MOES denies western Citizens Advisory Task Force

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on March 31, 2009 @ 9:45 am

gettingscrewed

Here we go again, people trying to get their participatory rights, but noooooooooo, not if the Minnesota   Office of Energy Security has anything to say about it.   Participate?  HUH?  WHY?

From a firsthand report about the Marshall EIS scoping meeting, regarding contact with Scott Ek and requests from the public for a Citizen Advisory Task Force on the western part of the line:

[A]t least three Townships had spoken to him as well, so there had been at least 4 separate calls to him.   I had been contacting township reps that I knew around here to let them know what a CATF was.  Scott said that letters had gone out to all the townships to let them know they could request one, but none I spoke to had received any, so nobody even knew there was such a thing as a CATF.  And no surprise here, but everybody I talked to was immediately interested in participating – I had no problem getting people to say they’d call him and request one.  Well, Scott made the mistake at this meeting of saying “there was no interest in this area in a CATF” and boy did he get it.  If you ever can access the transcripts from the Marshall 1:00 meeting, there’s some interesting reading in there.  I felt really bad for him, actually.  But then I thought, “well, buddy, do your job and you wouldn’t be in this pickle.”

littlebirdie

Thanks to a little birdie for that.  I suspect that this is the same as what I experienced. I had been emailing local governments and then calling, and they had not received anything, and didn’t until not long before the deadline for requests.  Hmmmmmmmm, and they wonder why there are few requests?  But to ignore those on the western side, it’s just like they tried to do at the Commission meeting where we “won” Task Forces, where they tried to set only one Task Force, ONLY one… for those privileged few in Dakota County!  What uttter bullshit.  I am so tired of these games, keeping people out.  Landowners have rights and they have a right to be heard. This is their land, their life, and there is no excuse for not having a Task Force set up, or TWO or THREE or FOUR or more Task Forces set up on the central and western part of the Brookings line.  There is no excuse for this — do you here that MOES?

moes-tavern

Here’s from the Marshall Independent.

Some residents of Lyon County townships said they were unhappy about not being allowed to form a citizens’ advisory task force on the routing process, like residents along the eastern parts of the routes had done.

“We applied, and from what I understand we were denied,” said Galen Boerboom, a resident of Westerheim Township. Boerboom said he had communicated with OES staff about forming a task force, but received no response. “There’s a lot of mistrust that comes, and a lot of questions unanswered.”

Grandview Township Clerk Brian Buysse said he had spoken personally with OES project manager Scott Ek about forming a task force. Harold Dieken of Fairview Township said he had also communicated with Ek via e-mail.

OES representatives at the meeting said they had mailed letters inquiring about task forces to area city, county and township government, but they received few responses. In the two areas that did form task forces, the government response was much larger, they said.

“If we don’t receive enough requests from (local government) entities, we can’t do it,” Ek said.

I hope he got the message loud and clear, I hope each and every MOES staffer and every CapX 2020 representative got the message.

Here’s the entire article from the Marshall paper:

Residents continue to speak out at CapX 2020 meetings
MARSHALL – Another series of public meetings on the proposed CapX 2020 power line project began Monday in Marshall. However, in addition to the property and health concerns voiced at the meeting, some area residents said their voices weren’t being heard.

The CapX project, proposed by Great River Energy and Xcel Energy, would build 345-kilovolt transmission lines running from a substation near Brookings, S.D., to Hampton, south of the Twin Cities. The Minnesota Department of Commerce Office of Energy Security is currently collecting public input for an environmental impact statement on two proposed transmission routes. The impact statement is part of the permit application process for the project.

Some residents of Lyon County townships said they were unhappy about not being allowed to form a citizens’ advisory task force on the routing process, like residents along the eastern parts of the routes had done.

“We applied, and from what I understand we were denied,” said Galen Boerboom, a resident of Westerheim Township. Boerboom said he had communicated with OES staff about forming a task force, but received no response. “There’s a lot of mistrust that comes, and a lot of questions unanswered.”

Grandview Township Clerk Brian Buysse said he had spoken personally with OES project manager Scott Ek about forming a task force. Harold Dieken of Fairview Township said he had also communicated with Ek via e-mail.

OES representatives at the meeting said they had mailed letters inquiring about task forces to area city, county and township government, but they received few responses. In the two areas that did form task forces, the government response was much larger, they said.

“If we don’t receive enough requests from (local government) entities, we can’t do it,” Ek said.

“I think there’s a lot of citizen interest, but that’s what these meetings are for,” said Deborah Pile of the OES.

Other comments at the meeting included concerns about the effects of power lines on people and livestock, and concerns about how close the lines would pass to homes and farm property.

Large satellite photos of the proposed transmission routes were on display at Monday’s meeting. Great River Energy and Xcel Energy were required to identify a preferred and an alternate route for the permit process.

The energy companies’ preferred route runs south of Hendricks and Minneota, takes a detour around Marshall to the Lyon County substation and passes on through Redwood County, crossing the Redwood River in the Cedar Mountain area. The alternate route starts out farther south, passing through Lynd and then turning north before following State Highway 19 toward Redwood Falls. Both proposed routes also include lines running north to the Minnesota Valley substation near Granite Falls.

Dan Wambeke of Green Valley was one of several people who asked project officials to keep the transmission lines away from homes.

“I don’t know if I could live with putting my children near one of these,” Wambeke said. He added that the location of his home and others had been marked incorrectly on the route permit application.

Craig Poorker of Great River Energy said that health and safety issues are automatically studied for the environmental impact statement. However, he encouraged residents with suggestions for alternate line routes to submit them to the OES.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will likely reach a decision this spring on whether to approve a certificate of need for the CapX project, Ek and Poorker said. It’s a process separate from the environmental impact study and route permit. If the PUC doesn’t determine a need for the transmission lines, Poorker said, plans for line routes will not continue.

Other public meetings on CapX will be held this week. On Tuesday, a meeting will be held at 5 p.m. at the Midwest Center for Wind Energy in Hendricks. On Wednesday, meetings will be held at noon at Prairie’s Edge Casino, and at 5 p.m. at the Redwood Area Community Center in Redwood Falls.

Ek said written comments from the public will be accepted until April 30.

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