Got Citizens Task Forces!

Filed under:Laws & Rules,Nuts & Bolts,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on January 28, 2009 @ 10:41 am


Spent an afternoon at the PUC, just about lost it, but prevailed and got what we set out to get.

It never ceases to amaze me the oppositional positions taken by the Dept. of Commerce.  Xcel Energy isn’t the one objecting to Petitions for Citizens Advisory Task Force, it’s Commerce objecting, and they will do just about anything to prevent a Task Force.  Why?  Because Task Forces have a habit of ferreting out the truth about an application, vetting it in a way that the state toadies will not do.


Dig this – none of the Intervenors in the Certificate of Need proceeding were on the Commerce list that was served with Notice of the PUC meeting and the Staff Briefing Papers!  The PUC site was constipated and I couldn’t get in, had been checking every now and then, and finally got on mid-afternoon Monday, and THERE IT WAS!  So I fired off a Petition to Intervene and a Petition for Citizens Task Force (see prior posts).  And from the way that hearing went yesterday, you’d think Dakota County area was the only one that deserved a Task Force — guess again!



Scott Ek, Project Manager


scott.ek [at]

Ray Kirsch, Public Advisor


ray.kirsch [at]

Copy deborah.pile [at]

The Task Forces are going to be organized geographically, that’s why it’s necessary to tell them you’re in the “Helena substation – Lake Marion substation” area or the “Lake Marion substation to Hampton Corners substation” area, or on the leg going from “Lyon County to Granite Falls” to join with the Big Stone II transmission in Granite Falls.  Or if you’re concerned with “River Crossings” because this line crosses the Minnesota River at least twice…

Get to your friends and neighbors and family along the proposed Brookings route and let them know this is their opportunity to dive in!

NoCapX 2020 & U-CAN Petitions Filed

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on January 27, 2009 @ 8:52 am

Yesterday NoCapX 2020 and United Citizens Action Network filed a Petition to Intervene in the Routing docket for CapX 2020.  Today we filed our Petition for a Citizens Advisory Task Force.

NoCapX 2020 & U-CAN Petition for Intervention

NoCapX 2020 and U-CAN Petition for Citizen Advisory Task Force

The Staff Briefing Papers are odd, both acknowledging some of the problems inherent in this application and process, and avoiding a statutory Citizens Advisory Task Force.  Scott Ek is new, without the baggage of the other Commerce staff, but he’d obviously be getting “on the job training” in Commerce philosophy and policy.

Back in the late 1990s, a Citizens Advisory Task Force had a charge and power to do a thorough vetting of an application.  But in 2001, the Task Force statute was changed, gutting their term and power by adding this language:

At the time the task force is appointed, the board shall specify the charge to the task force. The task force shall expire upon completion of its charge, upon designation by the board of alternative sites or routes to be included in the environmental impact statement, or upon the specific date identified by the board in the charge, whichever occurs first.

Minn. Stat. 216E.08.

Commerce has been interpreting it to mean that the job of the Task Force is to comment on the appropriate scope of environmental review, and the minute the Scoping Decision is out, the Task Force is over.  EH?

This needs some clarification, and the Commission, in ordering a Task Force, should specify the Task so that Commerce does not limit them… as has happened in the past.

What’s good about Staff’s recommendations is that it’s acknowledged that there’s not enough time and that there’s a benefit to having a Task Force around.  Seems to me that the Commission should Order a Task Force and then, when it ends as mandated in the statute, it would continue as a “work group” or a “focus group” as suggested by Commerce.  That’s workable.  but I want specific directions, like “The Task Force shall issue a report with their Findings” or some such, and outline what the “task” is.  Let’s get specific!

PUC meeting tomorrow on Brookings routing

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on January 26, 2009 @ 8:37 pm

Today I was able to get into the PUC site, it’s been down for maintenance, and it’s been down, and I’ve not been able to get in for one reason or another, and what do I find but a PUC meeting scheduled for tomorrow on accepting the Brookings routing application as “complete” and addressing whether there will be a Citizens Advisory Task Force. I don’t have time to get into all the history blah blah but here’s some basics:

PUC Meeting Notice & MOES Briefing Papers

My response was to fire off a Petition to Interve, this time for NoCapX 2020 and U-CAN:

No CapX 2020 & U-CAN Intervention Petition

Check out MOES rationale for a “Focus Group” and not a Citizens Advisory Task Force.  The CATF procedure has been so perverted since the legislature changed the statute to assure that there were no more working and effective Task Forces, like the Goodhue County Advisory Task Force on nuclear waste and the Chisago Task Force on the Chisago Transmission Project the first time around (the 3rd time, it was so ineffective and improper, that’s part of why I’m so furious now).

Here’s a piece I did a while back:

Citizen Advisory Task Forces through time…

With that background, how does the MOES machinations sit with you?

Do you have your CapX 2020 Brookings route app?

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on January 10, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

I got my CapX 2020 Brookings route application today — I’d requested it after I learned it had been filed, and they said they were waiting for them to be printed, and they’d send a CD, and then the hard copy, and lo and behold, it was at the Post Office when I went in!  It cam in a big paper case, one HUGE notebook and a smaller one, and a CD… why, it’s like Xmas!

If you need a hard copy or CD, contact CapX 2020 (Applicants keep saying “CapX 2020” doesn’t exist, but here’s letterhead… hmmmmmm, anyway, get ahold of them:

Craig Poorker

CapX 2020 Brookings Routing Lead


Whew, that is one big notebook!

Talk to legislators about CapX 2020!

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on January 6, 2009 @ 6:13 pm

Afterall, they’re the ones that gave us the statutory chages that made it possible:

2005 Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell

You know, those statutory changes that GRE’s Will Kaul brags about:

William Kaul – Testimony before Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Hearing- June 17, 2008

Here’s the House Energy Committee, I was fortunate to get the list just 12 minutes after they passed it.  Let them know what you think of the 2005 transmission changes, and what you think of CapX 2020:

Chair: Bill Hilty (DFL)  rep.bill.hilty [at]

V. Chair: Andrew Falk (DFL)    rep.andrew.falk [at]

GOP: Torrey Westrom (R)  rep.torrey.westrom [at]

Bruce Anderson    rep.bruce.anderson [at]

Joe Atkins    rep.joe.atkins [at]

Michael Beard (R)  rep.mike.beard [at]

David Bly (DFL)  rep.david.bly [at]

Kathy Brynaert (DFL)  rep.kathy.brynaert [at]

Bob Gunther (R)  rep.bob.gunther [at]

Tom Hackbarth (R)  rep.tom.hackbarth [at]

Joe Hoppe (R)  rep.joe.hoppe [at]

Gail Kulick Jackson    rep.gailk.jackson [at]

Sheldon Johnson (DFL)  rep.sheldon.johnson [at]

Jeremy Kalin (DFL)  rep.jeremy.kalin [at]

Kate Knuth (DFL)  rep.kate.knuth [at]

Doug Magnus (R)  rep.doug.magnus [at]

Bud Nornes (R)  rep.bud.nornes [at]

Mike Obermueller  rep.mike.obermueller [at]

John Persell    rep.john.persell [at]

Brita Sailer (DFL)  rep.brita.sailer [at]

Andy Welti (DFL)  rep.andy.welti [at]

ex-officio Lyndon Carlson (DFL)  rep.lyndon.carlson [at]

ex-officio Loren Solberg (DFL)  rep.loren.solberg [at]

PPSA Annual Hearing – comments due 2/2

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on January 2, 2009 @ 10:52 am


The Annual Hearing for the Power Plant Siting Act was on Tuesday. That part may be over, but you may still send Comments in and they’ll be included in the report.

Comments are due on February 2, 2009, Groundhog Day. Send Comments on how you think the PPSA is and is not working to:

Bob Cupit
Public Utilities Commission
101 E. 7th Place, Suite 300
St. Paul, MN 55101

or email to bob.cupit [at]

The Power Plant Siting Act was part of Minn. Stat. Ch. 116C, but now it’s 216E…

Minn. Stat. Chapter 216E – Power Plant Siting Act

Here’s the point of the PPSA Annual Hearing:


The commission shall hold an annual public hearing at a time and place prescribed by rule in order to afford interested persons an opportunity to be heard regarding any matters relating to the siting of large electric generating power plants and routing of high-voltage transmission lines. At the meeting, the commission shall advise the public of the permits issued by the commission in the past year. The commission shall provide at least ten days but no more than 45 days’ notice of the annual meeting by mailing or serving electronically, as provided in section 216.17, a notice to those persons who have requested notice and by publication in the EQB Monitor and the commission’s weekly calendar.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace