Data Practices Act Request on CATFs

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,Laws & Rules — posted by admin on May 30, 2010 @ 8:28 pm

You all know how disgusted I’ve been watching Citizen Advisory Task Forces devolve over the last decade, from a group that could meaningfully participate in a routing/siting proceeding to a neutered exercise in choreographed futility.  In these proceedings, we’ve had to Petition to get a Task Force, and MOES has objected and is wanting to do ONE, for the Brookings line, and again ONE for the Hampton-Alma/LaX line.  HOW ABSURD!  Both to claim that one is sufficient, and to have to fight for it!

And then, after winning an increase from what MOES wanted, it’s still a fight, to get people appointed, to get a Marshall Task Force which was denied, and to have the Task Force do what the CHARGE states, not what MOES wants (it is not the same).

Who is eligible to be on a task force?

Who is appointed?

How many times to they meet (it’s been limited to 3 meetings for the last few!)

What is the charge?

Who runs the group?

Does the “facilitator” facilitate according to the charge?

Is there a report and if so, who writes it?

Does the way Task Forces are handled these days meet the statutory criteria and intent?

Here’s the statute:

Subdivision 1.Advisory task force.

The commission may appoint one or more advisory task forces to assist it in carrying out its duties. Task forces appointed to evaluate sites or routes considered for designation shall be comprised of as many persons as may be designated by the commission, but at least one representative from each of the following: Regional development commissions, counties and municipal corporations and one town board member from each county in which a site or route is proposed to be located. No officer, agent, or employee of a utility shall serve on an advisory task force. Reimbursement for expenses incurred shall be made pursuant to the rules governing state employees. The task forces expire as provided in section 15.059, subdivision 6. At the time the task force is appointed, the commission shall specify the charge to the task force. The task force shall expire upon completion of its charge, upon designation by the commission of alternative sites or routes to be included in the environmental impact statement, or upon the specific date identified by the commission in the charge, whichever occurs first.

In this round, for the Hampton-Alma/LaCrosse line, they’ve utterly ignored the statutory purpose of public participation, and are limiting it to elected officials in the area, who they term as “land-use professionals,” and there are no regular people!  At least two local groups, the Cannon River Watershed Partnership and the Zumbro Watershed Partnership were not contacted and asked to participate!  “Land Use Perspective” eh? Where did that come from?

So to gather background info,  I fired off a Data Practices Act request to get info on the specifics over the last decade:

Task Force -  Data Practices Act Request – 1

Task Force – Data Practices ActRequest – 2

And a partial response came in Friday — this has links to make it easier, it’s the info that they were able to find on the web:

Advisory Task Forces – Web-based information 2002-2010

Background info for what???  We shall see… I’ll be posting info as it comes in.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace