September 10th, 2013
Can someone explain what this meme means??? It’s popping up lately, and when I ask what it means… oh my, that seems to be a bit problematic.
There are some facts floating around that, when combined with this, leave me scratching my head…
1) Bush lied to start a war.
2) Obama had Osama bin Laden killed.
3) Syria’s Assad is gassing his people.
So … anyone care to explain?
August 8th, 2013
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has issued its Request for Comments on its procedural rules, Minn. R. Ch. 7829:
This is the rulemaking where I wasn’t even given notice, nevermind that I’d submitted a rulemaking petition March 14, 2011:
The meeting last Thursday was interesting, particularly Commissioner O’Brien’s comments on the Rule 11 like language, where there’s at long last language regarding truthfulness in pleadings and arguments before the Commission, ’bout time. The bottom issue is important because if staff recommends something that’s not even been discussed in the proceeding, we, intervenors and the public, need the chance to discuss it, to put in our perspective, and more so, we need the ability to vet their proposal. So check out this webcast, it’ll be posted for ~ 90 days.
Here’s the meat of it:
Topics Open for Comment:
• Any issue arising from the draft of possible amendments filed in the Commission’s electronic filing system in this docket as an attachment to Staff Briefing Papers on July 25, 2013—with emphasis on the following possible revisions:
• What should the Commission consider when deciding whether to include language that discusses possible sanctions for violations of the proposed Commission rule governing representations of fact or law to the Commission (Part 7829.0250)?
• Assuming that the Commission were to decide that a sanctions provision is appropriate, the Commission seeks comment on the following proposed language:
Subp. 2. Sanctions. If, after notice and an opportunity for comment and reply, the commission determines that subpart 1 has been violated, the commission may impose a sanction on any party or participant who violated subpart 1 or is responsible for the violation. A sanction imposed under this rule must be limited to what suffices to deter repetition of the conduct or comparable conduct by others similarly situated. An order imposing a sanction must describe the sanctioned conduct and explain the basis for the sanction.
• What should the Commission consider when deciding whether to amend rule part 7829.2600 to read “If commission staff recommend action not advocated by any party, at the request of any party and to the extent practicable, all parties must be granted an opportunity to comment.”?
To file Comments: E-file using the Commission’s electronic filing system (info on registration at this link too), or email to Christopher.Moseng@state.mn.us. Persons without e-mail access may send by U.S. mail to Christopher Moseng, Staff Attorney, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, 121 7th Place East, Suite 350, St. Paul MN 55101-2147. Please include the Commission’s docket number in all communications – U-999/R-13-24.
June 12th, 2013
How to work up excitement about the Certificate of Need rulemaking??? On its own, it’s dry, detailed, wonkish stuff, thrilling only to those of us who live and breathe need decisions and utility infrastructure siting and routing… but may there’s some pizazz in the machinations surrounding input, like lack of public representation on the Advisory Committee such that even my tremendous bulk doesn’t even it out. Does Xcel deserve THREE representatives? ITC two? “Participating Utilities” two, “Wind Coalition” one and none for Goodhue Wind Truth? Here’s the list:
Plus they’re not posting the drafts on the rulemaking site, so the public has no idea what’s being proposed:
And minutes from the first meeting:
To get to the docket, go to www.puc.state.mn.us and then “search eDockets” and search for 12-1246.
We’ll be talking about the Certificate of Need criteria next, and here’s what’s proposed:
7849.0120 CRITERIA CERTIFICATE OF NEED REQUIREMENTS.
A certificate of need must be granted to the applicant on determining that:
Subpart 1. Need Demonstration. An applicant for a certificate of need must demonstrate that the demand for electricity cannot be met more cost effectively through energy conservation and load-management measures.
Subpart 2. Renewable Resource Preferred. An applicant proposing an LEGF that uses a nonrenewable energy source must demonstrate that it has considered the use of renewable energy sources, as required under Minnesota Statutes section 216B.243, subd. 3a.
Subpart 3. Assessment of Need Criteria. In evaluating a certificate of need application, the
commission shall consider the criteria contained in Minnesota Statutes, section 216B.243, subd. 3, as well as the following:
A. whether the probable result of denial would be an adverse effect upon the future adequacy, reliability, or efficiency of energy supply to the applicant, to the applicant’s customers, or to the people of Minnesota and neighboring states, considering: the region;
(1) the accuracy of the applicant’s forecast of demand for the type of energy that would be supplied by the proposed facility;
(2) the effects of the applicant’s existing or expected conservation programs and state and federal conservation programs;
(3) the effects of promotional practices of the applicant that may have given rise to the
increase in the energy demand, particularly promotional practices which have occurred since 1974;
(4) B. the ability of current facilities and planned facilities not requiring certificates of need to meet the future demand; and
(5) the effect of the proposed facility, or a suitable modification thereof, in making efficient use of resources;
B C. whether a more reasonable and prudent alternative to the proposed facility has not been demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence on the record, considering:;
(1) D. the appropriateness of the size, the type, and the timing of the proposed facility compared to those of reasonable alternatives;
(2) E. the cost of the proposed facility and the cost of energy to be supplied by the proposed facility compared to the costs of reasonable alternatives and the cost of energy that would be supplied by reasonable alternatives;
(3) F. the effects of the proposed facility upon the natural and socioeconomic environments compared to the effects of reasonable alternatives; and
(4) G. the expected reliability of the proposed facility compared to the expected reliability of reasonable alternatives;
C. by a preponderance of the evidence on the record, the proposed facility, or a suitable modification of the facility, will provide benefits to society in a manner compatible with protecting the natural and socioeconomic environments, including human health, considering:
(1) the relationship of the proposed facility, or a suitable modification thereof, to overall state energy needs;
(2) H. the effects of the proposed facility, or a suitable modification thereof, upon the natural and socioeconomic environments compared to the effects of not building the facility;
(3) I. the effects of the proposed facility, or a suitable modification thereof, in inducing future development; and
(4) J. the socially beneficial uses of the output of the proposed facility, or a suitable modification thereof, including its uses to protect or enhance environmental quality; and.
D. the record does not demonstrate that the design, construction, or operation of the proposed facility, or a suitable modification of the facility, will fail to comply with relevant policies, rules, and regulations of other state and federal agencies and local governments.
June 12th, 2013
Photo: A January RW Beagle photo of Dan Bender being recognized as he left the City Council after not running last November.
Dan Bender is now Mayor. I don’t know much about him and so don’t have a clue how he’ll do as Mayor. We shall see how it goes. A couple of the candidates in this 6 candidate race were not credible or substantive. He seemed a solid option, with experience in city government, and noticeably lacking in the slick oily veneer of his predecessor — that difference shows in the photo!
We shall see…
May 29th, 2013
Today we had a rulemaking Advisory Committee meeting about Public Utilities Commission rules for Certificate of Need proceedings. More on that later, because at 10:00 a.m. the Minnesota Supreme Court decision on Buy the Farm was released (Buy the Farm, Minn. Stat. 216B.12, Subd. 4, is a statutory provision where landowners can force a utility to condemn their whole parcel, rather than just a narrow easement and let them get out from living under a transmission line), and oh what a decision. Kudos to Jerry Von Korff, who was at the rulemaking meeting, and his cohort Igor Lenzner, also Michael Rajkowski and Sarah Jewell, the attorneys who brought the appeal, plus Rod Krass/Kirk Schnitker and yours truly on Amicus. It was a win for landowners, homeowners, farmers, business owners, for everyone who has transmission condemnation/eminent domain cases pending, this one’s for YOU!
It really doesn’t get much better than this.
Bottom line on minimum compensation? Landowners are entitled to minimum compensation:
Appellants who elected to require utilities to condemn their entire properties in fee pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 216E.12 (2012) are entitled to minimum compensation under Minn. Stat. § 117.187 (2012) as owners who “must relocate” because on the date of the taking, the utilities took title to and possession of appellants’ entire properties.
… and …
Accordingly, we must determine whether appellants were required to relocate at the time their properties were taken. Because NSP initiated quick-take condemnation proceedings, the time of the takings with respect to appellants’ properties was when title to and possession of the property passed to NSP. See Moorhead Econ. Dev. Auth., 789 N.W.2d at 874 (explaining that “the date of the taking” in a quick-take condemnation proceeding is when “the transfer of title and possession” occurs, which is “well before the commissioners file their award”). It is undisputed that by the time title to and possession of appellants’ properties passed to NSP, appellants had made their elections under Minn. Stat. § 216E.12, subd. 4, which by operation of the statute, automatically converted the easements sought into fee takings. See Minn. Stat. § 216E.12, subd. 4 (explaining that at the time the property owner makes an election, “the easement interest over and adjacent to the lands designated by the owner to be acquired in fee . . . shall automatically be converted into a fee taking”). It follows that, at the time of the takings, NSP took title to and possession of appellants’ entire properties in fee. Therefore, we conclude that appellants were owners under Minn. Stat. § 117.187 who, at the time the takings occurred, “must relocate.” Accordingly, they are entitled to minimum compensation.
Bottom line on relocation benefits? Landowners are entitled to relocation benefits:
Because appellants are “displaced persons” under federal law, they are entitled to relocation assistance under Minn. Stat. §§ 117.50-.56 (2012).
Because appellants are required to relocate permanently, they do not fall within the exemption in 49 C.F.R. § 24.2(a)(9)(ii)(D). Therefore, because we conclude that appellants satisfy the definition of “displaced persons” under 42 U.S.C. § 4601(6)(A)(i)(I) and do not fall within any exemptions to that definition, we hold that appellants are entitled to relocation assistance under Minn. Stat. §§ 117.50-.56.
The decision was written by Justice Alan Page (photo from StarTribune www.startribune.com):
Yes, when he’s not wearing a football uniform, he’s the guy who is ALWAYS seen wearing one of his many classic “Jacobsen” bow ties, standing up for the public interest and the people of Minnesota. For him to be in the spot where he is, to do the work he’s doing, a long strange trip for a football player (sort of like it was for a truckdriver, eh?), with some good mentoring along the way.
This decision is something I’ve been working for, and toward, since I first got involved with the Chisago Transmission Project so long ago, and folks, that’s 17 years now…
Now and then, some event rates an “OH HAPPY DAY!” and this is the best of all, so this time from Aretha… OH HAPPY DAY!!!
From the St. Cloud Times:
ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that landowners who had their property taken as part of the CapX2020 high-voltage transmission line construction are entitled to relocation costs and minimum compensation.
The decision by the state’s highest court overturns a Court of Appeals decision and affirms the ruling by Stearns County District Court Judge Frank Kundrat that had been overturned by the Court of Appeals.
The Supreme Court ruling hinged on whether property owners who chose to require CapX to condemn their property would receive that compensation or whether those property owners chose to move from their property and therefore aren’t entitled to the compensation.
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