Monthly Archives: July 2015

Rep. John Carney votes for Monsanto

John C. Carney Jr. official portrait 112th Congress.jpgIt’s important to note that this bill is NOT about banning GMO foods, it’s ONLY about labeling so people can make their own decisions.

See updates here from the Organic Consumers Association.

Action:  Contact Senators Coons and Carper:  Ask them to vote for transparency and healthy food, NOT for Monsanto.


From the Organic Consumers Association:

DARK Day in D.C.

275 members (see vote tally here) of the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of H.R. 1599, the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act. By voting for the DARK Act, these politicians voted against truth and transparency, against science, against the more than century-old right of states to legislate on matters relating to food safety and labeling.

They voted against the 90-percent of Americans who are in favor of mandatory labeling of GMOs. They voted against the producers of non-GMO foods.

They voted against you.

Now that the DARK Act has been approved by the House, we’ll have to stop it in the Senate. We have to move fast­because Monsanto is desperate to pass a bill that preempts mandatory GMO labeling laws at the state and federal levels, before Vermont’s GMO labeling law takes effect next year.

H.R. 1599 was sold to Congress via multi-million dollar public relations and lobbying campaigns built on lies and deception. The bill’s sole purpose is to support an industry–Monsanto’s poison-peddling industry–­that was founded on lies and deception from the get-go.

Were the Congress members who voted against you fooled by Monsanto’s slick, deceitful packaging of this so-called “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act”? Or did they simply vote with their wallets, stuffed full of biotech and junk food industry cash?

Continue reading

Delmarva Power ratepayers to be ripped off for new transmission line

PJM_ArtificialIslandProjectRecommendation

[This is from Carol Overland, an expert. Delmarva Power electric bills are being used as an infinite cookie jar by the electricity industry and Delaware politicians. The Bloom Energy scheme, and the huge cost/no benefit transmission line described below are only examples. What makes this possible? A feeble and ineffectual Public Service Commission and “Public Advocate,” a governor and General Assembly seemingly indifferent to the public interest, and an incomprehensibly complex and diabolically clever electricity industry.

Alan Muller
***************************]

Yesterday, PJM (the regional electricity “system operator”) “approved” a transmission line from Artificial Island across the Delaware Bay, Delaware River, to link into the newer north/south transmission line built a few years ago (see map above).  Perhaps the only good news is that the line is to be under the river, rather than overhead like the existing crossing.

And, they plan to do this project almost entirely on Delmarva ratepayers’ dime. WHAT? So is the state going to join Illinois and sue FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) and PJM about their cost apportionment scheme?

Will Delaware, like Illinois, sue FERC and PJM?

Sure hope so — they’ve got it coming.  Cost apportionment is a big issue, and for PJM, well, they’d taken their cost apportionment dream to FERC, got the FERC rubber stamp, but it seems they’ve not done a good job of it, according to the Federal Court — that’s old news:

Illinois Commerce Commission v. FERC August 6, 2009

Fast forward to today — turns out Delaware’s Gov. Markell is objecting to costs assessed to Delaware ratepayers, (though I’m not seeing any objection to the project itself coming out of Delaware).  DOH!  He’d better, this project does nothing for Delaware.

Here’s the PJM Planning doc that tells all:

PJM White Paper Artificial Island Project

Note on the first page the statement of need, of why this project is wanted — this is really important:

PJM specified that solution proposals must improve stability margins, reduce Artificial Island MVAR output requirements and address high voltage reliability issues.

So let me get this straight — they’re having stability and reliability issues and PSEG wants to reduce Artificial Island MVAR output requirements?  PUH-LEEZE… This is a benefit to PSEG, not Delmarva…

And look what our big-coal friends at ODEC have to say:

ODEC letter regarding Artificial Island 7-29-2015

This project taps into the new line that was built not long ago:

RTEP_DE

Delaware has no regulation of transmission need or siting — so utilities can pretty much do whatever they want.  Further, it’s a FERC tariff, so the state doesn’t have anything to say about it going into the rates, and cost apportionment.  Great, just great.  So now Markell is objecting?  It’s a little late…

Here’s the report about this PJM approval from Jeff Montgomery, News Journal:

Disputed cost-shares remain in plan for new power line

Delaware needs legislation — legislation like a “Power Plant Siting Act” and a legislative requirement of a need determination for whatever infrastructure they think they want.  They need legislation specifying that only Delaware utilities can own and operate transmission in Delaware (see House Bill 387 from the 2014 session).  Here’s what House Bill 387 would have done (It would have been an effective good start, protective of Delaware!), establish that a utility wanting to construct and operate transmission demonstrate NEED!  Here’s the wording, though it would require quite a bit more, and some solid rules, to be effective:

(5)Public utility electric transmission service providers must have a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the construction and operation of any new electric transmission lines operating at 100KV or greater and located in the State or offshore waters and integrated with the State electric transmission grid.In granting such certificate, the Commission shall consider:

a.the need for the proposed transmission line;

b.the impact on the reliability of the transmission grid

c.the long term viability of the public utility proposing the line;

d.the technical engineering and operating expertise of the public utility;

e.the technology and design proposed for the new transmission line; and

f.the economic and safety impact of the proposed transmission line.

Here’s the schedule going forward from the PJM Board meeting yesterday:

PJM_ArtificialIslandProjectSchedule

Seems there’s an opportunity before the FERC ALJ.  But before then?  What is Delaware going to do?  Well, take a look at what Illinois did when it didn’t appreciate the FERC Cost Apportionment scheme — they sued FERC and won, based on the notion that if they weren’t benefitting, they shouldn’t be the ones paying:

Illinois Commerce Commission v. FERC August 6, 2009

The FERC Cost Apportionment scheme was remanded, and it’s in settlement negotiations right now.  What is Delaware doing in that docket?  To review the public postings, go HERE and search for FERC Docket EL05-121.  The next settlement conference is Thursday, August 6, 2015, starting at 10:15 a.m. in a hearing room at FERC HQ.  Delaware is represented in this, at least there are Delaware PSC staff listed on the service list, Janis Dillard, John Farber, and Robert Howatt.  So what are they doing about this cost apportionment scheme?  Seems this settlement conference is just the place for raising a stink about the PJM cost apportionment scheme, to raise issues of “benefits” and “cause cost, pay” arguments.  Are they showing up and speaking up for Delaware?

... posted by Carol A. Overland, Transmission Department, Green Delaware

Died: “Lewis Morgan ‘Skipper’ Purnell, renaissance man”

Purnell and MLK in JamaicaLeft:  Purnell, then a foreign service officer, takes Martin Luther King, Jr. on a tour of Jamaica (Photo: Dick Carter via The News Journal)

Another exceptional Delawarean from a previous generation of activist types has died.

Skip Purnell passed on on July 28, 2015, at the age of 93.  He and spouse Til Purnell had celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in June.

Skipper and Til were fixtures of life in Sussex County for decades, until moving to Virginia in 2006 to be closer to family members.  Their estate on Herring Creek included a building collection–mostly houses–, moved onto their property from various locations.  They were an interesting combination of conservative Sussex County, Delaware, traits and the progressive thinking of people who had seen the world–Purnell had a career in the US Foreign Service.  Til was (is, I presume) more the environmentalist, perhaps the most active in Sussex County.  Skip represented the League of Women Voters in the process that lead to the gutting of the Delaware Coastal Zone Act.  Whether he ever regretted what he agreed to, I don’t know. Continue reading

“Sunday, July 19th, will be a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for Delaware!”

breathers

Kid in gas mask

Kid in gas mask

Sunday and Monday are forecast to be CODE ORANGE bad air days for OZONE.

In addition, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are forecast to be CODE YELLOW bad air days for fine particles (PM 2.5).

In addition, an excessive heat warning is in effect with forecast heat index values over one hundred for both Sunday and Monday afternoons.

As we have noted many times these “stressors” add up and we would consider the combination of multiple air pollutants, heat, and humidity to add up to CODE RED.  Please take care. Continue reading