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??

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