CapX CoN appellate arguments in the news

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on March 24, 2010 @ 10:46 am


Here’s the old railroad bridge outside of Kenyon, if you go down Home St. to Hwy. 56 and walk south a bit, there it is, on the east side of 60.  This is from the days when they really used railroads, and there was that massive influx of Norwegians.  If anything, Kenyon is a Norwegian town… but that didn’t help me fit in there.  But Kenyon Vet Clinic is the best!!!

Anyway, I digress… here it is, from yesterday’s Kenyon Leader:

Need of CapX2020 argued in court

By: Corey Butler Jr.
Posted: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 11:24 am
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Opponents of a proposed energy project through the region were in court last week to challenge an issuance from the state’s Public Utilities Commission.

Carol Overland, an attorney and opponent of the CapX2020 project, said in an e-mail the issuance of a Certificate of Need for the proposed transmission lines are not necessary.

CapX2020, a group comprised of 11 utilities, is proposing the construction of a 345-kilovolt electric transmission line and associated facilities to run between Hampton and Rochester. The proposal includes a 345 kV transmission line from a substation near Hampton to a proposed substation in north Rochester, then on to a new or existing substation near La Crosse, Wis.

Three other transmission lines are proposed throughout the region.

If the preferred line from Hampton to Rochester isn’t approved, a backup route would head south from Hampton along Hwy. 56 through Holden Township and then head east through Wanamingo.

Speaking on behalf of groups NoCapX and United Citizen Action Network before the Appellate Court, Overland said the energy usage CapX2020 says is needed to power the region are wrong. She said in the time since the project began, energy usage has decreased.

“Demand has decreased so dramatically that utilities are canceling or withdrawing infrastructure projects, and since the peak in 2006, it’s down,” she wrote. … “The CapX project is not needed by any measure.”

CapX2020 utilities were granted a Certificate of Need from the PUC on April 16, 2009. According to CapX2020’s Web site, the expansion of the electric transmission grid is needed to ensure continued reliable and affordable service. It says planning studies show that customer demand for electricity will increase by 4,000 to 6,000 megawatts by 2020.

On March 9, the PUC accepted a completed application from CapX for the transmission project route permit from Hampton to Rochester to La Crosse.

As part of the Minnesota Route Permit process, the PUC determines the transmission line’s final route. The rules for the permit require that the applicant identify at least two routes and state a preference for one.

Should the preferred line ultimately be denied, landowners in Holden Township and Wanamingo could be faced with battles over their land.

State law currently allows government entities to use eminent domain to purchase private land without the owner’s consent but with fair compensation in effort to boom economic development.

Last month, Rep. Steve Drazkowski (Wabasha), the lead Republican in the House Civil Justice Committee, became an author of a bill that would remove an exemption for public service corporations when it comes to eminent domain.

Lawmakers are looking at the law again after CapX2020 proposed its project including four major utility lines throughout the state, worrying landowners who could fall in its routes of not receiving proper compensation.

But that discussion could become moot, should the argument by NoCapX and UCAN be welcomed by the Appellate Court.

Overland said she expects a decision from the court within three months.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace