The Wisconsin meetings were great, the final one, in Centerville/Galesville was standing room only, over 150 I’d presume. I’d heard there was a hot meeting in the Town of Gale the night before, where they passed a resolution against the Hampton-Rochester-LaCrosse transmission project, and it was noted that Stevenson and Carlsbad, errrrr, Carlsgaard, were in their “Good Ol’ Boy” jeans, a first in the history of this project, and I don’t think anyone was fooled. (Then again, I appreciate that they’re upfront about what the utilities want, what their stand is, unlike “Commerce” which people foolishly expect to represent the public interest.) I refused to get out of my house-rehabbing outfit myself, so maybe they’re in a similar mode… naaaaah…
Something I’d noticed was that Dairyland was NOT at the table. Although there was someone from Dairyland there, it was always Tom Hillstrom or Grant Stevenson sitting in front and doing the dog and pony show:
So I asked Chuck Thompson, of Dairyland, why they weren’t at the table, and he said, “We’re paying them to be the lead.” Were I RUS (yeah, right), I’d want the applicant for funding to be the one promoting the project and would insist that they be at the table.
The Wisconsin meetings were particularly well attended because a route had been added and those new landowners were sent notices in the mail, and also, people were not notified and were incensed and spread the word. USDA’s RUS did not send out notices to affected landowners, and the only way other than a phone call or knock on the door or email from a friend that someone could find out about these meetings was to read the display ad in the paper and read the legal notice in the classifieds. This is NOT effective outreach, and instead is guaranteed to result in attendance like in Minnesota, where the best attended meeting was in Cannon Falls, where there were about 20, and in Plainview and Wanamingo, there were maybe 5-6. That is NOT acceptable. had NoCapX 2020 and CETF not been on this, it would have been the same in Wisconsin.
That said, Comments are due by February 13, 2012, extended due to failure to send notice to people along the “new” Route 88 option.
Here’s the RUS EIS webpage where you can find the DEIS.
Send Comments by February 13, 2012 to:
firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to:
Stephanie Strength, Project Manager
USDA, Rural Development, Utilities Programs
1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 2244
Washington, DC 20250-1571