CapX info dump in Fargo docket

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud — posted by admin on November 30, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

Oh my… I guess they’re worried that we’ve demonstrated they shorted the house counts and the magnetic fields are as extreme as I’ve been saying…

Here’s what started the issue about house counts — Scott Hylla’s testimony that the numbers of homes were way low:

NoRCA – Hylla & Schmitt Direct Testimony

Then Applicants’ Info Request to NoRCA about the missing houses:

Applicants’ IR-1 to NoRCA

And our response:

Cover Letter to Applicants

Reply Detail

DEIS Maps Utilized

And our filing a few days later of the maps that they’d requested, this after driving the routes, knocking on people’s doors, verifying they were homes people lived in:

Cover Letter – Revised Response

Missing Residences – Complete – Revised

Missing Homes – Maps Update

And then Darrin Lahr’s Surrebuttal Testimony addressing NoRCA’s demonstration of claims regarding missing houses:

Applicant’s Darrin Lahr’s Surrebuttal


And on the EMF issue, here’s the convoluted path that took — what started it all was an Affidavit filed by Bruce McKay in the Brookings routing remand docket:

Affidavit of Bruce McKay, P.E. – Magnetic Field Calculations

Oops, their painfully low calculated magnetic field levels are exposed… and that’s reflected in Darrin Lahr’s testimony in this Fargo docket:

Darrin Lahr Direct Testimony + Schedules 1-7

Look at the difference here — first the magnetic fields chart from the application:

And the magnetic fields in Darrin Lahr’s testimony after the Affidavit of Bruce McKay exposed their low estimates:

Magnetic Fields modeling on 600 & 1200 MVA

To get a bigger chart, just click on it.

And today, here’s the poop that they filed about EMF — last minute testimony, last minute surrebuttal, and what testimony is it rebutting?

Surrebuttal of Dan Kline

Surrebuttal of Peter Valberg

(there are exhibits too, I’m downloading now)

Methinks somebody is a little bit worried.

… to be continued…

Fargo-St. Cloud public hearings continue

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud — posted by admin on November 28, 2010 @ 9:33 am

Enough of holidays and time off, it’s back to the CapX 2020 road show.


If you can’t make it to the hearings, you can send comments, identified as “Comments – 09-1056” to:


Judge Beverly Heydinger

Office of Administrative Hearings

P.O. Box 64620

St. Paul, MN  55164-0620

An update from NoRCA:

The North Route Citizen’s Alliance is busy preparing for next week’s CAPX2020 Public Hearings…we need your help in your attendance & participation in these Public Hearings!.

The CAPX2020 Public Hearings is an opportunity for you to voice your concerns and opinions regarding the negative impacts associated with the “North Routes” to the presiding Administrative Law Judge, Beverly Heydinger. The ALJ will write a report and make a recommendation to the Commission on which route to authorize and on any appropriate permit conditions. Participation includes: a) offering direct testimony; b) offering testimony or other material in written form at or following the hearing; and c) questioning witnesses. It is important to be specific in your comments and testimony, a large map representing the CAPX2020 routing will be available for you to utilize.

Important Issues Affecting the CAPX2020 North Routes in Stearns County:

    1)  “Gross” Proliferation of New Transmission Corridors
    *40% of the Preferred Route & 32% of the Alternate A North Routes create “new” transmission corridors, significantly higher than other “alternate” routes.


    2)  Negative impacts on important Ecological & Wetland Resources, such as the St. Wendel Tamarack Bog Complex, Shepards Lake & other Palustrine Water Resources.

    *significantly higher than other “alternate” routes.
    3)  Negative impacts on Forested Areas, such as Birch Lake State Forest (A) and Prime Agricultural Farmland

*significantly higher than other “alternate” routes and in accordance with STATE AGRICULTURAL LAND PRESERVATION AND


    4)  Negative impacts on Stearns County Historic Resources
    *The CAPX2020 North routes would negatively Impact 43 Century Farms.

    5)  NoRCA has been analyzing the Preferred and Alternate A North Routes to identify “Missing Residences” from the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. We currently have documented an estimated “25 additional residences within a 500′ easement” previously not included in the DEIS.

    *This analysis creates an additional North Routes Impact on the issue of Human Settlement. For example, 19 of these additional residences are along the Preferred Route, bringing the total Preferred Route 500′ Easement Impact to 102 Residences, and Alternate A to 135!.

Additional Developments

Only 3 parties have Intervened in the CAPX2020 Fargo to St. Cloud Route: NoRCA, St. John’s University and Abbey and Avon Township.  Just last week, both St. John’s and Avon Township had submitted testimony indicating their perspectives and preferences on the route alternatives with the “least overall impact” as Routes G & H, with Option 11. In the analysis of the DEIS, NoRCA agrees with St. John’s and Avon Townships’ assessment as these alternatives (to the south of I-94) have lower overall DEIS impacts than the Preferred, Alternate A and Alternate B Routes, under the criteria (216E.03, Subd. 7) the ALJ utilizes.

For more information on the information submitted to the Public Utilities commission, please SEARCH Docket# 09-1056 at the following address:{F9EB6186-37DA-48E8-89FE-EC7C20A2750A}

I’m thankful this holiday to be working with a group of fine individuals on the NoRCA Executive Committee and our entire membership.

Scott Hylla

Meeting notes

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud — posted by admin on November 17, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

Below are my notes from the meetings yesterday and today.  It’s disheartening how few people are speaking.

There are a LOT of errors, spelling, missed names, etc, most of the time it’s very heard to hear, tonight the ventilation system was drowning out most of the speakers… grrrrrrrrr, oh well, here’s how it went:

November 16 Hearing Notes

November 17 Heaing Notes

City of Fergus Falls says GO AWAY!

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud — posted by admin on @ 1:36 pm

The City of Fergus Falls passed a resolution asking that CapX 2020 go somewhere else, “We’re not demanding,” … “We’re just suggesting.” And there were no copies there for us to see, so we don’t know exactly what the resolution said.

Where have they been?  And why weren’t they visibly present at the meeting last night at the Bigwood Event Center?  It’s been quite depressing how few people are showing up and speaking out.  Today in Breckenridge, it’s the same thing, very few, and at the beginning, NO ONE had signed up to speak.  Thankfully some did.

Here’s the article from the Fergus Falls Journal:

Council requests CapX2020 change

Published 7:08am Tuesday, November 16, 2010

With a mind toward the city’s future, the Fergus Falls City Council approved a request to the power companies involved in the CapX2020 power line plan to change the route of a line that currently goes through some land the city may annex in upcoming years.

CapX2020 is a planned series of electricity transmission lines around Minnesota. The lines are planned to increase and improve the state’s power grid, and much of the new electricity generated will be from alternative resources, like wind.

Right now, a transmission line stretching from Fargo to St. Cloud is expected to pass through an area of rural Fergus Falls south of U.S. Highway 210 and west of Interstate Highway 94. The city plans to eventually annex this section of land, and with that in mind, its residents approached the city to request that the line be moved.

When and if the area is annexed, explained Community Development Director Gordon Hydukovich, it will likely be zoned as about half residential and half commercial. Currently, the line is passing right on the border of the two zones, and the residents of the area would like to see it moved east into the commercial area. Hydukovich said this makes sense, as such power lines usually fit better into the aesthetics of commercial or industrial zones.

The resolution the city council approved, which Hydukovich will take to a CapX2020 meeting today at the Bigwood Event Center, asks that the project administrators move the line to one of three routes. The first route, known as route A, moves the line away from the city entirely, keeping it in North Dakota until just south of Wahpeton, where it heads east and resumes its original route around Alexandria. While it doesn’t matter to Fergus Falls where the line goes, Hydukovich explained (the city will not receive any power from the line directly), route A is more complicated and will probably not be preferred by the planners of the CapX project.

The second route would put the line in the I-94 right of way, which would not be objectionable to Fergus Falls but could be objectionable to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, because it does not usually approve of other entities using its right of ways and because there is a scenic easement in the right of way which MNDoT might want to preserve.

The final option would move the line as close to the I-94 scenic easement as possible, following the Otter Tail River around the easement and then following the I-94 easement down toward St. Cloud.

“We’re not demanding,” Hydukovich said of the resolution. “We’re just suggesting.” He will present the resolution without comment at today’s meeting, where CapX staff and an administrative law judge will be heading up the proceedings.

Greetings from Fergus Falls

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on @ 7:26 am

On the road again… I love my new “Little Sadie” doggy, but oh is it nice to get a full uninterrupted night’s sleep!

And if you’re trying to get me via email, good luck, Hager Telcom says their email is down, has been since yesterday, they don’t know what’s wrong with it, it was supposed to be back at 10 pm yesterday and it’s not…  Xcel, STOP IT!!!

What’s exciting to me is that “the Applicants” have gotten more realistic about the magnetic field levels expected in this project.  That is due to the Affidavit of Bruce McKay, P.E., in the Brookings case.

Affidavit of Bruce McKay, P.E.

Take a look at Lahr’s testimony at p. 30, and the two magnetic field charts at the very end:

Darrin Lahr – Direct Testimony

And the original chart (click on it to enlarge, I think that works!):


Here’s the new one accompanying Lahr’s testimony, note levels are about 10 times previously disclosed:


Fargo – St. Cloud road show begins!

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud — posted by admin on November 16, 2010 @ 5:17 am

The Public Hearings are beginning today up in Barnesville.  Here’s the schedule:


Fargo-St. Cloud public hearings next week

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud — posted by admin on November 12, 2010 @ 2:33 pm


How can this be???  The Public Hearings for the CapX 2020 Fargo-St. Cloud transmission line begin next week, then Thanksgiving week off, and then again the following week!  Here’s the schedule:


Be there or be square!!!

Labovitz on Economic Impacts of CapX

Filed under:News coverage,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on @ 1:06 pm

toiletonastick The “CapX 2020 toilet-on-a-stick” seen in New Trier, near Hampton…

You’da thunk they’da learned a thing or two about Labovitz…

Just out from the CapX 2020 Transmission Lines ‘R’ Us crew:

Labovitz Study – CapX 2020

Truth be told, I haven’t read it, but it’s downloaded and printing out, ready for highlighting and post its.

Meanwhile, the STrib and everyone else is running promotional pieces lauding the “jobs, jobs, jobs” — but that’s what they pay their shills for, eh?  Oh, that’s what WE (ratepayers) pay their shills for:

CapX2020 power lines will add thousands of jobs

The power-line project will add thousands of jobs, including nearly 8,000 in 2013, according to a study requested by the utilities.


CapX2020, a network of high-voltage power lines that Xcel Energy, Great River Energy and other utilities are building across Minnesota, will generate nearly 8,000 jobs at the peak of construction in 2013, according to an impact study released Wednesday.

The 128-page study, commissioned by the CapX2020 utilities, covers Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsin and was done by the bureau of business and economic research in the business school at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Among the key findings: CapX2020 will generate $1.6 billion in wages, rent and profits from construction payroll spending, and $3.4 billion in sales from construction-related activity in the four-state area. It also will generate more than $149 million in tax revenue in the four states combined. The bulk of the impact is in Minnesota.

The 8,000-job total in 2013 includes secondary jobs in sectors related to the construction, such as engineering, retail and restaurants, the study said.

The $1.7 billion CapX2020 project will add 700 miles of overhead cables capable of moving 4,500 megawatts of electricity. The upgrade will expand the grid by about 30 percent and help move more wind-generated power. Advocates say the project is necessary to meet future electricity needs, but the expansion remains somewhat controversial, particularly among those in the path of the new high-voltage power lines. Ratepayers will be paying for the expansion in their utility bills for years to come.

The CapX2020 utilities also said Wednesday that they’ve broken ground on a leg of the expansion from Monticello to St. Cloud.

In a press release, the utilities said that Indiana-based Ambassador Steel Corp. is supplying about 900 tons of enhanced rebar for the Monticello-St. Cloud project from its local facilities.

“It helps the suppliers we purchase steel from, and it helps our community at a time when job growth is desperately needed,” Ambassador Steel district manager Dan Yerks said in the release.

Yerks said in an interview that he hopes to supply 16,000 tons of rebar for the CapX2020 project over the next few years from the company’s facilities in Minneapolis and Menomonie, Wis.

“It’s a major part of our business in this economy,” he said.

Do take a few minutes to read this thing, and look for not just the “benefits” but look for any attribution of socioeconomic costs.  What I do know of Labovitz Reports is gleaned from the Labovitz Report on Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project — and that report was the laughing-stock of the hearing, those holding it up as a basis for permitting that coal gasification lost credibility.  Here’s the last part of Alan’s cross in Taconite, MN on that report:

Q. Table at 3.4-2 identifies, by my arithmetic, a total of something over 15 million pounds per year of regulated air pollutants. And without getting into detail, let me just suggest, if I may, for purposes of this question, suppose that 15 million pounds a year of regulated air pollutants would constitute a negative impact. If those 15 million pounds a year air pollutants were to cause asthma, bronchitis, cancer of the lungs and so on and so forth, in a certain number of people, those people would need — might very well, probably would seek medical care for those problems,and they would buy inhalers, they would go to the emergency room, they would experience surgicalprocedures at the local health care facilities and so on. In your model would that be a component of economic stimulus?

MR. STARNS: Object to the form of the question.

JUDGE MIHALCHICK: Can you answer that?

A. Not really. I don’t — I mean, he’s asking a hypothetical question I don’t quite understand. I mean, he’s trying to lead me to say that it’s going to cause economic damage, and I’m not in a position to — I’m not an environmental person, so I’m not going to say that that’s necessarily going to happen. There’s other witnesses that maybe could answer that question.

Q. I appreciate that, and I’m trying to focus my question to you on the specific issue of whether –

JUDGE MIHALCHICK: Is the question whether his model included such a cost?

Q. Yes, whether increased use of health care facilities, funeral homes and so on and so forth would constitute a form of economic stimulus that would be acknowledged as such in your model?

A. I mean, if you want to look at it in a bizzare way, yeah.

Q. How is that bizzare?

A. Well, funeral homes are businesses. Hospitals are businesses. They need sick people, I mean, if you want to look at it. We’re not taking that into account, taking that pollution into account here, and you need to ask other witnesses about, you know, the environmental impacts or the effects of those.

MR. MULLER: I don’t have anything more. Thank you.

So let’s check out what this study on CapX 2020 has to say… I’m hoping I won’t be disappointed!

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace