Tomorrow’s deadline for Comments on Hampton-LaCrosse

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on June 29, 2011 @ 9:58 am

“With your help, you can convince them that with a little extra effort on their part…”

Tomorrow is the deadline for comments on the CapX 2020 Hampton-LaCrosse transmission project’s routing docket.

First, write up your comments, be sure to put the docket numbers on it:

OAH  Docket 3-2500-21181-2 and PUC Docket 09-1448

Then email to:

…or mail to:

Judge Kathleen Sheehy


P.O. Box 64620

St. Paul, MN  55164

This week – ATC open houses in WI continue

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on June 28, 2011 @ 9:34 am

ATC is hosting another round of open houses, important because it’s the connection from Minnesota to Wisconsin, and they’ve announced new corridors spreading out from Alma:


CHECK THIS ATC MAP (similar to the one below)

June 28, Three Bears Lodge, Warrens, WI
June 29, Mauston Grayside Elementary, Mauston, WI
June 30, Waunakee Middle School, Waunakee, WI

Open houses at all locations run from 1 to 7 p.m.

ATC’s Press Release:

ATC Announces Badger Coulee Transmission Line Open Houses

Wisconsin Notice issued

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on June 22, 2011 @ 8:07 pm


… and we’re off to the races!

Notice of Proceeding – June 22, 2011

As of today, there’s 14 days to file an Intervention request.


The CapX 2020 Wisconsin Hampton-Rochester-LaCrosse … or more correctly, Alma – LaCrosse proceeding has formally started

Dakota County resolution about CapX 2020

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on @ 5:06 pm


Dakota County passed a resolution Monday evening about CapX 2020 transmission.  Apparently they don’t want transmission over Lake Byllesby and the park.  Makes sense.  Who wants transmission.  But here they are weighing in at the last minute?  Where’ve they been all these years? And what about the rest of the County?

Here’s their Byllesby Park Master Plan:

Byllesby Park Master Plan – Dakota County

What’s interesting to me is that it’s surrounding the Byllesby dam and reservior, named after Henry Marison Byllesby, founder of Northern States Power.  From the U of M’s Clarence Darrow Collection:


Henry Marison Byllesby (1859 – 1924) was one of the most prominent electrical engineers of his time. Around 1881, after Byllesby earned an engineering degree, he was hired by Thomas Edison to help build an electrical station in Manhattan. In 1885 he was hired by George Westinghouse to manage his electrical company. Byllesby moved to St. Paul, Minnesota in 1891 to run an electrical company. He formed a power company in 1909 and changed the name of the company to Northern States Power in 1916. The company supplied power throughout Minnesota. He formed H.M. Byllesby & Co. a Chicago-based conglomerate that owned steamships, streetcars and utility companies across the United States. He was also an officer and director of many public gas and electric utility companies.

There’s also a lot on him in “NSP: An Illustrated History of Northern States Power Company.”  Can’t find that online!  His The Responsibilities of Electrical Engineers in Making Appraisals,” however, IS online!

This Resolution was in the Dakota County Board’s packet, but I don’t know whether this is the final language:


Here’s the STrib article:

Dakota County prefers no power line in park

As the CapX2020 route from Hampton to La Crosse, Wis., is chosen, Dakota County urges that the high-voltage power line avoid Lake Byllesby Regional Park.

Parks and high-voltage power lines do not mix.

That is the message the Dakota County Board plans to send to the utility companies plotting a route for the CapX2020 power line from Hampton to La Crosse, Wis.

Two of the four routes being considered have the power lines passing through Lake Byllesby Regional Park to cross the Cannon River.

“We try and protect the things which are near and dear to us,” said Commissioner Tom Egan. “Certainly, the regional park and the [Byllesby] dam are two things we’re attempting to protect.”

The planned power line in southern Dakota County, strung on poles 140 to 170 feet high, is just one segment of a 700-mile, $1.7 billion expansion of the Minnesota power grid by Xcel Energy and Great River Energy. Other segments, including one running from Brookings, S.D., to Hampton, have already been approved.

In weighing the segments near the Cannon River, the county board stopped short of picking a favorite among the two other route proposals — one along Hwy. 52 heading southeast out of Hampton, and the other snaking cross country and crossing the river near the park’s western boundary.

The route along Hwy. 52, initially preferred by the utilities, would bisect a conservation easement held by the county and the federal government that expressly prohibits the addition of utilities.

Getting around the conservation easement could push the power line farther out into private land.

“You’re kind of put between a rock and a hard spot on some of these things,” said Commissioner Liz Workman. “No one is ever happy when you get this stuff going through.”

The board members, often unanimous in their decisions, spent more than an hour in committee debating the possible power line routes and then decided on a 5-2 vote to request that the project bypass the park.

Commissioners Joe Harris and Will Branning voted against the resolution.

“I didn’t want to get involved,” said Branning, who said he preferred leaving the decision up to the CapX2020 group and the state Public Utilities Commission.

The board did not offer an opinion during the previous route selection process, from Brookings to Hampton.

Lake Byllesby Regional Park, which has a campground, boat launch and swimming beach, already has some smaller power lines running through it to connect to the hydroelectric dam that forms the reservoir.

But commissioners noted that the new line would be much larger and raised questions about how it could affect an upgrade of the dam already in the works and future plans for a pedestrian bridge connecting Dakota and Goodhue counties.

They also raised concerns about migratory birds that are prominent in the western portion of the park, drawing bird watchers.

“That’s what a lot of people come to our park for,” said Commissioner Nancy Schouweiler. “I was concerned that if you don’t say anything, they assume we agree with what they’ve got.”

An administrative law judge will consider the county’s comments and others before making a recommendation to the PUC later this year.

Pending approval, construction of the power line is expected to begin in 2012.

Hearing for Hampton-Rochester-LaCrosse

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on June 20, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

The evidentiary hearing for the Hampton-Rochester-LaCrosse CapX transmission line is a happenin’ thing.  Like NOW, well, all day today, and Applicant’s witnesses Tom Hillstrom, Amanda King,and Grant Stevenson are done, DONE, so now on to the Intervenor witnesses.  Tomorrow it’s North Route Group’s Suzanne Rohlfing and Steve Hackman.

Public Utilities Commission

3rd Floor Large Hearing Room

121 – 7th Place East

St. Paul

NRG Direct Testimony, and Exhibits A, B and C

NRG Exhibits D-G

NRG Surrebuttal Testimony and Exhibits

And perhaps Oronoco township as well…

Oronoco Township – Broberg Direct

Oronoco Township – Smith Direct

Oronoco Township – Broberg Surrebuttal

Oronoco Township – Broberg Surrebuttal

Wisconsin declares CapX application COMPLETE!!

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,Wisconsin — posted by admin on June 15, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

The Wisconsin side of the CapX 2020 Hampton-LaCrosse transmission line is moving forward, the application has been complete (just found this out, in the midst of today’s hearing in Pine Island!).

PSC-WI Completeness Letter June 10, 2011

Here’s their revised application:

(too big,will break it own and upload later)

To check out complete docket, go to and scroll down and plug in the docket number: 05-CE-136.

Public Hearings for Hampton-LaX line

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on @ 7:10 am


Media coverage from last night’s hearing in Plainview:

Public Hearings for the CapX 2020 Hampton-LaCrosse transmission line are happening NOW – yesterday, today and tomorrow:


Bill Luther thinks he’s special…

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud — posted by admin on June 10, 2011 @ 5:37 pm

Amazing, truly amazing…

Today at the PUC agenda meeting to address the route permit for the CapX 2020 Fargo to St.  Cloud transmission line, and the Commission did grant the permit, accepting for the most part the ALJ’s Recommendation, including “Route G” on the Sauk Centre to St. Cloud part, with some suggested changes from MOES:

ALJ’s Recommendation

Briefing Papers – Recommendation

We’ll see just exactly which of MOES alterations they took up when the written order comes out in a couple of weeks (? before the state shutdown?)

During the public comment period after oral arguments, former Rep. Bill Luther strolls in and requests that the line be moved a few sections to the west, or if not, then to the east around the scenic easement on the other side of the highway, to get around his family’s farm.   Really!  Where’s he been all this time?


Bill Luther?  Yes, that Bill Luther.  And after his behavior today, I’m sure glad he isn’t my Rep. here in the 2nd District! (not that I’m any fan of John Kline, nope, no way, no how)


It appears he’s working at Teleplus Consulting, and here’s how they “bill” him on their site:

Bill Luther – Regulatory Specialist. Prior to joining Teleplus in March 2003, Bill served four terms in the United States Congress representing Minnesota. Bill served on the House Sub-Committee on Telecommunications, and is an expert in regulatory affairs. Bill is also an accomplished attorney.


He pointed to this map, pointed out the “Luther Century Farm” on the NE corner of Section18 and the green triangle directly above it in Section 7, and said, “you should put it east of the highway there, between the scenic easement and wildlife area,” and getting a less than enthusiastic response, “well, you could just move it over a couple sections to the west, and go down the railroad track” and … let me see if I understand this correctly, on the day of deliberation, you want the route changed?  I wanted to jump up and scream, “WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?”  Get real… he’s in a better position than most to deal with something like this, and it was always planned to go down Interstate 94 in that area, so he first got notice… when… in July 2007?  He got other notices when???  As Cupit would say Overland would say, “Give me a break!”

Commissioner O’Brien jumped in (on his behalf?), asking MOES’ David Birkholz to answer his question, “Should we address this now or later.”  Birkholz rightly noted that the options he raised were not considered in the process, there was no notice to landowners, so it’s appropriate to grant the permit as it is.  Luther seemed to just stand there frozen in time, expecting them instead to say, “Oh, well, in that case, we’re oh-so-sorry, nevermind, it’s all a misunderstanding, don’t you worry, we’ll take it off YOUR land, and we’ll stick it over THERE instead!”  Ja… sure… whatever…

He ended with a bit of a threat, that he wanted to “bring this to your attention now, rather than later.”  Earth to Bill Luther, this IS later.  Once more with feeling, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN THE LAST FOUR YEARS?”  Sure, we can address this later, the appellate court would get a chuckle out of this one!  The sad part is there’s probably some lawyer ready to take a lot of his money and pursue that one one!

Surrebuttal Testimony Filed Today

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on June 3, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

North Route Group has filed its Surrebuttal Testimony, and there is more, but I’ve not received it yet (why is it I get the notice so much later than others, makes no sense!), so I’ll file that here when I get it.

North Route Group – Surrebuttal Testimony and Exhibits I and J

Oronoco Township – Smith Surrebuttal

Oronoco Township – Broberg Surrebuttal

The truth revealed… it’s all connected

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on @ 11:13 am

Yeah, I know, duh, but here we go again, it IS all connected.  ATC now admits that they want to just go east from Alma, who needs LaCrosse, but we knew that…

American Transmission Co. announces second round of open houses for Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project

ATC updates plan for $425 million power line linking Madison, LaCrosse

There’s more info linked here on the Badger – Coulee Transmission site.

So today, I fired off Information Requests for American Transmission Company:

NoCapX and U-CAN Information Requests to ATC 1-9

And of course, they’re scheduling meetings on this when we’re in the evidentiary hearing on the Hampton-“LaCrosse” line, and note, these are ATC sponsored meetings, not official at all, but most useful in gleaning info about their plans, note it starts now at Alma, where CapX plans to cross the Mississippi:

CHECK THIS ATC MAP (similar to the one below)

Compare with the map from an article in the Wisconsin State Journal:


I’ve asked Charlie Higley and Dennis Dums about Citizen Utility Board’s position on this, Charlie’s out of the office, that’s all I’ve heard so far… the quote has a presumption of prior need and questions current need, and it’s that presumption that is ?!?!?!

Here’s the full article from the State Journal:

New ATC transmission line project surges ahead

JUDY NEWMAN | | 608-252-6156

About 40,000 homes and businesses from Middleton to north of La Crosse are getting letters this week from American Transmission Co. telling them a powerful electrical transmission line could be built within 3,000 feet — or about half a mile — and inviting them to public meetings later this month.

Plans for the so-called Badger Coulee line, introduced in 2010, are moving into phase 2. ATC has taken the broad swath from south-central to western Wisconsin and identified dozens of corridors to consider for the project, which will carry 345 kilovolts of electricity over 150 miles and will cost about $425 million.

• In Dane County, the line could run north from the town of Middleton or it could skirt the west edge of Waunakee and go through DeForest’s north side, then head up Highway 12, Interstate 39 or Highway 51.

• It could run along the edge of communities such as Prairie du Sac, Lodi, Poynette, Portage, West Baraboo, Elroy or Viroqua. It also could travel through Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells or Mauston.

• Richland County will be spared.

The area being studied has been expanded north into Trempealeau and Jackson counties. That’s because the Badger Coulee line might meet up with CapX2020, a 700-mile series of mostly 345-kilovolt lines stretching from the Dakotas. CapX2020 proposes to cross into Wisconsin at Alma, in Buffalo County.

“We could, conceivably, connect with their line. It doesn’t have to be at their end point,” said ATC local relations manager Sarah Justus.


image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace