PUC’s Harebrained Jurisdiction Argument

Filed under:Appeal — posted by admin on September 26, 2009 @ 12:53 pm

hare_1_smJust when I think I’ve seen it all, something pops out of nowhere that leaves me wondering… and this one is one of the more absurd.

The Asst. A.G. for the Public Utilities Commission has argued in its Statement of the Case on the CapX appeal that the Appellate Court does not have jurisdiction because “Relators seek judicial review of environmental review decisions.” Let’s see, we’re challenging the PUC’s Certificate of Need Order, not the Routing Order — this might be an issue when that comes up, as Environmental Quality Board permit decisions were appealed to the District Court.  PUC decisions have always gone to the Appellate Court, and they cite authority for jurisdiction as Minn. Stat. 216B.52.  So WTF?  Even Xcel isn’t making that bizarre claim.

I’ll scan in the PUC’s Statement of the Case — the Appellate Court hasn’t posted it.

Here’s the Appellate Court’s Order, directing us to address this:

Order – September 25, 2009

From that Order, here are the specifics:


Ummmmm… this isn’t rocket science.  Just look at the PUC’s Statement of the Case, regarding Jurisdiction, where Minn. Stat. 216B.52 and Minn. Stat. 14.63 are cited.  DUH!

216B.52 APPEAL.
Subdivision 1.Appeal under Administrative Procedure Act.

Any party to a proceeding before the commission or any other person, aggrieved by a decision and order and directly affected by it, may appeal from the decision and order of the commission in accordance with chapter 14.

… and here’s 14.63:


Any person aggrieved by a final decision in a contested case is entitled to judicial review of the decision under the provisions of sections 14.63 to 14.68, but nothing in sections 14.63 to 14.68 shall be deemed to prevent resort to other means of review, redress, relief, or trial de novo provided by law. A petition for a writ of certiorari by an aggrieved person for judicial review under sections 14.63 to 14.68 must be filed with the Court of Appeals and served on the agency not more than 30 days after the party receives the final decision and order of the agency. Sections 572.08 to 572.30 govern judicial review of arbitration awards entered under section 14.57.

“Court of Appeals.”  It’s right there, and note it’s not an argument Xcel is pushing, and Xcel’s been to court about transmission lines a few times!  I wonder if the PUC is trying this in the Big Stone II appeal… will check, one moment please…

Brookings Hearing Schedule

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on September 24, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

Here’s the latest on the hearing schedule for the Brookings Routing proceeding.  Karen Hammel of Commerce just sent this out, and I’d guess that there will be  a Scheduling Order incorporating the changes from the pre-existing Scheduling Order.

Final Brookings Hampton Meeting Schedule – Sept 24, 2009

What bothers me about this is that MOES’ Hammel essentially pushed back the DEIS Public Meetings (note they’re not calling them “Public Hearings?”) back a week, so that most of them are the week of the 16th rather than the week of the 9th, and it just so happens that I’ve got the Susquehanna-Roseland hearing that week of the 16th.  GRRRRRRRR and double GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Here’s the dates and locations part of the chart (it might be slow loading), click the link above for details:


Brookings Scheduling Order Out

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket — posted by admin on September 16, 2009 @ 7:58 am

The Scheduling Order for the CapX 2020 Brookings route is out.  So now we know where and when the road show will be and the dates of the DEIS Comment period.

Scheduling Order – Sept 11 2009

Something strange happened yesterday, I got notice from the PUC and a staff attorney at OAH was copied, that I’d been removed from electronic service on Prairie Island dockets and on this docket.  Say what?  I’ve not gotten a response from them that makes any sense, and I’ve been told I have to print out the pdf and sign it again for electronic service and send it to them (no way can I find the prior one… grrrrrrrrrrrr).

Here’s the part you’ve been waiting for:




Filed under:Appeal — posted by admin on @ 7:31 am


No CapX 2020 and United Citizens Action Network urgently needed for the Appeal of the CapX 2020 Certificate of Need Order.  We’ve appealed, it’s filed and grinding forward, and bills are coming due, like the filing fee, cost of transcript for MISO which has been delivered, and come change to cover my vet bills.

It’s easy — use PalPal off to the right there in the margin, or send to:

U-CAN, PO Box 1165, Burnsville, MN  55337

NoCapX 2020 c/o Legalectric, PO Box 176, Red Wing, MN  55066

Big Stone II is dead?!?!?

Filed under:News coverage — posted by admin on September 11, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

billgatespieMaybe Bill Gates had second, third and fourth thoughts about investing in Big Stone II??  Investing in COAL?

Otter Tail Power has withdrawn from the Big Stone II coal plant.

We all know there is no BSII without CapX 2020.  BUT, is there CapX 2020 without Big Stone?


I’ll post more as it turns up.  From Marketwatch:

Otter Tail Power Company Announces Withdrawal From Big Stone II

FERGUS FALLS, Minn., Sep 11, 2009 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) — Otter Tail Power Company today announced its withdrawal — both as a participating utility and as the project’s lead developer — from Big Stone II, a 500-to-600-megawatt coal-fired power plant proposed for near Milbank, South Dakota, with related transmission upgrades in South Dakota and Minnesota.

According to Otter Tail Power Company President and CEO Chuck MacFarlane, the broad economic downturn coupled with a high level of uncertainty associated with proposed federal climate legislation and existing federal environmental regulation have resulted in challenging credit and equity markets that make proceeding with Big Stone II at this time untenable for Otter Tail’s customers and shareholders.

MacFarlane explained that Big Stone II contractual agreements require a commitment to proceed after the project receives all major permits, creating a financial obligation on each party that agrees to go forward. “Each Big Stone II participant is in a different position in terms of means and impact of raising capital and mechanisms for recovering those costs from customers,” he said. “Given the legislative and regulatory uncertainties and current economic conditions, Otter Tail Power Company is unwilling to create a binding financial obligation of approximately $400 million for its share of the project at this time.”

Big Stone II had been scheduled to be on line in 2011, and now the plant would not begin operating until late 2015 at the earliest. MacFarlane said that the company no longer could delay the project to obtain greater clarity on — and to mitigate — risks unique to Otter Tail. Accordingly, Otter Tail chose to withdraw and allow the others to proceed. “We believe the project is important for the region, both in terms of adding baseload power and enhancing regional reliability,” MacFarlane said.

While Otter Tail Power Company has invested more than $300 million in wind energy generation during the last three years, MacFarlane added that dispatchable generation remains an important need for Otter Tail Power Company’s customers. As a result, over the next three to six months, Otter Tail Power Company will continue to evaluate other options to meet its customers’ need for reliable electricity.

MacFarlane also expressed his company’s gratitude for the backing shown for the project. “Our company appreciates the support that customers, regulators, labor, business leaders, and political leadership have shown the project. We especially thank South Dakota elected officials and communities within the plant’s vicinity for their commitment,” he said.

CapX Certificate of Need Appeal Filed

Filed under:Laws & Rules,PUC Docket — posted by admin on September 10, 2009 @ 6:41 am

It’s filed…

Appeal – NoCapX 2020 & U-CAN

CETF has appealed too, but I don’t have it electronically.

ONWARD!!! (to Susquehanna-Roseland Discovery, due today, AAAAARGH!)

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace