Just turn back now if you’re already running low on spoons… Or have not enough bandwidth to process more (possibly) mostly bad… and very little good news in today’s blog.
Or if you’re just overwhelmed, I’m gonna say, go get yourself a warm/cool beverage, put your feet up and relax with a bit of meditation… or cool jazz, hip hop, thrash metal, christian contemporary, whatever your jam… and chill.
If you wanna hear some of the recent ramblings from here at the HARN… Read on.
On Line 3 and Minnesota Environmental Protections:
While the Appeals Court dissent on the PUC case seemed the grounds for the MN Supreme Court taking up a case that considers the very future of, not just Minnesota, but our entire planet [Just my opinion], nevertheless, the Minnesota Supreme Court decided not to take up the case.
Today the ruling on the MPCA case comes. Will this be another arbitrary and capricious decision? Or will justice for Mother Earth be served? Will the Water… and thus the People, be Protected?
We’ve seen a big uptick in rain here of late… which is good for Enbridge as, if we were still in drought, the farmers themselves might bring pitchforks to protest their water usage for cleaning the mud from the roads. One could argue that they shouldn’t be mucking around in the mud anyway… as it is harder on the equipment and more dangerous for the operators, not to mention, it just being a huge mess.
But a billion dollar Canadian Corp with access to 5B gallons of our Minnesota water, thanks to the state’s Department of Natural Resource… just does what it wants. They’re in a hurry installing this pipeline as they’ve been delayed for many years by Water Protectors in courts and on the land standing to prevent this project from bringing ruin. The industry is on the brink of bankruptcy so, if Enbridge is to recoup it’s many recent losses, it REALLY NEEDS THIS WIN. [Though based on a lack of investment in the tar sands, I’m wondering what the loss of all our trees and invasions to our land will really bring Minnesota in any taxes… especially as Enbridge’s recent wins in tax court (mostly as Minnesota failed to show up for the work) means they will pay less and less for their more and more unwanted infrastructure.
Not much doubt for most of us locals about Enbridge being a factor in the proceedings around the rivers running dry. This graph depicts the drops in water levels in St. Cloud… which seem to coincide with the Enbridge dewatering, approved June 4th:
As reported in St. Cloud on August 17th: “The city of St. Cloud announced Monday that it was shutting down the second unit of the hydroelectric dam after water flows dropped to just 700 cubic feet per second. The city says this is the first time it has had to completely shut down the dam since the drought year of 1988.“
We have failed over and over to convince the Minnesota Governors, DOC, PUC, DNR, PCA, and even the USACE to join us in holding water more sacred than oil. While it’s cold comfort, we’re surely being proven right now, as we watch unfolding climate devastation on never before seen levels.
On Environmental News around the Country:
We’re now watching Hurricane Ida… last year we got to Zeta. How much worse are the storms going to get? We’re in early days of the season, eh? And it ain’t looking good at all for Louisiana thus far. Not good at all. New Orleans has lost power. Yes. The. Entire. City.
As I write up this blog, Gaazhii finds himself in the woods, escaped from his leash… again. We’ll see how he does… and I’m hopeful he comes back to the porch soon. I can hear the wolves howling nearby.
The ideas are flying fast and furious these days. So much seems to be happening so fast… with no certainty as to where we are going or how we will get there.
As the Old World continues to hold sway, we see a NEW WORLD opening…
Increasingly, many are working from home… and most don’t want to go back to the office.
Homeschooling on the rise as parents want to minimize the risk of children bringing home the virus.
Consumer spending is down… but the Stock Market is up?
Businesses not necessary to LIFE are folding… though some still work to prop them up… [in denial and desperation?]
Social unrest continues to grow… worldwide.
Mother Earth is bringing much big change in the form of fires, floods, drought, a pandemic (FFS), and… Her simple inability to support the number of people currently residing here is becoming quite clear.
As business works to try to get people back into offices, smart companies are realizing the benefit of NOT continuing with Old Ways… the overhead of big office buildings, salespeople flying all over the world, and the like are being recognized for the HUGE waste they create. [And people are enjoying not having to wear pants to work. I could have told you about this LONG AGO – working from home was a pretty amazing several years back in the early 2000s.] I can attest to the cost savings working from home brings to a family. As well as the connectivity.
Connectivity is what I believe will save us. If we, in fact, retain enough time to save humanity from itself. [For the record, I don’t believe we’re worth saving if we are gonna continue with Old World ways.]
As families face hardship from lost income or jobs, death or sickness of loved ones, difficulties finding enough fresh food, and other calamities, the WORLD is awakening to the understanding that some few have managed to amass great wealth and privilege… pretty much on the backs of the larger populations who are mainly being pillaged for their work, children, land… until they are left without enough to survive. These oppressed have lost more and more political power in the past decades and it seems a time when governments worldwide are failing to account to their people and… the world is UPRISING in response.
Here in the US, it’s time to clean house, re-evaluate priorities, and find a new way forward. One that works for the masses, not just billionaire oligarchs. And good news! There’s (almost) NOWHERE TO GO!
There are a limited number of places to go for US citizens… and most of those look like destinations where you’re going to see first hand the crises the planet is facing? Albania, Belarus, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Zambia. Looks like anywhere you want to go, there might be a chance to see war?
So what is to be done?
I’d suggest finding a place that needs care and attention and giving it.
My efforts of late are to support local Indigenous groups that are focusing on Treaty Rights and the Rights of Nature. Groups like Indigenous Environmental Network have been successfully doing this work since the 90s. Even more locally (since IEN is pretty local in some big ways), RISE Coalition is a group of Resilient Indigenous Sisters Engaging to bring education and understanding to all people on how to support Treaty Rights for the Indigenous, which in itself offers protections for us all.
We stand in solidarity to protect the land, water, fire, and air for the next seven generations. We do this by educating, empowering, and inspiring our neighbors, friends, and allies.”
And just now, a new film is emerging that speaks to the issues particular to Northern Minnesota. NECESSITY is bringing awareness to the crises our planet faces… and what each of us can do to help resolve them. I’d encourage each of us in Minnesota watching to learn more about what is happening in our state, and how it is affecting the Indigenous… and us all.
NECESSITY traces the fight in Minnesota against the expansion of pipelines carrying highly toxic tar sands oil through Native lands and essential waterways in North America. Front line communities–Native Peoples and communities of color–suffer the most immediate and severe consequences of the climate crisis: impacts on physical and mental health as well as territorial desecration and displacement. Yet with painful histories have come deep insights, forms of resilience and modes of resistance. This feature-length documentary follows indigenous leaders and white allies, using direct action to protect the sacred and demand justice. Legal experts discuss the record of disparate treatment in the justice system and the legal strategy of the necessity defense, which makes a moral case for acts of civil disobedience, while medical and scientific experts address the health effects of fossil fuels and dangers of pipeline and refinery infrastructure. Capturing the natural beauty of the region as well as the vulnerability of local habitats, aesthetic and stylistic elements drive the action forward, including animated maps with illustrations. The filmmaking team builds collectively on their training in psychology and anthropology.”
Got a last minute notice of the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board’s Environmental Review Improvement Subcommittee meeting, so decided to attend. Here’s my take.
Sarah Strommen DNR (Chair today)
Laura Bishop MPCA
DOT (Arrived later) Margaret Anderson Kelliher
Alice Roberts-Davis Administration
Dan Huff MDH – for Malcolm
BOWSER Gerry Van Amberg (Not a Member; listening)
And… Citizen Members:
Katie Pratt – Still have OPEN CD4 & CD5 positions for Citizen Board membership.
Giuseppe Tumminello presented the ER Data Mgmt Plan & 2019 Performance Report with Thanks to the Tech Reps and MEQB staff.
His Questions: Framework and Metrics – are they meaningful info to make ER better? What would you like to see?
MN Rule 4410.0400 Subpart 1 says MEQB role is monitoring effectiveness of parts 4410.0200 (definitions) to 4410.6500 (paying EIS costs) and taking appropriate measures to modify and improve their effectiveness. (Water Quality is in pretty shit shape so… kinda failing.)
My ideas: Citizens have a BUNCH of usable information that your agencies are ignoring… systematic access to decision makers is not really a thing, nor is accountability… Delegating authority needs to be pulled back when RGUs demonstrate regulatory capture… There is no need to reduce delay if it means we will ignore the need to be thorough. And we need to start to reduce uncertainty with the use of REAL SCIENTISTS to review the projects!
My questions: What evaluation was made of WHAT IS WORKING? HOW ARE YOU understanding the effectiveness?
Guiseppe’s Data Management Plan Framework and Metrics were reviewed… looking at frequency checks (for ER types, processes by category and RGU, and completeness of citizen petitions), efficiency checks (cost and time for ER and EQB Staff performance) and Transparency (for usable info and citizen participation). [Makes one want to throat punch someone… this last point is just laughable.] But he went on to present some highlights:
ER in 2019 was WAY DOWN…far below the number done in any of the previous 4 years… and Almost NO EIS in the last 5 years… [what effect has that had? Did I mention shitty water quality yet?] In fact ALL 2019 environmental reviews were barely more than only the EAWs in 2015 and 2016 and their number was below the EAWs alone for both 2017 & 2018.
Reduce delay and uncertainty and duplication was covered with a review of citizen petition completeness and how many needed EAW (not many… never more than 3 in any year and often, only 1).
Efficiency over effectiveness seems the rule of the day. The ER Technical Assistance efficiency review showed: 175 calls in 2019. [Almost NONE!! But we’re looking at how well we did on the calls!!!] We’re GREAT! 84% of the public says EQB staff was responsive and punctual, 100% agreed that they were courteous and professional, but only 50% strongly agreed they were knowledgeable on the topic. So… nice, on time, but not really full of answers? [Maybe some scientists would help?]
Now to Transparency… first Giuseppe quotes MR4410.0300: “A first step in achieving a more harmonious relationship between human activity in the environment is understanding the impact which a proposed project will have on the environment” and he claims “The ER Process led to the public participation that would not have otherwise occurred…” ER Interactive Map shows locations of data received… but docs are Not readily available [uh… so much for transparency??? Seems they are saying, “Public Participation is important!!! Speak Up!!!” No promise they will listen though…]
New Map NOW in the works!! Current map to be live in next week or so.
Data Mgmt Plan – adaptable each year!! We’ll keep doing nothing… and making sure we talk about how we can keep doing nothing… [Yeah. Great.]
Questions: [I got what I could. You can listen to the whole presentation and such here.]
Bryan – what info is available in the map – project info? G: Monitor info included. B: Some include links, some don’t. G: RGU prerogative to share that. We share if provided. No link? Pop-up will have responsible RGU name and contact for more info. B: RGUs should have capability to provide that. Denise: Further explanation… Rule is current – would like more discussion on ERIS to see how we look at expanding how notification requirements are included.
Bryan: EAW world – citizen members want to understand… Along with current, could there be an available cell with a running record of EAWs that can be sorted/searched based on categories – for reference. [GOOD SUGGESTION!] G: Exploring ways to do that.
Alan Forsberg Q… G: Accountability section performance report – pie chart on RGUs doing ER – maybe a majority – are from local govts. MEQB staff should be reaching out to staff at local RGUs for their experience.
Alan: MEQB measures its performance – what about MPCA, DNR, etc? Measuring effectiveness of their permits? Denise: Don’t engage with other agencies on their effectiveness but some monitor their programs. A: Drawing on many DNR – times when process is counter-productive to what environment is trying to achieve. SS: ER vs. permitting – often related and intersecting. Specific to Permitting? Not ER? Alan: Unrelated question… I apologize. They relate… overlap – info for ER and permits – there is a relationship.
Ben: Maps and access. Getting info from EQB monitor – notice methodology between 2015 and 2020… evidence based to improve it? As much info to public as possible? G: Since 2015, a pilot process (CI) to improve data collected and shared. DMP will be adaptive… will change as this is the first we’re proposing. Frequency of ER… objective data – won’t change much. Recommendation in current performance report not yet incorporated. These are just proposed. 2022 data will be available to share on this…Denise: Data sets gathering… data from subcommittee…
Kristin: Note the language – I appreciate the language – Public Members – ALL of us as practitioners. Better framing of inclusive language. Earlier Q on survey for RGUs … did ER make a difference for environmental quality? Are we still asking this question? G: Don’t recall where… one question we are proposing to ask is tied specifically to… going back to objectives – providing usable information. Not covered today but ID’d in report. Asking if the process gave usable info not otherwise being collected. Is value provided? K: Found it interesting we included it in previous surveys – applies to effectiveness of system. Consideration I’d appreciate is keeping in mind integrity of the information. Been in several ER that were delayed, created uncertainty, issues of transparency/accountability as the info was so inaccurate. Getting accurate info to public is key. Looking fwd to next steps. G: Consideration is noted. Did the ER process make a difference for outcome for Env Quality? is the question to include.
My question: How is the data mgmt plan looking at the actual results in the field? Like how poor our water quality is now in MN? I’m seeing a check of how the system works as designed, but NOT how the system accurately determines effectiveness in the field. How are you determining how the ER is actually affecting the environment on the ground here in MN? Denise: When ER doc is prepared, a lot of potential ER are ID’d and how to mitigate. Fwd looking at projects as proposed and into permitting and other approvals. Where do you see opportunities for field experience as most of where we touch a project is before construction or implementation? ME: It really speaks to the question that Kristin was just asking. How are we evaluating how our ER process is working? Your mission is to determine if the ER process is actually DOING SOMETHING, rather than just filling out paperwork and checking off boxes. Specifically I look at – and she spoke to the inaccuracy of data – and we can look at the Line 3 project – huge and very controversial. We’ve asked over and over to be involved in agency meetings – we know that meetings are happening with Enbridge – we have scientists and retired MEQB (I meant MPCA)/DNR people, health professionals, and citizens like me, abutters to the line, who’d really like to have our voices heard. I’d really like you to come up to the LaSalle Valley and look at where they want to install this pipeline. Look at the land and the water levels on the ground. Trying to understand how the MEQB is finding that THAT SYSTEM is actually working to protect the environment. Especially when we’re seeing many many people living with tainted water quality in MN now. D: Thinking about opps I’m aware of to make connections. Think about it further given that perspective. Come back to the Guiding principles. What is the Purpose and objective and tying it back to the relationship to procedures in 4410 – meant to implement mandates from MEPA… I’d love to talk more on ideas for metrics and where you think that might provide us with meaningful information.
ME: I’m very interested to hear how you plan to engage the public because I do think that has been a real fall down. We’ve tried going to the MEQB, speaking to the concerns we have about the fact that these decisions are being made potentially by RGUs who don’t have the scientific comprehension to understand the environmental review process and how it affects the environment outside of the project they want to implement and rather than what those real affects are to the environment. I’d be very interested, esp as the OLA was looking at the MPCA for engagement this year. That project didn’t get selected but there’s definitely a breakdown between people feeling like they are being heard, who live here, and agencies who are making decisions about things they don’t seem to truly understand. That’s my biggest concern. We need some scientific accountability to what’s happening, rather than agencies just meeting ONLY with applicants, who are VERY gung ho about their projects and aren’t going to tell you anything about not wanting to implement them… versus listening to people in the field who are SEEING these changes happening in our state, seeing our water quality degrade, seeing this tremendous ignoring of citizens, including our Indigenous citizens who have spoken very loudly about this project and that gets into federal law. It’s great that MN has these laws and rules and these ideas but if they are not effective, we need to look at why and how to make them effective. And this isn’t truly doing that. It’s looking at the projects we have and looking at the ER we have and it seems another kicking down the road of we’re going to look at how well we’re doing and see how well we’re doing… instead of looking at WHAT ARE WE DOING, PEOPLE? WHAT ARE WE TRULY DOING? I’d encourage you to start talking with health professionals and scientists in this state… retired agency officials who absolutely understand some of the problems that we’ve seen with regulatory capture, that create a system where applicants continue to get their projects, our water quality and environmental quality continue to degrade, and the people continue to be ignored. D: Thank you for those observations, will take this back to the team. SS: Thanks for the question!
Willis: Ecologist, retired MPCA. Previous commenter made an excellent point by using Line 3 as an example. Not to get into the weeds with that project but let me point out how ER failed miserably. And MEQB can do significant things to change this. EIS was 1000s of pages, revised several times… but… only when MPCA received a permit for 401 was it revealed – for the first time – that the company admitted they could not comply with MN Water Quality standards. If that simple fact was not exposed in the ER documents, of 7000 pages, something was seriously wrong. The public did not know… and (with No F/U in 401 cert process) still does not know, that this project will violate water quality standards all across this state! And now mitigation is being offered as permits are being approved by other agencies. The horse is out of the barn. Hard to correct now… AFTER ER SHOULD HAVE EXPOSED THIS issue and then SERIOUS alternatives could have been considered.
Now to the issue that Kristin raised… over years of participating on MEQB… I’ve consistently suggested that metrics are available that will answer her question. IS ER MAKING A DIFFERENCE ON THE GROUND? Curious and frustrated as no data points here drove to that question. If you don’t, it allows Govt process to proceed bean counting – metaphor of bucket brigade putting out a fire. Counting buckets, polishing them, storing them properly, but buckets are empty (of ER docs themselves)! Let’s look at content and that this is Not measuring what proposers want to measure – reducing delay (serves the project proposer) and duplication (no one wants that). People want process to be effective!
As an ecologist, I can tell you… we’re losing all our birds. Have an avian apocalypse. Losing insects. Apocalyptic outcome – it’s measureable, it’s reportable, and someone is responsible. We’re losing reptiles, amphibians, wild rice. I could go on and on… listing on the ground, in the water criteria that tell us the story of how well humans are NOT LIVING in harmony with their environment as MEPA says. I have offered and I will offer again to sit down with staff and look at meaningful metrics the DNR?MPCA/MDH/MDA accumulates. Metrics that in sum total tell us we have a miserable failure in ER due to no linkage to the ER and our Env losses (plants, insects, wild rice) and losses in human health. 5 connectors in how we: use land, extract resources, distribute invasive species, change the environment, & destroying habitat. If ER CANNOT measure these 5 parameters, why do it??? Those are repeatedly id’d as causes of our apocalyptic conditions in plants, wild life, insects, and human health. We have a Cognitive disconnect between causes of Env deterioration and what we examine in ER. Please accept our offer of a year ago December – in our listening session with SS & LB attending – by group there. Many of these same points were made, OFFERS were MADE AND NONE have been ACCEPTED.. Not called in back to say WHY these methods work. Please stop counting buckets you have in the fire brigade and assure that they are full of water and fire is being put out by some meaningful metric. WILL YOU ACCEPT THE OFFER OF THOSE KINDS OF ASSISTANCE OFFERED by ME AND MY COLLEAGUES REPEATEDLY OVER LAST SEVERAL YEARS? If not, why not? [No REAL Answer… again. Sorry, Willis.] SS: 2 other comments… let’s go to that. WRT Last comment – we’ll respond to that… Kristin have another comment… keep them succinct! Who else do we have?
Lori Cox: Sustainable U-pick fruit farmer (Hubbard?) would love a confirm/deny – handoff for MEQB to allow agencies to monitor or agency’s role to decide? Might bring foresight. DW: Trying to better understand connection for ER doc and how info is used to inform other approval decisions… and the method for other approval decisions… LC: clarified… DW: MEQB role in the rule – responsibility and authority to pass rules and oversight. Delegate implementation to other govt agencies – who interpret how they are applied and how they affect the project decisions. ER gives more look at what Env Impacts are and that informs permitting from other project agencies. Rules require that those approval decisions consider ER docs. No mechanism to give MEQB authority to vette the decisions made by other govt agencies. [So no accountablity for regulatory capture?]
Tim Ahrens: In terms of metric to understand if process is working – rates of permit compliance and non-compliance available? DDW: Regulatory compliance done in framework of agency that oversees permits. MEQB has no authority or oversight of those authorities. [That might be part of the problem…] T: Might be one part of the disconnect. ER informs permit but if permit is not carried out with integrity… SS: Monitoring is agency responsibility.
Kristin: Question on survey was asked retrospectively to parties that participated in ER. Looking for their feeling of if it made a difference. Wanted to clarify that is more process than outcome oriented – different mix. Very valuable convo – wanted to clarify on that being procedural. DW: Asked for perception – data was qualitative and not aimed at whether project resulted in change in the ER but whether they were engaged in the process and the process was better than it would have been without ER. [So they could just think it’s a PITA and respond accordingly…] K: And public input. DW: And public input.
SS: Move to next agenda item… GHG Quantification and Assessment… presented by Denise Wilson. “No inclusion of recommendations today… want to discuss today how to overcome barriers.”
Team consists of Steve Roos (MDA), Louise Miltich [Yep, Anthony’s niece!] (Commerce), David Bell (MDH), Kate Fairman & Cynthia Novak-Krebs (DNR), Melissa Kuskie, Peter Ciborowski & Laura Millberg (PCA), Deb Moynihan, Peter Wasko, Jeff Meeks & Katherine Lind (DOT) and Eric Wojchik (Met Council).
Some of these agencies are project proposers… determine what info is needed and how it will be used. Before implementation of recommendations – we want input to help facilitate convos on this… Not final – tech team will continue to refine. Nothing about adaptation or resiliency or category changes, etc. Much more to be done in the future… Elements we considered:
GHG Emissions (construction/operation)
GHG sources (& % from each)
Types of GHG
Alt Mitigation measures & justifications
Purchase of any renewable energy credits [Credits… push the problem to another part of the globe?]
Net lifetime GHG emissions (meeting state/local GHG reduction goals)
Contributions from other GHG emission sources
How Info will be used was reviewed: giving info to proposers/consultants to understand design decisions, RGUs to prepare GHG assessments for all, public can meaningfully participate in approval decisions – knowing climate effects! – and govt decision makers can use info for approval decisions. [Do they ever deny??? All this will only be possible if REAL data is provided…]
Barriers include: different calculations methods/references, broad range of project types, Not all RGUs have expertise, existing calculators/tools don’t meet ER Program needs, and financial and staff resources for GHG calculator tools. [#3 is my favorite!!! What about BS checker from applicant?]
MEQB fix? 2 phases. Phase 1 involves a Qualitative discussion in the EAW form. They’ll even allow voluntary inclusion of QUANTITATIVE GHG emissions! [Voluntary inclusion???]
THEN… once tool is available, a GHG Calculator will expand assessment requirements in the EAW form for projects over 25,000 MT CO2e. [Over what timeframe? Annual?]
Alignment with regulatory requirements reviewed (from EPA website…) [So why do we have to develop our own??? And wait until you see the cost data…]
OMG the cost data!!! $3000 (Excel SS) to $500,000 (App development)!! And, hey, we don’t have 1-3 years for you you figure this thing out! [Noticing that there is no CHAT to all participants… VERY CONTROLLED…] Then Denise asks everyone:
Made hummingbird food… sorry – missed some stuff here… came back to questions from Alan Forsberg.
Alan: reducing transport… Around state different…. Metro – easy but Greater means things are far apart. Commute 70 miles to Redwood Falls… Moving freight… DW: Asking folks to ID alternative mitigation methods considered and why… Maybe those methods make sense in that location but another site would be different. About info sharing. A: Things getting to MN… ethanol plant… lot of moving required for our economy to function.
Margaret Kelliher (DOT): Do believe starting with a calculator could be very beneficial. MNDOT has been working with building up to use a GHG calculator for future projects. Little concern… also have been a Comm very involved in council on technology… when I hear about an App or program development. SS is low risk. Easy way to move fwd quick but benefit for a more complex set of anlysis going with it… 1) Worry about development costs and assuring having resources to do it. 2) are there opps to partner with other orgs across country? Unique with MEQB but not in looking at climate issues Strength in numbers working together or building off existing calculator. 3) Any tech – sustainability and updating going fwd – not only up front costs of scoping and such but also plans for truly utilizing a quanitization of GHG – also a legal element to consider – assure we are accounting for ongoing update and support. DW: Limit scope of what we’re asking folks to review, ID calculators that capture reliable data – Climate Registry… Enterprise has used. How they track and report… Enterprise Sustainability just went through a process to develop a tool for that enterprise. We did consider updating and maintenance – as science is developing quickly. Once downloaded, how do we assure latest tool is in use? Another barrier and challenge. Not sure of answer. Looking for your feedback on where to focus convo. Maybe asses what elements we require at this point. MAK: Happy to help as we look at expertise… to think through how we want to move forward and beyond. Appreciate thought put into this.
Dan Huff: Thanks for comments MAK. Lot to look at and sustainability and funding are key. Timing of Phase 1 & Phase 2. 1 immediately? What is the timeline? DW: Implementing this approach would bring a December subcommittee and Board January for Phase 1 implementation. Challenge is once more detailed assessment is done is that RELIABLE info and good guidance is provided to implement correctly. Phase 1 could be done early next year – Phase 2 longer – also resource dependent for 1-3 year development of tool. DH: Need to move and begin to incorporate GHG ASAP.
Aditya Ranade from Commerce: Support Phase 1. When tool launched, how long is Phase 1? Potential assessment of operating expenses for calculator to individual projects. DW: P1 continues for projects under 25mTCO2. Phase 2 would start when we have a good tool… (so years down the line… Not soon enough. They’re still not getting it…) Chair can amend – we can quicky add requirements and come to chair or board for implementation right away. Ongoing support/maintenance – good question… Depends on how we come up with our package for what needs might be – may need a budget item…
Bryan Murdock: Already regulate GHG on some mandatory categories… like phased approach. Start with those requiring GHG first? Threshold values – # of animal units? Under X size doesn’t require it? Not all need to be burdened. Thresholds would be a great thing. Mega-emitters first, then roll to smaller makes sense. LB: At MPCA working through GHG calcs as related to feedlot proposals – ruling with Daley farms – starting to put this in place in our EAW process to evaluate GHG… Start on some of this. Can look at county… not all sources but some sources… and looks at mitigations applicants are making. Tools to learn from… 5 different ones… since Daley where we’ve looked at GHG emissions wrt animal feedlot process.
Kristin: really excited about ability to start on Phase 1 – encouraging – can start shifting culture around how GHG fits in ER. Concerned for Larger projects awaiting Phase 2. From data, how many projects might P2 apply to? And, if not a large number, possible for tech team to begin working and support evaluation of these larger projects, if not too many. Dula purpose of not letting things go too far or too long and getting concrete exp with these kinds of assessments. [GREAT IDEA!] DW: GHG considered under EAW 100mtCO2 leads to ER… Also for stationary sources that fall under air permitting requirements. Data on projects including this info… since we don’t prepare docs, we don’t track how they are evaluated… Don’t have that now. K: How many MIGHT apply to 25KmTCO2? DW: Haven’t gone through that – looking through mandatory catagories… will evaluate threshold. [Dan’s right, they don’t have this answer…] What gets you to mandatory reporting sector… TBD and how many that exceed that threshold… Will probably do that. KE: bears upon all cost issues. You stated in beginning that you need broader stakeholder convos – who else are you planning to engage? [OOOHHHH!!!] DW: Going to be targeting specific groups – Ag community – many proposers going through. League of MN Cities and Counties and local Muni govt acting as RGUs, State RGUs framing and then, more broadly (framework TB developed) doing outreach with Community groups and perhaps focused groups. [So mainly APPLICANT stakeholders, not AFFECTED PUBLIC… until MAYBE LATER???] [Back to core values implies you’re not adhering to them now???]
Alan: splitting out… moving oil by rail, counting cost of constructing rail line? Or eventually when oil will be burned? DW: Some details ironed out in guidance. Id’d important threshold and will develop questions for specific factors and guidance for how they are implemented. RGU decides what info is needed and how it is assessed. [WHERE IS MEQB OVERSIGHT?] Alan: Many are complex – how do you not double-count? DW: Understand. Thank you.
SS: Lots of energy to get moving on this project! [Kinda late… 646 days since the IPCC report.] Next time, with guidance – will want to devote adequate time to that discussion of these details. Will assure we give that. Like to do… 4 folks seeking public input. Then F/U later. 3 minutes from scheduled adjourned time – “important to hear from public.”
Amelia Vohs: Staff atty at MCEA – Allen Anderson – new Climate Program Director. Thank DW and tech team for hard look and this presentation. Hard work, challenging questions. Three reactions to presentation today. 1) From advocacy comm, want an QUANTITATIVE analysis ASAP in EAW – even if using existing calculators, even if not as robust as our own developed. Clear about this analysis. Since Daley Farms case- working to comment on EAWs to assure GHG analysis is done for projects with significant emissions even though not CURRENTLY ON EAW. THAT analysis is HAPPENING! MPCA did it for Daley and others. Stillwater did a mixed use development GHG analysis. RGUs are NOT considering GHG – waiting for analysis. Many respects P1 requires less than what RGUs are ALREADY DOING. Already seeing quantitative analysis – better than a qualitative – which would be moving backwards. Guidance for RGUs need to be MORE ROBUST. 2) Recognize existing calculators cannot compute full scope of emissions MN deems relevant. OK for now. Emissions that can’t be included – scope 3 emissions – could be included in qualitative discussion while using existing tools. 3) Touch on question of RGUs being able to use these tools. Stillwater JUST DID A GHG quantification even though no ER for a number of years. Used existing tools. Even RGUs NOT using regularly are able. IMPLEMENT NOW. RGUs START with a quantitative analysis NOW to build knowledge about how to do a GHG analysis and allow community to suggest how analysis can be monitored or improved. Collective process can help us get better and guide tech team on how to construct for and guidance. LOVE the idea of our own tool that fits what we want to do in MN but cannot wait for this tool to exist before quantitative analysis starts. TOO MUCH uncertainty in staffing, funding and time to develop Cannot condition start on quantitative analysis on THIS uncertainty while other states are performing comparable analyses. Understand variability of RGUs using different tools. WE ARE EXPECTING THAT and it’s OK. REALITY in Env Review variability exists! By RGU and by modeling – ALL best estimates. Public understands and accepts this. Not expecting an objective truth. May comment and disagree with assumptions made in model but that is true whether we have a specific of MN or existing tool use. Two shorter points. From public perspective – investment of resources, quantification is important but using staff tools on robust guidance is more effective. Assembling reports – that is the type of public info the public needs, that doesn’t exist, and where we’d like to see staff resources devoted. Support what Denise was mentioning about stakeholder process. System for public to comment – requires a 2-way convo. I’m talking AT you but had a productive convo earlier – asking and getting feedback. Recommendations are better with 2-way with tech team – understanding their barriers – and creating better response based on why they recommend WHAT they recommend. Monthly stakeholder team to discuss? Tech and legal staff devoted to researching this – would like a back and forth convo. SS: Thanks.
Lori Cox: Support of qualitative and quantitative program, particularly with land use and changing ag land uses. If land were previously tilled but NOW wants to be a feed lot – want to see (Ag member of MDA WQ) what is AS-IS state and what would GHG be after… not only for land use – changes – but what else are you mitigating. If tilled 60 years prior – know that GHG – want to know change brought with a feed lot. When project comes, not just changing GHG from Land/animals but also PRACTICES. All affects water, soil, well quality. Water Quality certified farm – always asking how we can do better. Agri-business needs to ask themselves the same. Agree with WIDER stakeholder view. Would not be giving in to any lobby pressure that says “we have to”. MN, Country and Globally – finding BEST PRACTICES that DO WORK, upheld by SCIENTIFIC DATA. Recommend this rigorous process.
Willis: Support previous comments. My primary concern is usable information… UN climate panel said we had 12 years for siginicant change in course on GHG and carbon capture – now 2 years down range and calculator takes 3 years… 7 years for making a difference. Focus on precision rather than moving immediately in a new direction to change trajectory on climate impacts. Emphasis on WRONG PLACE. Doing best we can with what we have and then making better choices. Relevancy of Time and Unless public can put these numbers in context, they are just numbers. 25K, millions over lifetime. Want to reduce. HOW MUCH is ENOUGH? HOW much is enough SOON ENOUGH in a particular sector. Need these frames of reference else public input is crippled. Can’t know if project is begin held accountable for absorption needed. Incorporate recognizable frames of reference to make them meaningful. Is reduction fitting with pace of time scientists say we need. We have statutes but all of us know that statute was best legislature could create but not consistent with science. Need to know what panels of scientists say on pace and quality of reduction in each economic sector. Suggest this is down the line… but if you don’t have these numbers in next 3 years, we will have wasted another 3 years! 5 years seems unacceptable to show public if we’re on track for each project. TIME AND QUANTITY. Feed lots… know world cannot sustain ag animal units around the world. When a feedlot comes fwd – in MN, we have this many animals, increasing over time – consistent with number of animals the planet can support over time? If this is NOT in the frame of reference, we are deceiving the public. They need this frame of reference to be able to effectively participate in the discussion.
Rob Bouta (bowtay): Env consultant – prepped ~100 EAWs over 30 years, City of ? sustainability commission. Agree with MCEA. Costs of developing tool – submit also costs of not developing the tool that are much greater over time as they affect the viability of life on earth. In developing programs, anything the state can do to develop off-the-shelf implementation of mitigation measures would be really helpful to show project performance. How they can do this, working with their projects – necessary. Demo projects may be outside the scope of MEQB but Overland College – generates more energy than it uses. Netherlands developing residential development. Projects waiting for this… no time to wait. Sooner the better in getting this done. Carbon footprint – reference in some materials. EPA calculator – looked at those as I had to respond… EAWs written by consultants, not RGUs generally. I selected one by Conservation Int’l – thought it included all types of C generation (solid waste and air travel) not included in MPCA calculator. MEQB staff can look at this to get in touch with ppl developing calculators to figure HOW to develop for MN. Lots in CA… not readily adaptable to MN as CA uses energy different with their climate.
Chat discussion was also interesting… just me and the host… as it was for every participant?
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.