PUC’s Harebrained Jurisdiction Argument

Filed under:Appeal — posted by admin on September 26, 2009 @ 12:53 pm

hare_1_smJust when I think I’ve seen it all, something pops out of nowhere that leaves me wondering… and this one is one of the more absurd.

The Asst. A.G. for the Public Utilities Commission has argued in its Statement of the Case on the CapX appeal that the Appellate Court does not have jurisdiction because “Relators seek judicial review of environmental review decisions.” Let’s see, we’re challenging the PUC’s Certificate of Need Order, not the Routing Order — this might be an issue when that comes up, as Environmental Quality Board permit decisions were appealed to the District Court.  PUC decisions have always gone to the Appellate Court, and they cite authority for jurisdiction as Minn. Stat. 216B.52.  So WTF?  Even Xcel isn’t making that bizarre claim.

I’ll scan in the PUC’s Statement of the Case — the Appellate Court hasn’t posted it.

Here’s the Appellate Court’s Order, directing us to address this:

Order – September 25, 2009

From that Order, here are the specifics:


Ummmmm… this isn’t rocket science.  Just look at the PUC’s Statement of the Case, regarding Jurisdiction, where Minn. Stat. 216B.52 and Minn. Stat. 14.63 are cited.  DUH!

216B.52 APPEAL.
Subdivision 1.Appeal under Administrative Procedure Act.

Any party to a proceeding before the commission or any other person, aggrieved by a decision and order and directly affected by it, may appeal from the decision and order of the commission in accordance with chapter 14.

… and here’s 14.63:


Any person aggrieved by a final decision in a contested case is entitled to judicial review of the decision under the provisions of sections 14.63 to 14.68, but nothing in sections 14.63 to 14.68 shall be deemed to prevent resort to other means of review, redress, relief, or trial de novo provided by law. A petition for a writ of certiorari by an aggrieved person for judicial review under sections 14.63 to 14.68 must be filed with the Court of Appeals and served on the agency not more than 30 days after the party receives the final decision and order of the agency. Sections 572.08 to 572.30 govern judicial review of arbitration awards entered under section 14.57.

“Court of Appeals.”  It’s right there, and note it’s not an argument Xcel is pushing, and Xcel’s been to court about transmission lines a few times!  I wonder if the PUC is trying this in the Big Stone II appeal… will check, one moment please…

one comment so far »

  1. We do not need this Cap20/20 program. It willl interfere with wildlife and look unsightly across this state.

    Comment by Kent Billman — September 27, 2009 @ 5:03 pm

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace