Looks like the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is under scrutiny, that the Office of Legislative Auditor is reviewing its “public engagement.” From the Office of Legislative Auditor:

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The Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) is seeking input about the Public Utilities Commission’s public engagement processes.

Date:  Friday, May 31, 2019

Time:  10:00-11:00 AM

Location:  State Office Building, Room 10, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155

OLA is beginning a program evaluation of the Public Utilities Commission’s public engagement processes.  To help us shape the evaluation, we invite you to share with us your experiences with Public Utilities Commission’s public engagement processes.  At this stage in our work, we are still refining the scope of the evaluation and our preliminary research questions, which are:

  • What are the Public Utilities Commission’s rules for public participation?
  • To what extent does the commission enforce those rules appropriately and consistently?
  • How do the commission’s rules affect the extent to which the public can participate in the commission’s decision-making processes?

Other Ways to Comment

Alternatively, you may send us written comments through our website.  Or, you may e-mail legislative.auditor@state.mn.us or Laura Schwartz, the project manager, at laura.schwartz@state.mn.us

About OLA

OLA is a nonpartisan office in the legislative branch of Minnesota state government.  We evaluate state-funded programs to determine how effectively and efficiently they are fulfilling their missions.  Visit our webpage for more information about OLA.

Laura Schwartz | Program Evaluation Manager | Office of the Legislative Auditor | Program Evaluation Division

140 Centennial Building, 658 Cedar Street, St. Paul, MN 55155 | 651-296-1232 | Fax: 651-296-4712

  Office of the Legislative Auditor

www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us

Attached to the above missive were these two documents:

Seems a good place to start is to review the reports of the Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearings!

2000 Summary of Proceedings

2000 Report EQB

2001 Summary of Proceedings

2001 Report EQB

2002 Summary of Proceedings

2002 Report to EQB

2003 Summary of Proceedings

2003 Report to EQB

2004 Summary of Proceedings

2004 Report to EQB

2005 Report to PUC

2006 Report to PUC – Docket 06-1733

2007 Report to PUC – Docket 07-1579

2008 Report to PUC – Docket 08-1426

2009 Report to PUC – Docket 09-1351

2010 Report to PUC – Docket 10-222

2011 Report to PUC – Docket 11-324

2012 Report to PUC – Docket 12-360

2013 Report to PUC – Docket 13-965

2014 Summary Report– Docket 14-887

2015 Summary Report – Docket 15-785

2016 Summary Report — Docket 16-18


And the last two years:

Last Wednesday, Jewell Jinkins Intervenors filed Petitions for Rehearing in the three Badger Hollow dockets, the project siting docket (9697-CE-100), the transmission tie-line docket (9697-CE-101) and the WPSC and MGE acquisition docket.

In the Wisconsin State Journal:

Neighbors challenge Wisconsin’s first large scale solar farm; PSC says conflict of interest charge is unfounded

Here are our filings:

Sand – UNEP’s report

May 7th, 2019

Here in Red Wing, and throughout southeast Minnesota, and along the other side of the river in Wisconsin, sand has been a major issue. Many communities were dragged into this issue when an epidemic of silica sand mines, processing, and transloading facilities sprang up to support fracking for oil. Sand interests got Red Wing’s Mayor ejected when he was both Mayor and Executive Director of sand mining industry’s Minnesota Industrial Sand Council:

Mayor Egan Resigns

Sand was also an issue as Minnesota attempt at, though I’d say avoided, developing sand mining rules:

Someone explain rulemaking to the MPCA

As to sand as a resource, that’s not really been a part of the discussion in these parts. And on that note, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) has released a report:

And in the STrib: UN environment agency warns of effects of rising sand use

Check it out!

Goodhue County Hearing

May 5th, 2019

There’s a hearing in Goodhue County about our District 1 representation, as above:

6 p.m. Monday, May 13, 2019

Goodhue County Board Room

509 W. 5th St., Red Wing, MN 55066

At the November 20, 2018 meeting, Scott Safe was appointed to temporarily fill Ron Allen’s seat. At that meeting, Allen said:

“… Scott [Co. Administrator] had a list, I had a list… I went down that list, I had another candidate in mind, but I wanted the person that replaces me to be acceptable to a lot of factions in my 1st District. A Couple people I had in mind just wouldn’t fit that bill…” (video linked — Allen starts his statements at 1:00:28) He later said, again, that Safe was “… acceptable to a lot of different groups that I’ve been doing outreach with.”

I have a problem with “acceptability” being the primary criteria. Of course, I note that as someone who would not be deemed acceptable!!

There’s a requirement to hold a hearing, and the hearing is only about the qualification of prospective appointees. How are they going to announce who has applied for appointment, whose arm has been twisted to apply, etc.?

What’s also troubling me is the slothful way the county approaches the special election — this is something that should have been anticipated and planned for — rather than plodded towards. As it sits, if there is a primary needed, if more than two people run, then it could push the election out past the November election out into a special election in February (there are limited dates that elections can occur, and the first one after November is in February).

Subd. 5.County boards vacancy appointment; public hearing.

Before making an appointment to fill a vacancy under subdivision 4, the county board must hold a public hearing not more than 30 days after the vacancy occurs with public notice given in the same manner as for a special meeting of the county board. At the public hearing the board must invite public testimony from persons residing in the district in which the vacancy occurs relating to the qualifications of prospective appointees to fill the vacancy. Before making an appointment, the board also must notify public officials in the affected district on the appointment, including town board and city council members, and must enter into the record at the board meeting in which the appointment is made the names and addresses of the public officials notified. If after the public hearing, the board is unable or decides not to make an appointment under subdivision 4, it must hold a special election under subdivision 1, but the time period in which the election must be held begins to run from the date of the public hearing.

Hey, residents of District 1 of Goodhue County — Be there or be square!!

At long last, here are the lists, but still no meeting times and dates. Thanks to Becky Norton for making this available.

The secrecy of “Ad Hoc” committees is a problem. We’re just now finding out what they are and who is on them. But when do they meet? Who knows, and they aren’t telling, which is… well… telling. CITY COUNCIL – PROVIDE NOTICE OF MEETING DATES, TIMES, LOCATION and AGENDA. JUST DO IT.

Note that the “Ad Hoc” committee appoints are made by the Council President.