Last night’s meeting in Plainview

Filed under:RUS EIS — posted by admin on June 17, 2009 @ 9:15 am


Yesterday was the first Rural Utility Service meeting for scoping its EIS.  The notice said that there would be an “open house” and then a “discussion period.”  Didn’t happen, it was strictly the “open house.”

What should we be telling them should be included in the EIS?

  1. Everyone should send in specific environmental information about their community and areas they know (parks, wildlife areas, Laura Ingalls’ brother’s grave, etc).
  2. The WHOLE project must be reviewed, it’s all one big happy project.
  3. There is no need for this project – Xcel demand down 11+% 2007-2008 per their SEDC 10K filing, not even getting into 2009!!!  Otter Tail Power demand down the toilet too.  PJM cancelled part of Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway due to decreased demand.
  4. Rochester plans a “West Side Energy Park” gas plant
  5. System alternatives individually and collectively, such as conservation, which alone is 1.5% under the state’s puny mandate, serious conservation which would cut a lot more, load shifting and SmartGrid peak shaving and load shifting, local generation, distributed generation, thoughtfully sited renewable generation (i.e., siting wind/gas combo), DRG study based additions to system sans transmission, on and on and on…
  6. Impacts on river crossings and wetlands
  7. Impacts on federally protected waters and wetlands and Scenic Byways, etc.
  8. Property value losses
  9. Compensation for those near but not under the lines
  10. EMF impacts of 4,100MVA project (see for more info)

Anyway, we got there early to allow time to set up my little display and table, as I’m setting it up, Stephanie Strength, probably dreading her worst nightmare as reality, said, “What’s going on here?”  I said we were setting up.  She said that no one’s ever done this before at a RUS meeting.  Really?  Where are people and what are they dong?  I’d think that’d be one of the easiest and most logical things to do.  All around the entire cafeteria was promotional CapX 2020 material, even some with outright lies, like saying that there’s “ever increasing demand” or some such.  She said that everything there had been preapproved, and of course, mine wasn’t.  She was also worried about “disruption” or some such, and wanted me to be sure there was no confusion, that everyone knew that this was NOT CapX!  Well, sure, of course…  I can do that!  I’d guess she figured out that it’d be better to leave me be and see what happened rather than throw me out.  Well, maybe it’s because I have the weight advantage…  Good thing, cuz I can just see what would happen if I had to call in Grant Stevenson, Tim Carlsgaard and Randy Fordice for backup!!!  I mean really, it’s not like I had a big “Death to the Capitalist Pigfuckers” banner…


Anyway, important factoid — it was an “open house” the whole time, no discussion whatsoever, no public meeting, no hearing, no court reporter or tape.  There was a cardboard box way in a corner to put comments in.  So if I ruled the world, I would do things differently.  I’d have two boxes, at the entryway, and at her table in the room, much moreclearly marked.  Tonight, in Wanamingo, I’ll see what I can do about that.

Humorous note — one of the utility toadies last night was an engineer, and he didn’t even know that Xcel demand had dropped more than 11% in 2007-2008, not even including 2009!  If those designing and planning don’t know, folks, we’re in a world of hurt…

Onward!  Time to print out a bunch more “Buy the Farm” flyers.  So many landowners asked about it yesterday that I ran out!  For those inquiring minds, here’s the text:

Minn. Stat. 216E.12, Subd.4

Subd. 4. Contiguous land. When private real property that is an agricultural or
nonagricultural homestead, nonhomestead agricultural land, rental residential property, and both commercial and noncommercial seasonal residential recreational property, as those terms are defined in section 273.13 is proposed to be acquired for the construction of a site or route for a high-voltage transmission line with a capacity of 200 kilovolts or more by eminent domain proceedings, the fee owner, or when applicable, the fee owner with the written consent of the contract for deed vendee, or the contract for deed vendee with the written consent of the fee owner, shall have the option to require the utility to condemn a fee interest in any amount of contiguous, commercially viable land which the owner or vendee wholly owns or has contracted to own in undivided fee and elects in writing to transfer to the utility within 60 days after receipt of the notice of the objects of the petition filed pursuant to section 117.055. Commercial viability shall be determined without regard to the presence of the utility route or site. The owner or, when applicable, the contract vendee shall have only one such option and may not expand or otherwise modify an election without the consent of the utility. The required acquisition of land pursuant to this subdivision shall be considered an acquisition for a public purpose and for use in the utility’s business, for purposes of chapter 117 and section 500.24, respectively; provided that a utility shall divest itself completely of all such lands used for farming or capable of being used for farming not later than the time it can receive the market value paid at the time of acquisition of lands less any diminution in value by reason of the presence of the utility route or site. Upon the owner’s election made under this subdivision, the easement interest over and adjacent to the lands designated by the owner to be acquired in fee, sought in the condemnation petition for a right-of-way for a high-voltage transmission line with a capacity of 200 kilovolts or more shall automatically be converted into a fee taking.

Here’s the schedule again — it’s supposed to be 6-8, but we stayed late last night and expect that’ll happen again if enough of you show up:

June 17, 2009  6-9 p.m.
Wanamingo Community Center
401 Main Street, Wanamingo

June 18, 2009   6-9 p.m.
City of St. Charles Community Meeting Room
830 Whitewater Avenue
St. Charles, Minnesota

June 23, 2009   6-9 p.m.
La Crescent American Legion
509 N. Chestnut
La Crescent, Minnesota

June 24, 2009   6-9 p.m.
Centerville/Town of Trempealeau Community Center
W24854 State Road 54/93
Galesville, Wisconsin

June 25, 2009   6-9 p.m.
Cochrane-Fountain City High School
S2770 State Road 35
Fountain City, Wisconsin

Be there or be square!

one comment so far »

  1. This part caught my eye:
    “… he (engineer) didn’t even know that Xcel demand had dropped more than 11% in 2007-2008, not even including 2009! If those designing and planning don’t know, folks, we’re in a world of hurt…”

    That’s why we need people like you in the fray, Carol. Good work.

    Comment by Stephanie Henriksen — June 17, 2009 @ 4:04 pm

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace