Saturday, August 16, 2008

Support Sister's Camelot!

I just read a post that Sister's Camelot is one of three finalists competing to receive a MySpace Impact Award. They give away free food in various locations all over Minneapolis - and it's all organic! Seriously a great organization, that I think we should all vote on to ensure they get more attention.

I have seen them several times this summer stopped at East Phillips Park or Little Earth Community.

Please vote for Sister's Camelot at:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

East Phillips Park - Cultural and Community Center ( EPPCCC )

Coming Soon to East 24th Street at 17th Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Center's goals are:

  1. To design, fund, and construct a greem LEED certifiable building.
  2. To responsibly maintain and operate the EPPCCC over the long-term.
  3. To provide a welcoming, safe neighborhood gathering place embracing all cultures & encourage a shared sense of Community.
  4. To provide multicultural recreational, educational, and healthy development opportunities for residents of all ages.
  5. To provide culturally appropriate programs and activities emphasizing child and youth development, and youth leadership skills.
The EPPCCC Partnership is now recruiting partners to fulfill the goals of this project.


Brad Pass: 612-916-8478 - bpass AT usinternet DOT com
Comm. Scott Vreeland: MPRB - 612-750-8576 - svattheriver AT aol DOT com

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Kandiyohi withdraws permit application

As we have hoped for so long, the Mid-Town Burner project is no more. But you never know when these projects can be started again, so East Phillips should show where it wants its future energy to come from. That statement has already begun with Little Earth investing in solar water heaters. The East Phillips Improvement Coalition should also make decisions regarding future development that eliminate dirty forms of energy. We took a stance and won against Kandiyohi, now we must move towards an even brighter future.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Midtown Burner has no one to buy power

May 28, 2008

EPIC Board, Members, friends of East Phillips, and folks who helped work for clean air for the people of South Minneapolis.

Two pieces of Good News:
First, Xcel Energy decided not to buy power from the Midtown Burner! This makes it the law and means that Kandiyohi will find it next to impossible to secure the financing to allow them to receive a loan for the project to go ahead. They would be very hard pressed to make the Burner Project work. (Check out the email address at the end of this message)

Second, Governor Pawlenty signed the bill to require a cumulative impact study of all pollution sources in the Burner site area to see if the totality passes muster in the Phillips and surrounding area before any permit can be signed allowing any power plant to be built. This means that Phillips is protected from this sort of thing and either awaits a future when clean energy can be provided and/or simply will not have any sort of similarly polluting industry here period.

Does this completely stop this project? I hesitate to say yes, because there are always possibilities that something will squeak through. We need to be watchful, more than we were this time, but it makes the future look quite pollution free from this source anyway. The Midtown Burner looks nearly laid to rest.

Thank you to those of you that lobbied faithfully with us, provided information, encouraged us when we felt we could not do this, wrote many letters and made many calls. This was a huge group effort. Thank you EPIC Board and members for your work. Thank you Womens Environmental Institute, Thank you Little Earth Staff and residents for your support. Thank you Sisters of Holy Rosary and St, Paul's Lutheran Church for your letters and prayers. Thank you Metro Urban Indian Directors, Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center, Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota, the Hispanic Baseball League, Midtown Phillips, Phillips West, Ventura Village, 16th Ave. Block Club, the Alley Newspaper, Seward Neighborhood Group, Minneapolis Residents for Clean Air, Standish-Erickson Neighborhood Assoc'., St. Paul Neighbors Against the Burner, Rep. Karen Clark, Senators Linda Berglin and Patricia Torres-Ray, Council Members Schiff, Lilligren and Gordon and the many others who supported our effort too numerous to name and many whose names we don't know.

This was a great united effort. However, two things: we need to remember that we are not done. Again, this could come back, though with great difficulty. But even if it does not, we need to remember that we have made a commitment to press on toward ridding Phillips of all pollution period!! and creating a neighborhood does not drag our population down with further difficulties, but sustains and lifts them up in every way, providing them with an environment of healthy air, healthy soil, healthy homes and places of business, healthy parks and water. We owe this to our children, and this is especially true since Phillips has a greater percentage of the next generation than almost anywhere else in Minneapolis. I hope we can continue with the same unity of purpose toward these future goals. Again, we owe it to the children, the elders and everyone in between.

Thanks again,

Carol Pass, Board Chair, for EPIC

Check this out:

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Burner is NOT stopped!

As you may have read in the Star, the Option to Buy was cancelled, but with a 60 day opening to turn back the cancellation. The Kandiyohi developers are working hard to succeed. This has served to really 'turn their crank', you might say. We need to address those who would offer to buy the power from them, Xcel Energy. If this purchase goes through, it will allow the Burner group to financially proceed, so we need address Xcel Energy Now! We have until June 9th to stop this!

We must be willing to press on with our efforts and keep up the pressure. This will be a long fight. If we love our neighborhoods, we can’t stop in the middle!!

One of our supporters was recently in the Mayor's office and mistaken for one of the Kandiyohi people. The Mayor’s assistant assured her that the Mayor continues his support for the Burner. When she told the Mayor’s assistant who she was, the Mayor’s assistant said that the Mayoy supported it because “there really wasn’t that much opposition.” That tells me we have to turn up the heat on this and mobilize more!

If you haven’t written the Mayor and City Council yet, please do so right away.
But now, also



Email Addresses/contacts/phone numbers at Xcel:

Mr. David Sparby, President and CEO, Xcel Energy MN
Policy Assistant: Ms. Barbara Bridgeman, (612) 330-5901

Mr. Scott Wilensky, Vice Pres., Regulatory & Government Affairs
Policy Assistant: Ms. Ann Johnson, (612) 330-6403

Don’t be shy! Be direct, professional and firm. Some suggested talking points for letters/emails to Xcel executives are these. Use any of them.
Put these in your own words!

But write AND call today!

* The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has stated that the Midtown EcoEnergy facility (wood burning power plant) proposed for the East Phillips Neighborhood (near Hiawatha Ave and East Lake St.), “will be a major source of Hazardous Air Pollutants” (MPCA Tech. Support Doc. p. 2) (November, 2007).

* The Phillips neighborhood has a long history of environmental degradation. It has the highest arsenic concentrations of any neighborhood in the city or State, and many other serious pollution challenges.

* The Phillips neighborhood has high concentrations of vulnerable people. 40% of the population are children, 40% of the children live in poverty. There is a high concentration of minority and senior populations.

* The proposed biomass power plant on East Lake Street will emit close to 1 million pounds of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). This includes a 37% increase in asthma enhancing particulate matter over current point, area and mobile sources. (From Dr.Ian Greaves, U of M School of Public Health)

* Asthma is approaching epidemic levels in the neighborhood and has been cited as one of the top reasons for poor school attendance and high drop out rates. The significant increase in Particulate Matter from the power plant would seriously aggravate this.

* The known substances emitted from the smoke stack cause or contribute to cancer, birth defects, asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, strokes, reduced intelligence in children, and many other serious and fatal health problems;

* Insufficient data is available, according to the MPCA technical support document, to know with confidence what the entire smokestack emissions of the facility would be.

* Public exposure of these things has not occurred in any of the presentations by the developers of this project, nor has this truth been contained in any of the many advertisements or statements by the developers in area media. In addition, almost all official approvals took place before this information was publicly available on November 11, 2007. Because of this lack of public information, informed consent has not occurred.

* There are virtually no economic or social benefits to the neighborhood: The owners/investors do not live in the neighborhood. The investors live in the wealthier parts of Minneapolis. This is an action of those who have for their own financial gain against those who have not, the poor and minority population of Southeast Minneapolis.

* For these reasons, it is an example of environmental injustice, as stated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s "Environmental Policy" ( publications/policy- environmentaljustice.pdf ) stating:

"The MPCA will, within its authority,… insure that Minority and economically-disadvantaged communities in Minnesota do not bear a disproportionate share of the involuntary risks and consequences of environmental pollution..."

The proposed "Midtown" permit and the power plant itself would violate this MPCA policy.

* The principals of Kandiyohi Development Partners, d/b/a "Midtown Eco Energy, LLC", have a history of poor financial management and bullying tactics.

* No reliable, long term source of wood biomass has been identified as a fuel source for the plant. Without this, either the “renewable resource” virtue is lost or the burner is shut down..

* The East and Midtown Phillips neighborhood organization and the surrounding neighborhoods are on record opposing the biomass burner as are many of the ethnic organizations and churches in the area. To force such a thing on an opposing and unwilling population against their will is wrong and will only bring serious ill will and political struggle against both Xcel Energy and Kandiyohi Development Partners.

* Xcel Energy ratepayers have invested over $1 billion to clean up the air in the Twin Cities by converting inner-city power plants from coal to natural gas. Why would Xcel Energy take us all backwards??

Friday, April 18, 2008

RT Rybak: "the Midtown Burner Project will go forward"

Rybak says he's not heard enough
"public outrage"
to convince him that the Burner is a problem

This is what community members were told

in a meeting with staff from the Mayor's office

on Friday, April 10, 2008.

So, if you thought the Burner was "dead,"

think again!!

If Kandiyohi Development Partners (the Midtown Burner project owners) are able to negotiate a purchase agreement with Xcel Energy (or any other qualified power company) by Monday June 9, 2008,


KDP has been working for some time to negotiate a power purchase agreement, and now they have only a few weeks left to pull it off.

Don't you think they will call on their friends with money and influence to put pressure on Xcel to sign on?

Mayor RT Rybak still supports the Burner.

And his staff are saying that

it will be built!

Read on to find out what the Mayor's staff are saying,

and what you can do to educate the Mayor and others

on what you think about the Burner

Staff at the Mayor's office claim that neighborhood opposition to the Burner is weak -- despite the fact that more than 700 residents have signed statements in opposition to the project, which have been delivered to the Mayor's office. Some residents have sent e-mails to the Mayor and, instead of receiving a response from the Mayor, they got a reply from Kim Havey at Kandiyohi Development Partners. Do you think this is a coincidence?

Staff at the Mayor's office also claim that emissions from the Burner will be no more problematic than exhaust emissions from 24 cars over the course of a year. This is a myth, and it's a great example of how people can mistake a "sound byte" for the truth. If the Mayor's staff dig deeper, they will find that while the Burner emissions and exhaust from 24 cars may be comparable by weight, the content is decidedly different.

A deeper analysis of the "24 cars" argument shows that:

· In addition to nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water (the major components of typical car exhaust), the Burner will also be adding alarming amounts of sulfur, lead, benzene, chlorine, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde, manganese, styrene, toluene, arsenic, cadmium and mercury in addition to extremely fine particulate matter (nanoparticles, also known as "soot") to the air that we all breathe.

· Carbon dioxide, while not harmful to breathe and naturally occurring in our air, is a "greenhouse gas." The total carbon dioxide emissions from the Midtown Burner will be equivalent to that produced by over 30,000 cars!

· Cars also create toxic fumes including carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, and nitrous oxides -- but the amount is less than 1% of a car's emissions. The Burner will create all of these three "volatile organic compounds" (are similar to the unburned hydrocarbons from cars), but they make up a much larger proportion of the Burner's emissions. A calculation adjusting for the proportion of these emissions shows that:

o carbon monoxide: Burner emissions = 3,400 cars/year

o volatile organic compounds: Burner emissions = 7,800 cars/year

o nitrous oxide: Burner emissions = 29,000 cars/year

The Mayor claims he hasn't heard enough

public outrage about the Burner.

Has he heard your opinion?

Are you outraged that you may be forced to breathe more sulfur, lead, benzene, chlorine, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde, manganese, styrene, toluene, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, nitrous oxide, and nano particles (soot)?

Are you outraged that the Mayor seems to be ignoring the messages from more than 700 people in the community?

Are you outraged by the fact that elected officials who should be looking out for your interests are still supporting the Midtown Burner?



please also send us copies of your correspondence and any response you get:

Minneapolis Residents for Clean Air

(612) 326-3308

For more background info, articles, and talking points on this issue:

Call, write, or e-mail:

Mayor RT Rybak

City Hall, Room 331

350 South Fifth Street

Minneapolis, MN 55415

(612) 673-2100

David Sparby

President, Xcel Energy, Inc.

414 Nicollet Mall

Minneapolis MN 55401

Mr. Sparby's policy assistant, Ms. Barb Bridgeman (612) 330-5901

Steve Wilenski

Vice President for Regulartory and Governmental Affairs, Xcel Energy, Inc.

414 Nicollet Mall

Minneapolis MN 55401

Mr. Wilensky's policy assistant, Ms. Ann Johnson (612) 330-6403

Commissioner Peter McLaughlin

is on record as opposing the Burner - urge him to say that to Dave Sparby and Steve Wilenski from Xcel!

A2400 Government Center

300 South Sixth Street

Minneapolis, MN 55487


Your Council Member

Cam Gordon, Gary Schiff, and Robert Lillegren are on record as opposing the Burner - urge them to say that to Dave Sparby and Steve Wilenski from Xcel!

Your State Senator

If your State Senator opposes the Burner, urge her/him to say that to Dave Sparby and Steve Wilenski from Xcel!

Your State Representative

If your State Representative opposes the Burner, urge her/him to say that to Dave Sparby and Steve Wilenski from Xcel!

Your Neighborhood Organization

If your neighborhood organization opposes the Burner, urge them to say that to Dave Sparby and Steve Wilenski from Xcel!

Representative Keith Ellison

1130 Longworth Building

Washington, D.C. 20515-2305

(202) 225-4755 or (612) 522-1212

Senator Norm Coleman


(202) 224-5641

Web Form:

Senator Amy Klobuchar


(202) 224-3244

Web Form:



Jullonne Glad

Juliet Thompson

Betsy Sohn

on behalf of Minneapolis Residents for Clean Air

an ad hoc group of community volunteers holding elected officials accountable

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Midtown Eco Energy Plant

Carol Pass, Chair, EPIC

Friends of East Phillips and near by neighborhoods,
First, we have lawn signs to oppose the Midtown wood burning power plant if you choose to do so. Call if you want one. We could use a donation in return, but it is not necessary.
Then, here is stuff to help compose a letter to the Mayor and City Council. The extension of the option to buy the burner site is on Friday, so if anyone writes an email before Friday, that should be the request to the Council and Mayor, based on the points listed. People should try to sound uniquely different if possible, and use letterhead if they can.

We also need to write the legislators, especially these on this list. Soon! It is some work, but it is all crucial to our neighborhood.

It would be good if folks could add these letters to our archive of letters. We have been sending a stack of these to other people, like various members of the MPCA and other potential supporters. If you are willing to share your letter, email it to

If you have questions, you can call me at 612-280-8418.

With regard to the legislature:
Today, the Senate Committee on the Environment today gutted our senate bill, SF 3393, which previously said:
Under Permits.
(a) the MPCA may NOT grant a permit in a community with the following conditions:
1) the facility is within a half mile of a federally designated super fund site,
2) has a majority of low-income people of color and Native Americans,
3) has a disproportionate number of children with lead poisoning, asthma, and other environmentally related health problems,
4) is located in an urban area that has had numerous air quality alert days of dangerous air quality for sensitive populations between Feb. 2007 and Feb. 2008, and
5) is located near he junctions of several heavily trafficked state and county highways and two one-way streets which carry both truck and auto traffic.

The committee eliminated the word “NOT” and said the MPCA MAY permit under these circumstances. Unbelievable!! Most of these new “concessions” of the developers had already been agreed to and/or were already required by the MPCA anyway, so they conceded almost nothing.

Here are the conditions they added:

“Paragraph (b) the facility agrees to
1) Also they changed “5 or 6 jobs” to 35 % of all jobs. This sounds a lot bigger. The senate committee thought this was a concession, not knowing there were only 20 jobs in all, so 5 or 6 come here and 15 go elsewhere. Most of us believe that the pollution is not worth 5 or 6 jobs.
2) Equip all diesel trucks bring fuel to the plant with advanced filter systems that reduce emissions from diesel exhaust;
3) Report quarterly to the community where the facility is located on actual emission levels as measured by the PCA’s 24-hour emissions testing; and
4) Refrain from using refuse-derived fuel (RDF) (i.e. garbage)

First, 1) and 4) were part of the project already, so they conceded little new.
Second, and this is most important, none of this addresses the pollution coming out of the stack itself. That is the real objection, nearly a million pounds per year, plus the fact that, if the developers spent more on pollution control, the community would be protected more.

Third, the MPCA has acknowledged on p. of their Technical Support Document (TSP) and in testimony before the State Senate and House, that they do not even know how to test for some of the worst pollutants such as Mercury, Dioxins and others (TSP, pps. 145-149). The documents are full of “build-first-and-test-later” statements for the worst of the emissions (TSP p. )

Fourth, even though the MPCA tests the facility and reports to the community, there is nothing here that allows the community to do anything about what is going on. It is powerless.

Fifth, while Refuse-derived fuel is prohibited by this, but treated wood, such as plywood, is not and this is just as bad. Kandiyohi has agreed not to burn wood products with added polluting materials mixed in, but this has not been included in the legislation. They also wish to do experimental burns on various materials.

Basically, add all this up and it amounts to gambling with the lives of the families and children here, lives already being gambled on by the pollution already here. The real beneficiaries of this project will be the financial gainers on the other side of town. The losers paying for this in terms of risk to their health and the health of their children are all on this side of town, the poor part of town. This is not a pretty picture, but this is what is going on.

More info on burner and letter writing - go here:

Thanks for helping.

-Carol Pass