April 10th, 2005

Transmission Omnibus Bills S.F. 1368 and H.F. 1344 have to be stopped.

Call today:

Sen. Ellen Anderson (651) 296-5537
Rep. Aaron Peterson (651) 296-4228

Call these groups and ask them about the deal they made, ask them to change their position, ask them to OPPOSE these bills:

* George Crocker, NAWO (651) 770-3861
* Bill Grant, Izaak Walton (651) 649-1446

The Attorney General has been working against this awful bill, and without that support, we?d be in utility heaven and citizen/ratepayer/taxpayer hell. Call Mike Hatch?s office and let him know you appreciate his work opposing an ATC style transmission company in Minnesota:

Mike Hatch, Attorney General
(651) 296-3353

Call the Governor and tell him his bill is awful policy.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty

Problems with this bill
Many changes are proposed in MN regarding transmission. Most are utility giveaways, similar to the deal struck with TRANSLink, the Minnesota version with ATC. In 2003, the Izaak Walton League, ME3, North American Water Office and Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy agreed to let TRANSLink move forward without direct or indirect opposition, and to advocate for TRANSLink in other venues, which is what they?re doing here.

Don’t allow TRANSLink
Why is a TRANSLink/ATC transmission company a bad idea? Take a look at the PUC?s staff briefing papers about TRANSLink.

Don’t allow exemption from regulation

Other horrible ideas in this bill include exemptions from state review, which was the beginning of the problem with Arrowhead. No Minnesota state agency seriously looked at Arrowhead-Weston.

Don’t allow automatic rate adjustments
Another bad idea is that of giving utilities automatic cost recovery for transmission ?for renewables.? This is a bad idea because we learned in the SW MN 345kV proceeding that the state does not know how to tell if that?s what it is, and Xcel abuses this option. Xcel asked for automatic recovery on a long list of upgrades and construction projects it claimed were ?for wind? including the Ft. Calhoun Interface, and the Wilmarth line that?s been sagging for decades. When W.O.L.F.?s attorney challenged that claim at the PUC, Xcel withdrew that request.

Don’t allow “Regional Reliability” to define need
?Regional reliability? as a ?need? for transmission is a problem too ? we saw that claim made in Arrowhead, and we know we?re not freezing in the dark in an incubator without a job.

Good News about Landowner Compensation

The only good news is that we?re now talking about changes to the typical easement/condemnation scheme under which utilities acquire land for transmission. Proposed changes include annual royalty payments, and should include a provision of the ?Buy the Farm? option for all HVTL lines. S.F. 462 is the best option so far, and was recently introduced in the Senate Energy Committee. Call Senator Vickerman and tell him you appreciate his hard work for landowners, that “Buy the Farm” should apply to all High Voltage Transmission Lines, and that the landowner compensation should be separate from this horrible Transmission Omnibus Bill:
Sen. Jim Vickerman (651) 296-5650

It’s easy to get copies of proposed bills
Go to www.house.leg.state.mn.us Both Senate and House have an easy look up on the upper left hand side of the screen. Check out:
S.F. 1368 and H.F. 1344
Also compare the landowner compensation ideas offered in S.F. 462 and H.F. 1645 (Vickerman?s 462 is best).
Call your own legislators and let them know what you think too. For those of you along the Arrowhead route in Minnesota:

Rep. Mary Murphy (651) 296-2676

Sen. Tom Bakk (651) 296-8881
Senator Bakk is on the Senate Energy Committee!

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