September 17th, 2014
It’s final… that is, the FINAL meeting notice was just issued, one more go round on these draft rules for Certificate of Need (Minn. R. Ch. 7849) and Power Plant Siting Act (siting and routing of utility infrastructure) (Minn. R. Ch. 7850).
We’ve been at this for about a year and a half, maybe more, and to some extent we’re going round and round and round.
Here are the September 2014 drafts, hot off the press:
Send your comments, meaning SPECIFIC comments, not “THIS SUCKS” but comments on the order of “because of _______, proposed language for 7950.xxxx should be amended to say_______.” It’s a bit of work, but it’s important, for instance, the Advisory Task Force parts are important because we were just before the PUC on this last week, trying to reinforce that Task Force’s are necessary, despite Commerce efforts to eliminate and/or neuter them. That despite ALJ orders otherwise, the Final EIS should be in the record BEFORE the Public Hearings and Evidentiary Hearings (just lost a Motion to require this last month).
How can you comment? The best way is to fire off an email to the Commission’s staff person leading this group:
If you’re up to it, sign up on the PUC’s eDockets, and file your Comment in Docket 12-1246. If you’d like your comment filed there, and can’t figure it out, please send it to me and I’ll file it for you. It’s important that these comments be made in a way that the Commission will SEE, in a way that they cannot ignore, when this comes up before them.
September 16th, 2014
I’m about to undergo a “Security Threat Assessment” and pay $129.75 for the privilege. Give me a break…
Doesn’t it mean anything that I’ve got my Attorney License, #254617, sworn on oath to uphold the Constitution? Apparently not. And then again, upholding the Constitution would probably be regarded as a security threat! Such a heightened level of absurdity! Personally, it’s so intrusive, and with a $129.75 price tag for the privilege. GRRRRRR… You’d think that they’d know by now that if I was going to blow up buildings or run through the courthouse with an Uzi, I’d have done it already. But nooooooo… and I recall the implied challenges, and claims of my violating CEII regs, when I’d tried to introduce the MAPP map of transmission lines in the CapX 2020 case. How can a decision on need for a large complex build-out of transmission be made without a map of the system? How can entering a transmission map as an exhibit in a transmission Certificate of Need proceeding be a threat to security? It’s not as if the transmission lines and substations weren’t there out in the open for all the world to see!
Here’s the supposed basis for TWIC — the rules:
Worse are the social implications, the general acceptance of these regulations, when this, like the TSA airport searches, in the name of “stopping terrorism,” have zero to do with it. There’s both a false sense of security and sheep-like acceptance as necessity of these infringements on our privacy and speech. Constitutional rights going down the crapper.
Alan tells me this was a big issue in Delaware where longshoremen at the Wilmington port were required to go through this background check, and I imagine it alsonhas to do with the truck driver shortage.
From my experience in trucking, I think many truck drivers had criminal histories that have nothing to do with “terrorism,” but which would prohibit issuance of this ID, and effectively take away that person’s ability to earn a living.
A reality check on TWIC:
Balance the number of avoided terrorists attacks (zero?) with the loss of livelihood for those disqualified workers, and employee shortage, I’d guess this has a destabilizing effect overall.
Then I learn that it’s not just that they’re checking up on us when deciding to issue the card or not, but they’re also collecting information on an ongoing basis!
And the GAO report also cited TSA officials as saying challenges like readers being incapable of recording needed data prevented TSA from collecting complete and consistent pilot data, leading to TSA not being able to collect complete or consistent pilot data and subsequently not be able to determine if operational problems at the pilot sites were due to TWIC cards, readers, or users.
How intrusive can this get? I don’t want to find out…
September 10th, 2014
September 1st, 2014
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is winding up its rulemaking on the Certificate of Need (Minn. R. Ch. 7849) and Siting/Routing (Minn. R. Ch. 7850) chapters. My clients Goodhue Wind Truth and North Route Group have been participating all along, and their experience with the Certificate of Need and Routing/Siting process has helped inform this record and we sure hope leads to more sensible and workable rules, AND increased public participation.
Now is the time to download and make your comments on what should be included, what’s included that’s important and needs to go forward, and what needs to be reworded.
Send Comments to:
- and/or post to the Rulemaking Docket. To do that go HERE to the eDocket Filing Page, register if you’re not registered (it’s easy and almost instant), and post to Docket 12-1246.
It’s highly likely that the LAST meeting of the PUC’s Rulemaking Advisory Committee will be September 24, 2014 (9:30 a.m. at the PUC, in the basement).
A few things that need work:
- Ch. 7849 & 7850: Need language mirroring statutory language regarding testimony by members of the public UNDER OATH (ALJs have refused to offer people opportunity to testify under oath, and PUC has stated that it makes a difference, “but were those statements made under oath” and if not, less weight.
- Ch. 7849: Advisory Task Forces need language of statute, and membership not limited to “local units of government.”
- Ch. 7849 & 7850: Transcripts available online — need to address this in rules and reporter contracts.
- Ch. 7849: Scoping and Alternatives — compare with Ch. 7850. Similar process?
- Ch. 7849.1450: When is it Commerce EER & DER
- Ch. 7849 & 7850 – timing should be similar for completeness review, etc.
- Ch. 7850: Public Meeting separate from Scoping Meeting (Public Meeting is to disseminate information, Scoping Meeting is for intake).
- Ch. 7850: Power Plant Siting Act includes “Buy the Farm.” Need rules regarding Buy the Farm.
Now is the time to review the drafts, above, and send in Comments. There may be, I hope there are, revisions released prior to the next meeting, but usually it happens just before, and there’s no time. So here’s where we are now, and Comments would be helpful.
August 17th, 2014
We’re working on the revisions of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission rules for Certificate of Need (Minn. R. Ch. 7849) and for Routing/Siting (Minn. R. Ch. 7850), and it’s OH SO PAINFUL and tedious. But this is where it happens — the rules developed here will be presented to the PUC to release for public comment and adoption — and once they’re released, they can’t adopt rules that are significantly different, so realistically, there won’t be major changes. It’s now or never… this is where participation matters.
Our next meeting is Wednesday, August 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Commission’s Large Hearing Room in the Metro Square Building, located at 121 Seventh Place East, St. Paul, MN 55101. The PUC will provide refreshments.
FINAL MEETING – Wednesday September 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Please take a look at these rule drafts and send in your comments. Here are the latest drafts.
The next meeting is this Wednesday, so not much time for review and comment. Comments can be sent to kate.kahlert [at] state.mn.us and/or posted in the PUC’s Rulemaking Docket, 12-1246. To see what all has been filed in that docket, go to PUC SEARCH DOCKETS PAGE and search for 12-1246 (“12″ is the year, “1246″ is the docket number).