Fargo Route – NoCapX, U-CAN & NoRCA are intervenors!

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud — posted by admin on October 10, 2010 @ 7:55 am

Update in the CapX 2020 Fargo-St. Cloud transmission line routing proceeding.

Comments on the DEIS are due on October 18, 2010.


Send DEIS Comments by US mail or email to:

State Permit Manager        david.birkholz@state.mn.us
David Birkholz
Minnesota Office of Energy Security
85 7th Place E., Suite 500
St. Paul, Minnesota 55101-2198


As the dust settles from the last two weeks, whoa, are things happening in transmission, I realized I hadn’t posted this piece of good news — NoCapX 2020, United Citizens Action Network, and North Route Citizens Alliance have been granted full party status as intervenors!

Order Granting Intervention

Friday was the deadline, and there were two additional Petitions filed for Intervention (only two???)

Avon Township Petition to Intervene

St. John’s Abbey/University Petition to Intervene

CapX 2020 North Dakota in the news

Filed under:Bemidji-Grand Rapids,Brookings Routing Docket,Cost Recovery,Fargo-St Cloud,Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on October 7, 2010 @ 10:45 am

There was a very strange report from North Dakota – somewhere on the CapX 2020 Fargo-St. Cloud road show last week, they were asked about the permitting status of that line in North Dakota, and we got some blather that wasn’t very specific.  And look what pops up yesterday,  North Dakota “endorsing” transmission projects “in neighboring states.”  EH?  SAY WHAT?

I’ve put in a call to the ND PSC to get some primary documentation, will update if anything turns up.

Found the docket on line – it’s a request for an “Advance Determination of Prudence” and the filings are here:


The article, in full below, covers actions of the PUC on Wednesday, and so must be based on their meeting yesterday, which is online:



In the meantime, you can check out their August 4, 2010 Worksession where CapX was discussed.


It’s worth some time to hear their discussion of the Brookings line.


Here’s the news article that popped up today:

Oct 6, 10:43 PM EDT

ND regulators endorse power line improvements

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota utility regulators on Wednesday endorsed three power line transmission projects in neighboring states that they said should provide safeguards against blackouts on the region’s electric grid.

Agreements with Xcel Energy Inc. and Otter Tail Power Co. also should help North Dakota ratepayers avoid paying the projects’ development bills right away if they are never constructed, members of North Dakota’s Public Service Commission said. Regulators said they were confident the power lines will be built.

Xcel, which is based in Minneapolis, and Otter Tail, of Fergus Falls, Minn., asked the North Dakota PSC to review the transmission line projects and determine whether they were a prudent investment. The review will make it easier for the two utilities to win regulators’ future approval of electric rate increases to pay for them.

The commissioners endorsed a new, 250-mile transmission line from Fargo to Monticello, Minn., northwest of Minneapolis; a 68-mile line between Bemidji, Minn., and Grand Rapids, Minn.; and a 150-mile line between Minneapolis-St. Paul and La Crosse, Wis.

Separately, they gave preliminary approval of a 200-mile line from eastern South Dakota to an area near Hampton, Minn., south of Minneapolis.

They eat dead pigs too!

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket — posted by admin on October 5, 2010 @ 8:31 pm

Here are ROUGH notes from tonight’s hearing in Belle Plaine, it’s been along day:

October 5 notes

Brookings Public Hearing – LeSueur and Arlington

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket — posted by admin on @ 8:56 am

Long day – it was the CapX 2020 public hearings in LeSueur and Arlington.  Here’s rough notes, lots of errors, names are wrong, and several times I missed a lot:

October 4 – LeSueur and Arlington

The highlight of the day was a heartfelt speech by Duane Kamrath, building on his January letter of withdrawal of the “Myrick Route” from consideration.  He’d originally proposed it as an option to draw the line away from his property on Doppy Lane.  He’s been trying to sell, to move back to his home turf after many years, and of course because the line has been proposed, no one is going to buy his property.  He’s stuck with that transmission line hanging over his head, figuratively now, perhaps literally later.  So he made that proposal at the Henderson meeting, last December, when the CapX proposal through LeSueur was obviously falling apart (andCapX jumped on it, tried to run with it and fell flat on their face).  Just less than a month later, he withdrew that proposal:

Duane Kamrath Letter of Withdrawal

Unfortunately, CapX 2020 had jumped on it, and formally proposed it in their December 15, 2009 filings.  Fortunately, it was NOT included in the DEIS, it was not a route alternative analyzed for impacts, SO that means that under the rules, the PUC is prohibited from selecting it.

Duane’s public comment last night was particularly moving because he sees the broader picture, that this line shouldn’t be inflicted on anyone.  He sees that transmission doesn’t belong traversing the Minnesota River Valley, have an appreciative and appreciated nod to the “NoCapX 2020” philosophy, and urged that if it is to cross the valley, anywhere, that it should be non-aerial.  He’s made the difficult journey from advocating for it to go somewhere, anywhere, else, to seeing that it’s a bad idea where ever it is proposed, that there are people where ever that might be, that no one wants it, no one should have to have it, that the impacts are universal and that it is harmful in so many ways, human, environmental and economic impacts.  It meant a lot to me to see that progression and hear how he described it and owned his beliefs.  He got a huge round of applause from the LeSueur audience, well deserved.  Thank you, Duane!

Someone said they couldn’t find our NoCapX testimony filed earlier, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN, so here it is, exhibits to follow as I have time:

Exhibit 516 – Testimony of Michael Albrecht

Exhibit 527 – Testimony of Mark and Shirley Katzenmeyer

To check out all the filings, go to www.puc.state.mn.us, then click “Search eDockets” and then search for docket 08-1474.  The testimony for this docket was filed September 10, 2010, so scroll down and keep an eye on the column on the left.

On to Belle Plaine, this afternoon at 2 and at 6:30 at the Country Club.

Bury transmission near Whooping Cranes!

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket — posted by admin on October 2, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

Warm off the press – it came out in the Grand Forks paper last week (sorry, the format is a tadbit off):

Switch to underground cable benefits whooping cranes

From the article:

FEMA consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which concurred that burying the lines benefits the cranes. Service officials say collisions with power lines are the No. 1 source of mortality in whooping crane chicks.  “When descending or taking off, the cranes are often unable to avoid power lines,” Jeffrey Towner, field supervisor with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in Bismarck, said in a statement. “Their large body is not so maneuverable, and visibility may be limited during inclement weather or low light conditions.”

And lo and behold, there are whooping cranes in the Carleton College Arboretum.  That’s just a couple of miles south of where they want to stick CapX 2020’s Brookings-Hampton line.

The male is 7-07, and the female is 39-07:

Photos: Whooping cranes in the Arb

Whooping Cranes Make Rare Visit to Northfield

Update on Northfield sighting of Whooping Cranes

Thanks to Carleton College and Griff Wigley for getting this information out.

Here’s a study out last year – out of 17 dead whooping cranes, transmission lines killed three of them:

Postmortem Evaluation of Reintroduced Whooping Cranes in Eastern North America

PUBLIC HEARINGS – Brookings Route

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket — posted by admin on @ 4:37 pm

It’s on us already — NEXT WEEK — the Hearing for the Brookings Route remand.

Did I really not post this?  AAAAAARGH!  Here’s the Notice:

MOES Notice of Public Hearings

Public Hearings are scheduled for:


October 4, 2010 (Monday)
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Le Sueur Community Center Gym
821 East Ferry Street
Le Sueur, MN 56058 (507) 665-3325

October 4, 2010 (Monday)
6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Arlington Community Center
204 Shamrock Drive
Arlington, MN 55307 (507) 964-2378


October 5, 2010 (Tuesday)
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Valley View Golf Course
Belle Plaine Banquet Room
23795 Laredo Avenue
Belle Plaine, MN 56011
(952) 873-4653

And if we don’t get done Monday and Tuesday:


October 6, 2010, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Minnesota Public Utilities Commission,
Third Floor Hearing Room
121 7th Place East
St. Paul, MN 55101

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace