PUC ORDER FILED, APPEAL CLOCK IS TICKING
The Public Utilities Commission has issued its Order Granting Route Permit in the Brookings case. This is the middle segment that crosses the Minnesota River, tossed back to the Administrative Law Judge for additional hearings, Recommendation issued, PUC oral arguments and deliberation last month, and here we are, a Final Order:
Order Granting Route Permit
For the full docket, go to www.puc.state.mn.us and then “Search eDockets” and search for 08-1474.
Several people have asked about the appeal process, so here’s a heads up, now that the “Final Order” is issued, the clock starts ticking for a Motion for Reconsideration and then an Appeal.
Appeal – How does that work? (well, usually it doesn’t…) There are two necessary steps at this point to begin an appeal.
FIRST: A Motion for Reconsideration must be filed within 20 days of TODAY, the date the Order is issued. The PUC would then accept responses to a Motion and would take it up or not take it up. Typically, they do not act. Under the rules, it will be on an agenda, and when that item comes up, they can take up the Motion or not, and they can do so with or without comment from parties or the public. Then they make a decision, typically not to Reconsider.
SECOND: After the Motion is decided by the PUC, if it is denied or not taken up, then there is a THIRTY DAY window to file an appeal at the Appellate Court.
For the record, NoCapX and U-CAN will not be appealing this. Although there were serious problems with this case procedurally, none of it provides a solid basis for appeal, because in making their decision, the landowners hit with the procedural violations were not hit with the line ultimately. The Environmental Review was awful, but after the challenge to environmental review on the Certificate of Need, I can’t see a challenge that they’d care about.
Here are two examples of appeals, relevant recent appeals, where we/they raised NOTICE and Environmental Review issues, and were tossed out:
CapX Certificate of Need Appellate Decision (NoCapX & U-CAN appealed and it was dismissed)
MinnCan Pipeline – Unpublished Appellate Case (members of U0CAN appealed pipeline CoN & Routing and it was dismissed)
NoCapX and U-CAN were the only parties participating in this remand, and oh how I struggled and urged others to join in, but nooooooo, so there aren’t parties to appeal. Directly affected landowners, but non-parties, would have a very rough time. Which is not to say that a lawyer couldn’t be found to take the $$$$ and run with it, but I don’t see anything with a possibility at a win.