Center for Rural Affairs is SILENT!

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on April 23, 2014 @ 3:10 pm


What’s so important about these ITC Midwest MN/IA line, and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement meetings that the Center for Rural Affairs would send someone show up in Jackson, Minnesota, but rather than join the discussion, get paid to sit through this afternoon’s meeting like a bump on a log?  Oh, that’s right, they get paid to do this, it’s part of the RE-AMP transmission promotion program.  Really… ya should’a been there.  It seems Lucas Nelsen, the Energy Policy Associate at Center for Rural Affairs was here in Jackson, sitting right next to Duane Ninneman of CURE!  Duane, the company you keep, and I’d guess this is part of your “new duties” as RE-AMP’s Clean Energy Working Group leader for the next three years:

“My job as RE-AMP’s Clean Energy Working Group leader is to facilitate interaction between top-level clean energy thinkers to keep us on target to reach our global warming pollution reduction goals,” Ninneman stated. 

No wonder it was so quiet back there — and hey, why’d y’all leave so quickly?


Lucas Nelson, Center for Rural Affairs, is the principal named as author on the “Energy From the Ground Up” report:

Energy From the Ground Up

This report is a review of media coverage of transmission projects, looking at how to handle objections to transmission:

100 discrete media pieces, examining a total of 14 different transmission projects. Each piece was then analyzed and organized based on the clear concerns identified within.  Those concerns were used to inform the common themes used in the review section, and to provide data that gives insight into the general views of stakeholders. 

why are you focused on handling objections?  Oh, that’s right, it’s part of the RE-AMP transmission promotion work.  What projects were you interested in?  “My” projects, and more:


Of these projects, I’ve worked on half of them — the only ones I’ve not worked on are the Reynolds-Topeka, Grain Belt Express, Rock Island Clean Line, Illinois Rivers, Plains and Eastern, Center-Grand Forks, and Gateway Power.

What conclusions did they draw?  Center for Rural Affairs takes the position in this report, for example,  ono p. 8, that “As transmission serves a public need, utilities and developers serve as agents of the government and can receive this power.“  NO!!!  Much transmission does NOT serve a public need, and in particular, this ITC Midwest serves a PRIVATE desire, not need, the desire for profit.

Untitled2And in the section on “need” there is utter disregard for the statutory criteria for need!



Ahhh, yes, we know what complaint they’re talking about now, don’t we (haven’t read the article, but I’m a bettin’ it’s us):

Booted out of FERC

The bottom line of this “report” is an exercise in figuring out how to best handle objections, get these projects through, circumvent the obstacles, or as Beth Soholt says, “remove the impediments,” (I say, speaking as a proud impediment!),  inherently presuming that the projects should go through — and what should be disclosed in this “report,” and which is not, is full disclosure of the Center for Rural Affairs’ motivation for publishing this, i.e., did they get paid for this, and why would they take money to do this?  If they’re agriculturally focused, shouldn’t they be furthering landowners’ interests, helping explain eminent domain and helping landowners protect themselves from egregious developer/utility eminent domain practices?  I could go on and on, but you can see for yourself by reading this report that it’s a RE-AMP transmission promotion puff piece.  Nothing more.

Center for Rural Affairs has also weighed in specifically on this ITC Midwest MN/IA transmission line:

Two-State Transmission Project Takes Important Regulatory Step

It’s unfortunate that they don’t contribute to this need or routing process, don’t help landowners, farmers, and agricultural interests.  They’re the Center for Rural Affairs, but they’re not furthering their mission, and instead are working against it, and in favor of, and for, utilities and transmission developers.  What’s their mission?

Establish strong rural communities, social and economic justice, environmental stewardship, and genuine opportunity for all while engaging people in decisions that affect the quality of their lives and the future of their communities.

And then there’s this RE-AMP promotion of transmission and revenue generation – RE-AMP_Foundations_Master_Grant_List.  How does that fit in to their mission?   Center for Rural Affairs‘ budget is over $5 MILLION annually.  Do they “need” the money that badly?  I think the term “Affairs” is off point, and a little baser word would be more apt… we know what y’all are and we have an idea of your price!




  1. The complaint that CapX2020 in the La Crosse area brought grid reliability issues came from utility conclusions and was dismissed in large part because citizens didn’t 1) have there own $300,000 engineering study and 2) bring up their concerns during regional planning…which would have been 5+ years before the state public review process. Hmmm… smells a little funky to me.

    Comment by Debra — April 24, 2014 @ 6:51 am

  2. All this discussion about EMF is interesting, but I don’t see the relevance to whether “Buy the Farm” applies in this case. As I understand it, qualifying landowners can elect a buyout as a matter of right, and the Minars have done so. The validity of concerns about EMF effects, or other concerns, is immaterial. It sounds as if Xcel has managed to shift the discussion to one they can hope to prevail in by having deeper pockets to hire more “experts.” Where were the objections to this? Or am I misunderstanding?

    Comment by Alan Muller — April 26, 2014 @ 4:45 pm

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace