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