The silence is deafening… the email is way too quiet, well, plus my phone reception sucks out here… but here’s a response I received after sending out notification of the ALJ Recommendation to PUC:

Please remove me from your email list you pyschotic freak - pull your head
out of your ass and join the real world.  You and the rest of the CAVE
people do not deal in facts or in reality.

If overaggressive physcotic freaks like you would use your energy for
something productive we might actually find solutions to our problems rather
than being constantly creating new ones.

From someone ostensibly named “Shalom.” Hmmmm…

And just in case you missed it, here’s the ALJs’ Recommendation of Denial:


One relevant thing that made me snort — consider Pawlenty’s rabid and unjustified support of Mesaba, knowing it was going down in flames — and he had this to say recently per Polinaut:

“For the 900th time, I am not running for Vice President. I don’t want to be Vice President and I’m focused on being governor of the state of Minnesota and have said I will fill out my term.”

That was in the Brainard Dispatch too:

Pawlenty makes clear he wants to stay put

From the Duluth News Tribune, here’s another guy who will have to run for office again, yet here he is, pontificating on Mesaba’s demise:

“I’m disappointed,” said Sen. Tom Saxhaug, DFL-Grand Rapids. “But it’s not the Public Utilities Commission [making the recommendation]. We’re still waiting to hear from them.”

And remember, Sen. Tom Saxhaug is the guy who tried to ram through the Mesaba personal property tax exemption without letting the local governments know he’d submitted the bill!!! The county got on him about it and it was QUICKLY amended to include the necessity of a Host Fee Agreement to assure local governments get their fair share instead of getting screwed. He showed just what constituents he was representing in that little maneuver, and he showed his utter disregard for the public interest.

Meanwhile, Tom Micheletti’s not having a very good day.


Also from the Duluth News Tribune, Micheletti’s comments:

On Thursday night, Micheletti said he is “shocked,” by the judges’ conclusions.

“Our lawyers are still reviewing it,” he said. “But it appears it’s entirely negative. It’s totally at odds with the national consensus [on cleaner power plants] and essentially adopts the position of the Minnesota Department of Commerce that the project doesn’t offer any advantages over traditional power plants.”

Micheletti said the conclusions don’t mean the project is dead, but he clearly isconcerned.

“Obviously, something like this takes you back,” Micheletti said. “It’s so at odds with technology that could be a savior.”

Here’s from the STrib:

Coal-to-gas plant dealt a setback by judges

The judges said energy and environmental costs of building and operating the plant outweigh the economic benefit.

By Mike Meyers, Star Tribune

The dream of a $2 billion coal-gasification plant on the Iron Range the was dealt a setback Thursday when two administrative law judges urged the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to deny the plans of Excelsior Energy, a newcomer power company.

While not binding on regulators, the ruling is filled with warnings, from doubts that the plant will burn coal as cleanly as guaranteed to an opinion that Excelsior would not, as promised, likely deliver electricity at a lower cost than alternative energy suppliers.

After sifting through thousands of pages of testimony in a hotly contested case, judges Steve Mihalchick and Bruce Johnson wrote that the plan is “not in the public interest.”

The judges’ warnings to the utilities commission — which is expected to rule on the project later this year — include cautions about whether risks to Minnesota’s economy would be overshadowed by the benefits of the biggest investment in decades on the troubled Iron Range.

And, in a move that undermines a key argument for building the Excelsior plant, the judges found that the design to transform pulverized coal into gas is not particularly new or innovative.

To build the plant, Excelsior needs a customer. The Legislature four years ago directed Xcel Energy Inc. to buy power from the proposed 600-megawatt plant. But Xcel, in expert testimony, said the power isn’t needed in 2011 when Excelsior’s Mesaba plant is supposed to open.

Xcel argued that Excelsior’s power would cost more than alternatives and put Xcel at financial risk if everything didn’t go according to plan — two arguments the administrative law judges accepted in their findings.

The project would create 3,500 construction jobs from 2008 to 2011, according to Excelsior’s economic consultant, and employ 107 full-time workers to keep the plant running. The company said millions of dollars in benefits would flow to local communities, as well.

But the judges were skeptical. “There are economic development benefits to the state from the project, especially to the nearby area,” they wrote. “There are also negative economic development impacts from the increased costs that will be passed on to business and individual ratepayers and from the negative environmental consequences of the project.

“Overall, the economic development benefits weigh in favor of the project. But they do not justify an unreasonable price for its electric capacity and energy.”

Excelsior officials were unavailable for comment.

Xcel offered a cautious response:

“We have not had the opportunity to review the administrative law judges’ report in detail,” said Judy Poferl, Xcel director of regulatory administration. “We appreciate that the judges recognized the concerns raised by the parties to this proceeding. We will continue to participate in this case and look forward to resolution by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.”

The commission is expected to rule on the proposal this summer.

Mike Meyers • 612-673-1746 •


Leave a Reply