WI – Delayed Stevenson Exhibit 22

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,Wisconsin — posted by admin on May 21, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

In Wisconsin, the Public Service Commission granted a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, and permitted a route for which they did not even have the COST!  They had not determined the inputs to calculate the “Environmental Impact Fee” (bribe to local governments to allow the transmission, a lump sum and an annual payment (so why don’t the landowners get something similar?).

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And they did not have the environmental information to make a comparison of the routes…

After the PSC meeting where they granted the CPCN, they requested additional information to fill in the gaps, long after the record had closed (does anyone else have a problem with this?), and after they made their decision… AFTER:

Order – May 10, 2012

The categories of inputs into the EIF calculations in practice are a PSC determination, but in the Order they’re using language that appears to make it a matter for the applicants to determine!  It doesn’t ask what they want to include or how they want to calculate it, instead it says, “Information on costs related to lower voltage transmission and distribution work that would be excluded from the annual high-voltage transmission impact fee and the one-time environmental impact fee calculations to be consistent with the Commission’s discussion of record.”  “Would” is the operative word… sigh…

Xcel’s Stevenson Exhibit 22 – Map and Tables 1-5

We Intervenors have until High Noon on the 24th to Comment.

Buy the Farm at MN Appellate Court

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Last week, Thursday to be precise, the “Buy the Farm” provision under the Power Plant Siting Act and Northern States Power’s challenge to compensation avenues available to landowners electing the “Buy the Farm option under Minn. Stat. 216E.12, Subd. 4 was at the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

This case stems from the St. Cloud to Monticello part of the Fargo to Monticello transmission line, the first to be permitted.  Now they’re trying to take the land.  The focus of the case is the landowners’ right to relocation compensation and other compensation, available both under Minn. Stat. ch. 117 (Minn. Stat.117.187 and 117.152), the Minnesota Uniform Relocation Act and federal law.  I don’t have a copy of the Stearns County District Court Order being appealed, but I do have a similar order that was issued in Wright County, reference in this brief:

Wright County Order – July 13, 2011

Here’s the court’s page for this case.

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And here are the briefs, special thanks to a little birdie (and no thanks to our friends at NSP!):

Appellants NSP, et al., Initial Brief

Appellants NSP, et al., Initial Brief – Appendix

Respondents Enos Pudas – Brief

Respondents Hanson Stich – Brief

Appellants NSP, et al., Reply Brief and Supplemental Appendix

This case is in the news, as well it should be, it is THE appellate case of the year:

Landowners seek fair compensation for impact of CapX power line

May. 19, 2012

ROCKVILLE — Ken and Tess Koltes know the power line is coming, and they can’t stop it.

They know it’s not going to matter much whether they agree to the amount of money offered by the utility companies for the right to run the CapX 2020 line across their century dairy farm in St. Joseph Township, or whether they fight until the bitter end for every last dime.

Still, the Kolteses aren’t ready to go away quietly.

They have to live with the high-voltage transmission line scarring their rolling farm for the rest of their lives and the lives of their two sons, who started milking cows with them just two years ago. So they’re choosing to make it as difficult for the power companies as they can.

“We’ve got to do what we can,” Ken Koltes said. “We’re a small cog in the wheel, but we’ve got to try.”

The couple is among scores of Stearns and Wright county landowners caught up in a complicated legal process the CapX utilities are using to secure the land they need to build the 238-mile power line from Monticello to Fargo, N.D.

The condemnation process can be lengthy, expensive and sometimes daunting for landowners. It’s been used countless times to secure land for highways, buildings and pipelines, but rarely for high-voltage transmission lines.

In fact, this is the first time in four decades Stearns County has seen land condemned for a power line. And it’s the first test of a law passed in 1973 that allows landowners to force utility companies to buy their entire property rather than live beneath a high-voltage transmission line — an option known as “Buy the Farm.” That option has sparked legal debate and a case heard last week by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

“This is new to almost everybody involved,” said Igor Lenzner, an attorney with Rinke Noonan, a St. Cloud law firm representing dozens of landowners in CapX condemnation cases.

What makes this time different, observers say, is the sheer number of landowners and properties involved and the complexity of the cases, as well as the emotional nature of the cases.

“Nobody wants somebody to come and say, ‘Guess what? We’re buying and you’re selling. You don’t have a choice,’ ” Lenzner said.

(more…)



image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace