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

Letters needed to stop the burner!!

To Supporters of the Residents of East Phillips: PLEASE CONSIDER WRITING A LETTER RIGHT AWAY.

In case you hadn’t heard, a wood burning power plant, Midtown Eco Energy Biomass Plant, has been proposed by Kandiyohi Development Partners (KDP) for the East Phillips Neighborhood, but impacting the Corcoran, Powderhorn, Midtown and West Phillips Neighborhoods, Longfellow, Central and Seward Neighborhoods as well. It would be built on the site of the old incinerator at 28th St. and 20th Ave. S. and would be “a major source of Hazardous Air Pollutants” according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (p.2, Tech Support Doc.). The members of the East Phillips Improvement Coalition have voted to oppose this project, believing that it is entirely inappropriate for an area so burdened by pollution already and so filled with minority children and struggling families. The following page contains the basic points that should be included in a letter of opposition, which we hope you will consider writing very soon, regarding this project. Use letterhead if possible, Regardless of where one lives, we should all protect one another from such things as a general moral obligation.

We do not intend to take on the entire Biomass industry, but since the MPCA has clearly stated that the plant will be a “major source of Hazardous Air Pollutants”, we believe it is our obligation to protect the people here, especially since there is no real social or economic benefit for them. It fits the “Environmental Justice Policy” of the MPCA exactly. However, when I called the Minn. Pollution Control Agency’s Senior Engineer for this project, Paula Connell, and asked her how this would apply, she stated, ”I don’t know, that is my great frustration, I don’t know”. I asked her for guidance and she said she didn’t have any. Apparently this policy has never been implemented or stopped anything. We have discovered that the MPCA does not even know how to do a cumulative impact study of this sort of thing. This was just stated by MPCA officials at the Legislative public hearing on the subject last week. This is very disturbing and leaves us no way to protect the people.

So we are on our own and only public pressure can do anything. Another important fact is that the major investors who stand to make a lot of money from this all live in the wealthiest sections of town and it is the poorest and greatest minority population of Minneapolis that will be compelled to bear the entire burden of health risks and negative consequences to their property values and their quality of life. We also know that more money could be spent in the project for pollution control. I don’t say this easily, but the obviousness of environmental and economic racism is compellingly clear in this case.

People of conscience should not stand by and say or do nothing. The residents of East Phillips are asking you to write the Mayor and all City Council Members immediately and call on them to oppose the proposed power plant. In particular, if you are writing to the Mayor and Council, ask them each to NOT extend the option to buy the land and building, which would house the power plant. The option ends at the end of March. This could possibly stop the project right now. We need to make these points and insist that the Council and Mayor not extend Kandiyohi Developers’ option to buy the site. If we write early this week, we may be able to influence this vote which could come up this week or next. Thank you for whatever you do. Also the East Phillips organization would appreciate copies of whatever you send for our file to help prepare this case for the future. If you would, please email a copy to EPIC at: Carol Pass, Chair, EPIC Contact at: 612-280-8418. Addresses of Public Officials to be contacted are:

Mayor R.T. Rybak (612) 673-2100

Minneapolis City Council Members

Ward 1: Paul Ostrow (612) 673-2201

Ward 2: Cam Gordon (612) 673-2202

Ward 3: Diane Hofstede (612) 673-2203

Ward 4: Barbara Johnson (612) 673-2204

Ward 5: Don Samuels (612) 673-2205

Ward 6: Robert Lilligren (612) 673-2206

Ward 7: Lisa Goodman (612) 673-2207 Lisa

Ward 8: Elizabeth Glidden (612) 673-2208

Ward 9: Gary Schiff (612) 673-2209

Ward 10: Ralph.Remington (612) 673-2210

Ward 11: Scott Benson (612) 673-2211

Ward 12: Sandy Colvin Roy (612) 673-2212

Ward 13: Betsy Hodges (612) 673-2213

Dear Letter Writers: Do not Copy this letter. Rearrange its contents and put it in your own words. These are the main points to be covered, but your letter needs to reflect your own perspective and voice. Letters need to go out or be emailed early this next week or as soon as possible. Use letterhead, if you have it. Your letters for our files would be much appreciated. We would like to know who has written and why. Your help is invaluable. If you would, please email them to EPIC at: Carol Pass, Chair, EPIC Contact at 612-280-8418.

To the Mayor and City Council:

I am writing to insist that the City of Minneapolis conform to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s “Environmental Justice Policy”( /policy-environmentaljustice.pdf) which states that:

The MPCA will, within its authority, ensure fair and equitable treatment and meaningful involvement of all Minnesota citizens in the implementation of federal and state environmental laws, rules, programs, and policies to insure that: Minority and economically-disadvantaged communities in Minnesota do not bear a disproportionate share of the involuntary risks and consequences of environmental pollution...”

I am requesting that the City Council and Mayor rescind all support for the Midtown Eco Energy Power Plant proposed by Kandiyohi Development Partners and commit to stopping its construction in the East Phillips Neighborhood for the following reasons:

1) We are aware that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has stated that the proposed 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)

2) Public exposure of this statement 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. This is especially true of the people who live in the area which would be most impacted. For example, Little Earth of United Tribes heard nothing of this before approvals were given.

3) The same area in East Phillips is already the site of an asphalt plant, a foundry, an Arsenic Superfund Site, a roofing company’s hot asphalt storage, the future site of the City’s hot asphalt storage and high levels of lead contamination in homes and yards. The facts are that no one, in preparation for authorizing construction of the power plant here, has done a full analysis of the major pollution already here or even begun to understand its impact on the many minority and Indigenous families and children of Phillips. Rep.Karen Clark is working on a full study of all the families and children to determine the causes of large health disparities among the Phillips population with respect to the rest of the City of Minneapolis to accomplish this missing piece. This neighborhood has already been determined to be one of the most polluted locations in the 5 county metro area and the power plant proposal would bring even more “major hazardous pollutants. to the neighborhood.

4) 40% of the neighborhood population are children, 40% of whom live in poverty. These children have a disproportionately high rate of asthma and other chronic health problems, many potentially related to area toxins and particulate matter. The drop out rate of 9th graders living in Phillips is much higher than elsewhere in Minneapolis and asthma is one of the major causes of poor school attendance.

5) There are no significant direct economic or social benefits from this project sufficient to balance the serious public health risks the economically challenged minority and Indigenous population of East Phillips as well as the residents of near by surrounding neighborhoods would be compelled to bear.

Therefore, the proposed construction of the Midtown Eco Energy Power Plant and the granting of its Air Emission Permit constitute a clear violation of the MPCA Environmental Justice Policy and an example of environmental racism and injustice to the people of East Phillips and surrounding neighborhoods.

Mayor R.T. Rybak (612) 673-2100

Minneapolis City Council Members

Ward 1: Paul Ostrow (612) 673-2201

Ward 2: Cam Gordon (612) 673-2202

Ward 3: Diane Hofstede (612) 673-2203

Ward 4: Barbara Johnson (612) 673-2204

Ward 5: Don Samuels (612) 673-2205

Ward 6: Robert Lilligren (612) 673-2206

Ward 7: Lisa Goodman (612) 673-2207 Lisa

Ward 8: Elizabeth Glidden (612) 673-2208

Ward 9: Gary Schiff (612) 673-2209

Ward 10: Ralph.Remington (612) 673-2210

Ward 11: Scott Benson (612) 673-2211

Ward 12: Sandy Colvin Roy (612) 673-2212

Ward 13: Betsy Hodges (612) 673-2213


651-282-2605 651-296-7768

Governor Tim Pawlenty 651-296-3391

State Legislators


58A Joe Mullery 651-296-4262

58B Augustine (Willie) Dominguez 651-296-8659

59A Diane Loeffler 651-296-4219

59B Phyllis Kahn 651-296-4257

60A Margaret Anderson Kelliher 651-296-0171

60B Frank Hornstein 651-296-9281

61A Karen Clark 651-296-0294

61B Neva Walker 651-296-7152

62A Jim Davnie 651-296-0173

62B Jean Wagenius 651-296-4200

63A Paul Thissen 651-296-5375


58 Linda Higgins 651-296-9246

59 Lawrence Pogemiller 651-296-7809 Use mail form*

60 Scott Dibble 651-296-4191

61 Linda Berglin 651-296-4261 Use mail form*

62 Patricia Torres Ray 651-296-4274

Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee

50 Satveer Chaudhary *205 Cap 651-296-4334

66 Ellen Anderson *120 Cap 651-296-5537

60 Scott Dibble *111 Cap 651-296-4191

18 Steve Dille 103 St Off 651-296-4131 sen.steve,

21 Dennis Frederickson 139 St Off 651-296-8138

11 Bill Ingebrigtsen *123 St Off 651-296-8063

4 Mary Olson 124 Cap 651-296-4913

3 Tom Saxhaug *124 Cap 651-296-4136

23 Kathy Sheran G-4* Cap 651-296-6153

57 Katie Sieben *321 Cap 651-297-8060 sen.katie,

1 Leroy Stumpf *208 Cap 651-296-8660

22 Jim Vickerman 226 Cap 651-296-5650 senate,mn/senatorvickermanemail


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Midtown Burner Update

So are you still on the fence with the burner issue??
Here are a few facts that might allow you to get on
board with raising some serious issues about the public
and/or nonpublic process that has gone on regarding the Burner, if you are not
comfortable with opposing the Burner itself, though I am hoping you will arrive at
that point in the near future. Butfirst of all, if you provided a letter of support, at least you could rescind it on these grounds. We have rescinded support and the
EPIC signature from the Good Neighborhood Agreement, but last I heard the Kandiyohi Development project (KDP) guys were not telling anyone and last time
I looked, they still had our names on as supporters and signers.

It seems to many of us that anyone, whether they believe the project may be
valuable or not, certainly should be at least be objecting to the public
procedure and the governmental evaluative process that has allowed it to
come this far. That process seems deeply flawed and pretty inexcusable.
I don’t believe your organization can be on record or even silent about
such a poor process that leaves public health and right-to-know concerns
in the dust, without serious cost to your organization’s credibility. At
the least, this should be in the forefront of some of your organization’s
present concerns.

Here are some of the public process reasons for objecting:

1) Public Notice/Community Engagement: The land sale approval process
which happened in June, 2006, involved a process where the decision to
have a public hearing was made on a Friday (June 16, 2006) to happen on
the following Tuesday, June 20th, 2006. That’s onebusiness day, Monday,
for public notice. It is simply impossible for the public to respond to
such a decision in that amount of time. Given that, I can’t really believe
a response was intended. I don’t even know what the notification process
was/is for that sort of thing, but it is meaningless if it is one business
day, the preceding Monday.

2) Community Benefits: If you look at the document (I’ll send it as
an attachment) you will see on p. 6 that there is almost no real cost/benefit
analysis or due diligence of the “benefits” to the community and there
is not even a column for the negative cost to the community. In fact,
there has been no serious assessment of the cost to this community by
anyone, including the MPCA. See the Technical Support Document created
by the MPCA.

3) Overall Public Process: The MPCA report (Technical Support Document),
which inadvertently shows the potential public health cost to the community,
came out on November 11, 2007. This was long after variances and zoning
changes and almost all relevant decisions and approvals happened in city hall. Everything had moved ahead and was about to happen without asking the one
most important and relevant question, the public health question regarding
the surrounding community of minority and Indigenous people, many of whom
are children and many of whom have health challenges and almost all of whom
are economically struggling.

The whole process for something like this was backward. I think no one really
knew what they were inviting to occur here. We sure didn’t, nor did many
environmental organizations and some neighborhoods that are now rescinding
their support. Despite the fact that I am married to a board member of the
Green Institute, I knew nothing because of the gag order put on the GI
when Michael Krause left. The EPIC board had to figure out everything
through our own research by ourselves. Kandiyohi, the MPCA and governmental
bodies of every sort were no help.

4) Informed Consent: The words: “The facility will be a major source
of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP)” figuring prominently on page 2 of the
Technical Support Document prepared for this project have never been uttered
in any of the very polished presentations given by Kandiyohi Developers.
Furthermore, almost no neighborhoods and no governmental bodies haveheard a
serious rival point of view foregrounding either the Hazardous Air Pollution
and/or the environmental justice issues. Given the fact that many of the pollutants are carcinogenic, this is a travesty of public policy, but it also means that informed
consent has been prevented and not occurred all down the line.

5) Environmental Justice: The other issue that has never received visibility is the
environmental justice issue. In the ‘community benefits’ category of the ‘Request
for City Council Action From the Department of Public Works’ of June, 2006,
there are a few jobs, some property tax revenue and the ‘Suggestion of revenue
sharing with local community groups (no details provided)”, which never
materialized for near by residents. In fact there is almost no awareness of
the local neighborhood residents at all. The concrete reality of their lives
seems not to have figured in anywhere. The people not figuring in seems to be
the case everywhere I look, even in our own organization. I can acknowledge that
we made the same mistake. We now see this clearly and have acknowledged this,
but I am waiting for everyone else to acknowledge this also. The truth is:
Kandiyohi presented a very persuasive picture where care for the planet trumped awareness of the well-being of the struggling,impoverished,
immigrant and Indigenous people right in our midst, our very neighbors and friends.

My research is beginning to show that this may be a process occurring nationwide,
where the rush to ‘Save the Planet’ is causing corporations, government and the
public to ignore some of the most vulnerable people who appear to be in the
way. They often live in the places where people want to locate projects like
the Midtown wood burner and are least able to defend their communities against
these projects. To allow a passion for the ideal of saving the planet to cause
us to ignore or blind us to caring for and protecting its more vulnerable people
would not be the first time lofty ideals have compelled people to roll over and
injure those who struggle to protect themselves. This a very old story in human history.

That is why the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency drafted
their "Environmental Policy" for just such a time as this. It states:

"The MPCA will, within its authority, ensure fair and equitable treatment and
meaningful involvement of all Minnesota citizens in the implementation of
federal and state environmental laws, rules, programs, and policies to insure
that minority and economically-disadvantaged communities in Minnesota do
not bear a disproportionate share of the involuntary risks and consequences
of environmental pollution..."

This needs to be acted on.

One of the corporations involved in the Midtown Eco Energy burner,
CH2M Hill, has as its motto, “Solutions without Boundaries”. At this point
I would have to agree. The boundaries that are missing are moral boundaries.
We need to realize this and act. Think about it.

Carol Pass, President, East Phillips Improvement Coalition, EPIC