Friday, February 3, 2017

Quorum? FERC don need no stinking Quorum!

Found this on Twitter:

News Release: February 3, 2017
Docket No. AD17-10-000 PDF

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Commission Delegates Authority to Staff in Absence of Quorum

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today issued an order delegating additional authority to agency staff to continue certain agency operations in the absence of a quorum of Commissioners. The delegation order also affirms that all pre-existing delegations of authority by the Commission to its staff continue to be effective.

The delegation order takes effect Feb. 4, 2017, and the additional authority granted to agency staff will last until the Commission again has a quorum and moves to lift the delegation order. The delegation period will not extend beyond 14 days following the date a quorum is re-established.

The Commission anticipates not having a quorum for an indeterminate period, but has a continuing responsibility to carry out its regulatory obligations under the Federal Power Act (FPA), Natural Gas Act (NGA), and Interstate Commerce Act (ICA), among other statutes.

When regulated entities make rate filings under the FPA or NGA that, in the absence of Commission action, would take effect without suspension, refund protection or the ability for protesting parties to appeal, the Commission's general practice has been not to allow that to happen. By issuing the order today, the Commission intends that to ensure that FERC staff has authority to prevent such filings from taking effect by operation of law during the no-quorum period.

Today's order outlines specific delegation of agency authority:

    Rate and other filings: The Director of the Office of Energy Market Regulation (OEMR) can accept and suspend rate filings, and make them effective subject to refund and further order of the Commission, or accept and suspend them, make them effective subject to refund, and set them for hearing and settlement judge procedures. For initial rates or rate decreases submitted under section 205 of the FPA, for which suspension and refund protection are unavailable, FERC staff is granted authority under section 206 to institute proceedings in order to protect the interests of customers.

    Extensions of time: FERC staff can extend the time for action on matters where it is permitted by statute.

    Waiver requests: The Director of OEMR can take appropriate action on uncontested filings under the NGA, FPA and ICA, seeking waivers of the terms and conditions of tariffs, rate schedules and service agreements, including waivers related to capacity release and capacity market rules.

    Uncontested settlements: The Director of OEMR has authority to accept settlements not contested by any party or participant, including Commission trial staff.


May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Comments on DAPL EIS have been CLOSED 25 days early?

Web submission of comments on the DAPL docket have been CLOSED 25 days early:

h/t to Jordan Chariton of TYT for this info.

No one seems to know what this means yet.

This MAY only apply to Web-based filing.

According to the note published in the Federal Register, you can still Snail-mail or email your comments:

You may mail or hand deliver written comments to Mr. Gib Owen, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, 108 Army Pentagon, Washington, DC 20310-0108. Advance arrangements will need to be made to hand deliver comments. Please include your name, return address, and "NOI Comments, Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing" on the first page of your written comments.

Comments may also be submitted via email to Mr. Gib Owen, at If emailing comments, please use "NOI Comments, Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing" as the subject of your email.

The location of all public scoping meetings will be announced at least 15 days in advance through a notice to be published in the local North Dakota newspaper (The Bismarck Tribune) and online at

For Further Information Contact

Mr. Gib Owen, Water Resources Policy and Legislation, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Washington, DC 20310-0108; telephone: (703) 695-6791; email:


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Russian Hacking links

IMO the best analysis on this stuff is coming from bloggers and podcasters, with a small number of real journalists.

Most of these folks have multiple blogs, videos, or podcasts on this subject. So these links are representative:

Sane Progressive

Jimmy Dore

Tim Black and HA Goodman

Corbett Report 

Glenn Greenwald

Chris Hedges


John McAfee

Abby Martin and Ben Norton

Ben Swann

John Kiriakou (former CIA official)

All of these folks have a slightly different take, but most all are in unison: 

1) there is no evidence of Russian hacking 

2) lots of evidence this is a Deep State (CIA, corporate media, DHS, DNC, etc) hacked the Democratic Primary, but little official media attention here

3) Lots of stories connected to the contents of the DCLeaks, the Wikileaks (Podesta and DNC emails), and the FBI dumps of the Clinton emails not being covered. Important in assessing root causes of how we got here.

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

PHMSA underground gas storage rules PUBLIC COMMENT

Friends, forgive the cross posting. But I have seen zero discussion about this on any lists. 

From Porter Ranch to Seneca Lake... This is a huge opportunity to influence out national gas pipeline/storage safety regulator.

Public comments on PHMSA Interim Final Rule for the safety of Underground NatGas Storage facilities due Feb 17.  

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Climate Heroes? or Dangerous Saboteurs? An evaluation schema for potential Direct Actions

Climate Heroes?  or Dangerous Saboteurs? 
An evaluation schema for potential Direct Actions 

I hope this generates some positive discussion. 

IMO, the issue around the Oct 2016 shutdown of 5x Dilbit Pipelines is a microcosm which illustrates certain concerns affecting the greater environmental and climate movements, and should call us all into examining our core values.   

We are living in a new age now. 

If we cannot stop Trump and growing Fascism, then I fear the threats against climate activists will here approach what we see in S. America, and W. Africa. 

Thus, it is of UTMOST importance that our actions are of the highest moral integrity, and UNAMBIGUOUSLY nonviolent. 

Gandhi's Satyagraha, Women Suffragettes, MLK, "My Name is Allegany County", "We are Seneca Lake", the Water Protectors at Standing Rock-- all examples of successful and TRUE nonviolent action campaigns.

We must be motived by a sense of protection and care for all beings. We must treat each other with kindness both at the gate and in our groups. 

These "valve turners" are being almost universally and uncritically celebrated in the alt-left press as being Climate Heroes. 

People who know me know I am a vocal evangelist for Nonviolent Direct Action, since it is clear administrative remedies do not work.

However, IMO, their actions were quite unlike other NVDA actions which I have both documented, organized, and participated in. 

for evaluating potential direct actions:

We need to closely examine: 

a) what were the goals of this action? 
b) a fair assessment of what the risks were, 
c) how the decision was made,
d) does it meet the definition of nonviolent action, 
e) does it follow the precautionary principle, or 
f) if there were potentially better ways to meet the goals?

My intention here is not to attack these people. They seem like they did not undertake this lightly. They planned it for months, took certain precautions, they seem thoughtful and motivated by deep concern for the environment. 

Although I admit I do feel a certain connection to the 2013 spill in Mayflower AR, and the people who live there who are still suffering health impacts 3 years later. So such a risky action does raise a certain anger in me. 

But I DO hope this critique causes groups to use the Six Questions above or similar evaluation schema for future possible direct actions.


The essence of Nonviolent Action is putting YOUR OWN body at risk. What gives someone the right to to put OTHER LIVES in the line of harm? Were those potentially impacted others involved in the decision?

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

Climate Heroes? Or Dangerous Saboteurs?

The essence of Nonviolent Action is putting YOUR OWN body at risk. What gives someone the right to to put OTHER LIVES in the line of harm? Were those potentially impacted others involved in the decision?

In October 2016, a team of people associated with the Climate Disobedience group, shut down all 5 pipelines carrying Tar Sands products into the USA from Canada. 

Starting up & shutting down a high pressure crude oil(*) pipeline is a very tricky business. It requires specialized knowledge, interconnect diagrams, etc. it requires coordinated efforts of dozens of people spanning hundreds of miles.
(* Product was actually Tar Sands Dilbit)

There are massive  forces involved, and flammable, toxic materials, which if spilled, can poison a watershed for generations. 

Closing block valves on active pipelines improperly can CAUSE a rupture! Pipeline safety historian Michael Holmstrom​​ has documented a dozen examples. A dozen experts on the Pipeline Safety Trust listserv all said this was dangerous and foolish. There was perfect consensus and no dissent. 

Does it make sense to risk spoiling the Earth (killing the patient) in order to save Her?  

Did these people fully understand the RISK OF GRAVE HARM they were creating? What about the negative PR had there been a spill? The grave damage in public opinion had there been a ruture? 

IMO, what these people did was NOT nonviolent action. It fails the Precautionary Principle. It fails the Prime Directive of all environmental activism (protection, nonharming). 

There is ONE argument which might justify such industrial sabotage, but I have not heard them make it. 

They have a great PR team, they are doing podcasts and conference calls and public events. Are they acknowledging the risk they took? No! 

They supposedly took precautions to mitigate the risk. Are they discouraging others from doing these same actions, who might not take the same precautions? No!

They are NOT doing this in the materials I've witnessed.   

IMO, It is essential that these people 

A) publicly acknowledge and disclose the grave risk of harm in such action

B) Generally discourage copycat actions

These folks should visit Mayflower Arkansas and talk with people there and see the damage caused by the EMPCO Pegasus ruptured first hand. There is a chance this incident was caused by an improperly closed block valve on an active, high pressure Dilbit pipeline--EXACTLY what these "valve turners" did.  

If they took this action which put the lives of many beings at risk, without understanding the risk at the time, then they should apologize and beg for mercy from the court and maybe ask acknowledgement their intention to do good work to save the Earth.

If they cannot understand the possible grave consequences of their actions, then they are non compos mentis, criminally insane.  

If they understood the risk and acted anyway, this seems like a criminal act, by definition!!

 Or do they have a damn good reason? What is that reason?
The overall potential harm of climate change is far worse?

 Yes, I agree that climate change risks mass extinction. It may already be underway. 

But did they survey every other living being potentially impacted by their actions? NO. 

This is why I believe this is a criminal act and suggest that you DO NOT DO THIS!!!!!! 

I do believe in NVDA and radical action to save the planet, but MUST be UNAMBIGUOUSLY nonviolent action. 

Gandhi's Satyagraha, Women Suffragettes, MLK, "My Name is Alleganey County", "We are Seneca Lake", the Water Protectors at Standing Rock-- all examples of TRUE and unambiguous nonviolent action. 

-- William Huston (climate activist, pipeline safety researcher, videographer)

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Let's Take over the Democratic Party!

David Cobb:

Let's just be honest.
This idea of creating another organization
and taking over the Democratic Party...
Let's just be clear...

Bernie Sanders galvanized a mass movement in this country progressive ideology springing up.

The leadership of the corporate Democratic Party destroyed them, and Bernie Sanders
and others said,

I know what let's do....
let's form an organization called "Our Revolution" and take over the Democratic Party and move it to the left.
Bernie Sanders: Our Revolution

It reminded me of my experience,
as a young anti-apartheid activist,
who then went on to work for Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988.

Because in that election
cycle, here's what we experienced:
A progressive upwelling from within the Democratic Party process,
the corporate leadership crushed us.
Jesse Jackson said,
I know what let's do,
let's form a new organization
and take over the Democratic Party
and move it to the left.
That was called "Rainbow Push".
Jesse Jackson: Rainbow Push

Four years later, Jerry Brown
inspired a progressive movement within,
it was crushed by the corporate leadership
of the Democratic Party.

He said,
I know what let's do:
Let's create another organization,
take over the Democratic Party and take it to the left.
That was called "We the People".
Jerry Brown: We the People

Four years later, Dennis Kucinich came along. inspired a progressive movement within,  it was crushed by the corporate leadership of the Democratic Party.

He said,
I know what let's do: 
 (can you guess?)
Let's form an organization,
take over the Democratic Party and take it to the left.

That was called "Progressive Democrats of America".
Dennis Kucinich: Progressive Democrats for America
Four years later, Howard Dean came along.
Can you tell the story?
Rose up a progressive movement within the Democratic party.
it was crushed by the corporate leadership
He said, 
I know what let's do: 

Let's form an organization,
take over the Democratic Party and take it to the left.

That was called "Democracy for America".
Howard Dean: Democracy for America


Commentary by Bill Huston:

The Democratic Party has abandoned the poor and the working class for FORTY FIVE YEARS!
This began in 1971 with the Powell Memo:

Ralph Nader explains to Chris Hedges
the history of corruption of the Democratic Party
beginning in 1971 with the Powell Memo.

The last major environmental laws were passed by Richard Nixon.
Since then, the Democrats have pushed upon us
  • Jobs exporting free trade agreements
  • Privatization of everything, from Charter Schools to our National Parks
  • Undeclared Wars
  • Labor abuses, such as Taft-Hartley
  • Bank bailouts 
  • Domestic Spying
  • Deregulation of Industry
  • Evisceration of the EPA 
  • Fracking, Pipelines, and dirty energy policy
  • ..... just like the Republicans!

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over,
yet expecting different results."
-- Albert Einstein:

Friends, Let's BE SMART! !

Please let us ABANDON ALL HOPE in reforming the Democratic Party. 
It is a BROKEN MACHINE and it should be dismantled. 

Please help me build a party where Progressive Principles are Front and Center.


UPDATE: Now there is are TWO new movements
for Progressives to take over the Democratic Party!
"Justice Democrats"
"Operation Backbone":

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Inadequate and Ineffective: EPA & FERC

This was sent to me today by David Sligh of Wild Virginia, who wrote, 

"The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition is releasing the attached report today.  Thought it might be of interest to some of you."

Inadequate and Ineffective: 
A Review of the U.S. EPA's Responses to Draft Environmental Impact Statements Issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission    

Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition  
December 21, 2016 


The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition studied eighteen cases in which the U.S Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA" or the "Agency") commented on Environmental Impact Statements prepared by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC" or the "Commission") for natural gas projects, in accordance with requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The main conclusions from this study:  

 EPA, in every case, identified important information and analyses that should have been included in the Draft Environmental Impact Statements (DEISs) but was not, assigning ratings of "insufficient information" for each of the eighteen project reviews.    

 The data and analyses EPA found missing from the FERC DEISs were often critical to support valid environmental assessments and to ensure environmental and human health protections.  

 EPA acknowledged that FERC's omissions prevented the public, EPA, and other agencies from properly understanding impacts from the projects or making effective comments - yet EPA did not insist upon revised or supplemental DEISs to remedy these situations. 

 FERC often disregarded EPA's comments and suggestions on the DEISs and continued to omit necessary information from the Final Environmental Impact Statements (FEISs), illustrating the ineffectual nature of EPA's comments and ratings.  

 EPA has failed in its duty as a "watchdog" over FERC's implementation of NEPA - the Agency must take more forceful action or continue to fail in this mission. 

Full Document:

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The main cause of gas pipeline explosions is....?

Just found this article where Williams' Chris Stockton is quoted:

:: Gas pipeline explosions are not unheard of, but adding a compressor station does not increase the risk of an explosion,  he added. "The main cause for gas explosions is people digging and accidentally striking the line,"

So there are two statements here I would like to fact check.

1) Adding compression does not add additional risk of pipeline failure, 

2) External strikes are the primary cause of failure. 

Does anyone have any data to confirm or refute these statements? 

#1 is counterintuitive, and I have data which seems to refute both. 

In my project to calibrate the federal PIR formula, I have collected data on several of the largest or most recent pipeline failures:
  • 1: Edison NJ 3/23/1994 *S
  • 2: Carlsbad NM 8/19/2000 *SC
  • 3: Appomattox VA 9/14/2008 *SC
  • 4: Cleburne TX 6/7/2010 *E
  • 5: San Bruno, CA 9/9/2010 *S
  • 6: Sissonville WV 12/11/2012 *SC
  • 7: Salem PA 4/29/2016 *SC
  • 8: Unityville PA 6/9/2016 *SC
Note: I did not make any effort to cherry-pick these to prove any point. I only selected these because they were major or recent failures, and where I could learn the diameter, MAOP, and learn the impact radius from published reports. 

*S: Spontaneous Failure (not external strike)
*C: Within 4 miles downstream of a compressor
*E: External Strike

So from this somewhat small sample, I find that:

  * 7/8 (87.5%) were spontaneous failures (related to corrosion, operator error, equipment failure, materials defect, etc)
  * 1/8 (12.5%) were from an external strike
  * 5/8 (62.5%) were within 4 miles downstream from a compressor where pressure is generally nearest MAOP. 

This seems to me fairly convincing evidence Stockton is wrong on both counts. 

I would appreciate any evidence or commentary which sheds more light on this. 


May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Puzzle! (for the Zeitgeist)


Your Name is Zeitgeist.
You are the Spirit of the Age.
You are the eyes the ears and voice
of the Collective Consciousness.

You find yourself at the precipice of the Void.
You are teetering at the Bridge of Death.

How you act now will not only determine your own fate,
but the fate of Uncountable Living Beings.

The fate of entire Civilizations lies at the outcome of this moment.

It's all up to YOU!

Everything depends on your next choices.
So you should choose wisely,
With the great attention and care now...

Do I have your attention? OK,
Good ;)

Dear Zeitgeist, you are sitting in front of the Unhappiest Man in the World.
A man with insatiable greed, who also has unimaginable powers,
controls the largest military on Planet Earth.

This man has the power to destroy EVERY Living Thing 100 times over.

This man is angry and afraid and confused.
He is surrounding himself with other greedy, violent, and unhappy people.

YOU are sitting in front of the Unhappiest man in the Solar System,
and he has his hand on the button which can blow up world.

He thought having a beautiful wife would make him happy. He got that!
A Supermodel! A porn star.

Do you think this brought him lasting happiness?
No. It satisfied him for a while, and then he wanted more.

He thought having a BILLION DOLLARS would make him happy.
He got that!!

Do you think all his money makes him happy?


He wanted to have GIANT buildings, with his name emblazoned
In major cities all over the world. He got that!!

He wanted to play golf at the most exclusive resorts,
with famous people and movie stars and heads of state...

He wanted to be the Star of a Hit TV show,
A REALITY show where he played himself, a man with so much power
that he gets to decide the fate of many people,
like an Emperor who can send people to the lions.


Do you think he is happy now? No.
He only wants more fame, more money, more power...

He thought being President of the UNITED STATES
would make him happy.

He now has so much power he can destroy entire nations!!!
Everyone will have to bow before him,
and kiss his ass in order to live or die.

He has acquired fortune and fame, he shits on a Gold Toilet.

He owns helicopters and yachts and jumbo jets.
He has servants who attend to his every need or desire.
He can and has destroyed the reputations, careers, and lives, of many people

He has hunted and eaten rare creatures, nearly extinct, 
and kept their heads as trophies.

But nothing has made him happy.

Now he has the nuclear launch codes.

You find yourself kneeling before him.
He wants you to explain why he should not push the button.

What do you do?

Do you spit in his face?
Do you say he is worse than Hitler?
A monster, the Devil Incarnate? Pure Evil!
Do you curse him to Hell and beyond?

Many people have been saying this!
Painting pictures of the man as a Nazi or Devil.
Do you think he has not seen these things?
Do you think these pictures have made him joyful?
Or brought him more happiness?
Or did it only increase his pain, his burden, his unhappiness.

YOU are sitting, kneeling before the UNHAPPIEST MAN IN THE WORLD.
He knows that you hate him and want him dead.
He knows you think he is a creature so ugly that you want nothing
more than that his soul is punished in Hell Realms for eternities.

So OK he tells you.
You will get your wish.

The man says, He will kill himself,
by pushing the button.

He will kill himself and you too and every living thing.
He will destroy the Earth so utterly it will be dead for 100 Million Years.

The Earth is nearly there anyway. Every living system in breakdown.
Already in the middle of a mass extinction the scale of the Permian-Triassic.
Polar ice caps melting which will cause feedback loops
which will cook the oceans and all life.

But he hasn't pushed the button yet. You have an audience with the man.
Maybe there is something you can say to him to get him to change his mind?

So what do you say to him?
If not a curse, then what?

What do you say to the Richest, Most Powerful, and Unhappiest Man in the
Galaxy to get him to save the Earth?

Do you say Fuck It! Push the Damn Button already.
Get it over with. We are already in Hell!

Do you try to persuade him that life is worth living?
Even for a man who has done despicable things?
Who has committed unspeakable violence?

How do you heal the Unhappiest Man in the Galaxy,
to heal his heart so that he saves you and me and everyone in Four Directions,
from the Graves of our Ancestors to Seven Generations?

Can you heal him with compassion, with kindness?
Can you heal him with forgiveness?
Do you say you are sorry for the pain he feels,
for the pain he has caused?

Do you wish that he is happy and free from suffering?
Will that make a difference?

Whether you like it or not, you are HERE-NOW, dear Zeitgeist!

Dear friend, this is all up to you.

Your speech, your soliloquy, your song begins now.