Last night’s meeting in Mazeppa…

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts,Uncategorized — posted by admin on October 28, 2009 @ 2:41 pm

Last night, Rep. Steve Drazkowski and Rep. Tim Kelly (who wasn’t there!) hosted a meeting about CapX 2o2o (you’ll find this post on Legalectric too, because there’s a lot more than CapX 2020 going on here).

drazkowski_2 timkelly

But Rep. Randy Demmer, 29A was there, and as one person said, he had a “deer in the headlights” look as he sat in the front of the room.  I’d talked with him a bit when he came in, and he said he hadn’t heard from many constituents about CapX… oh… OK, well, we can do something about that!

Short version of the meeting:

  • PUC, Commerce, and DOT show up en mass and toady for process and project.
  • Rep. Drazkowski utters words of placation, but did not promote Nov. 4 joint committee hearing on repeal of Minn. Stat. 117.19.  HE’S ON ONE OF THE COMMITTEES, EARTH TO MARS!!!
  • Affected landowners don’t buy it,  they get that fundamentally CapX 2020 is not needed and are pissed-off at the crap (see above).

There were two things I let slide, can’t take on everything:

1.Their statements about Big Stone were odd, theywell
knows that Big Stone could not interconnect without CapX, and I have
the electrical studies which prove it, which after trying 5 times to
make it work with a line to nowhere (Granite Falls) then assumed CapX
in try #6…   But I also wonder whether CapX Brookings (hence all of
CapX) can go forward without Big Stone.

2. They kept saying “this is all about local load” and
denying the LaX to Mad line, and kept talking about Rochester as the
driver, yet they did not note, of course, the new gas plant at West
Side sub or the four 161kV lines that are planned.

Overland’s Scorecard (concept stolen from Deb!):

CapX:     0
PUC:     -5
DOT:       1
Commerce:   -4
The People: +1

Longer version, bigger photo:

The people did a good job of expressing their displeasure and disbelief.

Bill Glahn brought up the Minnesota Resource Assessment Survey!  Bad move…  He  got one of my awards for that Minnesota Resource Assessment Survey, and here’s Maccabee – Presentation to LEC 10/23/09 , another voice saying it’s outrageous.  Last night  Alan Muller got him good about it, told him” it was  an unsatisfactory report, basically just a regurgitation of the business plans of MN… no independent thinking and not in the interests of the citizens of Minnesota …”  Alan does have a way with words.  When asked for a response Glahn looked abashed and admitted that he knows many people are unhappy with it.  AS WELL HE SHOULD!  I mean really… to use as an example that phony “chart” of Steve Rakow’s on p. 6:


… with no ID of meaning of X or Y axis, it’s deceitful, but they pulled that in CapX when faced with decreased demand, entering this chart, then citing its entry in the CapX 2020 Certificate of need record as if it means something.  Oh, pleeeeeeeeze…  We’re way below the 2004 actuals, and this forecast, for the Blue Lake expansion, it’s CapX 2020 era forecasts, we’re about 1,500MW down and growing, down 15% so far, down 2.5% in 1&2Q 2009, SEC 3Q filing and investor call due any second now will take it down further:


After last night’s meeting, Bill Glahn is certainly under fire, but I also got the feeling due to the cadre of state employees stumping for CapX, that it’s their perception that it’s in trouble.  It could be something as simple as they have no financing to do it, that demand is so far down that it makes no sense even to PUC and applicants to build it, or …  The DOT was distancing itself, there’s been a lot of pressure on DOT.  The DOT has its “Policy of Accomodation” (at issue in Chisago Transmission Project III, or IV, the last round, where Xcel stuck poles, BIG poles, right in the middle of the new plan for US Hwy. 8, in one example, right next to and over a business), and here it is:

DOT Policy on Utility Accomodation

…and I don’t think they’re going to change that anytime soon.  At the Legislative Energy Commission meeting in September, there was mention of an October 13 meeting with the DOT, but Dave Sykora, DOT, mentioned that was cancelled, and instead they met last week.  There were no specifics disclosed, but the feeling I got from what was said was that it didn’t go the way legislators wanted it to, DOT didn’t cave.  Legislators are looking, from Rep. Drazkowski’s statements last night, and from Rep. Westrom’s comments at the LEC meeting, for a way to do the project with minimal landowner pain.  I don’t think that’s doable, and it’s sure not desirable.   CapX 2020 is a project that shouldn’t be built, and if it is, it will cause considerable pain, for landowners, applicants and legislators!

Also noteworthy last night was the general failure to accept “need” and a high level of understanding, and for the most part, people are getting the broader picture.  (there was an odd comment by Burl Haar that if there were questions about the appeal of the CapX decision, that they post most things on the docket, and to check with him!).  So is the PUC’s argument that this belongs at the District Court, and not the Appellate Court (despite what Cupit says) on display in the docket for the world to see?  I doubt it, but I’ll check.

Last night, Drazkowski kept referring to efforts to alter the eminent domain law, but he was evasive and didn’t disclose important info, like the upcoming November 4 hearing before Energy & Civil Justice (he’s on Civil Justice!) (Upcoming hearing on repeal of eminent domain exemptions), and he didn’t advise on how to advocate for change, dropped the ball, wouldn’t even pick it up.

Here’s the info on the hearing:

WEDNESDAY, November 4, 2009
10:00 AM
Joint Meeting of the Energy Finance & Policy Division and Civil Justice Committee
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chairs: Rep. Bill Hilty, Rep. Joe Mullery
Agenda: Informational hearing on HF1182 (Bly) Public service corporation exemptions repealed.

Anyone wishing to testify should contact Andy Pomroy at andy.pomroy [at]
Last night’s meeting in Mazeppa on CapX 2020  follows on the heels of one last Monday night in Chisago, about an 855MW gas plant proposed by LS Power, the Sunrise River Energy Station.  Click here for  Report on Monday Chisago meeting.  They’ve  proposed at least three gas plants before at that site, and they didn’t go far, this is the biggest, and most public, and will need mega transmission, BUT LS Power’s Blake Wheatley admitted at the Chisago meeting that they don’t have a plan, don’t have a PPA, don’t have anything but a tax exemption (est. $9-10 million) from legislators who should have known better than to sell out their constituents for nothing, and then after being caught, for a very small “Host Fee.”  At that meeting, Mike Bull said Xcel won’t need any power for a long time, 2016-2017 (and if he’ll admit that at long last, we know it’s really a lot further out).  As with last night’s meeting, at the Chisago meeting there was, despite heavy lobbying and presence of unions like IBEW and Building & Trades, a clear understanding that the LS Power plant is not needed, and that peak demand is down.  Granted LS Power made the mistake of walking into an energy educated community, but even Bob Cupit was surpirsed by the turnout, said he’d never seen such a large crowd, ~500, standing room only in a hockey rink sized room (Also, FYI, Bob stated to the audience that “If citizens feel the system still failed to consider issues, the decision of the PUC can be appealed to the state Court of Appeals.“)

There is a theme.  Minnesota doesn’t need more transmission, and we won’t, in the words of Xcel’s Mikey Bull, need an generation anytime soon.  Am I paraphrasing correctly, Mike? (Duck & cover — the You Tube of that is forthcoming!!!)  The MOES Minnesota_Resource_Assessment is a crock.

Here are the LEC members — it’d be good to contact all of them, and let them know what you think about “need” for generation and transmission, decreasing demand, and CapX 2020 in particular:
Here’s Senate member info:
Here’s House member info:

And about CapX and eminent domain, contact:

rep.steve.drazkowski [at]

rep.tim.kelly [at]

rep. randy.demmer [at]

Once more with feeling — Get thee to the House Energy and Judiciary Committee meeting:

WEDNESDAY, November 4, 2009
10:00 AM
Joint Meeting of the Energy Finance & Policy Division and Civil Justice Committee
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chairs: Rep. Bill Hilty, Rep. Joe Mullery
Agenda: Informational hearing on HF1182 (Bly) Public service corporation exemptions repealed.

TONIGHT – Reps. Drazkowski & Kelly host meeting in Mazeppa

Filed under:Upcoming Events — posted by admin on October 27, 2009 @ 8:56 am

From Rep. Steve Drazkowski on CapX 2020 transmission:

—– Original Message —–
*From:* <>
*To:* Announcements >From Representative Steve Drazkowski <>
*Sent:* Tuesday, October 20, 2009 3:25 PM
*Subject:* Email Update: CapX 2020 meeting

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note here to tell you that State Representative Tim Kelly and I will be holding an informational meeting in Mazeppa on October 27 regarding the proposed CapX 2020 transmission line proposal.

The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Mazeppa City Hall and Community Room, 121 Maple St., on Tuesday, October 27.  Officials from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Xcel Energy and other organizations will also be in attendance and will share their views on the project.

There’s no question we need more transmission infrastructure and now is the time to plan for it.  But there are also significant landowner concerns regarding potential routes for the power lines.  I would encourage any area property owner that could be affected by this proposal to attend this informational meeting and offer your suggestions and questions regarding the routing decision-making process.

Talk to you soon,


Steve Drazkowski
State Representative
District 28B
Room 247 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155-1298
Office: 651-296-2273
Fax: 651-297-7523
Toll Free: 888-683-3436
Sign up for email updates at _

Upcoming hearing on repeal of eminent domain exemptions

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on October 24, 2009 @ 8:52 am

Good news!  There’s a hearing coming up regarding HF 1182, authored by Rep. David Bly, that would repeal Minn. Stat. 117.189 and its exemptions for public service corporations (utilities) from many of the landowner-protective provisions of Minnesota’s eminent domain law. 

This is a very important bill, one that landowners across Minnesota are looking for, one that would be a big step in restoring public interest and equity in eminent domain laws, one that NoCapX 2020 and United Citizen Action Network have been working on for, depending on.  People affected by CapX 2020 need this bill.

How important is it?  Well, it extends far beyond the Midwest — this last week, someone from New York is searching “Michael Ahern” and “117.189” together, Ahern being a big buck big influence lobbyist and brains behind much of Xcel’s … well, Xcel’s everything.  Maybe I give him too much credit, but Xcel needs a mastermind or two and I think he’s one of them behind this usurpation of one of our most fundamental constitutional rights.  Thanks, Mike… thanks a lot…

Here’s the info on the hearing:

WEDNESDAY, November 4, 2009
10:00 AM
Joint Meeting of the Energy Finance & Policy Division and Civil Justice Committee
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chairs: Rep. Bill Hilty, Rep. Joe Mullery
Agenda: Informational hearing on HF1182 (Bly) Public service corporation exemptions repealed.

Anyone wishing to testify should contact Andy Pomroy at andy.pomroy [at]

Andy Pomroy
Committee Administrator
Energy Finance & Policy Division
570 State Office Building

What’s 117.189?  Here it is (Revisor’s website is down today, scary, it said “117.189 does not exist” … right, we should be so lucky, and when it comes back, it will have a different address, sooooo, every link on my sites will be dead… great):


Sections 117.031; 117.036; 117.055, subdivision 2, paragraph (b); 117.186; 117.187; 117.188; and 117.52, subdivisions 1a and 4, do not apply to public service corporations. For purposes of an award of appraisal fees under section 117.085, the fees awarded may not exceed $500 for all types of property.

2006 c 214 s 14

Click links to see what all is exempted!  It’s downright scary!  (If the links don’t work or aren’t automatically redirected when the get the new site up and running, I’ll put in the new links.)

In 2006, when this bill was passed, a bi-partisan sellout, only Sen. Scott Dibble was on record asking, “Why exempt a public service corporation?”  I’ve listened to over six hours of hearings, and it made me wonder what was in the water, with such glazed-over acceptance of such dramatic exemptions.  Xcel did a great job of lobbying, and I remember that session, I was having to work on making a living and couldn’t get up to the legislature.  The answer to “WHY?” is simple — they want to be exempted because they want to do CapX, with unprecedented eminent domain, this CapX Phase I of several would be affecting more landowners than ever before in Minnesota history.

Contact Andy Pomroy, info above, to testify about this bill.  If there’s any way to get there, show up.  Let them know what you think.

CapX Brookings Draft EIS is out

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on October 21, 2009 @ 10:03 am

Clear off your calendar and get ready for this week’s assignment — the CapX Brookings EIS.
We’ve got a while to review it and comment, but it is a job we MUST do and it’s not fun and it’s tedious and infuriating beyond belief, SO, LET’S GET TO IT!

Here’s the link:


Start writing down your comments, what’s missing, gather supporting documents to back up your comments…

Public meetings begin next month (notice it’s public MEETINGS and not public HEARINGS?!?!):


November 12, 2009 (Thursday)

November 13, 2009

November 16, 2009 (Monday)

1:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.
5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.

Lonsdale American Legion
115 2nd Avenue Southwest
Lonsdale, MN

1:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.
5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites
20800 Kenrick Avenue
Lakeville, MN

1:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.

Prairie’s Edge Casino & Resort
5616 Prairie’s Edge Lane
Granite Falls, MN 56241

November 17, 2009

November 18, 2009 (Wednesday)

November 19, 2009 (Thursday)

1:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.
5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.

Best Western
1500 East College Drive
Marshall, MN

1:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.
5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.

Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel
39375 County Highway 24
Morton, MN

5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.

Brass Top Hall/Hog Wild Saloon
514 Main Street
Henderson, MN

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace