345kV transmission through Dodge Center?

I’ve been trying to figure out where the notion of these two routes through Dodge Center originated, and went back to the Public Utilities Commission meeting video of the March 5, 2019 meeting. We have Commissioner Tuma to thank for this hare-brained idea:

Check this video (how long do they leave them up) between 7:09 and 24:50: http://minnesotapuc.granicus.com/player/clip/894?view_id=2

Commissioner Tuma suggested this right out the gate. He said “I went and google mapped… walked through these cities and unless you put it on the same pole, you’re not going to do it.” EERA’s Steinhauer’s befuddlement is apparent, and to include these route proposals in the Scoping Decision is an absolute waste of time — if Tuma had indeed gone over the routes on google earth, if he had any notion of the width of a 345kV transmission line… Earth to Mars, even if you put it on a pole, you’re not going to do it. This is what it looks like on Google Earth:

Here’s the letter we sent to Commerce yesterday — the green and red routes through Dodge Center are not workable in any sense. Look at the impact on the folks who live there — people who would be uprooted from their homes:

This is the letter sent by the City of Dodge Center.

It’s something, it’s a start, but there are basic factual errors, i.e., “200 feet” mentioned twice?

Where did they get that “200” number from? 345kV easements are 150 feet, yet this 200′ is repeated over and over, and no where is there a mention of 200 feet. It also makes light of the reality of what these routes would mean, i.e., “passing within 200 feet,” rather than saying that at least ______ homes would be within the easement, residents/landowners would be displaced, and properties would be razed and clear cut. “Passing within” is just too passive…

The good news is that the City has committed to attending and speaking up at future hearings if these routes should go forward. In light of the reality of these proposals, I don’t see how Commerce could recommend they go further.

Back to the video, between 7:09 and 24:50: http://minnesotapuc.granicus.com/player/clip/894?view_id=2

In the video above, Commissioner Tuma kept referring to Freeborn, and I don’t see a similar issue here. ??? He spoke of landowners objecting, and of course landowners object, but what is the connection or similarity with the routes he’s proposing? And it was good to hear Commissioner Schuerger raising the oversized 345kV line. That’s utterly absurd, and I sure hope they get into the reasoning behind that. I’ll bet it’s all about financing and that the developer wouldn’t be held responsible for costs if it’s part of a regional system build-out like MVP.

Onward… it’s obscene to think that a transmission line of this size can be run through Dodge Center, run through people’s yards, over their homes, to waste people’s time, and subject them to this bogus “alternative” with the specter of ejecting them and bulldozing their homes.

NO! JUST NO!

The Dept. of Commerce was instructed by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to include routes for the Dodge County Wind project to include existing transmission corridors. Commerce didn’t haul out a transmission map at the time to say “WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST” and instead chose “routes” that run right through the heart of Dodge Center, and which would, with a 150′ easement, not only tower over residential neighborhood but would displace rows of homes because the easement edge would run right through the houses!

CLICK HERE for Dept. of Commerce Dodge County transmission site.

CLICK HERE for Commerce’s INTERACTIVE WEB MAP

Here’s what it looks like from the sky:

CAN YOU BELIEVE?!

CLICK HERE for City of Dodge Center page on this transmission proposal.

City of Dodge Center is missing the boat in suggesting people wait to let Commerce know how bizarre, unconstructable, and most importantly, how many people would be displaced, how many homes would be bulldozed, to build a 345kV transmission line with 150 foot rights of way through town. The time to send WRITTEN comments to Commerce is NOW, because when the DEIS is released at the end of June (probably, though maybe later), it should say that those routes through town should not be further considered as they just won’t work.

Send comments, with photos showing existing transmission in relation to your home, your neighbors’ homes, to:

suzanne.steinhauer@state.mn.us

The sooner you weigh in the easier it is to alter the outcome. In the case of administrative proceedings, you snooze, you lose.

The City of Dodge Center needs to get on this too, NOW. Why? It’s in the City’s interest to have routes through town and through these neighborhoods stopped, to assure that they don’t go forward in the environmental review. If you’re in Dodge Center and are concerned, contact your City Council representative:

DODGE CENTER COUNCIL MEMBERS CONTACT INFO HERE

Comments must be in writing, phone calls don’t count (though you can get more information that way, by calling Suzanne Steinhauer: (651) 201-2251).

DODGE THIS TRANSMISSION LINE!

Inadequate — and REMANDED! Here’s the Appellate Court decision, just out:

Bottom line:
However, the commission acted in a manner unsupported by substantial evidence and arbitrary and capricious when it determined the FEIS adequate despite its failure to address the issue—raised during scoping and in public comments on the DEIS—of how an oil spill from Enbridge’s Line 3 project would impact Lake Superior and its watershed. Accordingly, we reverse the commission’s adequacy decision and remand for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

Love it when that happens…

Platteville to Dodgeville along U.S. Hwy 151

On Tuesday, Jewell Jinkins Intervenors had filed a Motion to Supplement the EIS in the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line project.

Neither the applicants nor the PSC were enamored with the idea. Here are their responses, filed yesterday:

In short, they say ALJ has no authority to order a Supplement to the EIS, and that anyway, this route idea is not new, is not substantial. Oh, really? And to suggest that we wait, WAIT, until briefing! Wait until the hearing is OVER, to argue that the EIS is inadequate? Oh, right, that’ll go real far. And of course, then it’s not “new,” is it!

We have a status conferenc on June 13, 2019 at the PSC to deal with whatever is left hanging before the following week’s hearing. We’ll see how that goes.

Hot off the press, errrrr, just received email:

Reminder, the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) is holding a public meeting tomorrow to gather input about the Public Utilities Commission’s public engagement processes. 

Other Ways to Comment

If you are unable to attend the meeting, 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

Timeline

We do not have a deadline for comments.  However, we will use the input we receive tomorrow to help us shape the evaluation, so the sooner the better.  Most of our evaluation activities will occur throughout the summer, and the final evaluation report is planned for release in early 2020.  You may send written comments about your experiences with the Public Utilities Commission’s public engagement processes throughout the evaluation, but we encourage you to send them early. 

Meeting Details

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

Privacy

Please let us know if you would like to share comments confidentially.  OLA has the authority to protect your identity through Minnesota Statutes 2018, 3.979, subd. 3(c).

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