Labovitz on Economic Impacts of CapX

Filed under:News coverage,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on November 12, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

toiletonastick The “CapX 2020 toilet-on-a-stick” seen in New Trier, near Hampton…

You’da thunk they’da learned a thing or two about Labovitz…

Just out from the CapX 2020 Transmission Lines ‘R’ Us crew:

Labovitz Study – CapX 2020

Truth be told, I haven’t read it, but it’s downloaded and printing out, ready for highlighting and post its.

Meanwhile, the STrib and everyone else is running promotional pieces lauding the “jobs, jobs, jobs” — but that’s what they pay their shills for, eh?  Oh, that’s what WE (ratepayers) pay their shills for:

CapX2020 power lines will add thousands of jobs

The power-line project will add thousands of jobs, including nearly 8,000 in 2013, according to a study requested by the utilities.

By JENNIFER BJORHUS, Star Tribune

CapX2020, a network of high-voltage power lines that Xcel Energy, Great River Energy and other utilities are building across Minnesota, will generate nearly 8,000 jobs at the peak of construction in 2013, according to an impact study released Wednesday.

The 128-page study, commissioned by the CapX2020 utilities, covers Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsin and was done by the bureau of business and economic research in the business school at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Among the key findings: CapX2020 will generate $1.6 billion in wages, rent and profits from construction payroll spending, and $3.4 billion in sales from construction-related activity in the four-state area. It also will generate more than $149 million in tax revenue in the four states combined. The bulk of the impact is in Minnesota.

The 8,000-job total in 2013 includes secondary jobs in sectors related to the construction, such as engineering, retail and restaurants, the study said.

The $1.7 billion CapX2020 project will add 700 miles of overhead cables capable of moving 4,500 megawatts of electricity. The upgrade will expand the grid by about 30 percent and help move more wind-generated power. Advocates say the project is necessary to meet future electricity needs, but the expansion remains somewhat controversial, particularly among those in the path of the new high-voltage power lines. Ratepayers will be paying for the expansion in their utility bills for years to come.

The CapX2020 utilities also said Wednesday that they’ve broken ground on a leg of the expansion from Monticello to St. Cloud.

In a press release, the utilities said that Indiana-based Ambassador Steel Corp. is supplying about 900 tons of enhanced rebar for the Monticello-St. Cloud project from its local facilities.

“It helps the suppliers we purchase steel from, and it helps our community at a time when job growth is desperately needed,” Ambassador Steel district manager Dan Yerks said in the release.

Yerks said in an interview that he hopes to supply 16,000 tons of rebar for the CapX2020 project over the next few years from the company’s facilities in Minneapolis and Menomonie, Wis.

“It’s a major part of our business in this economy,” he said.

Do take a few minutes to read this thing, and look for not just the “benefits” but look for any attribution of socioeconomic costs.  What I do know of Labovitz Reports is gleaned from the Labovitz Report on Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project — and that report was the laughing-stock of the hearing, those holding it up as a basis for permitting that coal gasification lost credibility.  Here’s the last part of Alan’s cross in Taconite, MN on that report:

Q. Table at 3.4-2 identifies, by my arithmetic, a total of something over 15 million pounds per year of regulated air pollutants. And without getting into detail, let me just suggest, if I may, for purposes of this question, suppose that 15 million pounds a year of regulated air pollutants would constitute a negative impact. If those 15 million pounds a year air pollutants were to cause asthma, bronchitis, cancer of the lungs and so on and so forth, in a certain number of people, those people would need — might very well, probably would seek medical care for those problems,and they would buy inhalers, they would go to the emergency room, they would experience surgicalprocedures at the local health care facilities and so on. In your model would that be a component of economic stimulus?

MR. STARNS: Object to the form of the question.

JUDGE MIHALCHICK: Can you answer that?

A. Not really. I don’t — I mean, he’s asking a hypothetical question I don’t quite understand. I mean, he’s trying to lead me to say that it’s going to cause economic damage, and I’m not in a position to — I’m not an environmental person, so I’m not going to say that that’s necessarily going to happen. There’s other witnesses that maybe could answer that question.

Q. I appreciate that, and I’m trying to focus my question to you on the specific issue of whether –

JUDGE MIHALCHICK: Is the question whether his model included such a cost?

Q. Yes, whether increased use of health care facilities, funeral homes and so on and so forth would constitute a form of economic stimulus that would be acknowledged as such in your model?

A. I mean, if you want to look at it in a bizzare way, yeah.

Q. How is that bizzare?

A. Well, funeral homes are businesses. Hospitals are businesses. They need sick people, I mean, if you want to look at it. We’re not taking that into account, taking that pollution into account here, and you need to ask other witnesses about, you know, the environmental impacts or the effects of those.

MR. MULLER: I don’t have anything more. Thank you.

So let’s check out what this study on CapX 2020 has to say… I’m hoping I won’t be disappointed!

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace