Subpoena plot thickens

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket — posted by admin on September 29, 2010 @ 9:34 am

Update on the Subpoena Requests filed by NoCapX 2020 and United Citizens Action Network in the Brookings-Hampton remand docket (08-1474).  There’s been a flurry of activity.

First, yesterday morning I had a chat with Dave Seykora, who noted that he wold be present at the hearings and that the DOT would fight a subpoena (not that one has been served, it’s only been requested thus far).  He convinced me that he’d be able to get the testimony I’m looking for in the record, and I withdrew that subpoena request:

NoCapX & U-CAN withdraw DOT Subpoena Request

Then, filed yesterday afternoon, and emailed just before close of business:

OES EFP Letter to Judge Luis

And then drafted last night and filed early this morning (gotta sleep on these letters):

NoCapX & U-CAN Response to MOES Objection

And then a little later today from the DNR’s Asst. A.G.:

DNR’s Letter to Judge Luis

And NoCapX and U-CAN’s response to that, withdrawing the subpoena requests for Rich Bauer and Lisa Joyal, and leaving outstanding the subpoena requests for Jamie Schrenzel and Lisa Gelvin-Innvaer:

NoCapX & U-CAN response to DNR

We’re off to the races…

Notes from DEIS Meetings along Fargo-St. Cloud route

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud — posted by admin on September 28, 2010 @ 5:08 pm

The turnout has been disappointing thus far for the DEIS meetings (not hearings!) being held this week along the Fargo-St. Cloud CapX 2020 route.   But tonight’s crowd is bigger, YEAAAAA…

For those wondering where those big maps are that they’re using, don’t worry, you’re not missing something, they’re not in the docket yet, but they are on the Capx 2020 site:

MOST RECENT Fargo-St.  Cloud Route Maps Here!!

To see the entire docket, go to www.puc.state.mn.us, then click “Search eDockets” and search for 09-1056.

Here’s my notes, I’ll update as the week goes on–keep in mind these are ROUGH notes, names could be misspelled, etc.:

September 27

September 28

September 29

September 30

More to follow

Subpoena requests sent!

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket — posted by admin on September 26, 2010 @ 9:58 pm

subpoena

Just now I’ve filed five Subpoena Requests with Judge Luis on the Brookings-Hampton remand.  Who?  Those agency folks who have been on the job providing Comments that need some hearing time, so that we know their position, so that we know what is and is not possible, so that we know what issues they have with the proposed transmission routes across the Minnesota River Valley and all the rest of the “CH” route segment too!

So, here’s hoping we’ll be having a crew of agency employees to testify and turn over documents:

Dave Seykora, DOT – he’ll be there anyway, he’s been at all the hearings on all the projects (that I know of, though maybe he’s missed a few!).  Once again, we need his testimony.  He testified last time, and this time it’s also important to be very, very clear about right-of-way issues, scenic easements, and the like.

Jamie Schrenzel, DNR – she writes all the comments from the DNR on CapX 2020 projects.  What a job… anyway, her comments on this part of CapX were essentially that MOES had not provided enough info in the DEIS, and later in the FEIS, to do an analysis.  Great, just great.  So we need this in the record, and to go over the DNR’s take on what is there, and what they’re concerned about.

Lisa Gelvin-Innvaer – she’s the Nongame person who handles the Minnesota River Valley and specifically eagle tracking.

Rich Baker – He’s the DNR’s Threatened and Endangered Species Specialist.  Say no more…

Lisa Joyal – she handles the National Heritage Data, which includes all the eagle info, the hugely important database.

Here we go — will keep you posted.

Notice of FINAL Order for Brookings – except “CH” segment

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket — posted by admin on September 25, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

Final Order, and Brown County’s “wake-up” missive:

It’s out – AND IT WAS ISSUED OVER A WEEK AGO, Sept. 14!  It’s the Notice of Final Order and, of course, the FINAL ORDER.  This is the “Final Order the route permit, for the Brookings transmission line, five of the six route segments, or everything except the “CH” segment, or “segment 4” that was remanded to Office of Administrative Hearings because it’s such a mess.

Since this Notice is so clearly labeled “Notice of Final Order” that means we have to pay attention — that the clock is ticking for filing a Motion for Reconsideration.  And then the clock is ticking for an appeal.

Notice of FINAL ORDER

Final Order – Brookings – 5 of 6 route segments

And as I heard and posted a couple weeks ago now, Brown County Commissioners have been hearing from their constituents affected by CapX, but hello!  It’s all but over!  Any affected parties can dig in and appeal, but odds of anything meaningful happening at this late date are not good.   Anyway, here’s what Brown County had to say:

Brown County Letter – Sept. 7, 2010

They’re saying that they support anyone asking for a rehearing.   That and $0.50…

Were I them, I’d get every affected party they can find to file a Motion for Reconsideration NOW!

Brookings remand – Witness & Exhibit Lists exchanged

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket — posted by admin on @ 4:07 pm

Catching up from a week “off” — Thursday and Friday, we exchanged Witness and Exhibit Lists for the upcoming hearings on the Brookings remand in early October.

Here they are:

CapX Applicants’ Witness & Exhibit List

NoCapX & U-CAN Witness & Exhibit List

As you can see, I’ve got a little work to do, a few subpoena requests to get out — MANANA!!!

Coalition challenging CapX 2020 grows!

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud — posted by admin on @ 9:22 am

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, vacation where time was not my own and now the scramble to get caught up.  Just before leaving, I signed on with North Route Citizens Alliance, and North Route Citizens Alliance signed on with me, and I dove into the Prehearing Conference on Wednesday, hung up, and ran to the airport — “Seattle, next stop!”  So there’s a lot of catch up to do to get the lay of the land — this is a long route covering a lot of territory.

North Route Citizens Alliance (NoRCA) has joined with NoCapX 2020 and United Citizens Action Network for the Fargo to St. Cloud part of CapX 2020 transmission!  NoRCA’s primary concern is the extreme proliferation of some of the CapX 2020’s route proposals — new routes proposed over sensitive areas rather than following Minnesota’s “non-proliferation” policy of PEER, and rather than follow the newer law favoring use of pre-existing easements and holding PUC accountable to explain if they don’t.

Here’s the PEER decision:

People for Environmental Enlightenment and Responsibility v. EQC

And here’s Minnesota’s new criteria taking another step to utilize existing corridor, down at the bottom of HF1182, authored by Rep. David Bly (don’t forget to say thanks!):

from Chapter 288

(e) The commission must make specific findings that it has considered locating a route for a high-voltage transmission line on an existing high-voltage transmission route and the use of parallel existing highway right-of-way and, to the extent those are not used for the route, the commission must state the reasons.

Here’s their sign, and it’s available for $10 – go to their site to order one:

norca-sign

And here’s our Amended Petition to Intervene, Amended after Judge Heydinger threw up some unreasonable hurdles, requiring us intervenors to be incorporated, sans any statutory or regulatory basis for that requirement:

NoCapX, U-CAN & NoRCA Cover Amended Petition and Exhibits

We’re off to the races… and next week is full with a road show of DEIS hearings for the Fargo-St. Cloud route:

Notice of DEIS Release and Public Meetings

The meetings “for comment” (notice they’re not “public hearings” anymore) will be held along the route from September 27 – September 30:

September 27, 2010

1:00 p.m.
Barnesville American Legion
101 – 2nd St. SE
***
7:00 p.m.
Fergus Falls
Bigwood Event Center
925 Western Avenue

September 28, 2010

1:00 p.m.
Elbow Lake
Dream Weaver’s Banquet Facility
410 2nd St. NE
***
7:00 p.m.
Alexandria
Broadway Ballroom
115 – 30th Ave E

September 29, 2010

1:00 p.m.
Melrose
Rondezvous Grille
401 Main Street East
***
7:00p.m.
Albany
Paul’s Par-A-Dice
451 Railroad Ave

September 30, 2010

1:00 & 7:00 p.m.
St. Joseph
El Paso Sports Bar & Grill
200 – 2nd Ave N.W.

Be there or be square!

On vacation!

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on September 18, 2010 @ 10:37 am

Long deserved!

Later!

Brown County wakes up from a nap

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket — posted by admin on September 13, 2010 @ 8:08 am

After all these years of CapX 2020, it seems some are waking up from their Rip Van Winkle slumber to find transmission in their jurisdiction, for example, Eden Township and Brown County.  And to be fair — I know that the state has fallen down on notice, for example, taking from June 30, 2009 until September 18, 2009, to get out notices related to new routes proposed in scoping for the Brookings route, and I know that the utilities presently known as the “Applicants” have pursued a “Preferred” route and Minnesota River Crossing that they knew or should have known was not feasible, and then scrambled to find a way to ram it through LeSueur, running over landowners and not giving notice until after the hearings had closed, but I also know that www.nocapx2020.info has been around since 2007, and I know what we’ve spent on mass mailings, PSAs, press rleases and radio ads, and what a google of CapX 2020 reveals — all of us have had a lot of  press coverage all over the place — so where have these folks been?

Anyway, welcome to the nightmare that is CapX 2020!

In the New Ulm Journal last week:

Township residents air power line concerns


County to draft letter of support for changing power line route in Eden Township

By Fritz Busch Staff Writer
POSTED: September 8, 2010

NEW ULM – Eden Township residents aired concerns about the CapX2020 transmission line project with Brown County commissioners and Great River Energy representatives Tuesday afternoon.

The 240-mile, $700 million, 345-kilovolt project with poles every 1,000 feet from Brookings County, S.D. to Hampton, Minn., will transmit wind power and help ensure electrical reliability into the future, according to Great River Energy (GRE) Project Communications Coordinator Randy Fordice.

A consulting firm sent mailings about power line routes to property owners during 2007-2009 public notice periods, Fordice said.

Fordice said 47 alternate routes were proposed in 2009 and environmental impact statements were drafted.

“An Administrative Law Judge landed on the route before you and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MnPUC) approved most of the routes,” said GRE Land Rights Senior Field Representative Dan Lesher.

“We tried to solicit public comment as much as we could over the past few years,” Lesher said. “We’re still working with Sibley County on Minnesota River crossing easements.”

Commissioner Andy Lochner said the project route goes through a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Sibley County.

Lesher said GRE has been asked for (project) route changes in Brown, Scott and Dakota counties.

“There is a process to taking route changes back to MnPUC which approved most routes in July,” Lesher added. “It’s unusual but not impossible. … This has been a very difficult process. Farmers say stay off fields and go near roads. Rural homeowners say stay off roads and use fields. We try to stay on property divisions. It’s like a big jigsaw puzzle.”

Lesher said the state energy commission notified property owners about the power line routes, but that letters are often thrown away because recipients think they are junk mail.

Power lines would form corners on the south and east side of Allen T. Mathiowetz’ Section 7 farm site and at the Randy Schroeder site in Section 5 according to a letter signed by township residents.

Mathiowetz said the route was changed, and he didn’t know about it until after approval by MnPUC.

“I got a mailing last month that was very vague. I was told to check on a computer. I don’t have one,” said Mathiowetz.

“Being surrounded by power lines is more than just bad aesthetics,” the township residents’ letter read. “We live in an area not served by DSL and need line of sight signal to get Internet. Carol Schroeder, a quadriplegic due to MS, needs high-speed home Internet service to do her job.”

Other concerns are that the line would pass through, not on the edge of Section 32 farm fields.

“We are concerned about health risks, radio and TV reception interference, loss of farm land, inability to do aerial crop spraying, property value losses and farming nuisances caused by large towers. … We don’t want this power line on any of our land,” read a June letter to MnPUC, signed by 38 landowners.

Erosion concern was voiced at the meeting.

Lesher said GRE would use mitigation to help hold soil in place around power poles.

“Who wants to [deal with these power lines] for the rest of their life?” asked Milo Christensen. “I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. The route has to be changed by asking MnPUC to have CapX reconsider it. We want a letter from the county asking MnPUC to reconsider the route. We have another plan. Mr. Lesher knows what it is.”

Commissioners approved a resolution to draft a letter asking MnPUC to reconsider the project’s Eden Township route.

“We want to be on the same page. Timing is crucial.” said Commissioner Richard Seeboth.”

Brown County Attorney Robert Hinnenthal said the issue is under Minnesota Statute 216b.27.

“…You can request a re-hearing and if that doesn’t work, you can go to the Court of Appeals,” Hinnenthal said. “I think it’s important you consider (legal) help on this. … It’s important you preserve your rights. The process doesn’t guarantee anything.”

“We’re sleeping on the edge of our beds now,” said Christensen.

Seeboth asked commissioners to approve a letter of support for project representatives to meet with landowners to find a better route.

“I was caught unaware (of the route change) myself,” said Commissioner Andy Lochner.

Commissioners unanimously approved a letter supporting the MnPUC request.

Seeboth thanked Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-St. James, for attending the meeting. He said a letter from Torkelson’s office to MnPUC supporting the request would be in order.

Fargo-St. Cloud DEIS is out!

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud — posted by admin on September 8, 2010 @ 10:41 am

moes-tavern

DEIS IS OUT AND DEIS COMMENT MEETINGS ARE SCHEDULED

MOES has released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the CapX 2020 Fargo-St. Cloud line (09-1056):

Notice of DEIS Release and Public Meetings

Fargo-St. Cloud DEIS page – VIEW AND DOWNLOAD HERE

Comments are due, must be RECEIVED by, October 18, 2010, by mail, fax or email:

David Birkholz, Permit Manager
MOES
85 7th Place East, Suite 500
St. Paul 55101
david.birkholz@state.mn.us
(651) 296-2878 – fax

The meetings “for comment” will be held along the route from September 27 – September 30:

September 27, 2010

1:00 p.m.
Barnesville American Legion
101 – 2nd St. SE
***
7:00 p.m.
Fergus Falls
Bigwood Event Center
925 Western Avenue

September 28, 2010

1:00 p.m.
Elbow Lake
Dream Weaver’s Banquet Facility
410 2nd St. NE
***
7:00 p.m.
Alexandria
Broadway Ballroom
115 – 30th Ave E

September 29, 2010

1:00 p.m.
Melrose
Rondezvous Grille
401 Main Street East
***
7:00p.m.
Albany
Paul’s Par-A-Dice
451 Railroad Ave

September 30, 2010

1:00 & 7:00 p.m.
St. Joseph
El Paso Sports Bar & Grill
200 2nd Ave NW

Compliance filing for CoN Order Point 4!

Filed under:St.Cloud-Monticello — posted by admin on September 7, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

Seems that on August 20th, Mike Krikava filed the Compliance Filing for the Certificate of Need Order Point 4 for the Fargo “Phase I” Route, otherwise known as St. Cloud-Monticello (09-246).  I’ve not been following that docket much, so I didn’t find it until this morning when I was looking at the CapX 2020 site to see what’s there.  And for some odd reason I didn’t get notice that it had been filed in 06-1115.   Hmmmmmm…

OK, let’s take a look at this.

First, I see it’s on “CapX 2020” letterhead.  EH?  CapX 2020 doesn’t exist as an organizational entity!  Search for yourself and see:

Secretary of State Business Name Search

Anyway, here’s their compliance filing:

Compliance Filing – CoN Order Point 4 – (St. Cloud to Monticello only)

And right after that, the PUC files their Order this a.m. on the many Motions in the CoN docket regarding Brookings, primarily denying our Motion to Compel and denying hearings:

PUC Order Denying Motion to Compel… Sept 3, 2010

Here’s Order Point 4 from the Certificate of Need, that Order Point that requires they disclose the ownership structure and capacity of the line, that little Order Point that I’ve been harping on for how long now, because DUH, the capacity they testified to in the CoN is a lot different than what they’re saying it is in these routing proceedings and a lot higher than is showing up in the EMF charts in MOES bogus “environmental review.”  Back to Order Point 4:

orderpoint4What I’m mostly concerned about is the capacity, which was straightforwardly declared in the Certificate of Need proceeding (Docket 06-1115) but which has been hidden and misrepresented in the routing dockets. Here’s what their compliance filing says:

capacity

Here’s what the claim is in EMF charts for the St. Cloud to Monticello line:

emf-chart

And here’s what I wrote about that:

emfcomment


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace