Looking at the Bemidji-Grand Rapids docket

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on August 1, 2010 @ 4:46 pm

In doing the previous post, I started looking at the Bemidji-Grand Rapids docket.  If you’re interested, go to www.puc.state.mn.us and then “Search eDockets” and search for 07-1327, the Routing docket.   It’s still underway, and anyone affected by this line can file exceptions.  The ALJ’s report is due out on September 15, 2010, and by Order, Exceptions are due by September24, 2010.

Anyway, after going over the Routing docket, I went back to look at the Certificate of Need, docket 07-1222.

This is yet ANOTHER case of a Certificate of Need being granted, at a Commission meeting July 9, 2009, and a written order July 14, 2009, and like the larger 06-1115 CapX 2020 Certificate of Need Order, this Order requires a COMPLIANCE FILING regarding OWNERSHIP:

PUC Order Granting Certificate of Need – July 14, 2009

Specifically:

Required a compliance filing on final ownership within 60 days.

No Compliance filing has been made — just like the bigger 06-1115 docket.

Back to the Routing docket, still underway.  One of the things that caught my attention in the Routing docket, was the posting in April 2010, of a pile of agency comments, some dating back to 2008.

This Routing docket is a rare bird — note the scoping decision and its commitment to work WITH the RUS and… well… read for yourself and compare with their approach and lack thereof to dealing with RUS for the CapX Hampton-LaCrosse line:

state-fedcooperation1From there,  check out the agency comments filed April 20, 2010:

Agency Comments

There’s some good stuff here, like from the EPA on September 30, 2008:

epa-need… “discuss whether the projected energy demand identified during the CapX 2020 planning effort has changed.”  Oh my… an end run around the EPA, splitting off the two dockets, and does the EPA have a clue that the Routing EIS won’t address need, won’t touch it with a 10 foot pole?

… and from RUS to Suzanne Steinbrenner at MOES, noting the necessity of addressing CUMULATIVE IMPACTS:

cumulativeimpactsWell, DUH, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why MOES doesn’t want anything to do with an EIS with the RUS for the CapX2020 Hampton-LaCrosse line — and why it’s so necessary that it be a joint EIS.

The Hampton-LaCrosse scoping decision is due any day now.

Reminder of August 9 Prehearing Conference

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on @ 3:36 pm

Here’s another reminder of the Prehearing Conference coming up for the CapX 2020 Hampton-LaCrosse (Alma) transmission line.  Here are their proposed route maps.

NoCapX 2020 and United Citizens Action Network have been admitted as intervenors already — we put in our Petition for Intervention the second this was filed… well, almost!  No one objected and we’re in as intervenors.

Notice of Prehearing Conference

The Prehearing Conference is the start of festivities before the Administrative Law Judge, and we’ll have input on the schedule and then the judge will decide how it will go forward.  Things like the intervention deadline, the hearing schedule and locations, that will be determined so that’s why it matters.  SHOW UP!!!

Monday August 9, 2010 @ 1:30 p.m.

Public Utilities Commission

3rd Floor Small Hearing Room

121 – 7th Place East

St. Paul

It had first been announced for the 10th, but was moved because that’s the primary (like we can’t vote and be there on the same day?  Whatever…).

Once more with feeling, here’s what we’ve filed as our suggestions for the schedule — it took a year for Brookings to go from Scoping Decision to PUC decision, well 12.5 months, so this is similar:

NoCapx & U-CAN Proposed Schedule

Note also that I’m trying to correct for, avoid, some of the problems we’ve experienced in the CapX Brookings docket and other PUC dockets too.  Things like having the hearing at a time when the FEIS is out, of requiring agency comments be entered into the evidentiary record PROMPTLY, so we can avoid the DOT & USFWS problems this time around.  I also want notice to be provided PROMPTLY to those pulled under the lines in the scoping decision, because it took two and a half months for those people to get notice last time.  Landowners were receiving notice AFTER the public hearings and evidentiary hearings had closed because routes were “discovered” not feasible and alternatives were proposed.  That is NOT acceptable, period.  There is no excuse for that.

As we’ve heard, the Rural Utilities Service Draft Environmental Impact Statement is due out “at the end of summer.”  So December?  This reminds me of waiting for the DOE’s EIS for Mesaba, and I sure hope it won’t be that bad, delayed to absurdity!  Why should we care about the RUS EIS?  Well, for one, it’s considering THREE locations for river crossings, at Alma, Winona, and LaCrosse.  For the state application, the applicants put in only one river crossing, and the state’s PUC said that’s OK.  Nevermind the state’s laws and rules say that they must submit TWO routes… the PUC says that’s fine… sigh…

For the Bemidji-Brainerd part of CapX, I see that’s also RUS, and the CapX site says there’s a link to the “Proposed Routes under consideration by the OES and RUS for the Bemidji-GrandRapids 230kV project” but it’s one big 404!

And for this Bemidji-Grand Rapids route, here’s their position:

state-fedcooperation

Why is the CapX 2020 Hampton-LaCrosse line any different???  But nooooo, they’re not working together.

Here’s the RUS site for the CapX EIS:

CapX 2020 Hampton-Rochester-LaCrosse 345kV Transmission Line Proposal

Look at how detailed that is, and that’s just the preliminary info!  You won’t see the likes of that in any Minnesota “Environmental Review” done by the Dept. of Commerce.  We already know they’ve left out the Cannon, Zumbro and Belle Creek watersheds.

To see the full PUC docket, go to www.puc.state.mn.us, click on “Search eDockets” and search for 09-1448.

Show up, folks, so you won’t end up in a fix like Belle Plaine!



image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace