Brookings EIS scoping… “the response… was massive.”

Filed under:RUS EIS — posted by admin on June 24, 2009 @ 1:31 pm

Well, DUH!  What do you expect when they threaten to take away land from so many people?

This is a hectic time in CapX 2020 land…

The Scoping Decision for the Brookings line routing docket EIS was due MONDAY, and so TODAY, two days later, MOES writes to the judge to say they aren’t ready, don’t have it done, and won’t have it done until the end of June.

MOES Letter to ALJ Luis re: failure to deliver EIS Scope



The vultures are coming home to roost…

I thought we all were supposed to comply with the Judge’s Orders.  I guess deadlines are now optional.

Press coverage of RUS meetings

Filed under:News coverage,RUS EIS — posted by admin on @ 12:51 pm

nocapxherePhoto by Kay Fate/Kenyon Leader

Public gets the chance to comment on high voltage power lines

Hey, got plastered across the screen!!!

From WXOW 19

Deadline approaching for CapX 2020 concerns

From the Cannon Falls Beacon:

High voltage power line headed for Hwy 52?

Comment section here, LaCrosse Tribune:

Federal utilities group to begin review of CapX 2020 project

And from the Kenyon Leader:

Power line irks residents

Kay Fate-The Kenyon Leader

WANAMINGO — Barb St. John attended the public scoping meeting about the CapX2020 transmission lines last week, “basically as a (Holden) township official,” she said, “because we didn’t know the route” the lines would take.

On the way in to the Wanamingo Community Center, “I met one of my neighbors, and she said, ‘boy, am I relieved. It’s not going to be on my property,’ ” St. John remembers. “I said, ‘oh, where is it going?’ and followed her back inside.”

Where it was going, it turned out, was right down St. John’s own property line in Holden Township.

She’d had no idea.

“Ambushed,” she said, “is a pretty good word for it.

“We’d all gotten a notification about a month ago,” she said, “but it was kind of a broad thing.”

Nowhere on the notice, St. John said, did she see her property singled out as part of the transmission line route. But as a township official, she knew of the possibility.

“We’d talked about it a little at the township level,” she said, “but I don’t think they were aware (then) of this route.”

Last week’s meeting in Wanamingo — which drew nearly 250 people — was designed by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture to allow input for an environmental impact statement, a project requirement.

The CapX2020 utilities are proposing the construction of a 345-kilovolt electric transmission line and associated facilities to run between Hampton and Rochester. The proposal included the 345 kV transmission line from a substation near Hampton to a proposed substation in north Rochester, then on to a new or existing substation near La Crosse, Wis.

The transmission line poles, which will be placed anywhere from 800 to 1,000 feet apart, will be 8 to 10 feet in diameter.

Xcel Energy is the lead utility for the proposal.

The route St. John saw isn’t set in stone, cautioned Tim Carlsgaard, communications manager for CapX2020.

The final route will be determined sometime in the fall, he said.

The large turnout in Wanamingo was because “we had narrowed down the proposed route options from many to few,” Carlsgaard said. “We have to provide the state with at least two route options for this project. If you’re in that Wanamingo area, you’re going to see it — either on Hwy. 52 or parallel to (Hwy.) 56.”

Once the certificate of route is presented to the state, it will be “another 12- to 15-month process with public meetings and public hearings,” he said. Even then, landowners or township residents “may present the state with their own route option.”

When the final route has been determined by the state, “we’ll talk to the landowner about acquiring an easement, a right-of-way,” Carlsgaard said.

In addition to a one-time payment for the land use, other compensation could include crop-damage or compaction. The amount paid “would depend on how many structures are on the property. We need to compensate them fairly, and be diligent about pole placement,” Carlsgaard said.

The $2 billion project must obtain approval from state and federal agencies before it can be built.

Its supporters say the project is necessary “to expand the electric transmission grid to meet the increasing demand for power.”

Not true, said one of its most vocal opponents.

“There’s a brain-washing going on here,” said Carol Overland, an attorney from Red Wing who specializes in transmission and energy issues.

“I’m getting a really strong sense that this line isn’t needed,” she said. “The Xcel (energy) demand from 2007 and 2008 dropped 11 percent. Not each year, but total. They’d planned for a 2.5 percent hike each year; that’s a 16 percent swing in demand.”

The study used by Xcel to predict demand, Overland said, “was based on 2004 information, and that’s all. It stops at 2004. They’re trying to say this (decrease) is a blip on the radar, but no, it’s been going on for years.”

Her passion about energy got its start in, of all places, Kenyon.

“After law school, I ended up in Kenyon,” Overland said. “I was just about destitute; I lived above Nygaard’s (Repair) there on Main Street. City hall was just across the street then.”

In 1994, a call was put out for a committee’s input about where to put nuclear waste from Prairie Island.

Overland responded.

“I just went as a regular old person,” she said, “not as a lawyer.”

The experience was what got her involved in nuclear energy; the rest followed naturally, she said.

CapX2020, Overland believes, “is the biggest thing to come down the pike; 80,000 landowners in Minnesota will be affected.”

At least one, of course, is St. John, who calls the project “unfortunate for farmers; it’ll break up their farmland.”

She asked a CapX official at the Wanamingo meeting why the project would be going through the middle of (farmland) sections.

“He told me, ‘because there’s too many houses along the road,’ ” St. John said. “So it’s too dangerous to go near houses, but you’ll put it over my land? He said no, he didn’t mean that, but that’s what it seemed to imply.”

For the time being, she said, “I’m just gathering information and informing the rest of Holden Township about this. People say, ‘well, how would you like it if you didn’t have any electricity?’ And I tell them, this electricity isn’t even for us, it’s going over us.”

The federal officials “want some substantial reasons for why (the project) would change the environment,” St. John said. “We’ve spent all these years conserving energy, and now it’s coming in and stepping on us.”

For her part, Overland is challenging the project on its entire basis.

The EIS process alone is predicted to take at least two years, which she said “gives me hope that it will be thorough.” That’s not enough, though.

“Some people say, ‘well, it’s OK, as long as there are conditions, if it goes somewhere else.’ Well, no; then that means it’s OK. That means it’s going to go through someone’s property. We need to start better conservation policies, more renewable energy sources,” she said.

St. John said her neighbors will be hearing from her.

“We were totally unaware that this route was cemented in,” she said. “I just want them to know that there’s a big red line going right through Holden Township, and it looks pretty specific to me.”

Last night in LaCrosse

Filed under:RUS EIS,Wisconsin — posted by admin on @ 8:07 am

This is a high mileage week, yesterday, LaCrosse, today Galesville, and tomorrow Fountain City.

It was a sparse gathering yesterday. I’d expected a better turnout because of the proximity to LaCrosse and that it was a larger city than others, and hopefully more organized, but noooooooo… The good news was that I got to meet people I’ve been in contact with and hear their story in person, connect a face with a voice.

Once more with feeling, here are suggestions for the scope of the EIS — things to ask RUS to cover:

Comment Suggestions – Scope EIS


The comment date has been extended, but I haven’t got anything official, I’ll post when it comes out, so, for now, let’s use the former deadline, June 29, 2009 — send Comments to:

Stephanie Strength
Environmental Protection Specialist
USDA, Rural Utilities Service
Engineering and Environmental Staff
1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Stop 1571
Washington, DC 20250-1571
(202) 720-0468


Yesterday, I brought in the CapX 2020 flyer that I find so objectionable — they didn’t have any of them at the St. Charles meeting, but they were there again last night — so I showed it to Stephanie Strength, RUS, and gave her a copy of it and a copy of the NoCapX flyer with the 2000-2008 Xcel system peak demand showing MAJOR decrease in demand, called over Tim Carlsgaard to register my complaint, Grant Stevenson got into the act too, and Stephanie said she’ll check it out.  Uh-huh — all the materials they have on display were supposedly approved by USDA/RUS.  That means that it should be true and correct, eh?  Right…  those flyers should be dumped in the recycling NOW!

Here’s that CapX 2020 flyer:

CapX-Electric Usage Continues to Climb

In short, it’s a bunch of crap… here’s the real poop from Xcel:


And here’s my handout about it from last night showing the above drop in electricity with the citations:


Xcel 2008 10-K

Xcel 2005 10-K

Xcel 2002 10-K


Alan had some good chats, he enjoys talking with these guys, particularly engineers.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace