It’s time to appeal the Certificate of Need decision

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on August 23, 2009 @ 8:24 am

The “final” decision is out on CapX 2020’s Certificate of Need, the one where they altered the “conditions” for the Brookings line in the most amazing display of servile toadyism I’ve ever seen:

PUC’s Final Order – CapX 2020 Certificate of Need

It’s time to file the appeal.

My major hook is the new information that the ALJ and PUC refused to consider — that demand is down, has been for some time, and yet they’re still claiming we’ll freeze in the dark in an incubator without a job.  Absurd.

Meanwhile, though CapX mantra was “this is just Minnesota” we know from all their earlier plans, their Technical Report from October 2005, so many exhibits and maps, and so much testimony in the record, that it incorporates the Dakotas and Wisconsin too…

It’s particularly infuriating in light of the Upper Midwest Transmission Development Initiative (DUH, taking initiative and developing transmission) effort and the Gov’s unproductive efforts to coordinate MN and WI actions to “save money” and CapX was specifically addressed there.

HERE’S THE FULL DOCUMENT

Here’s the CapX section:

CAPX TRANSMISSION LINE ROUTE COLLABORATION

Project Description

CapX 2020 is a proposed series of transmission lines that will cross the Upper Midwest region and will be built, if approved, in four stages. One of the stages will involve crossing from Minnesota over the Mississippi River towards the greater La Crosse area. The proposed lines are intended to increase
service reliability to utility customers in this multi-state region, improve congestion and ease of deliverability of renewable energy within the region and ultimately, strengthen the current grid in this area.1 The multi-state nature of this large construction project provides collaboration prospects and
efficiency opportunities between Minnesota and Wisconsin in the review and selection of an approved route upon which the transmission lines will be built.

The first step to streamline this routing process will involve staff from the respective state Commissions sharing information about project timelines and considering the synchronization of the timelines. While differences exist between the Minnesota and Wisconsin project review processes, more efficiency
opportunities exist if the applications are cooperatively timed on each side of the river. While greater opportunities for joint analysis or collaboration on this project exist if the states are sharing a similar timetable, there may be opportunities for Wisconsin and Minnesota staffs to share information and
collaborate for maximum efficiency, regardless of timing. Project elements the two states may collaborate on include, but are not restricted to, the following: sharing needs analysis information, distributing information for their respective Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) reports or coordinating on a joint EIS, working collaboratively with federal agencies on river crossing options and exploring opportunities to work together at scoping meetings or hearings.

Opportunities for Improved Efficiency and/or Financial Benefits

Generally speaking, a good working relationship and similarly timed project review process between Minnesota and Wisconsin could streamline this effort and garner a faster and more mutually acceptable result for both states. While it is unclear at this time what level of efficiencies we can expect through coordination on this project in its entirety, it does seem that the public and decision makers could be well served by coordination within the environmental review process, which constitutes an important component of the routing process. Working collaboratively on this project may capture staff efficiencies in both of our agencies over the next year. Coordination at the staff level also might lessen the possibility of conflicting decisions by the two states.

The opportunities for how Minnesota and Wisconsin might collaborate in this instance lie within similar processes at work in the respective states, which are summarized in the following list.

Possible Barriers to Implementation

Coordination possibilities will likely be maximized if the two states are working through their respective examinations of this application at approximately the same time and considering their process differences. Below is a list of timing and process differences both agencies should consider in their initial
discussions to work through possible project barriers:

Timeline for Implementation

Initial contact between Minnesota and Wisconsin Commission staff members should take place during March of 2008 to explore collaboration and information sharing possibilities.

Program Contacts

Wisconsin: Scot Cullen, 608- 267-9229, scot.cullen@psc.state.wi.us
Dan Sage, 608-267-9486; daniel.sage@psc.state.wi.us
Minnesota: Deborah Pile (OES), 651-297-2375; deborah.pile@state.mn.us

Isn’t that enough to make you puke?

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace