Tom Micheletti died!

March 24th, 2024

A visitation will take place on Thursday April 4 from 4-6 p.m. at David Lee Funeral Home, 1220 Wayzata Blvd., Wayzata. A memorial service will be held on Friday April 5 at 10 a.m. at Wayzata Community Church, 125 Wayzata Blvd., Wayzata 952-473-8877. All are welcome to attend.

In the STrib:

Thomas Andrew Micheletti

Thomas Andrew Micheletti

January 28, 1947 March 15, 2024

Micheletti will not be forgotten.

Per his obituary, a PR campaign in its own right, he shares a military avoidance scheme on a level with Captain Bonespurs:

Tom broke his ankle his senior year playing football. He cut the cast off himself, long before it had healed, so that he didn’t miss the opening hockey game. This messed his ankle up just enough to eventually keep him out of the Vietnam War, but not so much that he couldn’t keep playing.

And “Tom’s career became another arena for his love of the game.” Yup, gaming the system, he was certainly an expert. Here’s the legislation he got through, by hook or by crook, paired with Xcel’s bid for more dry casks for nuclear waste — a deal with the devil, or between the devils:

Micheletti was a/the primary architect of one of the most costly boondoggles on the Range and in Minnesota, history, the “Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project.

It was introduced in 2002 at an energy committee hearing, I was there — cost said to be $800 million. HA! By the time it got to the Public Utilities Commission, the cost was over $TWO BILLION!


“… capable of offering a long-term supply contract at a hedged, predictable cost.” NOPE The PUC did catch it, was NOT a reasonable cost, was not in the public interest, and the PUC denied approval of the Power Purchase Agreement.

Throughout this, we faced bizarre, and yes, I’m using that term a lot here, and it’s fitting. The things they claimed were pulled out of some nether orifice, put in writing, and entered, under oath. The sums of money they took from so many agencies, the way they steamrolled local governments, legislative committees, throughout I was wondering what he had on so many, kompromant? Why would people would jump on his bandwagon, it made no sense. Did people think it was too much work to look at the facts? Was it a personal thing? Was it “debt,” and for what and why? Still don’t understand. I do know that so much that was said was not true. So much that was put in writing was not true. So much was made up, tossed at a wall, and why did it stick? Ultimately, it did not, but it took YEARS and hundreds of hours.

About that Mesaba Project, Micheletti’s obit says:

For a decade, he and his wife, Julie, combined their talents and built a company that partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a large- scale clean-tech power plant to be constructed on the Iron Range. He holds dear the many individuals who dedicated themselves to that effort, taking on the special interests that block innovation and progress. He was proud the team conceived and enacted significant state and federal policy legislation that removed significant barriers to innovation in the power industry.

“… partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy…” Nope, more like scammed the DOE, also the Minnesota legislature, Renewable Energy Development Fund, and of course the IRRB. How much of that IRRB “loan” has been paid back?

Here’s where some of the money went — somewhere in my Mesaba Project files we’ve got documentation of their using taxpayer funds for a Christmas trip to Italy! I’m looking, and in the meantime:

And spreadsheets for 2004, 2005, a tiny bit of 2006:

Here’s a review from Citizens Against the Mesaba Project (CAMP),:

“… special interests that block innovation and progress…” Special interest!?!?! Right… Here’s a wayback link to Citizens Against the Mesaba Project (CAMP), and my clients, grassroots “special interest” groups addressing community concerns, groups which did the most amazing organizing, and the drudgery of detailed work and digging about coal gasification, the financing of this mess, and documentation of much of the federal and state dollars; federal, state, and local perks, given to this vaporware “project.” Special interests???

That’s a CAMP meeting, above, a room packed with regular folks. The special interests? Well, “they” showed up in force at the hearings. There were 300+ filling the Taconite Community Center, so if you’re classifying all these regular folks as “special interest,” people who got up, one by one over HOURS of the hearings testifying about seriously technical issues and considerations in their own backyards that were being ignored in Micheletti’s Mesaba Project plans… special interests? well… that’s a bit misguided.

Here’s Micheletti at a Mesaba Project meeting in Trout Lake Township before the Town Board:

And he instructed his new hired hand, Xcel’s recently retired Michael Wadley, not to let me speak because I didn’t live in the area — nevermind that I was representing, a group of local residents! Oh, and I was living in Red Wing right across the street from Wadley’s parents! Why Wadley got involved in the Mesaba Project mess I’ll never know, had to be money, but it sure couldn’t have been worth it to wade in that cesspool.

And here’s a wayback link to

Leadership team of seasoned power industry executives? Seasoned? Right — stick a fork in, they are DONE!

Micheletti was an extreme example of using connections and knowledge and influence to cobble together many moving pieces into a phenomenally orchestrated steamrolling line of bullshit that was the Mesaba Project, taking advantage of public and governmental ignorance and apathy, dragging those of us who opposed it on a decade of intense work — successfully stopped — but what a grind that was.

Micheletti & Overland near fisticuffs in the Hoyt Lakes Arena October 27th, 2005

The legislation promoting the project required that it was to be built on a site with available infrastructure, and here what it looked like – see above, Minn. Stat. 216A.1694, Subd. 1(3), “adequate infrastructure to support new or expanded development,” so it says, but here’s the reality. They were discovered trespassing in the woods by hunters:

Here’s a photo from a DOE site visit — dig that utility infrastructure:

Tom was not at all happy to find our “boys in the woods” and the press there too. From an MPR site visit:

The only way to get to the site was on ATVs using a transmission easement over land that wasn’t theirs, not theirs via easement or in fee — yes, they were trespassing:

Here’s an example of the bizarre filings from Micheletti’s “seasoned” experts:

Health Benefits of Coal (ya gotta read this one, HILARIOUS!)

Bizarre? Yes, that’s the operative term here. A bit of Alan Muller’s cross-examination, the question clarified by ALJ Mihalchick:

I’m looking for the map showing their plan for rail access — they wanted to go right THROUGH Diamond Lake! Found it — that’s it, circled in pink, from the DOE’s EIS:


There was also a bizarre, yes, again, bizarre, “plan” to capture CO2 and store it, BUT the amount that could be captured was not much at all, it severely decreased efficiency of the proposed plant, AND once captured, it took it … really… only to the PLANT GATE, no further. Then what? Who knows, they sure didn’t have a clue. Yup! Really… a brilliant plan. And where it possibly could be stored? Another bizarre filing:

Their plan? Read it and guffaw, snort, hoot and holler: Ex_EE1067_Plan for Carbon Capture and Sequestration Download

They got a GRANT for this, our tax dollars thrown away:

Sequestration grant press release June 24 2005 Download

Looking back, it s really uplifting to see what we did accomplish, two rag-tag groups of people on the range who knew a boondoggle when they saw it, and who put in the time and effort to learn about coal gasification, no small feat, enough to make knowledgeable comments on what Micheletti & Co. were proposing, and put on enough pressure to slow it down, and ultimately stop the project. Considering the resources that Micheletti brought to this, with DOE, MN legislature, IRRB, and Renewable Development Fund, plus so much Joyce Foundation funding to enviros to support it:

Joyce Foundation PROMOTES coal September 5th, 2006

Yes, the Mesaba Project did go down in flames. Took a long time, but looking back, we did a good job.

As of last week, Tom Micheletti will not be promoting any more bogus projects and pocketing our taxes to do it.

Apparently, Micheletti resurrected Reddy Kilowatt! That’s something that really ought to be in his obit!

Back to Micheletti’s obituary:

p.s. To access the PUC’s Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project Power Purchase Agreement docket, go HERE – eDOCKETS, and then click again on “eDockets” and click on “Search Documents” on Left, and arrive at this screen and add Year “05” and Docket “1993” and then click SEARCH!

For the siting docket, plug in 06-668:

The siting docket was also bizarre. We tried to intervene, but were not allowed, and as “participants” were not allowed to question witnesses. The hearing was a farce, and it was in a gym next to the hockey rink, the heat turned of on a -20F day, because with the blower on we couldn’t hear a thing. Afterwards, Excelsior entered in a LOT if additional exhibits, as the record was flimsy:

Mesaba – Extend the hearing! February 23rd, 2008

That site hearing was such a travesty…

Gotta get out of this rabbit hole.

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