within the Birkie community.”
Guess they finally realized they were being funded by the very source of their demise… thanks to those who helped them.
Good Luck today, Everybody! Let’s hope for the best. [Publishing this early… as I’m a bit concerned about cover of dark operations some insurrectionists might be considering. I mean, they’ve had four whole days to plan deep into the night… so I’m counting on someone planning to do something. Let’s just hope they aren’t as successful as they hope.]
Over the weekend, I issued an Urgent Blog Post as opposed to waiting until today. So glad that I did because today requires another URGENT Blog Post. FFS. [This, ladies and gentlemen, is your indicator. For those of you unfamiliar, from here on out, it’s Sailor Style, Trucker Style, Steel Worker Style, which means I’m not filtering the outrage. Proceed at your own risk. I know some of you quite enjoy this version of me, so, read on if you’re not familiar.]
We’re about to see a terrible collision of two things that cannot peacefully coexist: Pipeline Construction and a Pandemic.
My Saturday blog, Need is Clear… for a Stay on Line 3, explained why the Motion for Stay, filed by White Earth Band of the Ojibwe and Red Lake Band of the Chippewa, was just and valid. Even without many of the reasons noted in their Memorandum, a Stay on the Line 3 project is so obviously necessary to protect the health, safety, and well-being of Minnesotans as Mr. Walz is fond to spout.
We are seeing great increases in cases and casualties here in northern Minnesota at the virus surges. And with so many having little regard for masks, or even the virus itself as legitimate, the dangers were high in the region to start. Now, even with recent legal complaints, petitions, and motions filed and Coronavirus surging throughout the Midwest, Tim Walz seems compelled to rush through all the approvals Enbridge needs to start their tar sands pipeline ASAP. Is he trying to surpass the death figures seen in North Dakota after their recent construction project with Enbridge? It was only a 12-mile stretch so our 337-mile stretch is sure to do the trick.
Our highest daily death total yet plowed us into a 4-day holiday weekend, yet with Monday’s ALMOST ALWAYS our lowest figures for COVID, Tim Walz felt NO NEED WHATSOEVER to ask his Pollution Control Agency to consider a wait-and-see approach on their Stormwater Permits – the last ones needed by Enbridge for the project? Not even until we can see how many dead accummulate by tomorrow? Is One Thousand One Hundred Thirty-Three dead – 1133 DEAD – in November NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU, Tim???
Did the Governor give ONE FUCKING SECOND of consideration to the lives of NORTHERN MINNESOTANS. NOPE! He callously WENT AHEAD with Enbridge’s plans for a November 30th start date. And, to add salt to the wound, he also made sure his Climate Subcabinet could get started ON THE SAME MOTHERFUCKING day – in further ruse of giving an actual FUCK about Climate Change.
Ya’ think people at the funerals are going to think that was funny, Tim?
As if things could not get any more fucked up, the PUC has ordered a Hearing on the Motion for Stay for THIS FUCKING FRIDAY. So… Department of Commerce, the challenge is ON! Can you produce a Brief to join the Tribes in their urgent call for a Stay? In under 48 hours? When you likely expected that the Stormwater Permit might take a bit more consideration for a project so controversial. I feel your pain. And I sure hope you can.
It seems Tim Walz is ALL IN with Enbridge on literally “killing it” in Northern Minnesota with their new pipeline project. Who Gives a FUCK about anybody up here, eh? Just a bunch of rocks and cows, right Timmy?
“How many of your constituents are you willing to sacrifice to the Enbridge God of Oil?”
Well, a bunch of the people who live by those rocks and cows are dying. So I ask you, “How many of your constituents are you willing to sacrifice to the Enbridge God of Oil?” Their God seems to be losing steam in recent years but you don’t seem to be able to find a way out of their pocket? Even when the very lives of your citizens are at risk from the project continuing? During a MOTHERFUCKING GLOBAL PANDEMIC? FOR FUCK SAKE, Tim. Are you even gonna give us a goodbye kiss? Can you at least ACKNOWLEDGE your Negligent Homicide as we experience it?
How do you possibly look at the state of the world, the dying tar sands, the dying people – which eventually means less oil use, eh? – and NOT COMPREHEND that an ALLIANCE with Enbridge is going to send your soul straight to Hell? There is NO FUCKING WAY you can PRETEND that people aren’t dying. You can’t pretend that bringing a bunch of potential COVID super-spreaders from TX, OK, ND, WI aren’t gonna really FUCK US HARD up here in the few hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes we have.
I really don’t know what else to say. It seems there is nowhere else to turn. We’re basically being sacrificed to the Oil Gods, and no on can seemingly do a thing to stop it. Not even Tim. Not even if you give him the verbiage to clarify that his Executive Order 20-20 DOES NOT say Pipeline CONSTRUCTION is Essential. Because it is NOT. And pretending it is will cause irreparable harm to many Minnesota families. Damage that will sting for years to come as we consider the results of his heartless decision-making. Though I’m guessing even the rocks and cows might give a bit more of a Fuck than Governor Walz.
If you give a fuck about anyone up here along Enbridge’s Corridor of Death, can you give Tim a call and ask him to give a fuck too? 1-800-657-3717.
Before it’s 2 late. I don’t want to be the last 1 alive. Sorry, couldn’t help continue the countdown, which is what it feels like here every day.
How many days until we see massive health care breakdown? We’re losing a Minnesotan an hour and then some to Covid. Yet Governor Walz STILL will not speak about delaying the project.
Even on Almanac, he talked COVID, but not that pipeline project. But you know who did? Winona LaDuke. And she had a lot of good things to say.
Walz said on Friday the 13th’s Almanac that it will be 3 weeks until we hit 300K dead in the US. I’m guessing he might be underestimating that – what with exponential growth. Yet he STILL refuses to DELAY Line 3.
It’s not hard, you know. Just clarifying Executive Order 20-20, which was put into place way back in March – the early days of the pandemic – and accurately NOT MENTIONING Petroleum Pipeline Construction as part of the Essential Worker staff.
Governor Walz could add some simple clarification verbiage like this:
Whereas, Northern Minnesota has minimal and rudimentary Health Care facilities and trained COVID-19 care professionals,
Whereas, tar sands as a commodity has a current 400,000 barrel/day excess of pipeline capacity for current demand making a new tar sands pipeline that would carry only 370,000 bpd unnecessary at this time, and
Whereas, an influx of 3600 out-of-area pipeline construction workers would create an undue risk for COVID-19 community spread with their need for housing, food, and entertainment off the work-site, and
Whereas, Enbridge has been clear in their calls with local officials that they can only enforce social distancing rules on their own worksites, not offsite or in community, where COVID-19 is likely to be spread to local populations and worker families, and
Whereas, the health and care of the People of Minnesota is my paramount concern and responsibility, and
Whereas, Minnesota is currently seeing an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths which is becoming difficult to even monitor, let alone treat,
Now, therefore, as Governor, I declare that a postponement of the Line 3 project until the pandemic can be brought under control, is necessary and prudent.”
Here’s the verbiage that could help us the DELAY Line 3 project to save lives in Minnesota.
But, I’m not holding my breath… though I am staying home. And masking up if I do venture anywhere.
Minnesota Public Broadcasting’s Almanac program (sponsored by Enbridge) hosted Governor Walz (7:30-17:58) and Winona LaDuke (33:30-40:09; including the Enbridge disclaimer… and Winona snagging an extra 10 seconds of messaging!!), though only ONE of them had the courage to speak of the risks the Line 3 project brings to Minnesota.
In addition to some interested political maneuvers by Republicans, they’ve appointed a Democrat as the Senate Leader (this is how corrupted Dems are to Republican corporate support here in MN?).
What did Governor Walz have to say?
It took 7 months to hit 100K dead, 7 weeks to hit 200K dead, and he predicts we will reach 300K dead within about next three weeks. [That’s December 6th, in case anyone wants to keep track.]
71% of cases in last 8 weeks are from gatherings, bars & restaurants. In other words, Community Spread. Guidance this week is 10 ppl max, 3 families max. More than 1 person or family is a chance for spread.
Upper Midwest is about 120 cases/100K; 150+/100K in the Dakotas and… no health care system can sustain that. MUST Stop the Spread.
Almanac’s Eric Eskola asks a good question at 11:12 and Tim answers: “If this saves one Minnesotan’s life, I’ll make those hard decisions.”
“I will continue to do all I can, as I said from the beginning of this, to protect the safety, uh, the health, and the well-being of Minnesotans.” (11:51)
THEN WHY WILL YOU NOT DELAY THIS TAR SAND PIPELINE PROJECT? THAT alone could save HUNDREDS or THOUSANDS of lives in the long run. Sadly, you seem NOT to have the courage to do it. Perhaps you are unwilling to risk political capital to save Northern Minnesota lives? Is is just cause we’re a bunch of rocks and cows up here? And a few Indians we haven’t yet managed to slaughter off with our white supremacy colonizing culture? Yes, this IS how FUCKING PISSED I am about your diffidence.
You know, Tim, bringing thousands of out-of-area workers into MN – from ND, OK, TX, WI – all hot spots – makes it certain that you’ll definitely be bringing increased risk to rural MN where we do NOT HAVE THE HOSPITAL and HEALTH CARE WORKERS to support this influx of population. Especially not when we’re already facing shortages on housing – which will only be exacerbated by Enbridge workers coming in with bigger paychecks than many have here and gobbling up housing? How many Minnesotans will freeze to death in their vehicles as Enbridge workers are housed in places they might have otherwise stayed?
11:19 – Walz: “…if this saved one Minnesotan’s life, I’ll make those hard decisions” – well I call BS. You could ANY MOMENT say that Minnesota is going to PAUSE 4 PANDEMIC on an UNNECESSARY pipeline project. And you have YET to do so. And another 31 dead Sunday in Minnesota. We only had 12 new dead today, which is typical for Mondays, typically our lowest day of the week for reporting. [Last Sunday, Monday, Tuesday was 31, 19, 23… then 56 on 11/11, if that portends anything.]
Walz gets the updates at 9PM for the day – wish I could have that data then… I get the massaged 7-day rolling average… that disguises the exponentiality of these growing numbers.
Duluth Mayor, Emily Larson, in St. Louis County, was asked about emergency rotation on the police department due to rolling outages of personnel. The Mayor noted:
43% of ppl testing are 15-29. [Uh, because we’re not seeing cooperation from older people for GETTING tested? Or because they are the ones doing much of the community work? What with likely older professionals working from home?]
All schooling is going to digital… where many children do not have technology broadband connectivity – creating disproportionate learning for those with less resources – “yet bars are still open”. (19:59) [Yeah, we’re sacrificing our children to hedonism.]
Restarted weekly updates to keep citizens updated and share information. (21:30) [Weekly often enough?]
And finally, noting ~180 staff in Duluth PD w/157 sworn officers, they’ve had 26 cases in the department to date, with quarantines also. 23 since October. Indicative of what we’re seeing across MN. Alt work schedule taking people off investigations to patrol, working 5-days on, 10-days off. Trying to keep up with investigations. Process kept cases low when pandemic started. [Uh, so, we’re seeing our public safety personnel being taken out of commission as WELL as our health care professionals?]
Next up was Dr. Rahul Koranne (head of MN Hospital Assn) on staffing. We have beds… but concern is number of professionals getting exposed to the virus. (26:30) A spot check Wednesday showed over 6000 heroes out of service in our hospitals. Everyone is looking for same agency nurses so no relief is to be found outside the state. Control of spread is key. A discussion on rationing of care (27:42) found Dr. Koranne saying, “A patient, a Minnesotan that needs a hospital care is getting it.” He also noted that 1 in 4 ICU beds is COVID. 16% of medical surgical has COVID. Heart attacks, strokes, cancers still being managed. [As I consider exponential growth, I foresee a real ripping out of the rug any moment. Did you see Texas is starting with the refrigerated trailers for the dead? Lucky it’s cold in Minnesota?] “Trying to coordinate across the state. … Some patients have to be transported great distances and that’s what a pandemic will do.” I am not feeling confident. Are you?
Even the funny part of Almanac wasn’t funny to me. Sheletta Brundidge did her best and, if it weren’t for the way adults CONTINUE to IGNORE the CLIMATE CRISIS as if we can just keep going on with life as we’ve known it… I might have laughed. But I couldn’t… as she spoke about “kids day” and assumed her child would ask for less “chores, ice creams instead of veggies, and unlimited piggy back rides.” I’m guessing she’d rather have you save the planet’s ability to support human life.
Then we go to Winona. And she talks some REAL TRUTH.
Enbridge has cut the EQUIVALENT of a NEW Line 3 and has NO NEED with 400K barrels/day excess capacity at present. (34:06) [And likely forever?] Enbridge doesn’t need this pipeline and oil production is down.
Nowhere else are pipeline projects getting approved. Keystone problems, Constitution never got approved, and Michigan’s Governor Whitmer just withdrew the easement for Enbridge’s Line 5. (35:00)
And, when challenged by (again, idiot) Eric on the politics of it all, turning the tables to this being a Challenge of Enlightenment. World, and even MN has a commitment to cutting greenhouse gasses and moving to renewables… this makes no sense.
Regarding Covid (36:30): “The GOVENOR is APPROVING TO BRING 4200 out-of-state workers into northern Minnesota from Louisiana, Texas, Wyoming, and all around the country, during a Pandemic. [Like FKN Seriously, Tim Walz?] Into the poorest counties in the state of Minnesota already struggling – like Aitkin County where we have 5600 at-risk people who are older – with 4 ICU beds? Why import 4200 pipeliners, “who are already social prospecting for dates on social media and wandering through the stores in northern Minnesota without masks on?” Yeah, Walzy, WTF?
Line 3 didn’t make sense then, why now, with oil at $-38/barrel? “Why would you do that to Minnesota… to us?” (37:30)
Carol Wurzer asks if massive protests are expected (37:37) and Winona assured her the project will be met with resistance [YEP] and that people will be masked up. She further explains that SHE is “not in charge of the resistance”. “Librarians that chained themselves and closed down… the pipelines up in Clearbrook” and “Catholics closed it down after that”.
In a time of climate disaster, after noting 70K people testified against this pipeline, she says, “Nobody thinks this is a good idea except for, apparently Governor Walz and Enbridge.” (38:05) and she say Whitmer has the right idea, “Don’t let risky Canadian corporations, you know, put a gun to your head and say that we need a new pipeline. Instead, say, “Close your stuff down. Let’s move on.” [Yes, Ma’am!]
She further explains how Red Lake Nation is implementing solar and her tribe is putting up another 200 kW of solar. (38:30) So why is Minnesota’s SINGLE LARGEST ENERGY CONSUMER… ENBRIDGE? Because it takes a lot of energy to move sludge. If we don’t have unnecessary pipelines, we can also quit putting up unnecessary electricity and focus on doing what IS necessary for PEOPLE, eh?
The final question (38:55) on economics is addressed with perhaps my favorite analogy (I always go to drug dealers for mine – kinda feel like Enbridge is just a dealer for addicts):
The fact is that we’ve got the poorest counties and Enbridge is slathering out a hundred million dollars worth of money, and you know they should have slathered that out a long time ago cause they got six pipelines across the north and all kinds of leaks. The single largest leak was actually in Grand Rapids.
So, you know, there’s some people that are… that are up there trying to get some money because it’s a really difficult time in the north. But, you know what? It’s kinda like getting a job in the gas chamber. That’s a great job to have but it’s really not the job you wanna have over the long term. And that’s what this pipeline is like. It’s like… the ecological equivalent to Auswitz. That’s what this pipeline is.”
Good luck, Everybody. Especially if you live in a community where government leaders are aligned with the oil interests more than they are their human constituents. [Is that all of us?]
Good luck, especially to Northern Minnesota as you are inundated with unnecessary pipeline construction workers. Stay inside, because Enbridge (and many local law enforcement officers up here, best I can tell by the non-enforcement of mask mandates and other concerns) aren’t willing and/or able to control these itinerant workers off the job-site. And a most prayerful wish for all the women and girls along the pipeline corridor, and all the relatives young and old, to be protected.
My best hope is for a Pause4Pandemic on the Line 3 project. The MPCA may say they are “protecting our environment”…
… while sacrificing our health care workers… and really all of us. Approving this pipeline project, on the assumption of Need provided by the PUC – now facing so many court battles, I’m losing count on this project, though most recently regarding Enbridge’s lies during testimony for the project – is truly negligent.
Paul Blackburn had to explain to them how the law works in a subsequent memo, later the same day. He beautifully explained to the PUC how Minnesota law actually works. I will walk you through it all here.
Will Seuffert, Executive Secretary of the PUC, appears to be in over his head – or is it Chair Katie Sieben directing the show erroneously? This comment period Notice is full of issues as Paul states in his response memo requesting clarity on the PUC posting. As a long-time follower and deep reader of the Line 3 documentation, I was immediately struck by what appears to be a request from the PUC to Enbridge asking them to explain THE PUC’s OWN JURISDICTION TO THEM. WTF??? [I mean, we all know the PUC has bent over backwards to accommodate Enbridge’s storyline but are they now allowing them to determine Minnesota law?]
In Paul’s response, it is made clear that the PUC is confusing the issue and violating the processes given by Minnesota statutes.
When and if the PUC finds it does have jurisdiction and files to secure a 20-day response from Enbridge on the complaint… (not the PUC’s jurisdiction), they also MUST provide a 30-day public comment period on which procedures should be followed – contested case hearing, informal proceeding, expedited proceeding, “as well as give notice of a 10-day reply public comment period for responses to the initial procedural comments. The 30-day public comment period allows commenters to see Enbridge’s answer before filing their initial comments. In such notice, the Commission should also provide public notice of the right to file a petition to intervene in the complaint proceeding.” In THAT situation, HTE is provided a chance to respond (also within 20 days), to Enbridge’s response on their Complaint.
Only after ALL THAT has been done can the PUC determine which procedure to use to resolve the complaint. Once they order said procedure, they also must rule on all petitions to intervene, if any.
There is no reason for the PUC to ask Enbridge if they have jurisdiction as Minn. R. 7829.1800, subp. 1 says the Commission shall determine jurisdiction and whether there are reasonable grounds to investigate the allegation. Minn. R. 7829.1800, subp. 2 says that IF the Commission finds the above to be true [and this MUST be done BEFORE they file to the respondent (Enbridge)], they THEN serve the complaint to the respondent… for an answer within 20 days.
Under the regulations, it is not appropriate for the Commission to seek comment on jurisdiction and whether reasonable grounds exist at the same time that it has apparently (albeit without a formal order) required an answer within 20 days from Enbridge.
Service of a complaint and order is not the same thing as issuing a notice for a “comment” period. The Notice, therefore, appears to conflate the reply period to the answer required by Minn. R. 7829.1800, subp. 3, with the reply period to initial comments period provided by Minn. R. 7829.1900, subp. 3.”
Indeed. The new Executive Secretary of the PUC appears to be unaware of the expected procedures given by the Minnesota Legislature in statute. In addition, Paul clarifies that “there is no right for other parties to reply” on the Complaint as that is reserved for the Complainant (Honor the Earth).
As is made clear in Minn. R. 7829.1900 COMMISSION ACTION ON FORMAL COMPLAINT; COMMENTS, the process requires the PUC to 1) determine the nature of the proceedings, 2) allow initial comments within 30 days of the commission order requiring answer to the complaint (complainant, respondent, Office of AG and any other known parties), 3) Allow reply comments for 10-days after that, and 4) allow for intervention by additional parties (said petition may be combined with the comments on the complaint).
Paul notes several possible outcomes the PUC may have been intending…
Establishing a public comment period? Oops. Didn’t include the word “public” and the Notice states the deadline for comment is limited to those “Enbridge” provides to answer HTE’s complaint. [However, Minn. R. 7829.1900 subps. 2 & 3 state that any “person” may comment on the procedures to be used.]
If intended as a public comment period, the PUC used the wrong LENGTH of comment period as statute requires “30 days”, not 20. [As Paul puts it, “Thus, if the Notice was a proper way to order an answer, which it is not, then the initial public comment deadline would be 30 days after November 5, or December 7 (given the weekend), and the reply comments would be due ten days after that, or December 17.”]
IF the intention was for a public comment period, Paul additionally notes, “the Notice incorrectly states that reply comments are limited to replies to just Enbridge’s answer; whereas Minn. R. 7829.1900, subp. 3, states that public reply comments “must be limited in scope to the issues raised in the initial comments” (emphasis added).”
Finally, if this is intending a public comment period, then it “fails to provide notice that any “person” may file a petition to intervene pursuant to Minn. R. 7829.1900, subp. 4. The lack of clarity in the notice and its failure to comply with the clear language of Minn. R. 7829.1800 and 1900, creates ambiguity about whether the notice initiates the intervention period or not.” [I sure love how Paul words things.]
Among the many problems with the PUC’s action are:
Creation of confusion as to the Commission’s intention, which also is unclear in its adherence to current Minnesota statutes.
Potentially provides too little time and prejudices commenters who would not have access to Enbridge’s answer before filing their complaints.
Improperly limits the scope of responses to the complaint.
Fails to provide a notice for rights to intervention.
Continues with the PUC’s failure to follow public participation requirements in the state of Minnesota (as found by the Office of Legilative Auditors earlier this year).
What should be done?
Honor the Earth requests that the PUC “withdraw the Notice and instead follow the process contained in the regulations.” I’d agree this is what we should expect from the PUC:
Make a preliminary jurisdictional and reasonable-grounds decision.
Issue an Order finding the Complaint within its jurisdiction and that the Complaint states reasonable grounds.
Serve this order and the Complaint on Enbridge and inform it of its right to file an answer within 20 days.
Provide a public notice of a 30-day initial public comment period and a 10-day public comment reply period on the appropriate procedures to be followed.
Provide a public notice of the intervention period.
Issue an order identifying the appropriate hearing procedure for the Complaint.
Paul’s closing paragraph ends with an appropriate notice to the PUC:
The public has a right to expect that the Commission will follow its own procedural rules and be clear about public participation rights.
Following the 9/9/20 Minnesota Environmental Quality Board meeting, I decided I needed to speak out about the travesty I witnessed.
Here’s what I have to say.
I find the MEQB’s lack of public engagement disturbing and sickening.
Where was the accountability of the MEQB Citizen Board Members in assuring a public voice was heard on the 2020 Water Plan? As public appointees are they not beholden to assure the PUBLIC has a chance to share our concerns before a vote is made? Did they not see the raised hands in the WebEx? Did they feel no urgency to stop the vote so the public concerns could be addressed? In the end, only Ben Yawakie seemed to hear and heed the public outcry that day.
I will grant that the MEQB allowed public comment on the 2020 Water Plan. However, the meeting’s disabled Chat functionallowed no interaction from the public. In fact, after my Raised Hand was ignored for some time, I emailed their tech guy – who I know – to ask for help with being able to comment. The derailing of the MEQB process during the meeting gave clear evidence to how little time and consideration was truly being offered by the MEQB for public input.
I’d like to highlight two speakers in particular from the day as they each raise issues pertinent to the way the process derailed in not allowing for true public engagement.
In the 2020 State Water Plan, you recognize treaties with the Anishinaabe people, stating ‘the ability to exercise those treaty rights depends on clean water and healthy ecosystems.’ What is omitted is how you are going to ensure the health of ecosystems and clean water.
As you acknowledge in the Water Plan, the Ojibwe word, ‘nibi’, means life-giving force. You follow that with, ‘This worldview contrasts with economic and political systems that value private property and often view land and water as commodities to buy, sell, and use.’ That is exactly what Enbridge is doing with Line 3–a climate change and water disaster that falls disproportionately on Indiginous people. How is it possible that this Water Plan talks about climate change but makes no mention of fossil fuel infrastructure, a major contributor to climate change and a threat to our water?
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, it is our time of awakening to the trifecta of race, pandemic and climate injustice. There is no denying the privilege that is represented in the, primarily white, EQB staff, appointees and agency leaders. No one gets a pass–we are all responsible for upholding treaties.
Have white courage, use your privilege! Take this opportunity to put treaties at the forefront and create a State Water Plan that is, like our water, a life-giving force to ensure healthy ecosystems and clean water for all!”
Jaci Christenson (18:30)
Jaci was followed by Joe.
Commend all of your work on a bold vision… yet I feel the cognitive dissonance I think we all feel in this plan where we address half of the problem, where we want to prepare MN waters for climate change but not prevent Climate Change or interrupt the fossil fuel infrastructure that is causing climate change that means the end of wild rice as we know it.” [This is critical when it comes to later concerns raised.]
Joe couldn’t help but feel “…in writing this aspirational plan that we’re running out of time to defend the waters that we claim to protect. … With decisions like Line 3, Commissioner Bishop, I’d just just ask the simple question of, “What is your plan in Fall 2020 with the 401 permit for Line 3 to stand up with these aspirations, particularly as we just held a Contested Case Hearing that refused to look at climate change or Treaty rights, which are both so important to this Water Plan?”
Joe Meinholz (21:54)
Chair Bishop: “Thank you.” [Note: To this point in the meeting, each speaker received a simple “thank you” from Chair Bishop after they spoke. No dialogue and certainly no response to the questions asked.]
Nine (9) additional speakers were to follow (mind you, some of us had still not been recognized for our wish to speak at that time). However, following the next speaker, Keegan Robinson, Commissioner Bishop noted:
We should stick to the Water Plan and not the individual actions and projects. But I appreciate the comments from everybody here, certainly understand and hear your concerns about protection of water and certainly that is the intention with the Water Plan is to outline ways to protect our waters and how we go forwards. So I appreciate all of you raising this but I do think that specific right now to a specific project and outlining that in the Water Report as well as the comments that we’re receiving on Line 3 seem to be a bit beyond the Water Plan itself as it is pertaining to a specific project.”
MEQB Chair Laura Bishop (25:53)
She then asked Katie how to move forward noting, “With any of the public comments, I would like to keep it on the Water Plan itself.” Katie Pratt (MEQB Executive Director) noted “several other agenda items” and that “we have a clear message” (as her phone rings in the background – someone calling to get their voice heard?) and she finishes saying, “I think we could consider moving on to our next agenda items and leaving time at the end for additional public comment.” [Remember this promise…] (27:25) Chair Bishop agreed, noting the Board would do that “unless there is a comment beyond Line 3 that we’ve missed. I appreciate this is an opportunity to talk about water protection and certainly that is the intention of any permits that are reviewed by the agency, it is with the intention to protect water as well. I’d suggest that we move on to the next agenda item.”
[At this point we still have multiple people remaining to speak. I was unable to get access to speak because the Chat in the Webex was disabled. My Raised Hand in the WebEx went ignored, as did the Raised Hands of others online.]
Nookomis joins from the phone (27:57) asking to say a few words. Chair Bishop eventually (28:18) recognizes Nookomis for comment asking for a restatement of name for the record.
Before I go on, let’s be clear: Comments from the public recognized valid concerns ~ concerns that went unanswered, over and over, as Chair Bishop was asked about where the mitigation for the causes of climate change were captured, specifically with regard to fossil fuel infrastructure, in the 2020 Water Plan.
Minnesotans care deeply about their water as evidenced by the recent Statewide Resident Survey Report from the University of Minnesota. While that report focused on agricultural concerns, the strong opposition to major infrastructure projects like mining and pipelines has been expressed at the MEQB for many, many months now. Even later in this meeting, similar concerns were raised on the Silica Sand Mine in Fillmore County.
As Willis Mattison noted during the meeting, public comment is not engagement. Engagement entails dialogue. As was reported in previous work, public engagement is CRITICAL to reaching to effective solutions that protect environmental and human health.
As Nookomis began (28:25), she introduced herself in Ojibwemowin first and then translated to English. Nookomis Debra Topping – an enrolled and recognized Fond du Lac Band Member ~ Fog Woman from Eagle Clan – called to hold the Board responsible for and accountable to their Treaty obligations. She first asked about the Winter’s Doctrine and if there is any Indigenous membership on the Board.
In Winters, the Supreme Court examined tribal rights to water associated with the Fort Belknap Reservation located in what would later become Montana. The Fort Belknap Reservation was created by an agreement in 1888 between tribal parties and the U.S. government. At the time, the government had a policy seeking to transform Native Americans from “a nomadic and uncivilized people … to become a pastoral and civilized people” by providing them lands to develop for such purposes.
By 1905, the area experienced water shortages that ultimately resulted in the Winters lawsuit being filed to enforce tribal rights to water against non-Indian water users who had been diverting water from the region. In announcing its decision, the Court explained that the lands provided under the agreement for the purpose of developing an agrarian society “were arid and, without irrigation, were practically valueless.” The Court also noted that ambiguities in the agreement, such as the status of the water rights related to the land, are to be “resolved from the standpoint of the Indians,” as a rule of interpretation. The Court held that:
The power of the Government to reserve the waters and exempt them from appropriation under the state laws is not denied, and could not be. That the Government did reserve them we have decided, and for a use which would be necessarily continued through the years.
The Court has continued to recognize the principle derived from Winters in both Indian and nonIndian contexts. In 1976, the Court noted that it “has long held that when the Federal Government withdraws its land from the public domain and reserves it for a federal purpose, the Government, by implication, reserves appurtenant water then unappropriated to the extent needed to accomplish the purpose of the reservation.”
(29:58) Ben Yawakie, 3rd Congressional District Citizen Board Member, noted he is an enrolled citizen of the Pueblo Zuni and also a descendant of Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and he later clarified that he was not familiar with the Winter’s Doctrine.
Nookomis continued, inquiring if there had been any Tribal consultation, noting both MN Statutes 103B.151 Coordinating Water Resource Planning and 103A.43 as making no specific mention of Tribal Consultation. She asked if that meant it will not happen, even if it’s in the Plan. She said, “When you’re asking for the resolution to be approved, it does not say anywhere that you have to have Tribal consultation.” The third statute she noted – 103A.204 Groundwater Policy – gave her hope for Tribal consultation as it included a list of those specifically responsible for Groundwater Policy.
Maybe this is it! Maybe this is where we come in… number 4 is the Board of Water and Soil Resources, in there it says ‘local government officials’ so… maybe there’s where I come in at? … Nowhere does it say … that you have to do Tribal consultation. I understand that you have done it… it’s in the 2020 Water Plan. I do not see… anything in there about the Winter’s Doctrine.”
Nookomis ended asking if Mr. Yawakie knew about the Winter’s Doctrine. (33:35) Citizen Board Member Ben Yawakie, answered: “Nookomis… I personally do not.”
Commissioner Bishop mentioned Erik Cedarleaf Dahl, an Indigenous MEQB staff member, as well, though he did not respond. Nookomis then asked if anyone on the Board knew of the Winter’s Doctrine, as knowing it would help them understand where they stand with her water on her reservation. She spoke also of the smell and taste of gas and oil in the rice from Sandy Lake. (34:50) At this point, Commissioner Bishop talked over Nookomis for a full twenty seconds, expressing thanks as Nookomis continued speaking in the background. Then Nookomis finished with thanks. [I was astonished at how humble Nookomis remained, after being so summarily and disrespectfully dismissed.]
There ensued a back and forth between Ms. Bishop and Ms. Pratt regarding the concerns Nookomis brought forth. Ms. Pratt mentioned both that the Water Plan is a “starting point, not ending point” and that Executive Order 19-24 directs state agencies to recognize and properly interact with the Sovereign Nations in MN. [However, this document makes no mention of the MEQB.] She also noted that the Water Plan actions are recommendations which will be implemented and that will include appropriate tribal engagement. [Recommendations implies no requirements for action? This is not making me feel confident at all…]
(37:00) Chair Bishop then noted some necessary minor adoptions on Goals 5 & 3 to wrap up the work on adopting the plan. … Fisheries mgmt clarification and inclusion of insurance in the role of risk mitigation for climate change, with staff discretion to make these corrections. Then (37:50) she asked for a motion to adopt with these changes, which was moved by Thom Peterson and seconded by Al Forsberg.
This is the point (38:38) at which Willis Mattison objected to the proceedings, asking to file a formal objection, pointing out the Staff and Board had obviously not allocated sufficient time for public participation during the last MEQB meeting or this meeting regarding the Plan and its deficiencies. He said he “understands expediency… nevertheless, the public is important.” He noted this appears to be a railroad job, disrespectful to the engagement policy when dialogue is not allowed. He filed a major objection. (40:08) Ms. Bishop allowed him to speak once he assured her his comments were not for Line 3 but the Plan.
NOTE: The fact that a formal public objection – to the Water Plan vote being taken – was simply dismissed by MEQB Chair Bishop – with NO Board discussion – was perhaps our second best indicator during the meeting that the public voice was not truly wanted.
The best indicator was when Chair Bishop entertained a motion to adjourn (2:35:47) at the end of the meeting, giving NO ALLOWANCE for those in the public who, earlier in the meeting, were promised a chance to speak at the end. [I was one of many who remained online awaiting a chance to be heard.]
The MEQB is Badly Broken
Mr. Mattison, a retired ecologist from the MPCA, made an excellent point that the 2020 Water Plan, while it “had much to compliment in its ecological wisdom”, was clearly and simply another example, similar to previously passed aspirational plans, that lack metrics for true accountability, and which have gotten us to where we are today. Today, where we face a continued loss of quality waters and wetlands and where an insect apocalypse portends humanity’s own fragile state on the planet. These are things we citizens have discussed many times with the MEQB in recent years. Mr. Mattison notes that, without incorporation of these concerns, the Water Plan is “flawed and useless”. A strategic plan is worthless unless there are metrics for accountability to the achievements. He asked if the MEQB had willingness to expand plans where citizens can hold agencies accountable.
(45:40) Chair Bishop responded but allowed no dialogue, saying to Mr. Mattison, “Your three minutes is up.”
While the Chair did allow for two additional comments (41:20) on the Water Plan after this additional urging that citizens be heard, I still awaited even recognition of my desire to speak. [I began to re-write my comments… which eventually led to this blog.]
(46:05) Lori Cox explained that the Water Plan’s words “ensure and manage mean something is going to be done. In agriculture we have a tough time saying that those things are going to be managed or ensured.” “We continually see the words “voluntary” in agriculture. And that has been used repeatedly… the stakeholders have been loud about that, however we still… with MPCA numbers and very great coordination and statistics by state agencies, have shown that we’re not really moving the line there.” She asked, noting these are almost promises using the words “manage and ensure about water quality”, that the Board take a look at the wording in Agriculture, and expressed concern that, if approved today, the plan would not bring change.
I’m not positive that there would be much more change, with all of the great recommendations, suggestions, programs that are already there and have been for years, that we’re really gonna move the needle.”
Lori Cox (48:16)
(49:06) Gearhardt Robinson, recent U of MN grad with a BS in sustainable systems management with an emphasis on energy systems, expressed that there was very comprehensive information in the Plan. However, for the Plan to be meaningful, it must not only mitigate the effects of climate change, but target the root causes of it… something well within our capabilities and authorities to do. (51:28) He congratulated the work of Commissioner Kelley of the DOC in re-filing the Appeal for Line 3 and urged ALL Commissioners to do what they could to file suits, deny permits, and do all the things in their power to protect Minnesotans and our water quality.
“To me it seems this plan isn’t really much of a plan, it’s kind of just abstract goals that really don’t have tangible ways to achieve them.”
Gearhardt Robinson (50:41)
(51:40) Gearhardt also noted that the use of the word “attack” [by Margaret Anderson Kelliher] in regard to the commenters asking for MPCA Commissioner Bishop to uphold her accountability to the public, was an interesting choice of words – one that implied some sort of violence. He noted that what the citizens speaking up today are doing is not “violent”, but simply “help you make the right decision that will prevent violence against Indigenous Peoples, against land, and against all future generations.”
52:05/52:12) Chair Bishop then cut him off saying, “Thank you. Mr. Robinson, I appreciate that and … you talk about climate resilience and we do have another inter-agency group, the Climate Subcabinet that is working on larger plans that address climate.” [To my knowledge, that Climate Subcabinet has yet to be populated with membership or take any actions. I’ve never been contacted on my own submission… though it looks like there are 231 applications now, so perhaps I’m on the list yet to be contacted?]
Each agenda item in the meeting – not only the 2020 Water Plan, but also the Minnesota Sands, LLC project and the 2020 State Agency Pollinator Report – showed that the MEQB and its agencies are NOT fulfilling their missions. This brought me deja vu to the May 1st, 2019 MEQB where Chuck Dayton, co-founder of this work, remonstrated that the original intentions for the MEQB were not being upheld these many decades later. He indicated that the MEQB needed to re-evaluate their work to figure out why they were failing. He noted a lack of effective Environmental Review, with very few EIS, and an apparent inability to connect scientific dots to make decisions to prevent water quality deterioration.
As we watch water quality deteriorate and agencies make decisions based on checksheets that do not represent the complexity of the decisions being made, we see our young people standing up more and more – screaming for those in power to heed their cries to save the planet. They are watching as groups like the MEQB make decisions that wipe away their futures.
So, rather than push the vote to the end of the meeting, when ALL Water Plan commenters could be heard, Chair Bishop pushed through the vote before hearing the full public voice, making no response to the questions asked, and then closing the meeting asking for a motion to adjourn before she returned to those still awaiting their chance to speak on the Water Plan. [Note: (2:36:10) Gerald Van Amberg, Board of Water and Soil Resources Chair, moved to adjourn and Kristen Eide-Tollefson seconded.]
The only Board member to speak to Nookomis’ concerns was Kristen Eide-Tollefson, 2nd Congressional District Citizen Board Member. She asked (53:11) if an addition could be made for Tribal consultation to the necessary discrete section. Erik Cedarleaf Dahl noted the section on Page 23 of the Plan which explained how the Tribal Consultation would occur. The fact that this Board is working on Minnesota issues but IGNORING their obligations to Federal Law, as explained by Nookomis in her questions on the Winter’s Doctrine, seemed a good reason to stop the vote… though it did not.
And how disturbing was that vote? Unanimous… save ONE LONE vote of NAY from Ben Yawakie, an Indigenous Member of the Board. The only response from the Board was to ask him to re-state his vote. [As if in disbelief that he’d voted “nay”?] A short silence followed as no one asked for more clarity from Ben on his vote and then… business moved on to the next agenda item. There has not been a more CLEAR example in all my MEQB experience of the Native voice being summarily ignored as I bore witness to in the 9/9/20 meeting.
The MEQB might want to ask themselves what the ramifications are for ignoring a US Supreme Court decision. I’ve often thought, this Line 3 fight ~ and perhaps Polymet too, could end up being quite costly for the state of Minnesota, as its agencies collude with foreign corporations to push unnecessary pipeline and mining projects throughout Northern Minnesota Indian Country, all in violation of Federal Law.
Perhaps Commissioner Kelley could have saved Minnesota taxpayers a lot of money in winning the case in State Court that there is No Need for Line 3… before the project goes on to Federal Court? Senate Republicans may end up regretting “executing” him – to use the Republican House Leader Daudt’s word – by not confirming him to his Commission at the Department of Commerce. I am hopeful the Department is strong enough to continue their good work, though they’ve experienced an unconscionable dismissal of their wonderfully effective and caring leader, something harder and harder to find these days.
As I indicated in my last note to MEQB Project Coordinator Giuseppe Tumminello, on their Environmental Review Data Mgmt Program, it seems that agencies and governments move too slow to keep pace with the changing planet. Gardhardt’s testimony at the meeting – that more of California was on fire than EVER in our recorded history – was alarming. And we’re only now at the start of the fire season. We have almost contiguous fire along the West Coast of our country from Canada to Mexico, but the MEQB, MPCA & MDNR seemed geared to go full steam ahead on their failing programs and plans that will dramatically increase climate effects in our state and for our planet as a whole.
If we are to have a hope to save our natural environment for continued human support, the MQEB and ALL Minnesota agencies, politicians, and citizens are gonna have to get a lot more serious about solutions.
And, as I have assured Giuseppe in recent emails, it may well be that, in the end, we resolve this with pitchforks. It seems to be the only way in America these days.
Interviewing Nookomis subsequent to the meetings about her testimony allowed me to better understand her points:
There were 15 speakers at MEQB and all expressed concerns about theWater Plan.
At one time there were 96 attendees in the meeting.
The Board voted with only one vote heeding the speakers.
Changes are being seen in the manoomin (wild rice), which is a product of its environment – like us all. Rice from Sandy Lake smells of gas and oil. Rice from Fond du Lac doesn’t smell or taste oily.
Understanding the Winter’s Doctrine allows the MEQB to comprehend their MORAL AND LEGAL obligations to Fond du Lac reservation, its Members, and the waters that serve them. These are Federal obligations to assure water rights for the Indigenous, as upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.
If Manoomin (wild rice) is not protected, it will not thrive. Once Manoomin is gone, so is Anishinaabeg. THAT is the genocide ~ a systematic and purposeful elimination of a Culture and and a People.
What she said while Laura spoke over her was this:
What I wanted to say is that I’m done being invisible. I don’t care if you try to over talk me, I’m done being invisible! You can come here any time. You will hear me and you will see me for as long as I live. And you need to be able to say what I’m doing, seeing. Yes. I appreciate you listening. Thank you. Thank you very much.”
When asked of the discussion on personal “attack” during the meeting, Nookomis shared that these words resonated with her. These agencies and boards are responsible to protect the water. NOT protecting her WATER is a PERSONAL ATTACK! It is also a violation of Treaty Law, the highest law of the land. Nookomis said, “My legal rights are not dependent on your personal feelings. You are personally attacking me by poisoning my water.”
She wondered aloud how the schooling of these Commissioners had failed them as they seemed to not be able to comprehend simple concepts like water, soil, and food being connected to human health… let alone the larger connections to the climate of the planet as a whole.
Nookomis further expressed that “Commissioner Bishop is in over her head and does not understand all she needs to know, in order to do her job to PROTECT MINNESOTA’S WATER. THAT is her only job. Water quality indicates she is derelict in her duties. This is not just on the reservation but affects every single Minnesotan. 5.6 Million people. The 15 people on the call represented that concern. 300 written comments seemed acceptable to the MPCA. “That’s how many people I have in my immediate family!”, she said.
She also noted that there was no explanation of the 1837, 1854, & 1855 ceded territories in the Plan. She offered to walk the line (proposed route) with anyone, any time, any day. She said you might want to pack a big lunch!
She noted as well that there was no mention of Tribal Fisheries in the discussion of modifications needed. The list of things left unsaid was long, she lamented.
We have a long way to go to solutions, indeed. But Let’s Get to BETTER!*
* “Met” Chrysta Casteneda today at a talk that could help that MEQB comprehend what major issues they are not seeing… as the landscape on oil and gas becomes very fluid.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
[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.
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 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.
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.
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. … 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.
So Friday, March 19th the Minnesota State Government took time for a press conference to update citizens about what they are doing I’m gonna give you a summary based on the FB Comments I made during the presentation. [Not sure the time stamps match his live feed video… technology…] And then at the bottom, is an update from Monday, March 23rd. The difference in these two press conferences was stark and I wonder what I will think when this blog posts in a week.
Governor Walz starts off with a note that “this is how it will be” as a daily press conference. [Little did he know he’d be in quarantine by Monday… This thing move quick and this blog is mainly a record of what happening in MN as they began to respond to Coronarivus (COVID-19).] He does stress that this is moving dramatically…
Walz: 26 more positive cases to 115. 2 in ICU. Upside is Mayo Clinic!! Reduced queue for sample testing. Still struggling to get all the reagents needed… [That is not good. Without reagents, no tests.] Defense Production Act – gives government authority to convert factories for fighting COVID-19. Anderson Fabrics stepping up!! Transitioning to make scrubs… Mall of America – open space to convert to whatever we need in an emergency.
2:08 Food will be the MAIN JOB this year There was a strong focus on food being a primary job for us this year.
2:09 Federal healthcare for Tribes. TOTALLY Unprepared. That is criminal. Walz noted federal guarantee for education and health care but 571 Tribes with 2.5M members – health 37 ICU beds & 181 ventilators across the country…
2:10 Good financial reliefs. 30-day sales tax, moving income tax filings and payments to 7/15.
2:11 What about rural hospitals who will be understaffed? Executive Order 2019 stops elective surgeries. PPE limits. Looking at PPE inventories. Strategic National Stockpile wait has been fruitless…
2:12 National Guard being federalized sucks. MN can do better than that clown car crew. Walz talked about being part of the Govern’s Council and how National Guard is commanded by Governor – Title 10 federalizes them for service and MN is asking for Title 32 authority – Allows State Duty with Feds footing the bill.
2:23 Its trying to balance Overwhelmning our Hospitals with Isolation, with keeping things running economically (at least enough to keep people fed). Isolate too much and economy dies. Produce too much and you increase contagion and soon overwhelm hospitals. Delicate balance. Want to know more? Peak Prosperity on YouTube. Chris Martenson has been laying it out for the last 57 days. https://youtu.be/QVQC1hAYZBs?t=1406Walz discussing current state – mostly good but not as thoroughly as Martenson does. EO signed to prohibit price gouging. Notes he couldn’t get things through the Senate but is doing EOs to get needed things done. [Are Republicans working for their monied base while Dems are working to save lives of their constituents? Hmmm…]
Chris Harrisman takes over… “Thank you Governor. Let me start by saying globally we are at more than 246,000 cases and 10,000 deaths. The United States has reported more than 14,000 confirmed cases and 205 deaths as of this morning. In Minnesota, as the Governor said, we added 26 new laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 today, for a total of 115 cases. The age range of our cases remains the same at 17 years to 94 years. We have not yet had any cases in children. New cases are from the following counties; Hennepin, Ramsey, Chisago, Fillmoore, Olmsted, Martin, Scott and Rice counties.” [Thanks for the transcript, Rev Transcripts!!]
2:25 No treatment. You are contagious before you know it. By the time you have symptoms, you likely already have lung damage (that may be long lasting). You DO NOT want to get this. STAY HOME!! 2:26 Shelter in place please Harrisman was clear about no counties being safe in MN. 4000 tests since March 1st. 8 of 15 cases hospitalized; most healing at home. Closings designed to SLOW THE SPREAD. Sick pppl going to work or being in public is exacerbating the problem. Don’t call doc if you wouldn’t have last year for same symptoms. No Treatment. No meds to prescribe. Seek medical care for breathing difficulties. Testing (prioritized) is being completed as we have capacity.
2:27 This is what we have left of a government. Listen close people. 2:28 Lockdown coming – maybe today??? If we’re smart. NOW. The longer we wait, the bigger the possibility to overwhelm hospitals to a point where we are making VERY DIFFICULT decisions. Like who gets a bed and who is sent home to die. Food will be our focus. That is a good sign.
Transition to Emergency Manager Joe Kelly. “I’m Joe Kelly. I’m the state Emergency Management Director. I want to talk for just a few minutes about what we do in the State Emergency Operations Center. Most Minnesotans probably aren’t familiar with it. It’s a facility that’s hosted by the Department of Public Safety and it really serves as a single point of coordination for state government, and as the Governor pointed out, our interaction with the Federal government.”Volunteers at food banks are a big need.
Transition to Steve Grove @ Employment & Economic Development. “Hello everybody. I want to give a brief update on how our economy is doing. The most effective way to do that is to talk a little bit about the state’s unemployment insurance program. As you saw earlier this week, the Governor has opened up that program to any worker who was affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, so we’ve seen of course an influx of calls and applications into our state’s unemployment insurance program. So far, as of 8:00 PM last night, we’ve seen 95,352 applicants to unemployment insurance in Minnesota. Just to give you some context, the previous record in a given week was about 18,000, so these are some pretty historic numbers. About a third of the individuals applying thus far have come from the restaurants, bar, and entertainment industry, that’s 36,942, and about 85% of the people applying right now have never been on unemployment insurance before, so they’re learning about this new system, the benefits, how it works, why it matters.”
2:29 ~100K applicants 5X WOW. 2:31 By Monday. Good plan. I think the call center just went down… people gonna be calling now!!! Put citizens on remote work doing call center work? Steve Grove?
Transition to Heather Mueller @ Dept of Education. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank our state agencies for really lifting up and supporting our students and families and ensuring that throughout our communities that we continue to work toward their safety and their health and wellbeing. As the Governor alluded to, our educators throughout the state have been committed to ensuring that our families have and students have the food that they need as well as the healthcare that we need, the childcare support that we need for our healthcare workers and our first responders. And yesterday, as an example of just a snapshot of one day, we had 118,238 meals served as well as 5,190 students who are school age, who are in our schools getting the support they needed so that our healthcare workers in our first responders could attend to the needs of our community.”
Transition back to Walz. “The thing I would say that we need to guard against: rumors, misinformation. We need to understand that there will be changing data. That’s one of the reasons standing up this event and using the trusted websites where you get information about what’s happening in Minnesota so that we keep people in a place where they understand there are systems, there are protocols, there are people there and Minnesotans take care of one another. So I can tell you that will not change.”
Walz: “So my pledge to you Minnesotans is to understand and I want to make clear to employees, employers, and everyone, this is an unprecedented decision that has not happened in our country, that these either mayors or governors are making. They are doing it with the best information possible to save lives. And you can rest assured here that Minnesota is well-positioned with experts in infectious disease. It’s almost every night, most of the guests are from Minnesota that are on addressing the nation about what needs to be done. Next.” …
Walz: “And I think what you’ve seen out of this team before those decisions are made as many of the contingencies, and I’ll be just candid with you, we can’t think of all of them. We’re doing the best we can. But for example with school closings to make sure there was a place for meals and daycare before we announced it. And as you’re seeing because that decision was made, we are serving those people. Same thing before we were going to close bars and restaurants, I needed to have the capacity to provide unemployment insurance immediately, and I needed to make sure I could waive that waiting period, so checks start arriving next week for people to continue on. I will tell you that that same decision-making process is in place with this. I understand that just I believe since we came in here that Governor Pritzker of Illinois has made this decision. You’re going to see this start to happen. I think states are at different positions along the spectrum of this. The testing capacity we have and some of the modeling that we are now doing with experts both inside government, with the University of Minnesota, and outside government is giving us a better picture.”
2:33 This thing is way more deadly than you can imagine. Look at Italy and tell me why OUR lungs are any different than THEIR lungs… Walz stressed it is important to NOT overwhelm the health care system, which ALSO has to continue doing all the regular work of broken legs and such.
2:34 D for Diploma!! Federal waiver possible… Kids may get school cancelled for this year… and seniors might be granted diplomas based on current standings.
2:38 Work on the video for tomorrow. Really need a closer look at speakers when they present. And access to the visuals that are readable. And hopefully all the sound glitches will be easy to fix. But overall? This is a VERY COMFORTING and seemingly PREPARED and HONEST look at what is needed. Finally seeing your value Governor Tim Walz Well done, sir. Already on Day 11 of self-isolation. But been locked down since 3/3 except for a quick run to the store on 3/9. Nice job on that school transition.
2:41 10 Governors kick one irresponsible and self-absorbed President’s ass. Media is essential. Walz agreed. He’d mentioned his Governor’s council too.
2:43 Shelter in Place ASAP for best results. Too late to bend the hockey stick… Don’t have SIP yet… but we will.
2:46 This is going to spur innovation… re-tooling for what the people as a whole need. Working together. ❤ Jan Malcolm: “We’re still trying to get more clarity from what we might expect from the federal government, but as the governor said, we’re also looking to make sure that if there’s anything we can do at the regional or state level to increase, diversify the supply chain, we’ll be doing that.”
Walz: “All I can tell Minnesotans is that the reagents and the things necessary to do the test are not available anymore, and so we are out searching. Mayo is doing this. One of the things I’ve asked our team to explore is let’s just make it here. If we need to, let’s just start manufacturing here. I say that not knowing how long it takes to stand up a factory to make reagents. Those are things I’m asking my team to get to us so that we can become self-contained.”
2:49 Good TRANSPARENCY on the Tax info, Governor Tim Walz 2:50 Just found out the IRS changed… we’re already working on it. But will assure that info was accurate… OMFG. That is hilarious!! Cynthia Bauerly: (39:17) Governor, we need the notice from the IRS. The IRS has not published anything. Governor Walz: (39:20) Very good. We need a notice from the IRS officially. I was speaking from the guidance out of the president’s press conference. Probably a good idea we get it verified, so thank you for that.
This was an interesting and revealing question: “The last part of that was just about the supply chain with medical protective equipment. The feds said today that FEMA has helped clear up some confusion by states on where to get things can. Can you tell us, how confident are we that we’ll start seeing some of those federal supplies or some of those supplies coming in, even any kind of timeline?” Walz: “Yeah, I may defer to Joe on this. I just tell you, with my experience of working with FEMA and the regional directors on flooding, these are career professionals who’ve done this type of stuff before. They’ve got us different types of equipment. I think that should help clear that up. But to be candid with you on the question, I don’t believe we can… And we haven’t. We’ve simply gone on our own, and you heard this. Governor Baker from Massachusetts, and we’re doing this too, we’re going out and trying to purchase these things where we can. In his state, they had two purchases ready to go. They got outbid. The outbidder was the federal government, and then took that into the national system away from the state. We hope, and Joe, maybe you can speak to this, we hope this eliminates some of those types of things and puts a much more streamlined supply chain in place.”
Question on unemployment insurance… Steve Grove: “Okay. The question on unemployment insurance, we are not worried about the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. We have $1.5 billion in that trust fund, and I said before we have about 95,000 applicants thus far this week. We’ve done some modeling to look at how long that trust fund itself will stand solid. If we had, let’s say, 120,000 applicants to UI over this time, and they took the average amount of payout, which is around $400 a week, we’d only go through a third of that in 12 weeks. Now, those numbers certainly could be higher than 120,000. If we had 300,000 workers on the program, for example, which would be about 10% unemployment, we would go through that trust fund in 12 weeks, but the federal government has always been clear in situations today and in the past that when state trust funds run out, they provide 0% interest loans to back up that fund, and so we aren’t worried about the validity of the fund.”Independent contractors and others will be assisted as well – looking at that…
2:53 Good thinking outside the box on ideas for exercise… What is safe? 2:56 Good question… We’re all in prison now… Golf courses open for access – no clubhouse – good idea!
Department of Corrections also a concern… Food and cleaning are main concerns per Walz. As well as justice work…
2:31 Modeling… Good question. Also asked about possible shortages on beds/ventilators. Malcolm: “Just been working… 3 days or so… model is being built.” Walz: Lack of testing inhibited model. “Getting R under 1″ models estimate – will get to you. . numbers too rough now to have a sense of confidence about them.” Malcolm: Can’t have a MN specific model yet… Community mitigation measures in place… “don’t have numerical precision”… “range estimates not as precise” When do you expect to have it? Walz: U of MN national experts… Going to get it to me over this weekend. 2:59 Yes it does… They know the numbers. They are too afraid to tell you what they are… That is NOT a difficult model… Watch Peak Prosperity on Youtube. 3:00 Exponential Growth. He knows about R0 so he KNOWS what the models show. We WILL BE overrun. 3:01 Look At Italy. Two weeks from now, it’s the US. In MN, TC will be hit first. 3:02 Rural hospitals have about 4-8 weeks.
Question about Alcohol/Food delivery take-out. Walz says a STRONG online presence for this!!
Question on whether this is only in the four counties of concern. Malcolm: 15 now but important to reiterate community transmission is happening across the sate. 3:06 YES. It is everywhere. Maybe those remote farms are safe if they don’t leave. Assume you’re gonna be exposed if you don’t isolate soon.
Partial order from National Stockpile received… not clear on remainder of shipment.
3:08 Probably want to assure these stay open… even if it means National Guard… This medicates us… On liquor stores. Walz gave some great stories in last 4 minutes of the conference and recognized the needs of some who have few resources. Stay Home MN.
3:09 Be nice to your local Millennial!! You’re gonna need internet connection.Walz notes to thank those serving us.
Posted after the Press Conference:
Governor Time Walz SURPRISES THE FUCK out of Daniel and me. We listened to this entire thing and found the group to be solution focused – all the way up to “can we make reagents here?” YES. SMART people are working on this for Minnesotans. And they were largely transparent… with one critical exception – on when hospitals will overload. (They know what the model says already. We are behind the eight ball and they know it. Perhaps hoping all this other good news will make up for the bad news we will be getting shortly…) Lots of good news in here though!! Especially his focus on FEEDING ALL the people. And re-tooling manufacturing as Healthcare becomes our new economy. … Good news for Minnesota. Looks like OUR government is stepping up and doing all they can to keep us safe.
3/23/20 Live Update from the Walz Administration [My comments in brackets,,, with Dan’s input.]
Heard before call: Governor is now in self-quarantine – Bodyguard tested positive. Peggy Flanagan’s brother (TN) died from CV. Governor Walz added: Amy Klobuchar’s husband is hospitalized.
Here are my notes from the call:
Walz: 40-80% infection expected – vast majority without hospitalization. Cases went from 169 to 235 –> Better feel. 982 tested yesterday. Reagent supply chain issues… Exec Order pending – putting off elective veterinary surgery to manage supplies for people. Gov/VP call – request for Title 32 from President – 502 authority to be expanded… Can use the National Guard with federal dollar support. PPE too. Moving toward feds meeting our needs… (not there yet). Models… getting preliminary data. [I call BS… they just don’t want you to know the numbers…]
Two impacts: R0 – how many people are affected by exposure Medical care – ramp up ICU/Ventilators/PPE/Tests MN Revenues and expenditures – postponing revenues coming in… less resources to do work. EO 2013 – National Guard – moving PPE from Camp Ripley. Delivering food and other work pending. #StayHomeMN EO 2014 – Suspends evictions statewide moratorium EO 2015 – Small business relief (unemployment) SB and Independent Loan Program – forgivable? (for next few weeks?) EO 2016 – PPE inventory EO 2017 – adding elective veterinary surgery to EO 2008
Complex, ever-moving. Trying to clarify and think of all situations. No revenue April, May, June (tax relief)
Jan Malcolm @ HHS – cases/deaths continue to rise 350K+ globally. 35,241 with 473 deaths in US. Learning from speed of spread in other states. Half of cases are in NY (17K) with big #s elsewhere WA (2K) NJ, CA, FL (1K) 21 patients in MN hospital w/ 12 remaining/5 ICU – other recovered.Front Lines are being tested. Virus is circulating in ALL communities. Ill? Stay home and monitor symptoms. 800 calls had a light day. Open 7A-7P daily 651-201-3920
[Then she fucked up (IMO)… ]
HealthCareWorkers w/ COVID-19 – strictly based on occupation, not signaling exposure at work. No exposures from patient care. [WTF??? Maybe not YET… WHY ARE YOU SAYING it is NOT – “based on our data”… when we KNOW it IS a risk from around the world???]
Joe Kelly @ Homeland Security: Acquiring and distributing PPE (National Guard helping) Self-service gas is a risk – if you touch a surface, wash hands. Wipe surfaces we share.
Steve Grove @ Employment & Economic Development: Unemployment Insurance & SBA Disaster Loans available – Emergency loans to bridge gaps from Federal funds available $2500-$35K 50% forgivable and 0% APR (will help 1200-5000 businesses statewide) [How many in State total??] Available later this week.
Localities have $58M in city and county loan funds possibly contributing more [To keep groceries running?]
Heather Mueller @ Education: Serving meals and giving school age student care.
Walz: Backlog on unemployment insurance approvals – to assure no fraud. Guard leadership taking care. [Dan: Likely to be deployed Friday… when checks stop coming.] Assisted living cases. [We SHOULD have started that work when the first case hit Washington.]
Q: Coughing? Jan: take all symptoms seriously. Difficulty breathing or Fever over 104degrees? Seek medical care. Not fine to circulate if you have symptoms.
Q: Inventory reporting by businesses – gonna commandeer? Walz: State has capacity should we need these supplies. Businesses are voluntarily doing this already. Will ask but we do have Executive Authority.
Q: How soon until Shelter in Place? Walz: 7-8 states already in place. Spoke with Ebers/Whitmer over weekend. MI early today, WI tomorrow. MN??? Decisions to be made with best data we have. Not total agreement. Has it worked to shut down restaurants/schools? What does modeling show? Real time data now. [We don’t have time to wait for the modeling. But you know that…] Need social compliance to keep people in for a longer time-period. Won’t just be “Shut down for two weeks and it will pass”. [REALLY glad he is saying this EARLY. First official we’ve heard.] Need people working to keep things running. See where states are moving… Taking a hard look. People can go to stores, stores will be stocked. Pick up Rx at curbside stop. Not announcing today. Data and science provide no clear-cut answer but will decide in best way for Minnesotans to keep people from the hospital as long as possible.
Q1: What are WI/MI seeing that you are not yet seeing? Walz (answered after below question): Hard decision. Agonizing. Lack of data… Best judgment. [Dan: Just tell them, Tim, you’re balancing flattening the curve with keeping the economy from crashing.] Learning to this not being a shelter in place for 1-2 weeks; looks like multiple weeks to months. Didn’t have testing – but now we do. [Dan: You know why all our disaster movies are people escaping just in the nick of time? Because that’s what humans do…]
Q2: Extending school/business closures past end of this week? Walz: YES. Not wanting to send a mixed message in transition.
Summary Walz: Need compliance to stop the spread. [And they’re working to gear up the National Guard for the pending riots.] Minnesotans seem to be spacing, wearing protective gear. Even a complete shutdown will allow people to get groceries and required services.
What can people do?
If you are able and financially capable, stay home.
Food Shelves are #1.
Blood donations needed.
Don’t panic buy at stores and help a neighbor.
Q – Steve at AP: Virginia cancelled classes for the year. Considering that? Walz: Considered everything. May be necessary and we’re trying to project for people to give insight. Meanwhile we’re doing well now to provide kids with education. Teachers are being appreciated!
This phone system is how this will work. I am overwhelmed with asks of what people can do. And companies are stepping up here. And Minnesota is helping other states.
That’s the update. Now that we’re here – Monday March 29th – I’m interested to see how different a state we are in one week from the day this writing was done.