Archive for the ‘ethanol’ Category

Dana Yost reports in the Marshall Independent that Minnesota House of Representatives Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall will have a challenger for the 21A seat in November. Al Kruse of Marshall made his announcement Friday that he woul been running against 12 year incumbent Marty Seifert.

From the paper:

Al Kruse of Marshall said Friday he is running against Seifert.

“We’re definitely an underdog,” Kruse said of his campaign, acknowledging Seifert’s 12 years of experience in the Legislature, and current status as House minority leader.

“He’s been in place for 12 years, but he ran on term limits. I don’t know what those term limits are, but I guess he hasn’t reached them.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Peace & solidarity,



Read Full Post »


Minnesota’s 1st CD Congressman Tim Walz(D) has been working hard in Washington D.C. on energy issues and recently issued a press release about the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008, H.R. 5351. Ollie Ox over at Bluestem Prairie covers it in detail here.

Minnesota Central looks at the tax and job creation implications in his post: Vote 51: Minnesota Jobs at stake while Congress chooses whose Tax Break to Extend.

Meanwhile, here in SW Minnesota local folks are working hard to prove that renewable and alternative energy is real and viable. Wind turbines are popping up and generating electricity and income due to a cooperative effort among local farmers and community members. Minwind LLC of Luverne, with over 300 members, has 11 turbines and plans to build more. Many of these people were instrumental in building the ethanol plant in Luverne owned by AgriEnergy LLC. The November/December 2007 issue of Rural Cooperatives published by the USDA highlights the Minwind project. New transmission lines are currently being constructed along I-90, creating good paying jobs.

 Here is a short (37 sec.) slide show


and since the title of this post is a Dylan tune here is a video of him performing in 1963. Enjoy!


Read Full Post »

Well, not only is the bridge bad but the water under it leaves a lot to be desired. A few weeks ago I received the Rock River Watershed TMDL Newsletter from the Rock County Land Management office. In the newsletter it says, “Pollution is threatening the Rock River“. It goes on to offer an overview of the problem, lists a project summary, and announces an open house for the public to learn more and discuss possible solutions. Read it here: rock-river-tmdl.pdf

Back in 1994 the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) gave notice that the Rock river was polluted with fecal coliform bacteria at the Minnesota/Iowa border. In 2002 the MPCA said it was also impaired for turbidity. During two open house meetings in Luverne and Edgerton the public was informed of the water cleanup project and given an opportunity to ask questions and provide input. According to the January 26 edition of the Worthington Daily Globe, Work begins to improve Rock River watershed, approximately 70 people were in attendance at the Luverne meeting to listen to the presentation by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the Water Resouces Center of Mankato. Another 60 people attended the meeting in Edgerton. The goal of the water quality project is to seek public input and finalize a written plan to clean up the river. Hopefully once this plan is completed there will be financial assistance to assist with the cleanup.

My local newspaper, the Rock County Star-Herald, also covered the meeting in Luverne. In ‘River cleanup process started’ the issue is covered in depth and editor Lori Ehde had these observations:

The Rock River is polluted, and some local livestock producers are afraid fingers are pointing at them.That was the tone of a public meeting Thursday, Jan. 24, that drew nearly 70 people to the Rock County Human Services building to discuss the state’s “impaired” label on the Rock River. The point of Thursday’s meeting was to provide information to the public and to seek public participation in order to garner state and federal dollars for river cleanup.But many at the meeting seemed worried the end result will mean more government restrictions on their livestock operations, and some discussion questioned the validity of the river’s “impaired” status.

The rest of the article is available in their online edition but you will have to give up most of a fifty dollar bill to view it.

In the same issue on the opinion page the Star Herald editorial headline was, The point isn’t who is to blame; the point should be how to clean up the river. Here are a few excerpts from the editorial:

Rock County farmers have long been leaders in soil and water conservation and in lobbying for development of agriculture as a renewable fuel.

and this

What was disappointing to the casual observer was that many of these vocal farmers Thursday night were the same ones who lobbied so aggressively for ethanol and wind subsidies in the name of improving the environment. It begs the question: does the environment matter only when a government check (or an ethanol plant dividend) is attached to the cause?

I have to agree with the Star-Herald that the emphasis should be on cleaning up the river. Certainly we have waited long enough. Rock County farmer Gene “Pucky” Sandager was one of those not sold on the idea and was quoted in the Daily Globe saying: “Take it a little slow, make sure we’re doing the right thing before we go off on a rampage,”  Well, it has been known as early as 1994 of the fecal coliform problem and in 2002 the turbidity issue was identified. Local officials have been working with state and federal personnel since 2006. It is now 2008 and the final report is still a work in progress. Hardly going off on a rampage.

Peace & solidarity,


Read Full Post »

On November 28 two workers died as a result of an explosion and fire at an Enbridge Energy oil pipeline terminal in Clearbrook, MN.

On December 1st, just two days later, at the Marathon Oil refinery in St. Paul Park, MN an explosion and fire at a 10,000 barrel tank claimed the life of another worker. 

Our sympathy goes out to the families and coworkers of all three employees who gave their lives for their job.

It is frustrating and disappointing that with the technology available and the really deep pockets of the oil industry that these tragedies still happen. WorkdayMinnesota has a story about oil refinery hazards and the efforts of the United Steelworkers union to raise awareness and encourage action to prevent further tragic accidents. The USW recently released a report from an extensive survey they did about Process Safety Management in the oil industry. While I must confess I have not read the entire 108 page report yet it shows the need for more emphasis on the industry to comply with the PSM standard that was implemented in 1992 by OSHA. Progress has been slow since the 2005 Texas City, Texas refinery blast that killed 15 and injured over 100 people. The USW report shows that the lessons learned from Texas City are not being widely implemented.

The Sky Blue Waters Report, a blog written by Tom Elko, has an informative piece about oil pipeline expansions and safety.

There is much more to write on this subject but I will get to that later.

Good night!

Peace & solidarity,


Read Full Post »

Living in corn country you have your ear (no pun intended) to news about ethanol.  It was the subject of my post, Beer or Biofuels, The Utimate Challenge. I recently ran across the following interesting commentary from It’s Getting Hot In Here:

Before We Get Drunk on Ethanol, Let’s Make Sure We Get It Right

Not all biofuels are created equal: in fact, depending on how they are produced, biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel can be environmentally destructive, raise the price of food, and even hurt efforts to tackle global warming.

Biofuels – ethanol and biodiesel – present a potentially important (partial) solution to concerns about global warming and our over-reliance on oil. However, to paraphrase a great LA Times op ed on the ethanol craze, alcohol is best enjoyed in moderation, and the same goes for these alcohol-based biofuels. Read the rest here.

Peace and solidarity,


Read Full Post »