YES! Appeal Wisconsin CapX 2020 Order!

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on August 5, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

Citizens Energy Task Force and NoCapX 2020 are ready to forge on ahead with a challenge of the Wisconsin CapX 2020 Order.




From CETF:


We raised some crucial issues in our Petition for Rehearing, particularly regarding need:

NoCapX & CETF Petition for Rehearing

The deadline is approaching and we must act quickly.  Please consider supporting this effort.  You can contribute in a number of ways:

  • Use Pay Pal “DONATE” button in the upper right corner of CETF site – CLICK HERE
  • Send contributions to CETF, P.O. Box 3571, La Crosse, WI 54602
  • Tax deductible, send check payable to MRR/CETF Fund to the CETF address.

We need dollars.  Nothing else will do!  Use any of these options above to support our appeal of the Wisconsin CapX 2020 Order.

Legal Issues Regarding Decision to Approve Capx2020:

  • The PSC made an error of law because its Order did not address the statutory criteria for transmission need and siting. The PSC did not make requisite determinations; instead it made conclusory statements with “Findings of Fact” that did not reference facts in the record. A reviewing court would have no basis to affirm the Commission’s decision because there are no facts associated with the “Findings” and no way to tell what in the voluminous record supports the Order. Wis. Stat. §196.491(3)(d).196.491(3)(d).
  • The PSC made a significant error of fact by using the wrong cost amount. The PSC is to address costs to Wisconsin ratepayers and perform cost/benefit analysis. In its Order, the PSC considered only the cost of the Wisconsin portion of the project, and not the entire project, from Hampton, MN to La Crosse which will be borne, in part, by Wisconsin ratepayers. Wisconsin ratepayers will be charged a percentage of the estimated cost in the record of $507 million, not just the $211 million for the WI segment. Wis. Stat. §§ 196.491(3)(t); 196.49(3)(b).
  • The PSC erred in its determination that the project provides regional benefits because Wisconsin law requires the PSC address “regional reliability benefits.” The difference is that “regional benefits” is an economic measure, and “reliability” is an electrical measure. In removing “reliability” from its Order, it has not met the statutory requirement. This shift in criteria in the PSC’s decision relies on economic and market factors such as claims of powerline congestion and the need for transferring electricity to other places. These address market issues, not the electric reliability benefits to be considered under state law. Wis. Stat. § 196.491(3)(d)3t.
  • The PSC made an error of law because it did not properly address conservation and efficiency and Wisconsin’s energy hierarchy. In this decision, the PSC must evaluate conservation, efficiency and renewable options, individually and in combination, and must reject all or part of the project if it does not utilize the statutory energy hierarchy. Instead, PSC staff rejected conservation and efficiency measures without requisite consideration of system alternatives in combination. Wis. Stat. §§ 1.12(4); 196.025(1)(b)(1).
  • The PSC made an error of law by failing to review the eastward La Crosse – Madison/Badger-Coulee transmission project in conjunction with the Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse project. The record demonstrates the Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse does not provide independent benefits, and is instead a radial line not connecting the 345 kV system, setting up system instability. The 2 projects are phased, cumulative and connected actions, closely related and each is necessarily dependent on the other for functioning as described and as applied for, parts of a larger action and which uses the larger action as the basis for claimed “need.” Wis. Stat. §1.11; WI Admin. Code SC 4.30; NEPA 40 C.F.R. §1508.25(1).
  • The PSC made an error of law in its analysis of Dept. of Transportation (DOT) easements and failed to defer to the WI DOT expertise regarding DOT easements. Where an administrative decision is subjected to judicial review, the courts defer to the agency, based on agency expertise. In this case, the PUC is not the agency with the expertise in DOT easements – the agency with the expertise, the agency to which the courts would give great deference regarding DOT easements, is the DOT. In its Order regarding DOT easements, the PSC’s decision is not reasonable. See e.g., Clean Wisconsin, Inc. v. Public Service Commission, 2005 WI 93, 282 Wis. 2d 250, 700 N.W.2d 768, 04-3179; see also Wisconsin End-User Gas Ass’n v. PSC, 218 Wis. 2d 558, 565, 581 N.W.2d 556 (Ct. App. 1998).

one comment so far »

  1. Thank you the synopsis of the legal issues, excellent write-up.

    Comment by Lori Isch — August 6, 2012 @ 4:21 am

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace