Let the hearings begin!

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on November 29, 2009 @ 11:22 pm

Beginning tomorrow, three weeks of hearings on Brookings CapX 2020 routing …  the schedule is below, way below.

YOU, yes, YOU, can question witnesses, YOU can testify, YOU can enter exhibits, in short, YOU can tell the ALJ just what you think of the CapX 2020 transmission line.  YOU can question their witnesses to ferret out the truth!

ferretHow do you ferret the truth from a weasel?  Who knows… but that is our job.  Let’s get to it!

First, the easy part — Written Comments.

Written comments regarding the route permit should be submitted directly to Judge Richard Luis. Comments may be submitted by U.S. Mail, Fax or email. Comments will be accepted through January 15, 2010, and should include the Office of Administrative Hearings Docket Number: 7-2500-20283-2.

Mailed comments must be post marked by that date. Faxed, emailed, and delivered comments must be received by 4:30 P.M. that date.  Send to:

Judge Richard Luis
Office of Administrative Hearings
P.O. Box 64620,
St. Paul, Minnesota 55164-0620
Fax: (651) 361-7936
email: capx.oah@state.mn.us

Here’s the important part of the notice:

Members of the public will be allowed to participate without the necessity of intervening as a party. Representation by legal counsel is permitted but not required. Participation includes: a) offering direct testimony; b) offering testimony or other material in written form at or following the hearing; and c) questioning witnesses.

Any person who wishes to question a witness, but does not want to ask the questions, may submit questions in writing to the ALJ, who will then question the witness. Questions may be submitted during the hearing or may be sent to the ALJ in advance of the hearing. A transcript of the proceedings will also
be available on request.

Got that?  “ANY PERSON!”  That’s YOU!!  This is important because most people do not have the ability to intervene in a PUC proceeding, and yet people affected by this project, any project, have a lot to say.  No one knows the area better, no one knows the impacts, no one knows or can describe in technicolor why it’s a stupid idea better than the people on the ground.

QUESTIONING THEIR WITNESSES

If you want to question witnesses, first, figure out what you want to question them about.  Start by figuring out what witnesses there are, who is saying what, and you can do that by going online and looking at their prefiled testimony.  It’s easy…

  1. Go to the PUC’s “SEARCH DOCKETS” page
  2. Search for Docket 08-1474.
  3. Look at the testimony they’ve filed — once you look at it you’ll see it’s not all that complicated.  Look for “GRE” and there’s Direct Testimony filed on October 13, and Rebuttal filed on November 20.

Their witnesses are:

Craig Poorker – GRE’s Manager of Land Rights – before that, he worked for Chisago County on Rights of Way and so I’m sure knows all about how NSP/Xcel is undergrounding the Chisago project down the west bank of the St. Croix River Valley!  Let’s ask him about that.  Pam Rasmussen too, as she was part of that project for a decade or more.  Poorker’s testifying about routing, impacts on the river valleys, why they won’t consider undergrounding, etc.

Kevin Lennon – check his Rebuttal about transmission lines and pyrotechnics!

Dr. Peter Valberg – he’s the utility toady who testified for NSP back in the SE Metro line, where we had Dr. Martin Blank as a witness (he testified last Monday in the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission case, they were out of their league, he did an excellent job).  Here’sDr. Blank’s testimony, a delightful counter to the likes of Valberg:

Testimony of Dr. Martin Blank

Pam Rasmussen – here’s the part I don’t get.  Usually she testifies about “environmental” issues, and here, she’s testifying about EMF and in her Rebuttal, stray voltage.  SAY WHAT?!?!?!  I don’t recall that she’s an engineer or has had training in EMF… very strange.

Take a look at their testimony, and start to write down your questions.  Talk it over with friends or family who are interested in this to formulate them so that you’ll get some kind of answer.

TESTIFYING YOURSELF!

YES, you too can testify.

  • Plan ahead.
  • Write it out SUCCINCTLY.
  • Have a copy to hand in for the record, and have copies to hand out to CapX and others  (send to local paper the day before!)
  • Have a few copies of exhibits that you want to talk about, i.e., EMF research, a recent appraisal, photos of eagle nests in the neighborhood, etc.  The issue here is routing, so look over the maps and notice what’s missing, because there’s always a lot.  Let them know that there are four houses on your road missing from the maps; that if they run it through the field by the road, it would disturb an anthrax field (!!!);  let them know that you have just gotten a permit to build a barn or you’ve got plans to put in an irrigation pivot right where they want to put their (#*)(*$(*^% transmission line!  Let them know if you would plan to utilize the “Buy the Farm” option (Minn. Stat. 216E.12, Subd. 4).  Let them know your mortgage company would take any eminent domain compensation that you might get.  Tell them what you know about your community or the area they want to traverse.
  • Get there a little early and let the judge know you want to testify, and he’ll put you on the list.
  • When it’s your turn, either take the oath or affirm, then your testimony will carry more weight.
  • Give your testimony.
  • Answer any questions that parties or the judge may have.
  • You’re excused, congratulations for speaking out!
  • Encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.

ENTER EXHIBITS

You can enter exhibits.  Bring copies of things you think will help show the judge why a particular route is a really bad idea, things like the aforementioned:

  • Photos of eagle nests that you’ve taken and can identify the locations of the nests.
  • Photos and maps of arns, businesses and homes they want to go over — give a face to the place!
  • Provide copies of appraisals that show the devaluation of your property.
  • EMF studies and cases.
  • Photo simulations of transmission towers in river valleys showing impacts.
  • Photo simulations of substations at night looking and sounding like an intergallactic space station.
  • Other ideas???

If you need help, let me know in the comment section.  I’ll be going to some (but not all) of these meetings, and will help you state your case however I can.

Here’s the schedule for the CapX road show:

EVIDENTIARY HEARING DATES & LOCATIONS

November 30 (Monday)

2:30 & 7 p.m.

Prairie’s Edge Casino, 5616 Prairie’s Edge Lane, Granite Falls, MN

_____________________

December 1 (Tuesday)

1 & 7 p.m.

Best Western, 1500 E. College Drive, Marshall, MN

_____________________

December 2 (Wednesday)

1 & & p.m.

Redwood Area Community Center, 901 Cook Street, Redwood Falls, MN

_____________________

December 3 (Thursday)

1 & 7 p.m.

Winthrop Vets Club, 206 North Main Street, Winthrop, MN

_____________________

December 7 (Monday)

1 & 7 p.m.

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

_____________________

December 8 (Tuesday)

1 & 7 p.m.

Lonsdale VFW, 115 2nd Avenue SW, Lonsdale, MN

____________________

December 9 (Wednesday)

1 & 7 p.m.

Park Ballroom/American Legion, 300 So. Lexington Avenue, New Prague, MN

____________________

December 10 (Thursday)

1 & 7 p.m

and

December 11 (Friday)

Holiday Inn, 20800 Kenrick Avenue, Lakeville, MN

____________________

December 15-18 (Tuesday – Friday)

9:30 a.m. – ????

PUC – 121 – 7th Place E., 3rd Floor, St. Paul

Get ready for evidentiary hearings!

Filed under:Upcoming Events — posted by admin on November 20, 2009 @ 8:04 am

The Brookings CapX 2020 evidentiary hearings begin November 30, and it’s a road show across southern Minnesota.  See schedule below.

Also, I’d noticed the numbers are off on the amps on the charts for their EMF modeling calculations (and amps mean everything).   SO, I found the chart, they’re way off, but not by a factor of 10 as I’d thought!  For the line configuration, 115kV 945kcmil ACSS the amperage is more like 12

Conductor Specs – SW MN 345kV Exhibit 35, Appendix 7

Here’s the relevant part, remember the range they modeled for was 3xx amps to 1,1xx amps (don’t have it here and can’t remember) and the one furthest to the left was 874 amps.  The chart is in chapter 6:

conductorspecs

874 amps is about half of what the line is rated for.  The column on the far left is the amps, and the column on the far right is the size in kCmil of the conductor.  The columns in between are the various MVA ratings, and the yellow highlighted ones are for bundled 954kCmil, MVA of 2068-2085.  So the amps can be far higher than what they say, meaning the EMF levels will be far higher.

EVIDENTIARY HEARING DATES & LOCATIONS

November 30 (Monday)

2:30 & 7 p.m.

Prairie’s Edge Casino, 5616 Prairie’s Edge Lane, Granite Falls, MN

_____________________

December 1 (Tuesday)

1 & 7 p.m.

SMSU Upper Conference Center, 1501 State Street, Marshall, MN

_____________________

December 2 (Wednesday)

1 & & p.m.

Redwood Area Community Center, 901 Cook Street, Redwood Falls, MN

_____________________

December 3 (Thursday)

1 & 7 p.m.

Winthrop Vets Club, 206 North Main Street, Winthrop, MN

_____________________

December 7 (Monday)

1 & 7 p.m.

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

_____________________

December 8 (Tuesday)

1 & 7 p.m.

Lonsdale VFW, 115 2nd Avenue SW, Lonsdale, MN

____________________

December 9 (Wednesday)

1 & 7 p.m.

Park Ballroom/American Legion, 300 So. Lexington Avenue, New Prague, MN

____________________

December 10 (Thursday)

1 & 7 p.m

and

December 11 (Friday)

Holiday Inn, 20800 Kenrick Avenue, Lakeville, MN

____________________

December 15-18 (Tuesday – Friday)

9:30 a.m. – ????

PUC – 121 – 7th Place E., 3rd Floor, St. Paul

Lakeville – Brookings CapX DEIS meetings

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on November 13, 2009 @ 5:17 pm

Greetings from Lakeville — we’re in the middle of the public meeting… here are some comments thus far…

Patrick Edwards, 10006 – 305th St. W., Northfield – lives in Greenvale Township, someone suggested it during scoping.  It pits neighbors against neighbors, communities against communities.  This isn’t fair, and I don’t like this process.  Used to live in Lakeville, wanted to get out of busier areas, see Best Buy and Target, Lakeville is expanding, and down in Greenvale, they try to minimize impact, amount of homes per area, there’s 20 acre hunting area, wetland, two dairy farms, route goes within 250 yards of, and at both, the cows all are out in the fields where the line would be.  My home is up on a hill, overlooks the valley, and so where power lines are proposed are down the hill 130 feet, so everything in my view will be the powerline.  The EMF thing is not properly addressed, from what I’ve found so far in the last couple of months, it appears that a lot of private companies go out and do private studies, but I don’t find much from utility companies, governments, there was one in Sweden, they all raise alarms, and I have children.  We are in the process of putting together a bridal business, that pretty much puts an end to that, no one is going to want to get married with that hum in the background, or take pictures with big transmission lines in the background.  To have this going through there, I feel it should be places that are already established, roads, transmission lines.  I’m sorry for whoever ends up with this, and I’ll be especially sorry if I end up with it.

Robert Johnson – (he handed in written comments – will post if it becomes available) starting to see the same faces.  have 6-8 minutes of comments to enter into the record.  Our home fronts along the front side of 220th St. E, west of Hampton MN, Pres of real estate firm, involved in valuation of real estate across the country, appraising thousands of properties, and will address how that’s talked about in EIS.  With respect to ascertaining market value, two primary concerns are utility and aesthetics, how useful it is and how good it looks.  More recently a third concern is safety.  Property buyers are now asking how safe it is to buy and own a particular piece of real estate.  Most of us have heard about health concerns about contaminated real estate, asbestos, petroleum tanks, and we’ve become educated about hazardous chemicals, and what was acceptable 20 years ago is not acceptable now.  Public is learning about a new pollutant that can affect our real property — EMF.  Magnetic fields increase chances of leukemia, cancer, alzheimers, and while we don’t know the precise mechanism, we know about EMF.  We have the internet to find information… market analysis will also take into account powerlines, whether it is safe, and will take into account aesthetic and health impact.  The ugliness factor is easy to appreciate.  Property value likely to drop 10-20%,  up to 200 feet a decrease of 20-40%, and if closer than 200ft, discount of 50% or more.  Rather than take the easy approach simply because that’s what CapX 2020 utilities drew as their line, take the approach that has the least impact.  We support alternate routes 6B3 and 6B6.

Pengsan Ou (?) – Cambodian Order Society, in Hampton. We strongly oppose the proposed route that runs along 220th Street, either on our temple or near our temple.  We’ve been there since 1988, and have 10 people living in the area permanently.  I would like to note that every year we have people come together at the temple 7-8 times during the year, between 500-1,000 come together to pray, plus occasional gatherings for meditation and about Bhuddism.  We agree totally with statements of Robert Johnson, we understand the impacts to our people, and thousands and thousands come.  I believe among the residents along Hwy. 50, we are the largest in number.  We studied the map of the proposed route, we strongly oppose the route, not looking for the perfect one, looking for something that is better than the proposed one.  The Alternate route 6 would be better.

Scott Ek – we are aware of your temple and received over 800 green postcards, I have a stack.

Alan Muller –  Beginning at back, Appendix F, Table 1, health and EMF was of most concern, property value and compensation next.  Tried to pay attention to how these are treated.  This reads like a promotional document, issues are not addressed very seriously.  Purpose of this meeting is to take comments on this document, I think it’s a Turkey.  I learned recently that the Chair of the PUC is chair of Upper Midwest Transmission Development Initiative, he made a presentation that I saw.

p. 2.0 – what is CapX 2020.  What is its business structure, what are we dealing with here.

Sales are down 50%, take the promotional language out of the EIS unless you’re prepared to defend it

Scott Ek – you’re straying into the Certificate of Need.  That provides a background of how we got to where we were, simply to provide information on what has happened

Alan Muller – p. 4.5  Underground lines require additional equipment for voltage rise.

Following page, discussion of underground crossings, several paragraphs about down side, and no discussion of advantages, there ought to be a balance.

Page 5.0 Eminent Domain – landowners can have a third party evaluate.  Went to legislative committee meeting recently.  A more balanced and accurate discussion is called for.

P. 6.1 Visual Impact – difficult to predict whether transmission line would alter viewshed.  Take these out and have a more balanced discussion.

EMF – make distinction between electric and magnetic which often doesn’t happen.  P. 6.4, frequency of EMF, the fundamental frequency of the system is 60 hZ, and a lot of people think that the higher frequency is more firmly tied to health impacts.  Inaccurate.

Electric field strengths and pacemakers – for one type, the field strength on center line is two to three times that which could screw up operation of pacemaker.  What does that mean?  Should people with pacemakers stay away, move, have ambulance standing by?  You ought to address the dangers.

Scott Ek – addressed at 6.8 – because every implantable device, pacemaker, insulin injector, it’s going to be different, what is there is provided by Guidant, Medtronic, it would be smart to go to your doctor to find out what you should be doing.  It’s not up to me, the State of Minnesota, they need to find out for themselves.

Oxides of Nitrogen – saying it would not cause violations, but ought to include more meaningful information.  Worst case scenario .0007 ppm, .08 ppm is standard.  Would be good to know the actual amounts of emissions.

P. 6.11 – Corona discharge and electrical interference – FM radio broadcasting range.  Acknowledges that EMF is present at range above 60hZ, would be helpful to have some discussion of the frequencies produced by this project.

Property values, already discussed, quote “Solom” hired by NSP, “virtually NO impact present with transmission line,”  ought to be removed.  In this, some benefits, like “a mowed right of way might bring more white-tail deer in the area.”

Jennifer Mackinnon – during permit process, it’s my understanding that the state requires the applicant to make note of designated routes and alternate routes, and the terminology concerns me because I feel that a lot of people look at the “alternate route” that was proposed and they have a sense that it isn’t going to happen, and it appears that whoever crys the loudest, whoever whines the loudest, is the one that doesn’t have it on their land.  We have the tributary for Vermillion river 30 feet from our well, and we have not had a lot of help from state, county, government.  As a health care professional, we have to get informed consent before we do something that will effect their health, well-being.  The language doesn’t reflect that this alternative route may happen.  There was the question of what CapX 2020 means, I have neighbors in their 80s who believe it won’t happen until 2020.  We need more information about risks, before choosing options.

Scott Ek – “alternative” and “preferred” we struggle with that, it could be confusing.  Throughout the siting and routing process, and actually in rule, that’s how it’s stated, “preferred” and “alternative” route.

Doug Kruder  – 220th street, on corner of Blaine and Hwy. 50, proposed primary route goes across part of our pasture, 250 ft from front door.  We’ve been there since 1987.  Want to make sure everyone is aware there’s a stretch of wetland going from the pond on the South side of Hwy 50, kitty corner through my property, follows Hwy. 50 and feeds into the Vermillion.  Right now Dakota Electric is burying line, I’m building a runway for experimental aircraft, and the route would be right over my runway. Our “choices” will be to take our chances and try to sell it, or getting cancer or ???  At the very least, instead of running this across the middle of fields, if there is dairy there, bury it, but keep it away from the houses and the people who live in it.  Wetlands, and runway.  The FAA has a designated case number, done within a month.  220th street.

David Mumm – Preferred line parallels the crude oil pipeline, and I was under the impression that that’s not supposed to be acceptable.  What’s the story on that.

Scott Ek – that’s supposed to be OK, to run them, they won’t be sharing the right of way.  Drawings would be finalized, survey, soil boring, analysis, engineering work, submit to PUC the profiles showing pole placement, etc., we’d review those and assure it meets permit requirements.

David Mumm – what the distance requirements are, when will that be done?

Scott Ek – no that’s not in the EIS, we’ll work with MNDOT, I don’t know what minimum distance.  I know pipelines are designed for being near induced currents, to not have something fatal happen.

David Mumm – Now that we have it in the record, we will address that in the final EIS and give you an exact number.  It could be moved 150 feet and be further into your property, I understand where you’re coming from.

Warren Quinnell – I sympathize with Mr. Edwards, it’s going to be neighbor against neighbor.  I make my living farming, I said to Craig (Poorker), I’ve got three center pivot irrigators here, and your line wants to go through the center of my fields.  I make my living out of farming, and if you go through here, that takes my living away.  When you were reading about CapX, we got notice that Otter Tail Power is pulling out of CapX.

Bev Topp – Go to Powerlinetruth.org and you can read more about what we’re doing.  Whether or not these two easements will overlap, we won’t know until you get to the evidentiary hearing, they can overlap, it is OK.

Nick Zinel – Put on the record, that I oppose the alternative route.  It’s unfortunate, we’re all in the same position, we’ll see the powerline two times, we’ll see it two times, in my front yard and in my back yard, and it goes to that value of seeing it, and I want it on record, we’re all in the same boat.

Bob Johnson – process questions.  In drafting and working through EIS process, is it the assumption that the powerline is going through?  Assumption made, a given?  Theortically..

Scott Ek – The PUC has said the site is needed, and now after scoping, after the additional routes, we’ve put them in the draft EIS, we’re assuming it will go through at this point.  We have no control over PUC, I compile all information from this process, and we have no control over what they decide.

Bob Johnson – Pretend that CapX utility partners woke up and found that the demand across their system had gone to zero and would stay there forever.  What you’re doing continues on regardless, you have no decisions with respect to need, just EIS with respect to routing?

Scott Ek – Yes, that is correct.  Nothing to do with CoN – whatever happens, I don’t follow it, if something happens, the applicant could pull it, and we will keep going until we’re told to stop it.

Bob Johnson – I was asked a question by a landowner, whether lines are built, if for some reason the decision was made that some part did not need to be built or did not need to be built.

Ray Kaufenberg – What is the deadline for filing a Petition for Intervention?

Scott Ek – October 26th.

Ray Kaufenberg – When did affected landowners receive notice of this deadline?

Scott Ek – Don’t have cover letter to when it was sent out, it would have been May 7th?  I’ll have to look it up.  Prehearing, with ALJ, sets that schedule and OAH sents that out.

Ray Kaufenberg – So the deadline, when I learned about it, was with this mailing

Scott Ek – You’ll have to talk to the judge about this.

Ray Kaufenberg – a few things to suggest, count of houses, it’s still inconsistent with the hand count submitted to you based on their application maps.  Review house count maps, before next ALJ meeting.  I participated in ATF meeting, and know you received input on one factor to anlayze, the impact of fairness, yet as I look through the book I see nothing there.  Fairness in route process, fairness in negotiations and acquisition, fairness in data.  Table of most important issues, “Fairness” isn’t in there, and it was omitted.  ATF spent considerable time talking about moving Lake Marion substation further south, but there’s nothing in there about moving it.  People spent time, researched these things, and you ignored them.  It was presented to public that the look of these would be rust colored, a contrast against sky, it was brought up that you could use colored poles that blend in, yet under mitigation, there’s no discussion of colored poles.  That’s the most obvious mitigating factor to aesthetics.  Human Settlement, no disucssion about impact on property values and impact of farming in terms of ongoing monetary compensation.  Shared sacrifice dividends was discussed, people spent time writing this up, going to the meetings, and you blew it off.  Received a lot of alternatives, I looked in EIS book, and in section 7 as rejected alternative routes, the only thing about PAK-001 multiple, which means multiple people suggested it, it only says, “this alternative has more impacts relative to criteria considered than route segment is attempting to replace.”  There were many impacts discussed point by point, all came up less, but you say more impacts.  That’s either straight out falsehood or it that means that something is going on here that the public should be aware of.  Have some outside company finish this because it’s not getting done.

Scott Ek – The final EIS will not be issued until January 8.

Ray Kaufenberg – Final decision by PUC March or so…

CAO: Comments to ALJ open until January 15k 2009.


Brookings EIS “Meetings” & Public Hearings begin

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on @ 9:43 am

There are two sets of hearings on the Brookings CapX 2020 transmission line in November and December.  This may a little confusing, so I’m going to post both schedules.

Here’s our NoCapx 2020 and United Citizens Action Network flyer:

NoCapX 2020 & U-CAN Newsletter – Update

The Dept. of Commerce “meetings” (not hearings, there’s a court reporter, but not for a transcript, it’s really loosey-goosey) have begun, and yesterdays meetings reminded me why I so object to Commerce involvement.

Here’s the EIS:

BROOKINGS DRAFT EIS

A primary problem is that they take the info as Xcel… er… “Applicants,” present it, there is no independent verification or vetting.  Earth to Mars, this is a problem.

For example, look at the amp levels in the EIS in — methinks they’re off by a factor of 10, there should be more numbers there for sure.   And this is in the EMF section, does that mean then that the numbers for EMF are off by a factor of 10 too?  They’re certainly off by some LARGE amount if using the amp levels in the EIS.   Then Scott Ek said the foundations for the 190 foot poles would be 10 feet.  TEN FEET!!!!  Then when questioned by a member of the public, he said he did not know the capacity of the line.  “2085” from the back of the room (!) but that’s not right, that’s from the SW MN 345kV case, and this one they say is “2050 MVA.”  That’s in the record, anyway, if Ek doesn’t know that, how can he make any statements about the potential EMF levels?  As usual, houses were missing, wetlands were missing, and the perverbial explosive factory was missing.  During compilation of the EIS, additional landowners were notified and “alternates to the alternate” routes were “identified” so these folks get notice after, AFTER, CoN is done, after all intervention deadlines have passed, and they were pissed.  I was deeply struck by testimony by two landowners particularly who said they”d just learned of it, and gave a description of what their land meant to them, and noted emphatically that they did not want to shove it on their neighbors, that that wasn’t right, but they did not want this on their land.  More landowners gtting very late notice?  Unacceptable.  But tell it to the appellate court, they don’t care…

How to submit Comments on the EIS – here’s direct from Commerce website:

The OES will accept written comments on the scope of the EIS until Monday, November 30, 2009. Please include Docket No. ET2/TL-08-1474 on your comments. Comments should be mailed, emailed, or faxed to:

Scott Ek, Project Manager
Minnesota Office of Energy Security
85 7th Place East, Suite 500
St. Paul, Minnesota, 55101-2198
Fax: 651-297-7891
scott.ek@state.mn.us

Comments may also be submitted online via the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s (Commission) energy facility permitting website at: http://energyfacilities.puc.state.mn.us/publicComments.html

Here’s the schedule for this round of EIS meetings:

PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETING DATES & LOCATIONS

November 12, 2009 (Thursday)

November 13, 2009
(Friday)

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
(Tuesday)

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

And here’s the schedule for the Siting Docket Public Hearings and Evidentiary Hearings.  Remember, regular people can question witnesses, testify and submit exhibits for the record.  The rules say you can.  Judges don’t always like to let you do this, but it is your right under the rules, so please get involved!!  Your questioning about a particular point, or testimony about things you know about your area, your community, that they have not addressed, can make a big difference.  If you have questions about how to do it, keep checking this site, and I’ll be sending out an email alert with more information about that.

And stay tuned for exact locations… or email scott.ek@state.mn.us

November 30 (Monday)

2:30 & 7 p.m.

Prairie’s Edge Casino, 5616 Prairie’s Edge Lane, Granite Falls, MN

_____________________

December 1 (Tuesday)

1 & 7 p.m.

SMSU Upper Conference Center, 1501 State Street, Marshall, MN

_____________________

December 2 (Wednesday)

1 & & p.m.

Redwood Area Community Center, 901 Cook Street, Redwood Falls, MN

_____________________

December 3 (Thursday)

1 & 7 p.m.

Winthrop Vets Club, 206 North Main Street, Winthrop, MN

_____________________

December 7 (Monday)

1 & 7 p.m.

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

_____________________

December 8 (Tuesday)

1 & 7 p.m.

Lonsdale VFW, 115 2nd Avenue SW, Lonsdale, MN

____________________

December 9 (Wednesday)

1 & 7 p.m.

Park Ballroom/American Legion, 300 So. Lexington Avenue, New Prague, MN

____________________

December 10 (Thursday)

1 & 7 p.m

and

December 11 (Friday)

Holiday Inn, 20800 Kenrick Avenue, Lakeville, MN

____________________

December 15-18 (Tuesday – Friday)

9:30 a.m. – ????

PUC – 121 – 7th Place E., 3rd Floor, St. Paul

*******************************************************

Come on down!  Bring your friends and neighbors!

House joint hearing on HF 1182

Filed under:Laws & Rules,Uncategorized — posted by admin on November 9, 2009 @ 7:33 am

It’s a little confusing, because we’re inbetween, the House isn’t in session, but last Wednesday was the House Energy and Civil Justice committees hearing on HF 1182 and morphs of it since, and anticipate future morphs too.  In essence,  a free ranging discussion of utilities’ exemption from eminent domain laws under Minn. Stat. 117.189.

THIS WILL BE AN ISSUE IN THE UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE SESSION.  It will go to both of these committees, so to get a head start, let’s make sure everyone on the committee knows that utilities are not special!  Utilities should not be exempted from eminent domain landowner protections:

http://www.commissions.leg.state.mn.us/lec/members.htm
Here’s Senate member info:
http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/members/index.php?ls=#header
Here’s House member info:
http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/hmem.asp

Once more with feeling, thanks to Rep. David Bly for being ON this, persevering to support CapX affected landowners in 25B and throughout Minnesota.

Here’s 117.189 with links to see what all perks utilities get:

117.189 PUBLIC
SERVICE CORPORATION EXCEPTIONS.

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 $1,500 for all types of property except for a
public service corporation’s use of eminent domain for a high-voltage
transmission line, where the award may not exceed $3,000.

Those appraisal award limits were raised, but as Joyce Osborn, United Citizens Action Network, testified, her appraisal for the pipeline was more than twice that ceiling, so that still needs work.

The appraiser’s testimony was best, direct hard hitting front-lines view, that the utilities do not need this exemption, and that the exemption is a subsidy for utilities.  That’s clear, simple, and it’s the truth.  Why this was allowed… well, think about it.  It was a time, 2006, when they supposedly were trying to reinforce the state’s eminent domain landowner protections after the Kelo decision.  But these utility exemptions — there was no explanation of why, but it would seem to me that, given the Kelo focus on “public purpose,” utilities would be awfully skittish about taking land for something like CapX 2020, which is private purpose, PROFIT, and not at all necessary for their charge as public service corporations.

Then there’s the “party line” from ???  Rep. Mike Beard is parroting it, that the utilities can be exempted, should be exempted, because they have to go through the PUC process.  SAY WHAT!!!???!!!  The Certificate of Need process has nothing whatsoever to do with eminent domain.  A Certificate of Need is a basis for “need” claim for eminent domain, but it’s not true that, as he said, that utilities can’t get land without a Certificate of Need.  It’s very possible, either it’s a project that falls below the CoN threshold, or it’s one that goes under Local Review.

And Rep. Steve Drazkowski was flailing and he deserves one of these — do his constituents know how he behaves?

horsesassawardHere’s the flyer we sent that he was waving around as if it were some terrorist manifesto:

NoCapX 2020 & United Citizens Action Network Newsletter

Let’s see … notice of public meetings, the Nov. 4 hearing, info on Buy the Farm and questions landowners should ask… sounds pretty radical to me!!!

And speaking of public meetings, it’s time to gear up for the Brookings EIS “meetings” (whatever happened to public HEARINGS?):

PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETING DATES & LOCATIONS

November 12, 2009 (Thursday)

November 13, 2009
(Friday)

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
(Tuesday)

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

Wednesday a.m. – Eminent Domain hearing, repeal 117.189

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on November 3, 2009 @ 6:21 pm

It’s time to repeal Minn. Stat. 117.189, and HF1182 is just the bill to do it.

“Land rights” is a fundamental constitutional issue. For a person’s land to be taken, there must be due process and just compensation. Minn. Stat. 117.189, passed in 2006 in anticipation of CapX 2020 transmission, exempts utilities from important landowner protective provisions:

117.189 PUBLIC
SERVICE CORPORATION EXCEPTIONS.

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 $1,500 for all types of property except for a
public service corporation’s use of eminent domain for a high-voltage
transmission line, where the award may not exceed $3,000.

What’s the problem?

* Thousands of landowners across Minnesota are facing condemnation
in the coming years for CapX 2020 and other transmission projects

* Minn. Stat. 117.189 limits compensation to landowners for
appriasals, attorneys fees, payments for going concerns, things
that give utilities an unfair advantage.

* Repeal Minn. Stat. 117.189 to make utilitiy condemnation more fair (it’s
never really fair!)

What to do? REPEAL Minn. Stat. 117.189!

Contact the legislators on the House Energy and Civil Justice Committee, who will be hearing the bill, HF 1182 Wednesday morning.

House Energy Members

House Civil Justice Members

Come to the hearing November 4, where Rep. David Bly’s HF1182 will be discussed, and let them know you want landowner protections restored:

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.

And while you’re at it,take a look at Minn. Stat. 216E.12, Subd. 4, and eliminate that 200kV threshold for the “Buy the Farm” provision so that it applies to ALL high voltage transmission lines, and require that utilities give notice that “Buy the Farm” is an option with each Certificate of Need and/or Site & Route permit notice and application.

Overland’s Comments – Nov 4 House Energy & Civil Justice



image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace