Let the hearings begin!

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on November 29, 2009 @ 11:22 pm

Beginning tomorrow, three weeks of hearings on Brookings CapX 2020 routing …  the schedule is below, way below.

YOU, yes, YOU, can question witnesses, YOU can testify, YOU can enter exhibits, in short, YOU can tell the ALJ just what you think of the CapX 2020 transmission line.  YOU can question their witnesses to ferret out the truth!

ferretHow do you ferret the truth from a weasel?  Who knows… but that is our job.  Let’s get to it!

First, the easy part — Written Comments.

Written comments regarding the route permit should be submitted directly to Judge Richard Luis. Comments may be submitted by U.S. Mail, Fax or email. Comments will be accepted through January 15, 2010, and should include the Office of Administrative Hearings Docket Number: 7-2500-20283-2.

Mailed comments must be post marked by that date. Faxed, emailed, and delivered comments must be received by 4:30 P.M. that date.  Send to:

Judge Richard Luis
Office of Administrative Hearings
P.O. Box 64620,
St. Paul, Minnesota 55164-0620
Fax: (651) 361-7936
email: capx.oah@state.mn.us

Here’s the important part of the notice:

Members of the public will be allowed to participate without the necessity of intervening as a party. Representation by legal counsel is permitted but not required. Participation includes: a) offering direct testimony; b) offering testimony or other material in written form at or following the hearing; and c) questioning witnesses.

Any person who wishes to question a witness, but does not want to ask the questions, may submit questions in writing to the ALJ, who will then question the witness. Questions may be submitted during the hearing or may be sent to the ALJ in advance of the hearing. A transcript of the proceedings will also
be available on request.

Got that?  “ANY PERSON!”  That’s YOU!!  This is important because most people do not have the ability to intervene in a PUC proceeding, and yet people affected by this project, any project, have a lot to say.  No one knows the area better, no one knows the impacts, no one knows or can describe in technicolor why it’s a stupid idea better than the people on the ground.


If you want to question witnesses, first, figure out what you want to question them about.  Start by figuring out what witnesses there are, who is saying what, and you can do that by going online and looking at their prefiled testimony.  It’s easy…

  1. Go to the PUC’s “SEARCH DOCKETS” page
  2. Search for Docket 08-1474.
  3. Look at the testimony they’ve filed — once you look at it you’ll see it’s not all that complicated.  Look for “GRE” and there’s Direct Testimony filed on October 13, and Rebuttal filed on November 20.

Their witnesses are:

Craig Poorker – GRE’s Manager of Land Rights – before that, he worked for Chisago County on Rights of Way and so I’m sure knows all about how NSP/Xcel is undergrounding the Chisago project down the west bank of the St. Croix River Valley!  Let’s ask him about that.  Pam Rasmussen too, as she was part of that project for a decade or more.  Poorker’s testifying about routing, impacts on the river valleys, why they won’t consider undergrounding, etc.

Kevin Lennon – check his Rebuttal about transmission lines and pyrotechnics!

Dr. Peter Valberg – he’s the utility toady who testified for NSP back in the SE Metro line, where we had Dr. Martin Blank as a witness (he testified last Monday in the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission case, they were out of their league, he did an excellent job).  Here’sDr. Blank’s testimony, a delightful counter to the likes of Valberg:

Testimony of Dr. Martin Blank

Pam Rasmussen – here’s the part I don’t get.  Usually she testifies about “environmental” issues, and here, she’s testifying about EMF and in her Rebuttal, stray voltage.  SAY WHAT?!?!?!  I don’t recall that she’s an engineer or has had training in EMF… very strange.

Take a look at their testimony, and start to write down your questions.  Talk it over with friends or family who are interested in this to formulate them so that you’ll get some kind of answer.


YES, you too can testify.

  • Plan ahead.
  • Write it out SUCCINCTLY.
  • Have a copy to hand in for the record, and have copies to hand out to CapX and others  (send to local paper the day before!)
  • Have a few copies of exhibits that you want to talk about, i.e., EMF research, a recent appraisal, photos of eagle nests in the neighborhood, etc.  The issue here is routing, so look over the maps and notice what’s missing, because there’s always a lot.  Let them know that there are four houses on your road missing from the maps; that if they run it through the field by the road, it would disturb an anthrax field (!!!);  let them know that you have just gotten a permit to build a barn or you’ve got plans to put in an irrigation pivot right where they want to put their (#*)(*$(*^% transmission line!  Let them know if you would plan to utilize the “Buy the Farm” option (Minn. Stat. 216E.12, Subd. 4).  Let them know your mortgage company would take any eminent domain compensation that you might get.  Tell them what you know about your community or the area they want to traverse.
  • Get there a little early and let the judge know you want to testify, and he’ll put you on the list.
  • When it’s your turn, either take the oath or affirm, then your testimony will carry more weight.
  • Give your testimony.
  • Answer any questions that parties or the judge may have.
  • You’re excused, congratulations for speaking out!
  • Encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.


You can enter exhibits.  Bring copies of things you think will help show the judge why a particular route is a really bad idea, things like the aforementioned:

  • Photos of eagle nests that you’ve taken and can identify the locations of the nests.
  • Photos and maps of arns, businesses and homes they want to go over — give a face to the place!
  • Provide copies of appraisals that show the devaluation of your property.
  • EMF studies and cases.
  • Photo simulations of transmission towers in river valleys showing impacts.
  • Photo simulations of substations at night looking and sounding like an intergallactic space station.
  • Other ideas???

If you need help, let me know in the comment section.  I’ll be going to some (but not all) of these meetings, and will help you state your case however I can.

Here’s the schedule for the CapX road show:


November 30 (Monday)

2:30 & 7 p.m.

Prairie’s Edge Casino, 5616 Prairie’s Edge Lane, Granite Falls, MN


December 1 (Tuesday)

1 & 7 p.m.

Best Western, 1500 E. College Drive, Marshall, MN


December 2 (Wednesday)

1 & & p.m.

Redwood Area Community Center, 901 Cook Street, Redwood Falls, MN


December 3 (Thursday)

1 & 7 p.m.

Winthrop Vets Club, 206 North Main Street, Winthrop, MN


December 7 (Monday)

1 & 7 p.m.

Brass Top Hall/Hog Wild Saloon, 514 Main Street, Henderson, MN


December 8 (Tuesday)

1 & 7 p.m.

Lonsdale VFW, 115 2nd Avenue SW, Lonsdale, MN


December 9 (Wednesday)

1 & 7 p.m.

Park Ballroom/American Legion, 300 So. Lexington Avenue, New Prague, MN


December 10 (Thursday)

1 & 7 p.m


December 11 (Friday)

Holiday Inn, 20800 Kenrick Avenue, Lakeville, MN


December 15-18 (Tuesday – Friday)

9:30 a.m. – ????

PUC – 121 – 7th Place E., 3rd Floor, St. Paul

one comment so far »

  1. You should note that the hearings on Tuesday, December 1st will be held at the Best Western 1500 E. College Drive in Marshall, not at SMSU as indicated.

    Comment by anon — November 30, 2009 @ 5:42 pm

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace