Great letter by Bev Topp about 117.189 repeal

Filed under:News coverage — posted by admin on April 10, 2009 @ 5:21 am

There’s a great letter by Bev Topp in the Farmington Independent about repeal of Minn. Stat. 117.189, that horrible statute that makes “public service corporations” more special, with more power than even the state, by exempting them from many of the requirements and landowner protections under eminent domain law.

Here’s Bev’s letter:

Letter: Eminent domain rules affect everyone

Bev Topp, Eureka,
Published Thursday, April 09, 2009

To the editor,

I am writing to correct a statement reported in last week’s Independent about the CapX2020 lines opposed by the Citizens Energy Task Force. Michelle Leonard wrote a timely report on the project with lines that are proposed to go through several townships in Dakota County by 2011. And her report of the disadvantages landowners faced in negotiations with the utilities in Empire accurately depict the kind of low offers that can occur without the adequate protections that are now in place with the 2006 eminent domain law (In Empire: $14,600 instead of the $55,000 mediation award).

Because utilities were given a “pass” on very important sections of the 2006 law, they can offer very low, unfair prices for the easements they will get for their 15-story electric towers, and the landowners’ only recourse will be to take it or spend large sums for attorneys to work for fair offers. Even then they will have to turn over a significant portion of the award to these attorneys.

Contrary to what Ms. Leonard reported, legislation was introduced in the House and Senate this session by Rep. David Bly and Senator Kevin Dahle, both of Northfield. However, because of lobbying by the utilities, these bills will not make it to the floor this session and the only hope for making the laws apply to utilities as it does to governmental entities is to attach it as an amendment to other bills.

So why is this important to all citizens — not just the landowners along 600 miles of CapX towers?

1) “Public service corporations” can take advantages of these exceptions to the eminent domain law whenever they deal with landowners.

2) We are already asking landowners to host these massive electric towers every 600-900 feet across their property where noise, electromagnetic fields dangerous to people’s health, property devaluation and other disadvantages will be lived with into the foreseeable future. Why are we asking them to also “give away” the fair price that should be paid for using their land, to deliver electricity to other destinations?

It is important that citizens from all over Minnesota contact their senators and representative to ask that utilities operate by the same rules that our governments do when taking land for a public purpose. And it is very important that people potentially affected by the construction of the CapX2020 lines show up to the meetings scheduled for public input.

See for a list of meetings and locations (Lakeville on Wednesday evening and Cannon Falls on Thursday evening).

Bev Topp
Eureka Township
Bev Topp is a member of the Citizens Energy Task Force

Gaylord CapX 2020 transmision meeting in the news

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on April 9, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

CapX 2020 meetings are happening across southern Minnesota, last week, this week..


April 15th & 16th

Oral Argument & Deliberation

PUC – 121 – 7th Place East, 3rd Floor

St. Paul, MN  55101



Seventy people attended power line meeting in Gaylord

April 9th, 2009

gaylordpowerlinemeet09Gibbon area farmers Doug Scherer of Moltke Township (front) and Daryl Wendt of Severance Township (partially hidden) looked over an enlarged map showing the preferred and alternate routes for a proposed 237 mile, 345 kV transmission line that may be constructed in Sibley County. An informational meeting was held at Sibley East Junior High Thursday night.

Approximately 70 people attended at public meeting at the Sibley East School in Gaylord Thursday night about the proposed 345 kV transmission project that could be constructed in Sibley County.

An approximate 237 mile 345 kV transmission line is proposed by Great River Energy and Xcel Energy. The transmission would begin at the state’s western border near Hendricks and end south of the Twin Cities metro area near Hampton.

Two possible routes have been identified – a preferred route and an alternate route. The routes would cross portions of Sibley County, along with Lincoln, Lyon, Yellow Medicine, Chippewa, Redwood, Brown, Renville, Le Sueur, Scott, Rice and Dakota County.

In the Gaylord area, the preferred route would be north of County Road 8 until County Road 13, when it would follow County Road 8 for one mile, and then follow 320th Street.

The alternate route would be north of 246th Street. It would follow County Road 10 from Highway 15, and then follow along County Road 12, then just north on County Road 13 for one mile, and then continue on 220th Street and 206th Street.

The proposed project also includes the construction of four new substations at Granite Falls, New Prague, Franklin and Hampton, and the expansion of four existing substations.

The applicants propose to use 130-175 foot high single structure steel poles. They would require a 150 foot right-of-way for most of the route.

Scott Ek, project manager with the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Office of Energy Security, said that a permit decision takes about one year. A route is expected to be determined in January 2010. If permitted, construction of the transmission line is proposed to begin in 2011 with completion by 2013.

Thursday’s information meeting was held as part of the Environmental Impact Study scoping, to identify alternatives and issues to be covered in the Environmental Impact Study. Comments are invited until Thursday, April 30 at 4:30 p.m. They may be submitted by mail, e-mail, online through the PUC Web site, or by fax.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Office of Energy Security may be reached at 85 7th Place East, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55101. Fax: 651-297-55101.

The PUC Web site is

Public meetings will again be held after the draft Environmental Impact Study is completed.

Craig Poorker of Great River Energy, Senior Field Representative Land Rights, said that the main criteria to determine the proposed routes were the proximity to homes and the impact to agriculture. At previous informational meetings, power line officials were told to stay out of the middle of farm fields, and route on property lines or along the roadways.

Ek said that although a preferred route and an alternate route have been named, at this point, the choices are equal. He said they could be named A or B.

When asked why the railroad right-of-way wasn’t used for routing, Poorker explained that the railroad goes through towns that are five or six miles apart that the power line would have to go around.

Duane Kamrath, who lives north of Le Sueur, said that his home would be within about 40 feet from the proposed power line. He expressed concern about losing the scenic view of the Minnesota River Valley from his home, and the environmental impact at Bucks Lake.

Those attending the meeting were urged to submit their comments about the proposed routes.

STrib today – Scott County rejects routes for power line

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on April 7, 2009 @ 8:40 pm

Methinks LeSueur County did essentially the same thing… Dakota County and Rice County — it’s your turn!

Be sure to check out the United Citizen Action Network (U-CAN) site!

Scott County rejects routes for power line

Commissioners say the preferred line runs right through land that is prime development property.


Last update: April 7, 2009 – 9:39 PM

A blowback is developing to plans for a gargantuan power line running across southern Scott County.

The Scott County Board on Tuesday unanimously opposed the two proposed routes. Two townships are on record against the preferred route, and a third was expected to join them late Tuesday.

“These routes will have a significant impact on future planning for this corridor,” the county’s planning manager, Brad Davis, said of County Road 2, a key roadway across the southern end of the county. “It’s slated to become an arterial, with a need for expanded right-of-way. Putting power lines there really impacts future planning.”

At issue is the so-called CAPX project, a 345-kilovolt transmission line being planned to run from Brookings, S.D., to Hampton, in rural Dakota County. The utilities proposing the line have chosen what they call “preferred” and “alternative” routes. Neither avoids Scott County, but the preferred option affects it the most.

A state agency is now considering the power line route. Open houses to explain the plans and to gather responses are taking place this week, with one in Lakeville today.

Scott County is suggesting a variant to the two routes that tries to avoid homes and areas planned for lots of future housing. Its objection to stringing the massive poles along county roads underscores the thankless task of siting major power lines.

The utilities have said that because they’re proposing single-masted structures, as opposed to mini-Eiffel Towers with multiple legs, farmers can plow right up to the base and lose little land for crops.

The lines are needed, the utilities say, because of population growth as well as rapid increases in electricity use in existing households as people add multiple televisions, computers and other devices.

But Joyce Osborne, an activist with the group United Citizens Action Network (, blamed corporate America for foisting the project on local people, adding that it will mainly deliver coal-derived energy even as the utilities talk a lot about wind power.

“We need to curb big business,” she said. “And that’s what this is, big business.”

Commissioner Joe Wagner, said the calls and e-mails he is getting rival those opposing the plan for an amphitheater near Jordan in the late ’90s and the early part of this decade.

Transmission plan from hell…

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on April 3, 2009 @ 7:46 pm

They’ve encrypted their PDF so that I can’t post the map, so after I get some print cartridges I’ll post it == manana


Thanks to a little birdie for this jpeg


It’s here, JCSP part I or CapX Phase II or ??? what to call this.

You must read this, found at — read it and retch:

Southwest Twin Cities – Granite Falls Upgrade and MN RES Transmission Upgrade

Southwest Twin Cities – Granite Falls Upgrade Studies

MN RES Transmission Upgrade Study

The one to download and read is the first one, look at the table of contents at what they’re doing, it’s Phase II of CapX, part of it, and it is so disgusting.  In short, here’s what they’re doing, 345kV lines everywhere, doing exactly as we knew, but the harsh reality of it is making me sick:

Granite Falls – Blue Lake (SW Metro)

Fargo – Brookings County

Ashley – Hankinson

Brookings – Split Rock

Lakefield – Adams

Adams – North LaCrosse

North LaCrosse – Madison

Gee, is there anything they forgot?

They’re saying the Madison connection will give them an additional 3.600MW transfer capacity.

They wanted to model a 2.000MW sink in the metro, but lo and behold, they can’t without turning off all the metro generation, i.e., we sure don’t need it — and they can’t model it without eastern “outlet.”  WELL DUH!

No wonder they don’t like the idea of repeal of Minn. Stat. 117.189.

Here’s their press release:

News Release
April 3, 2009

Upper Midwest Utilities Identify Electric Transmission Upgrades To Meet Renewable Energy Standard Milestones

ontact Information

Randy Fordice, Great River Energy

Mary Sandok, Xcel Energy
(o) 612-215-5329
(media line) 612-215-5300
Upper Midwest Utilities Identify Electric Transmission Upgrades
To Meet Renewable Energy Standard Milestones

Improvements Necessary in Wisconsin to Maintain System Stability

MINNEAPOLIS —Upper Midwest utilities have identified improvements needed in the region’s high-voltage electricity transmission system to ensure they can deliver the renewable energy necessary to meet Minnesota’s renewable energy milestones beginning in 2016.

Minnesota’s 2007 Next Generation Energy Act requires that utilities increase renewables on their systems in increments and by 2025 deliver 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources (Xcel Energy is required to deliver 30 percent by 2020). It’s estimated that 4,000 to 6,000 megawatts of renewable energy will be needed to meet Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Standard. North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin have 10 percent by 2015 renewable energy targets.

The utilities identified transmission needs in studies published this week. The studies can be downloaded at

The studies confirmed that replacing a 60-year-old 230-kilovolt line that runs between Granite Falls and Shakopee with a double-circuit 345-kilovolt line would unlock up to 2,000 megawatts of transmission capacity from wind-rich areas in southern and western Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

“Upgrading the 230-kilovolt line is the most cost-effective way to meet the 2016 renewable energy standard milestone,” said Kent Larson, transmission vice president at Xcel Energy. “The upgrade will optimize capacity from the CapX2020 Group 1 lines, which are moving through the permitting processes, and serve as the next phase of our regional transmission build out to efficiently deliver wind power to our customers.”

The 125-mile line would cost an estimated $350 million, with an additional $110 million for underlying system improvements.

The studies also found that further upgrades in Minnesota and the Dakotas (beyond the 230-kilovolt line upgrade) will not provide significant benefit prior to installation of a high-voltage transmission line between the La Crosse, Wis., area and the Madison, Wis., area. Without a line to the east of Minnesota, the transmission system will reach a “tipping point” where reliability is compromised, according to the studies. The studies found that the combination of the new 345-kilovolt double circuit line between Granite Falls and Shakopee and a new Wisconsin line would increase the transmission system transfer capability by 1,600 megawatts for a total increase — with the 2,000 megawatts from the new 345-kilovolt line in Minnesota – of approximately 3,600 megawatts.

A joint transmission planning study now under way by several utilities aims to determine the need for a newtransmission line between La Crosse and Madison. The study is expected to be completed by 2010.

“The renewable energy requirements of states in the Upper Midwest will be efficiently met with further 345-kilovolt transmission line expansion,” said Will Kaul, transmission vice president at Great River Energy. “Policy changes, such as the passage of a national renewable energy standard, may lead to the consideration of a 765-kilovolt overlay.However, the 345-kilovolt projects identified in the studies conducted by the Upper Midwest transmission-owning utilities are still required as a foundational component of a 765-kilovolt overlay.”

Study Details

* The studies were sponsored by Minnesota load-serving utilities, including: Basin Electric Cooperative (also representing East River Electric Power Cooperative and L&O Power Cooperative), Central Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Great River Energy, Heartland Consumers Power District, Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Minnesota Power, Minnkota Power Cooperative, Missouri River Energy Services (also representing Hutchinson Utilities Commission and Marshall Municipal Utilities), Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company, Otter Tail Power Company, Rochester Public Utilities, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, and Willmar Municipal Utilities.

* The study teams conferred with the state Office of Energy Security’s technical review committee, which includes representatives from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Office of Energy Security staff, wind advocacy organizations, the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator and other regional transmission planners.

* Utility transmission planning engineers – representing transmission owners in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Manitoba – were consulted to gather information on new generation data and the accuracy of transmission modeling through 2016.

* For the purposes of Minnesota Renewable Energy Standard compliance, the study teams assumed that wind-energy generation would be the primary source of generation developed.

German Shepherds – on CapX preferred route!

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on April 2, 2009 @ 4:13 am

Here are the most adorable German Shepherds, available now.  Just so happens that they’re in the planned CapX 2020 transmission preferred route, in a substation siting circle!  So, rather than “Buy the Farm,”  get these little grrrrrrrls away from CapX!  “Buy the Shep!”  They’re all females and are such sweeties.  They’re from a litter of 11, 2 males and 9 females, and now there’s only 6 looking for homes.  They’re just west of New Prague, at Union Hill.

GERMAN SHEPHERD PUPS 8 wks, 6 F healthy, farm rsd, both parents on site   $450

952-393-1121    952-564-1082






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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace