January 27th, 2015
January 22nd, 2015
Today we were before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, moi and my clients, Residents of Getty and Raymond Townships, asking that the Commission reconsider its permit amendment for the Black Oak and Getty wind projects:
Given Staff’s position, well:
So yeah, that was a unanimous refusal to reconsider, and then a unanimous vote to deny. But there was a ray of sunshine this morning! Chair Heydinger did indeed recuse herself.
Imagine living on the farm right there in the middle of this in Section 18? And it’s not “just” people who live there, but bald eagles too. We’ll see what US Fish & Wildlife has had to say, my FOIA request to them is slowly-at-a-snail’s-pace moving forward:
January 21st, 2015
Hot off the press, here is the Zip Rail Scoping Decision and Alternatives:
|Final Scoping Decision Document||Reports||Jan 20, 2015||3 MB|
|Final Scoping Decision Document Appendix A||Reports||Jan 20, 2015||22 MB|
|Final Scoping Decision Document Appendix B||Reports||Jan 20, 2015||21 MB|
Sign in sheets for meetings are in Appendix A. Comments received are in Appendix B.
In addition to the requisite “No Build Alternative,” the route options they’re looking at in the EIS will include:
I wonder if they’ve considered the big natural gas pipeline that runs across Hwy. 14 along the pink/purple route between Dodge Center and Rochester?
Also looks like a potential problem by Cannon Falls and Hwy. 19… Wild & Scenic River designation, sandwiched in between the Byllesby Dam, Hwy. 52 and the City of Cannon Falls. Can’t see how that would work, particularly with that CapX 2020 transmission line right there and the DOT restrictions on putting that through. I… DON’T… THINK… SO…
The Draft EIS is supposed to be completed in 2015. Something tells me that’s a bit overambitious…
January 20th, 2015
Interesting letter arrived today:
It says that “DOE is contacting you because you submitted comment(s) related to cultural resources during the open NEPA public scoping period for the proposed GNTL project.”
So what does that mean? What’s involved? Sending info to them? Sending more Comments? Attending meetings? A free trip to D.C? A self-funded trip to International Falls in February?
“Consultation” is a term of art in federal permitting, and is required with all Indian tribes, of which there are several in the area of the project. In this case, they also specify “the State Historic Preservation Officer” and “the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation,” and also “certain individuals and organizations…”
Are “historical resources” all that they’re concerned about, is there a special category for “cultural resources?” Or are different people invited to consult on different categories?
And if this is something I want to do, and it is, I have to “include information about your demonstrated legal or economic relation to the undertaking” … (odd word, that)… ” or to properties potentially affected by the proposed GNTL project…”
January 15th, 2015
Notice just came out that our Motion for Reconsideration of Amendment of the Siting Permit, issued November 14, 2014, for the Getty and Black Oak wind projects is before the Public Utilities Commission on January 22, next Thursday:
The Commission will either do nothing, take it up and make no changes, or “Reconsider,” which could mean taking action then, or pushing it forward to revisit.
We were before them in the Certificate of Need docket a couple of weeks ago, where they were saying it’s a 78 MW project (and there’s an exemption to Commission reconsideration of a Certificate of Need if it’s under 80 MW, funny how that works). 78 MW? Yes, that’s what they say in their request for Extension of the In-Service Date:
And let’s look a little closer at potential impacts of this project:
What’s very strange about this project is that although the DNR has submitted numerous comments in the record, and although there are references to US Fish & Wildlife by Applicants in the ABPP, there are no USFWS comments in the record that I can find.
So I fired off a FOIA request to USFWS, and they weren’t real happy with it, so I fired off another a couple days ago:
Here are the project siting maps:
An off the cuff review of the map shows the following affected turbines in Getty, where turbines are located within a two mile radius of an eagle nest:
Section 7: Turbines 14 & 38;
Section 8: Turbine 35;
Section 16: Turbine 18, and Turbine 36 RD area affected;
Section 1: Turbines 19, 20 and 21.
A similar review of the affected turbines in Black Oak:
Section 1: Turbine 40;
Section 11: Turbine 17;
Section 12: Turbines 12, 13, 14 and 16;
Section 13: Turbine 11;
Section 14: Turbines 28, 9, 10;
Section 23: Turbine 29.