ALJ backs down – U-CAN retains party status

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on August 22, 2008 @ 7:59 am

Here’s the ALJ’s Order:

ALJ\’s Order – U-CAN and Prairie Island

And the important part:

The United Citizens Action Network shall retain its status as a party to the proceedings.

The ALJ makes a disturbing reference in this Order to a conversation in the hall, ex parte, not on the record or reflected in any filed documents:

On August 12, 2008, Joyce Osborne and Judy Martin, members of United Citizens Action Network (UCAN), appeared at the evidentiary hearing and asked questions of David Birkholz who prepared the Environmental Report required in this proceeding. At that time, Ms. Osborne told the undersigned that UCAN may withdraw.

What’s disturbing is that the ALJ saw fit to mention part of an ex parte conversation between U-CAN representatives and herself in an Order — an ex parte discussion between an ALJ who should have explained the ex parte rules to the unrepresented U-CAN representatives who don’t know what ex parte contact or conduct means, who should have known better than to have an ex parte conversation in the first place. The judge, knowing they’re not represented, has a wide ranging substantive conversation, including her Order to Show Cause and then uses a portion, just a portion, in her Order? Highly irregular. Beyond the use of an off the record ex parte comment, it was used in a way that misrepresents the general feelings of these representatives U-CAN. This expression that “U-CAN may withdraw” was a small part of a much larger conversation including statements expressing frustration with the process, that they’re utter novices in a sophisticated proceeding, that they are not represented and can’t afford representation, that they didn’t know what to do about the Order to Show Cause, that they wanted more time to address the Order to Show Cause, and have had to deal with the pipeline which is being built based on an Order of ALJ Heydinger, and a recitation of all of the problems they’ve had in dealing with that pipeline. How very, very strange that she would make a selective reference to this ex parte conversation …

Two weeks ago, the ALJ made it clear that she wanted to give U-CAN the boot, saying that she was going to issue an Order to Show Cause and that U-CAN and Prairie Island Indian Community would have to show why they should remain (there’s been an increasing effort from OAH to limit parties in proceedings, I’ve seen too many of these efforts myself). She did issue the Order:

Order to Show Cause – U-CAN

Order to Show Cause – Prairie Island Indian Community

grrrrrrrrrrr… Prairie Island opted out, asking to withdraw, and U-CAN did respond, and oh, did U-CAN show cause:

U-CAN Response to Order to Show Cause

Affidavit of Russell & Judy Martin

No way should they be tossed out of this proceeding, they are the affected landowners already under siege of MinnCan pipeline. But they’re a wild card in this proceeding… can’t have that, now, can we…

Responses to Order to Show Cause

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on August 19, 2008 @ 12:09 pm

Prairie Island Indian Community and U-CAN have filed responses to the ALJ’s Order to Show Cause:

Order to Show Cause – Prairie Island Indian Community

Order to Show Cause – U-CAN

And here is the Prairie Island response:

Letter to Judge Heydinger August 15 2008

PIIC Memorandum and Request to Withdraw August 15 2008

Here’s the U-CAN response:

U-CAN Response to Order to Show Cause

Affidavit of Russell and Judy Martin

MinnCan – Unpublished Appellate Case

Judge Heydinger said Thursday that she was leaving town, so we’ll get an Order on this I’d guess some time before the hearing resumes on September 11, 2008.

MISO Midwest Market

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on August 17, 2008 @ 12:03 pm

I keep losing this study, here it is again, the ICF study that looks at “benefits” of displacing natural gas with coal, and building massive amounts of transmission to do it — on the backs of ratepayers and landowners.

ICF – MISO Benefits Analysis Study

Check out the intro and the Conclusions if you don’t have much time — you’ll be glad you did.

AWEA-WOW “Midwest Corridor” proposal to DOE

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on August 15, 2008 @ 9:02 am

That’s a lot of alphabet soup, so here it is in English. The American Wind Energy Association and “Wind on the Wires” and a few others have submitted several comments to the DOE and others. It’s old news, years old, but it came up at the hearing. Yesterday, the Walton’s witness, Robert Gramlich of AWEA, couldn’t quite remember what they’d recommended as a corridor. He did remember that they’d proposed a corridor, and defined it as a Midwest Corridor. He was promoting sending wind from the Dakotas to points east, even to the Mid-Atlantic (where he had worked for PJM Interconnection). He did know about Bluewater Wind’s offshore development in Delaware, and of much development in the Mid-Atlantic region in New Jersey, Maryland (and the judge didn’t want to hear about the other areas of the Mid-Atlantic showing strong wind development), admitted that wind development in the Mid-Atlantic would circumvent any claimed transmission constraint between there and the Midwest, and most importantly, that he did not know of any market analysis for selling power from the Midwest in the Mid-Atlantic region. He mentioned Indiana, which, as Crocker pulled out of him, has a lot of wind potential and pending development. Here’s the DOE’s NREL page on Indiana. And regarding Illinois, he didn’t disagree that Illinois had at least 7,000MW in the MISO queue.

It’s important to look at what AWEA-WOW has been doing, because it’s promotional activity of transmission a la CapX, promotional activity that they’d agreed to do in the TRANSLink deal — Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA), Izaak Walton League, ME3/Fresh Energy and North American Water Office:

Midwest Wind Development Plan – 2002

Note that this Midwest Wind Development Plan is for transmission and note the “load centers” on the shore of Lake Michigan. Also note that it was prepared by Matt Schuerger, now a contractor with the state, and Beth Soholt, Izaak Walton League. Beth remains on the payroll of the Izaak Walton League – see their IRS 990 — Wind on the Wires is still a subsidiary of the Waltons.

AWEA-WOW et al Congestion Study Comments 10-10-06

AWEA-WOW et al Proposal of Transmission Corridors 12-1-06

AWEA-WOW et al Proposed 1221 Corridors Comment

AWEA-WOW et al Proposed 1221 Corridor Maps

Take a look at the Maps. For over six years now, they’ve been advocating for transmission a la CapX 2020 from the Dakotas to load centers near the Great Lakes. Who cares? Well…

  1. It’s not for Minnesota – we’re a pass through on the way to Chicago and beyond.
  2. There’s been no market analysis – why would anyone in Illinois buy wind and pay capital and service costs of transmission when they have a lot of wind development there?
  3. It’s not efficient – the SW Minnesota 345kV line turned on line losses. What’s being proposed is … what… 5 times longer… lots more??? How far away is the Mid-Atlantic region? Once more with feeling: LINE LOSSES!

Deadline for Public Comments extended

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on August 13, 2008 @ 10:12 am

Good news – I’ve been slow in getting this posted, but here it is at long last:

Notice of Extension of Deadline for Public Comments

The deadline for Public Comments has been extended until 4:30 p.m. on September 26, 2008, a week after the hearing is expected to end.

Send your comments on CapX 2020 related to “need” and other issues raised in this Certificate of Need proceeding to:


Beverly Jones Heydinger
Office of Administrative Hearings
600 North Robert Street
PO Box 64620
St. Paul, MN 55164-0620

Comments can also be sent in by fax, but I can’t find that number…

Anthrax fields of Scott County

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on @ 9:50 am

Did you know there are Anthrax Fields in Scott County?  These are fields where cows with anthrax were buried years ago, mainly in the 1930s, but before and after too.  I learned of this over the weekend while on a guided tour looking at the MinnCan pipeline route and comparing that with the proposed route for CapX’s “Brookings” line.  That comparison is not a pretty site, because the pipeline is now a corridor, and putting transmission foundations in an anthrax field would not be good.  “Avoidance criteria,” eh?

Now, look at the map in this Anthrax Mitigation Report:

Anthrax Mitigation Plan – January 2007

… and compare with the CapX 2020 map above — yesterday at the hearing, the state’s “environmental” guru who wrote the “Environmental Report” knew nothing about Anthrax Fields — you’d think something like that would be important enough to include in the report.  Goes to show you don’t think!!

The MinnCan pipeline went right through an Anthrax Field, bored through it rather than dig it up and drop the pipe in a trench like they did elsewhere, and it happens to be at the intersection of the pipeline and the Wilmarth transmission line (and the Jordan slew too), and I’ve got this feeling that it’s going to be the site of the “Helena” substation too.  Watch…

Order to Show Cause – Prairie Island Indian Community and U-CAN

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on August 4, 2008 @ 12:17 pm

Posting from DECC in Duluth, finally found a place with access, and this is what just came out over the wire::

Notice & Order to Show Cause – Prairie Island Indian Communmity

Notice & Order to Show Cause – U-CAN

In short, they’ve not appeared (U-CAN did appear at the evidentiary hearing), and the ALJ is requesting that they:

By August 16, 2008, (the Prairie Island Indian Community/U-CAN) shall file a Memorandum and Supporting Affidavit specifying the relevant information that it intends to offer into the record during the evidentiary hearing, a detailed explanation of the role that it intends to play in evaluating the evidence provided, and explaining why it should remain as a full party, or requesting withdrawal as a party.

… sigh…. U-CAN are landowners in condemnation court over the MinnCan pipeline, directly affected, meaning they now have 20 foot high piles of dirt in their yard because a pipeline is going in, and their energies have been focused on that project.  In the midst of that fight, they received notice that their land was also targeted by CapX 2020 for a transmission line.  How much can people take?  How much can they do?  And how can they afford representation in this mess?  Paula Maccabee, the other day, asked a witness whether they’d heard of “Corridor Fatigue.”  They had, and describing it, said essentially that where a corridor goes through, and then another, that people just can’t handle it, can’t participate fully because they’re already mired in the initial condemnation proceedigns… it’s too much…  Well, this seems to me to be a case of Corridor Fatigue.  We’ll see how this goes.