Last night’s meeting in Mazeppa…

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts,Uncategorized — posted by admin on October 28, 2009 @ 2:41 pm

Last night, Rep. Steve Drazkowski and Rep. Tim Kelly (who wasn’t there!) hosted a meeting about CapX 2o2o (you’ll find this post on Legalectric too, because there’s a lot more than CapX 2020 going on here).

drazkowski_2 timkelly

But Rep. Randy Demmer, 29A was there, and as one person said, he had a “deer in the headlights” look as he sat in the front of the room.  I’d talked with him a bit when he came in, and he said he hadn’t heard from many constituents about CapX… oh… OK, well, we can do something about that!

Short version of the meeting:

  • PUC, Commerce, and DOT show up en mass and toady for process and project.
  • Rep. Drazkowski utters words of placation, but did not promote Nov. 4 joint committee hearing on repeal of Minn. Stat. 117.19.  HE’S ON ONE OF THE COMMITTEES, EARTH TO MARS!!!
  • Affected landowners don’t buy it,  they get that fundamentally CapX 2020 is not needed and are pissed-off at the crap (see above).

There were two things I let slide, can’t take on everything:

1.Their statements about Big Stone were odd, theywell
knows that Big Stone could not interconnect without CapX, and I have
the electrical studies which prove it, which after trying 5 times to
make it work with a line to nowhere (Granite Falls) then assumed CapX
in try #6…   But I also wonder whether CapX Brookings (hence all of
CapX) can go forward without Big Stone.

2. They kept saying “this is all about local load” and
denying the LaX to Mad line, and kept talking about Rochester as the
driver, yet they did not note, of course, the new gas plant at West
Side sub or the four 161kV lines that are planned.

Overland’s Scorecard (concept stolen from Deb!):

CapX:     0
PUC:     -5
DOT:       1
Commerce:   -4
The People: +1

Longer version, bigger photo:

The people did a good job of expressing their displeasure and disbelief.

Bill Glahn brought up the Minnesota Resource Assessment Survey!  Bad move…  He  got one of my awards for that Minnesota Resource Assessment Survey, and here’s Maccabee – Presentation to LEC 10/23/09 , another voice saying it’s outrageous.  Last night  Alan Muller got him good about it, told him” it was  an unsatisfactory report, basically just a regurgitation of the business plans of MN… no independent thinking and not in the interests of the citizens of Minnesota …”  Alan does have a way with words.  When asked for a response Glahn looked abashed and admitted that he knows many people are unhappy with it.  AS WELL HE SHOULD!  I mean really… to use as an example that phony “chart” of Steve Rakow’s on p. 6:

rakownapkindemand

… with no ID of meaning of X or Y axis, it’s deceitful, but they pulled that in CapX when faced with decreased demand, entering this chart, then citing its entry in the CapX 2020 Certificate of need record as if it means something.  Oh, pleeeeeeeeze…  We’re way below the 2004 actuals, and this forecast, for the Blue Lake expansion, it’s CapX 2020 era forecasts, we’re about 1,500MW down and growing, down 15% so far, down 2.5% in 1&2Q 2009, SEC 3Q filing and investor call due any second now will take it down further:

annual-base-peak-demand2

After last night’s meeting, Bill Glahn is certainly under fire, but I also got the feeling due to the cadre of state employees stumping for CapX, that it’s their perception that it’s in trouble.  It could be something as simple as they have no financing to do it, that demand is so far down that it makes no sense even to PUC and applicants to build it, or …  The DOT was distancing itself, there’s been a lot of pressure on DOT.  The DOT has its “Policy of Accomodation” (at issue in Chisago Transmission Project III, or IV, the last round, where Xcel stuck poles, BIG poles, right in the middle of the new plan for US Hwy. 8, in one example, right next to and over a business), and here it is:

DOT Policy on Utility Accomodation

…and I don’t think they’re going to change that anytime soon.  At the Legislative Energy Commission meeting in September, there was mention of an October 13 meeting with the DOT, but Dave Sykora, DOT, mentioned that was cancelled, and instead they met last week.  There were no specifics disclosed, but the feeling I got from what was said was that it didn’t go the way legislators wanted it to, DOT didn’t cave.  Legislators are looking, from Rep. Drazkowski’s statements last night, and from Rep. Westrom’s comments at the LEC meeting, for a way to do the project with minimal landowner pain.  I don’t think that’s doable, and it’s sure not desirable.   CapX 2020 is a project that shouldn’t be built, and if it is, it will cause considerable pain, for landowners, applicants and legislators!

Also noteworthy last night was the general failure to accept “need” and a high level of understanding, and for the most part, people are getting the broader picture.  (there was an odd comment by Burl Haar that if there were questions about the appeal of the CapX decision, that they post most things on the docket, and to check with him!).  So is the PUC’s argument that this belongs at the District Court, and not the Appellate Court (despite what Cupit says) on display in the docket for the world to see?  I doubt it, but I’ll check.

Last night, Drazkowski kept referring to efforts to alter the eminent domain law, but he was evasive and didn’t disclose important info, like the upcoming November 4 hearing before Energy & Civil Justice (he’s on Civil Justice!) (Upcoming hearing on repeal of eminent domain exemptions), and he didn’t advise on how to advocate for change, dropped the ball, wouldn’t even pick it up.

Here’s the info on the hearing:

WEDNESDAY, November 4, 2009
10:00 AM
Joint Meeting of the Energy Finance & Policy Division and Civil Justice Committee
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chairs: Rep. Bill Hilty, Rep. Joe Mullery
Agenda: Informational hearing on HF1182 (Bly) Public service corporation exemptions repealed.

Anyone wishing to testify should contact Andy Pomroy at andy.pomroy [at] house.mn
Last night’s meeting in Mazeppa on CapX 2020  follows on the heels of one last Monday night in Chisago, about an 855MW gas plant proposed by LS Power, the Sunrise River Energy Station.  Click here for  Report on Monday Chisago meeting.  They’ve  proposed at least three gas plants before at that site, and they didn’t go far, this is the biggest, and most public, and will need mega transmission, BUT LS Power’s Blake Wheatley admitted at the Chisago meeting that they don’t have a plan, don’t have a PPA, don’t have anything but a tax exemption (est. $9-10 million) from legislators who should have known better than to sell out their constituents for nothing, and then after being caught, for a very small “Host Fee.”  At that meeting, Mike Bull said Xcel won’t need any power for a long time, 2016-2017 (and if he’ll admit that at long last, we know it’s really a lot further out).  As with last night’s meeting, at the Chisago meeting there was, despite heavy lobbying and presence of unions like IBEW and Building & Trades, a clear understanding that the LS Power plant is not needed, and that peak demand is down.  Granted LS Power made the mistake of walking into an energy educated community, but even Bob Cupit was surpirsed by the turnout, said he’d never seen such a large crowd, ~500, standing room only in a hockey rink sized room (Also, FYI, Bob stated to the audience that “If citizens feel the system still failed to consider issues, the decision of the PUC can be appealed to the state Court of Appeals.“)

There is a theme.  Minnesota doesn’t need more transmission, and we won’t, in the words of Xcel’s Mikey Bull, need an generation anytime soon.  Am I paraphrasing correctly, Mike? (Duck & cover — the You Tube of that is forthcoming!!!)  The MOES Minnesota_Resource_Assessment is a crock.

Here are the LEC members — it’d be good to contact all of them, and let them know what you think about “need” for generation and transmission, decreasing demand, and CapX 2020 in particular:

http://www.commissions.leg.state.mn.us/lec/members.htm
Here’s Senate member info:
http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/members/index.php?ls=#header
Here’s House member info:
http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/hmem.asp

And about CapX and eminent domain, contact:

rep.steve.drazkowski [at] house.mn

rep.tim.kelly [at] house.mn

rep. randy.demmer [at] house.mn

Once more with feeling — Get thee to the House Energy and Judiciary Committee meeting:

WEDNESDAY, November 4, 2009
10:00 AM
Joint Meeting of the Energy Finance & Policy Division and Civil Justice Committee
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chairs: Rep. Bill Hilty, Rep. Joe Mullery
Agenda: Informational hearing on HF1182 (Bly) Public service corporation exemptions repealed.

one comment so far »

  1. Thank you Carol for all you do. I’m not sure what side Drazkowski is on and I’m going to ask him that very question. How can I get more involved. What do you want me to do. I’ll start writing letters, emails, and call, etc. Thanks!

    Comment by Lori Isch — October 28, 2009 @ 6:20 pm

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace