UPDATED Updated Minnesota Appeal Update

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on September 25, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

Oh, this gets complicated… get out your scorecards, and there will be a test later.

This is about the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s routing decision and Order on the CapX 2020 Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse transmission line.  The PUC decided on May 30, 2012, where it wanted to put the route, and issued a permit:

PUC Order – Part I – Order

PUC Order – Part II – Permit

PUC Order – Part III – Maps, Legend & North to Middle

PUC Order – Part IIIb – Maps, 345 kV Middle to River, and 161 kV

First Oronoco Township appealed the White Bridge Road part of Segment 3:

Oronoco Township Appeal – filed September 7, 2012

Then St. Paul’s Lutheran School and School and Cannon Falls Landowners filed an appeal of the area around Highway 19 and Highway 52 near Cannon Falls:

St. Paul’s Lutheran School and Church and Cannon Falls Landowners Appeal – filed September 12, 2012

St. Paul’s, et al., Corrected Writ, Cover and Affidavit of Service

Then Laymen for Christ o/o of Woodland Camp filed its response to the Oronoco Township Appeal:

Layment for Christ o/o of Woodland Camp – Statement of Case filed September 21, 2012

And also in response to the filings, Xcel Energy/NSP/whatever filed too:

Northern States Power’s Statement of the Case filed September 21, 2012

So we got Xcel’s — and where is the Statement of the Case for the Public Utilities Commission?  It’s Tuesday, still nothing.  But Wednesday arrived and so did the PUC’s Statement of the Case for A12-1632, the Cannon Falls appeal.

PUC Statement of the Case A12-1632 – Septmber 25, 2012

I sent another email to Gary Cunningham and Jeanne Cochran, the PUC’s Asst. A.G. about receiving one, but not the other.  Who knows…

IT ARRIVED!  The PUC’s Statement of the Case for the Oronoco Township appeal:

PUC Statement of the Case – A12-1607

Check out p. 3, second paragraph, and note the reference to 1P-003.  WRONG CASE! AAAAAAAARGH…

To see what’s been filed (though you don’t get a PDF unless it’s a court order) go HERE and plug in either A12-1607 for the Oronoco Township appeal, and A12-1632 for the St. Paul’s/Cannon Falls appeal.

Wisconsin Appeal Update

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on September 24, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

Well, it’s not quite an appeal, it’s “Judicial Review” at the Circuit Court of Wisconsin.

If you recall, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission staff has objected to the appeal and has brought a Motion to Strike and Objection to Pro Hac Vice Admission.

PSC’s Objections filed 8/29/12

Since then, the judge sent a letter noting her past limited experience with transmission lines when she worked at the DNR:

Letter – Judge Smith

The PSC said they had no issues with her past work, no perception of conflict.  About the same time, I filed a response to the PSC’s filings, also noting no perception of conflict and that I saw no reason to recuse:

NoCapX and CETF Response to PSC’s Motions

In this Response, I laid out actions of PSC counsel, including in the Affidavit the basics of a phone call that sure felt like a threat to me, and which left PSC staff puzzled when I checked in about non-WI attorneys practicing before the PSC.  To head off any problem, I filed a formal Request to Appear and Participate, and was told, well DUH, you don’t need to do that at the PSC.

And here’s the PSC”s response, noting “The person named in that affidavit and brief should not be subject to a public record disparaging her professionalism, particularly when those pleadings are irrelevant to the instant dispute.”  Not relevant?  So Diane Ramthun is not responsible or accountable for her prior statements to me regarding unauthorized practice of law?  They don’t want information about that in the public record?  Perhaps then that sort of communication shouldn’t be happening.

PSC Reply Brief September 17, 2012

And as basis for tossing me out, they attach a Marathon County Circuit Court case tossing out Meg Sheehan’s appeal of a request for a Contested Case in an AIR PERMIT, and not a PSC case, and one where she had not been representing an Intervenor at the agency, either the DNR or the Public Service Commission!!!  Oh, right… good support there.  That’s not the same situation at all, and is yet another example of how hard they’re working to keep me out of Wisconsin and keep this out of the Circuit Court.

Apparently, the judge isn’t in a hurry to toss this out, she has now sent a scheduling order for these issues:

Judge Smith’s Letter and Scheduling Order

By this Order, here’s the schedule:

October 5th, 2012 – Permittees Response to Above Motion (see below)

October 15, 2012 – Petitioners’ (NoCapX/CETF) Response to Motion

October 29, 2012 – Respondent’s (PSC) Reply

And not surprisingly, Xcel et al., Permittees, have filed a letter and said they do won’t be briefing this (hey, why bother?!  I’d guess they figure it’s not worth the time, DUH!!!):

Xcel Letter – No Briefing on PSC’s Motions

PSC, get over it.  You tried before to have me booted out at the PSC, claiming Wisconsin law prohibited my representation of parties before the Commission, and you were wrong then, and you’re wrong now.  Let’s get on to dealing with the substantive issues… but we can’t have that happening now, can we?

Oronoco appeals PUC Order

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on September 12, 2012 @ 7:18 am

Here we go — Oronoco Township is appealing the Public Utility Commission’s Order:

Oronoco Appeal – filed August 7, 2012

It says it was filed August 7, 2012, but I’ve not received a copy yet — thanks to eDockets, I’ve got this copy.

What amazes me is that they’re still on that “Power Dam Group” mantra, that 4 people, 2 of them married, made false statements, that no one filed exceptions objecting to the Zumbro Dam Route, and that the PUC based its decision on information not on the record.

Please explain – what are the false statements?  What new information? Please identify!!!  It’s not like they submitted new “Testimony” with their Motion for Reconsideration, it’s not like they submitted a new “Exhibit 7” that conveniently omits the sandbar and the closed boat ramp (but does show the distribution line crossing the river paralleling the bridge:


Mostly, they do not seem to appreciate that the fact that there is no transmission at the dam site is the turning point.  And I guess they haven’t read the Exceptions — that there is NO transmission, no existing aerial crossing at the dam is the crucial fact, and that fact is in the record, going all the way back to the application:

It is in the Application, and it is in Xcel’s Hillstrom’s DEIS Comments:

Do they think that the PUC doesn’t know what’s in the record?

This is part of why the Barr Engineering Conflict of Interest Complaint is so important — how is it that they just happened to screw up on existence of transmission at both dam sites?  How is it that they said in the EIS that there IS transmission at the Zumbro Dam and how is it that they omit the transmission on both sides of the Byllesby Dam, including one of the most serious transmission corridors I’ve ever seen:


Stay tuned, that Barr Engineering Complaint is before the PUC on Thursday…

Thursday – PUC to address NoCapX Conflict Complaint Against Barr Engineering

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,Laws & Rules,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on September 10, 2012 @ 11:35 am

dohIt really shouldn’t be this difficult to wake up the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that there is trouble, right here in River City, with a capital “T” and that rhymes with “B” and that ‘s something we just can’t stand!!!

Conflict of Interest Complaint Against Barr Engineering

It’s on the Agenda for the September 13, 2012 meeting:

Notice – September 13, 2012 Commission Meeting

No one filed a Comment on it, Barr Engineering didn’t file any sort of Response, and Staff Briefing Papers were filed on Friday:

Staff Briefing Papers for Barr Engineering Complaint, Sept 13, 2012 Meeting

Yes, it’s true, there were no specific statutory citations… and somehow PUC staff missed EIGHT PAGES OF SPECIFIC FACTS CONSTITUTING ALLEGATIONS.

Yes, EIGHT PAGES…  OK, fine, whatever, I’ve just filed this Amended Complaint:

Letter and Amended Complaint – September 10, 2012

Yes, we did raise this failure to identify transmission near both dam sites, raised “inadequacy of environmental review” in Briefs, in Exceptions, in the Motion for Reconsideration, and you can bet we’re not letting up now!

Update – WI PSC Objects to NoCapX and CETF!

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on September 6, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

What’s new… but here we go!  Update – just filed No CapX and CETF Response to PSC Motion — the PSC consistently tries to keep Overland out of this.  PSC staff and ALJ Newmark knew they were way off base, and we’re fighting the same ol’ fight once more:

NoCapX and CETF Response to PSC’s Motions

On August 29, 2012, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission filed a pile of objections to the appeal, by snail mail as that’s the way the Circuit Court system works (one of the joys of administrative dockets is it’s almost all by email!).

But before we get into that, on August 31, 2012, Judge Amy Smith, of Dane County Circuit Court, Branch 4, who has been assigned to this matter, sent a letter:

Letter – Judge Smith

In that letter, she notified all parties that:

From 2004 to 2007, I served as the Administrator of the Division of Enforcement and Science at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”).  In that capacity, I directly supervised DNR’s Director of the Office of Energy, which I understand is now called the Office of Energy and Environmental Analysis.  That office provided review and coordination of energy and utility projects in the State of Wisconsin, including power transmission lines.  The Office of Energy Director was one of three of my direct reports as Administrator, and I believe about half of that Office’s present staff are individuals that I either directly or indirectly supervised, including its Director.  I do not recall the particular project at issue in this case was pending during my time at DNR; however, I do remember a number of transmission line projects, including at least one involving American Transmission Company, which were active in my tenure.

Given the limited information I presently have regarding this lawsuit, I do not now see a need to recuse myself from this matter.  However, I wanted to make sure that the parties were aware of my past experience in this subject area, in the event these facts may inform any decisions you may wish to make regarding this lawsuit.

There aren’t DNR related issues at play, so no objection here!

And now, on to the PSC.  The PSC is objecting to Overland filing the appeal, participating, no different than PSC Counsel Diane Ramthun’s objections at the outset when we were at the PSC, objections that the PSC staff and the ALJ assigned the case did not agree with, and I represented NoCapX and CETF throughout that proceeding with the ALJ’s blessing.  So here we go again:

PSC’s Objections filed 8/29/12

Response is almost done, will post as soon as it is.

Oronoco Township’s Ex Parte Contact Disclosed

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on September 4, 2012 @ 3:31 pm


Remember that Ex Parte Complaint I’d filed some time ago?  And Oronoco’s Response?  And our Stipulated Agreement about that?

Laymen for Christ Ex Parte Complaint against Oronoco Twp

Oronoco Township Response to Ex Parte Complaint

Oronoco vigorously denied ex parte contact, as you can see (do check it out!).  There was no known actual contact, we knew only that there was at least one solication for third party ex parte contact, because it was reported in the paper, the solicitation of 3rd party ex parte contact and the Commissioners emails were reported in the paper!

The matter was scheduled for a PUC meeting, and before that, Oronoco and Laymen for Christ reached an agreement:

Stipulation between Laymen for Christ and Oronoco Twp

Part of the Complaint we requested, and that the agreement included, was that ex parte contact was to be disclosed.

HERE THEY ARE, page after page after page of ex parte contact, emails written directly to the Commissioners:

Ex Parte Comments Part II _ 20129-78369-01

Ex Parte Comments-Part I _ 20129-78367-01

I need to read all of this first, 104 pages of what at a glance looks like direct ex parte communications, to Commissioners, from advocates against the White Bridge Road route through Oronoco requesting that the line cross at the Zumbro Dam.

Oh my, this is even worse than I’d thought it might be.  It’s not just regular folks, but it’s also at least one Planning Commission member, so I’ll have to identify each writer.  And it makes me wonder if there were letters as well… seems so, Commissioner Boyd’s Chemistry Dept. address was used on two or more.

Note there is a string of Fargo-St. Cloud route correspondence, that doesn’t apply here.

There is also a back and forth between the PUC’s Deborah Motz and Javon Bea, they’re in different groups, so you have to look.  And Motz doesn’t identify who all she’s writing to, from Bea’s letter, there are a number of them, perhaps all who wrote ex parte communications???

Here’s a chart with names and emails of those who contacted the individual commissioners directly, and which Commissioners reported that contact:

Chart of Ex Parte Comments

What do YOU think?!?!?!

Letter to Dr. Haar – September 4, 2012

I know we need more information, as in, “Is anything missing here?” before we decide what to do!

Buy the Farm – Petition to Supreme Court

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on September 3, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

A month ago there was a dreadful decision where the Appellate Court tossed out Buy the Farm decisions regarding applicability of Ch. 117 condemnation law in Minnesota:

Wright County Order – July 13, 2011

Buy the Farm – NSP v. Aleckson, Pudas, Hanson, et al.

The Appellate Court decision shouldn’t stand, so many landowners would be detrimentally affected.

The two groups of landowners working up through the court system on Buy the Farm are now Petitioning the Supreme Court — these were filed Wednesday:

Northern States Power v. Roger Aleckson, et al. – Hanson and Stich Petition

Northern States Power v. Aleckson, et al. – Enos and Pudas Petition