Public Hearings on Hampton-LaCrosse

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on May 30, 2011 @ 10:42 am

The Public Hearing Notice is out for the CapX 2020 Hampton-LaCrosse line, starting two weeks from now, June 14, 2011, and the following week, starting Monday the 20, it’s the evidentiary hearing:


Note that they have the evening session planned to shut down at 9:30 — keep your eyes open because if there are people waiting to make their comments, the statutory shutdown time isn’t until 11:00 p.m.

This series of meetings is different than the meetings held for comments on the DEIS, this is the opportunity for you to tell Judge Sheehy directly anything and everything about the routing of this project, and it’s particularly the time for you to tell her the particular things about your land and your community that you know best.

The Public Comment period is open until June 30, 2011, either postmarked that date, or if email, fax or hand delivered, in by 4:30 p.k.  WRITE THE DOCKET NUMBER ON IT: CapX Hampton-LaCrosse Docket3-2500-21181-2. Send them to her at:

or fax: 651-361-7936

or by mail:

Kathleen Sheehy, ALJ
P.O. Box 64620
St. Paul, MN  55164-0620

I strongly recommend that in addition to your comments now, you send a copy of whatever you sent regarding the DEIS, because those comments more often than not have a LOT to do with routing of a transmission line.

More Intervenors and Testimony on Hampton-LaX

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on @ 10:03 am

Good coverage of the NRG (North Route Group) Zumbro River Petition yesterday on KAAL, linked HERE!

The ALJ issued an order that granted intervention status to North Route Group (NRG), Oronoco Township, and American Transmission Company (ATC).  I had to ask about it Friday morning, and though we were told it was coming, it was not filed until after the deadline for Intervenors first Testimony filing, the PUC’s received date is Monday, May 23, 2011:

Second Prehearing Order

Check out this part of the Order:

Finally, it contends that it did not falsely characterize the Badger Coulee transmission line as not being an “extension” of this HVTL.  Although the Badger Coulee line will interconnect with this HVTL in the vicinity of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, the Badger Coulee line is a separately owned and distinct line that is not a part of this project.

ATC has shown that its interests are different and distinct from those of Xcel Energy.  The Commission’s decision in this case will determine whether and where ATC’s facilities will be interconnected with this project in Wisconsin.  ATC’s Petition to intervene is accordingly granted.

ATC hasn’t filed a thing…

Here’s the testimony:

XCEL Testimony:

Hillstrom – Direct Testimony Part I

Hillstrom – Direct Testimony Part 2

Hillstrom – Direct Testimony – Revised Sched 3 and 8

King – Direct Testimony

Stevenson – Direct Testimony


Hilstrom Rebuttal – it’s TOO big… and I spent a lot of time trying to reduce it.  Go to and then “Search eDockets” and search for 09–1448.  Scroll down to the Rebuttal testimony, just filed.-Stevenson – Rebuttal Testimony

North Route Group:

Cover, Direct Testimony of Rohlfing and Hackman, and Exhibits A, B and C

Exhibit List

Rohlfing and Hackman – Exhibits D-G

Oronoco Township:

Broberg – Direct Testimony

Smith – Direct Testimony

American Transmission Company:

… nada…

The Oronoco Township testimony is focused on value of land, local zoning, even raises income and educational levels, essentially saying that our land has a higher market value, we’ve zoned for FUTURE development, therefore not here, stick it there, not only that, but it’s got little relationship to the criteria of routing a transmission line, but it’s the classist notions that jump out, and even Xcel noted:

While the effect on land-based economies is one of the 14 factors listed in Minnesota Rule 7850.4100 that must be evaluated when selecting a route, this factor has, to my knowledge, never been interpreted to require a comparison of the taxable value of properties within each route alternative. Mr. Broberg’s interpretation would also result in favoring affluent counties and neighborhoods at the expense of less affluent counties and neighborhoods.

One thing I’m sure Xcel does not want is an environmental justice fight!!!

June 10 – Fargo-St. Cloud route at PUC

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud — posted by admin on May 29, 2011 @ 7:56 am

Notice came out Friday that the PUC will take up the route for the CapX 2020 Fargo-St. Cloud transmission line:

Meeting Notice – June 10, 2011

The Meeting Notice says that the oral argument and deliberation regarding this part of the CapX 2020 Phase I projects will NOT start before 10:00 a.m.

MOES has issued it’s Recommendation to the PUC:

Briefing Papers – Recommendation

There’s a full set of maps and they’re all too big to load, so until I figure out how to increase that capacity, you’ll have to go to the PUC’s site to get them.  Go to and then click the blue “Search eDockets” button and search for docket 09-1056.  From there, scroll down to the maps, filed 5/27/11.

Here are links that might work:

20115-63028-02 PUBLIC 09-1056 EFP BRIEFING PAPERS–MAPS-ND TO ALEX-PT 1 05/27/2011

20115-63028-04 PUBLIC 09-1056 EFP BRIEFING PAPERS–MAPS-ND TO ALEX-PT3 05/27/2011

20115-63028-03 PUBLIC 09-1056 EFP BRIEFING PAPERS–MAPS-ND TO ALEX-PT 2 05/27/2011


20115-63028-06 PUBLIC 09-1056 EFP BRIEFING PAPERS–MAPS-SAUK CENTRE TO STC-PT1 05/27/2011

20115-63028-07 PUBLIC 09-1056 EFP BRIEFING PAPERS–MAPS-SAUK CENTRE TO STC-PT2 05/27/2011

Here’s the ALJ’s Recommendation and the Exceptions filed with the PUC:

ALJ’s Recommendation

North Route Citizens Alliance, NoCapX 2020 and U-CAN Exceptions

Exceptions to Recommendation – Brookings Remand

Public Exceptions – Part I

Public Exceptions – filed May 10

Meeting at Olmsted County today

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on May 25, 2011 @ 8:16 am


Today, CapX 2020 shills gave a presentation at a “Committee of the Whole” informational meeting at Olmsted County.  Only CapX 2020 Applicant reps were to present, in this case, Tom Hillstrom and Tim Carlsgaard.  Tom did most of the talking.  I missed the introductions, and they were well into the powerpoint by the time I got there.  Some of the questions and answers, all comments are Hillstrom unless ID’d as Carlsgaard:

Q:     What factors make that the preferred?

A:     There are factors we look at, we look for existing features, such as highways, transmission, railroad, and we build next to them to avoid a new corridor.  Another can be property boundaries, we use those because then there are not a lot of homes nearby, as often there are on roads (that’s called mitigation!!).

Q:     Perferred – what exactly is it?

A:     For Segment 1, along Highway 52, we have a strong preference for this route.  Segment 3, there wasn’t a clear choice, used all criteria, and a clear winner didn’t jump out.  normally we pare down to two, but couldn’t see a clear reason to eliminate one.  We have a slight preference to the southern route.  Carlsgaard: we have to submit 2, and we can and didsubmit three.

Q:     Preferred?

A:     Yes, we have to have a Preferred and Alternate, but they’re evaluated the same.

Q:     Why 3?

A:     Part of the criteria is that it be buildable, and straight east there are hills.  Route by route, the south one crosses at White Bridge. The middle one crosses at the dam.  For the north, there is no existing crossing, and when we route, we find an existing crossing and cross there.

Q:     Cost as a factor?

A:     Cost is a factor, but not a driving factor.

Q:     How long will this process take?

A:    Probably by the end of the year.

Q:     Can you explain RUS?

A:     The Rural Utility Service is in the midst of an EIS and the Draft EIS is expected to be out in the summer (didn’t say how long that will take to hold hearings and get the final out, and the impact of that on this routing process).  It’s necessary because Dairyland is looking for federal money, and this is a part of that.

Carlsgaard notes that they’ve got about 700 miles of transmission in the works and they’re building the first segment now, St. Cloud to Monticello, so if you want to see what this will look like, it parallels I-94, and about 2/3 of the structures are up, we’ll hang wire this summer.

Q:     What is generating capacity this is connected to?

A:     This is not for specific generation source.

Q:     How does your route take into consideration our planning process 20-30 year plans?

A:     (Hillstrom was confused here, he didn’t get her drift)  Carlsgaard – we met with all the communities, and reviewed all their plans, and it was taken into consideration.

Q:    (Clarified)What about meeting needs, and interfering with growth?  What about impacts on future development, our development plans.

A:   We did ID that, got the land use plans.  Our analysis takes existing conditions into account, future plans, whether it happens here or there, that’s difficult to predict.

Q:     About feasibility, initially wasn’t it going down 52 to 90?

A:     Early on, we evaluated where to cross, and found 3 spots.  Alma is the best crossing, it’s narrow, USFWS preferred, getting to that crossing is easier.  We did study Hwy. 52 to 90, but through Rochester wouldn’t work, MnDOT Hwy 52 through used up every bit of Rochester.  Going west and south to go around it would be so much longer.

Q:     So now there’s no “preferred?”

A:     No, the Preferred still is preferred.

Carlsgaard: That last part of it (on east), it follows existing corridor, and the existing line would be removed and added to the 345kV line and 50 feet of right-of-wa would be added.

Q:     What’s contested by Oronoco?  By 12?

A:     It’s off of Hwy. 12 because there are more homes and going this way avoids them (that’s mitigation!)

Q:     What about the middle route?

A:     That’s the white line in the middle, crosses the dam.  (at this point we did an amazing flyover, the bluffs popped out (the coal plant was FLAT!).  Someone noted the sharp distinctions in terrain between the routes.

Q:     Will you provide us with copies of the flyover?

A:      Yes, that’s on my list of things to do.

Q To Board Chair:   Do we want to discuss this during the board meeting?

A by other than Board Chair:   We need to think about it, let’s discuss at the next meeting, 2nd Tuesday, June 14th.

Interesting Hampton-LaCrosse filings

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on May 18, 2011 @ 5:21 am

Lots of filings posted in the CapX 2020 Hampton-LaCrosse docket in Minnesota

DEIS Comments are posted, many many comments, and as usual, MOES is posting agency comments by the writer’s first name, lat name, at least this time they’re identifying them by agency or organization in a separate column… it’s not impossible to pick them out!  Noteworthy are the DNR, DOT, MRPC and USFWS Comments… have I left anyone out?

MOES link of Public Comments Filed


For the PUC Docket record go to, click on “Search eDockets” and search for docket 09-1448.

Strange things, apparently some additional route options that MOES didn’t want to consider are now to be in the EIS.

MOES Letter May 13, 2011

There are Petitions for Intervention waiting, and I’m hoping for a hearing on ATC’s request — what exactly is there interest, eh??

And I’ve been hired by North Route Group, YEAAAAAAAA, here we go!!!  I’ve filed my Notice of Appearance, and seconds later, Rod Krass files Notice of Appearance for Oronoco Twp.  I’ve suggested to him that I just copy mine and file for them too, or maybe send them a heads up so they can file first next time???  Testimony is due Friday, BUSY BUSY BUSY!

Fargo-St. Cloud – Public Exceptions Filed

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud,St.Cloud-Monticello — posted by admin on May 12, 2011 @ 7:19 am

There are some interesting public exceptions filed in the Fargo-St. Cloud routing docket, with the past coming back to haunt us, again:

Zimmer Letter

Zimmer Land Grant

Public Exceptions – posted today

Public Exceptions – filed May 10

Note that some of the comments raise the problem of siting the Quarry substation in the St. Cloud to Monticello docket (09-246), and I remember how hard it was to get the route out of the Quarry substation towards Monticello into the record, the judge claiming it wasn’t relevant (traversing some of the same terrain?  HUH?).  One end of this line was already established, a factor in routing of this line, and that shouldn’t be… the entire Fargo-Monticello project was granted the Certificate of Need, not parts of it, and it should have all proceeded as one, and not been split up.

Why was it split up?  I can’t help but think that pulling out the St. Cloud-Monticello piece had everything to do with the NAWO (George Crocker) and CETF agreement that this part of the larger line was “needed” in the Certificate of Need proceeding:

NAWO – Direct Testimony of Michaud p 27-29

NAWO – Initial Brief

CETF- Initial Brief p. 44-45

St. Cloud to Monticello is needed?  HUH?  This theory also provides the perfect avenue for additional Monticello uprate generation to get on the grid, perhaps it’s related to the Paynesville wind project?  But it makes no electrical sense with a NW to SE powerflow, no source to the St. Cloud beginning, so why argue that this isolated radial line is “needed” or is any solution to any need claim?  Reading these arguments, it makes no sense.  So why? Whatever reason, separating out the St. Cloud-Monticello was a path of least resistance (expected), a path which shouldn’t have been allowed.

Oh well… and here we are now…

More filings in WI Hampton-LaCrosse docket

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on May 11, 2011 @ 8:34 am

There have been additional filings in the Wisconsin Public Service Commission docket for the CapX Hampton to LaCrosse project (PSC docket 05-CE-136).

To search for filings in that docket, go to and scroll down and plug in docket number 05-CE-136.

I can’t find the info on how to subscribe, so here’s the contact info to call or email them to find out, perhaps it requires registration to use their eFiling system??!!?!?  Here’s contact info to find out:

PSC Records Management Unit
610 North Whitney Way
P.O. Box 7854
Madison, Wisconsin 53707-7854
Phone: (608) 266-5481
TTY: (608) 267-3957
Fax: (608) 266-3957

Fargo to St. Cloud – Exceptions Filed

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud — posted by admin on @ 7:46 am

The applicant and intervenors in the Fargo to St. Cloud routing docket have filed Exceptions to the Recommendation of the Administrative Law Judge, mostly just minor quibbles, and supporting the ultimate recommendation:

Avon Township Exceptions to Recommendation

North Route Citizens Alliance, NoCapX 2020 and U-CAN Exceptions

Applicant Xcel & GRE Exceptions

DNR Exceptions to ALJ Recommendation

There’s nothing filed by St. Johns?!?!?!?!

NoCapX & U-CAN file Objection to ATC Intervention

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on May 9, 2011 @ 3:29 pm


Once again, it’s ATC.  Just now, NoCapX 2020 and United Citizen Action Network filed an Objection to ATC’s Petition for Intervention that they submitted a week ago:

ATC Petition for Intervention

And our objection:

NoCapX & U-CAN Objection to ATC Intervention

Why object?  Well, first, they don’t really explain what their interest is, saying they have an interest isn’t the same as stating what it is with some specificity; second, they may be the intended ultimate owner of CapX transmission once it is built and if so, then say so (and if not, say so and be BOUND by that statement; and third, well, folks, they said that their Badger Coulee line is not an extension of CapX.  SNORT!  IT’S A PART OF PHASE I. Remember that “Vision Thang?”


Fargo-St. Cloud “Next Steps”

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud,Laws & Rules — posted by admin on May 8, 2011 @ 7:20 am

The Public Utilities Commission is doing something new, and something new that is WELCOME and HELPFUL!!!

Notice – Next Steps

… and after this was released, they issued another similar one for the AWA Goodhue docket — YES! I hope this becomes standard operating procedure from here on in.

next page

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace