Amazing! Sen. Steve Murphy and I agree on a few things, particularly where people were concerned about the siting process, and the reality is that the siting process is complete, state permitting for the plant is now a done deal. The major point last night is that everyone has to participate, that’s our job. Sen. Murphy emphasized that each person has an obligation to be informed, that “we can’t be spoonfeeding you the information!” I couldn’t agree more! I urged each person at the meeting to commit to participating, to keep up on what is going on in the community, to monitor and participate in the IRP process, to become familiar with legislative workings and talk to their legislators and lobby, and specifically in energy, to commit to pairing intermittent electrical generation sources such as wind and natural gas for the equivalent of baseload generation. We can’t sit back, we have to get out there and do it! Rights entail responsibilities!


Last night the Cannon Valley League of Women Voters held a forum on the Invenergy power plant planned for the northern edge of Cannon Falls. Back in 1995 (can it be that long ago??? A sure sign of getting long in the tooth!), the CVLWV recognized me as Citizen of the Year for my work on nuclear waste representing Florence Township (see town hall). It was standing room only in the new Cannon Falls Government Center.


I was invited to participate by Allene Moesler, former Executive Director (?) of Cannon River Watershed Partnership, after being told about it by Mac McCutchan, of Kenyon. Allene and Kathleen Doran-Norton, Northfield League of Women Voters, provided introductions.



What’s all the fuss about? Invenergy now has a siting permit from the EQB to build a 300+ megawatt natural gas power plant in a newly annexed industrial area on the north side of Cannon Falls. They went through the EQB siting process, which is a very public proceeding, and received a site permit in February, 2005, after the EQB issued its Findings of Fact, Conclusions and Order. The EQB Invenergy docket contains the filings, posted for the world to see. My frustration with this is that it HAS been a public process, and the Cannon Falls Beacon newspaper has been reporting it, and as the only media outlet in town, has done a good job, with 56 articles coming up in an “Invenergy” search, beginning with “Local site picked for natural gas peaking plant” on September 30, 2004, prior to submission of the application.

The big problem that I see in the process was that because the plant was to provide electricity deemed “needed” in Xcel’s Integrated Resource Plan, there was no Certificate of Need required, and the intense look at whether the plant was “needed” did not occur, need was assumed. At that point, it isn’t IF there will be a power plant, it’s just a matter of WHERE, and that is determined in the EQB siting process based on the project developer application and alternatives proposed in the process. Here’s a few important documents from the EQB Docket:

Invenergy Application – Text

Invenergy Application – Figures

Invenergy Application – Appendix

Air Quality Permit Application to MPCA

Environmental Assessment – Text

Environmental Assessment – Tables

Environmental Assessment – Figures

Environmental Assessment – Appendices

Report of the Administrative Law Judge

Site Permit

Findings of Fact, Conclusions and Order


The program last night began with presentations from a panel consisting of Joel Schrader, Invenergy; Lynne Berg, Mayor of Cannon Falls; Bruce Anderson, RENew Northfield; Bob Davis, Goodhue County; and Eric Pearson, resident of Cannon Falls. Then Sen. Steve Murphy, Rep. Jerry Dempsey, and moi were asked to give comments and then joined the group for questions.

The primary concerns expressed by citizens were air emissions, noise, and wehther this was the type of facility that should be sited in Cannon Falls, “Why Cannon Falls,” and whether, if needed, this was the best way to generate electricity.

For all intents and purposes, it’s a done deal. There is no Certificate of Need required, and the EQB site permit has been issued. What remains is the City Development Agreement and completion of negotiations of the Host Fee Agreement. The good news is that language of this plant’s personal property tax exemption in HF2228 requires a Host Fee Agreement with county, city and school district. SEN. DICK DAY AND REP. CONNIE RUTH — ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION???

142.12 PROPERTY.] (a) Notwithstanding subdivision 9, clause (a),
142.13 attached machinery and other personal property which is part of
142.14 a simple-cycle combustion-turbine electric generation facility
142.15 that exceeds 290 megawatts of installed capacity and that meets
142.16 the requirements of this subdivision is exempt. At the time of
142.17 construction, the facility must:
142.18 (1) be designed to utilize natural gas as a primary fuel;
142.19 (2) not be owned by a public utility as defined in section
142.20 216B.02, subdivision 4;
142.21 (3) be located within 15 miles of an existing natural gas
142.22 pipeline and within five miles of an existing electrical
142.23 transmission substation;
142.24 (4) be located outside the metropolitan area as defined
142.25 under section 473.121, subdivision 2;
142.26 (5) be designed to provide peaking capacity energy and
142.27 ancillary services and have satisfied all of the requirements
142.28 under section 216B.243; and
142.29 (6) have received, by resolution, the approval from the
142.30 governing body of the county, city, and school district in which
142.31 the proposed facility is to be located for the exemption of
142.32 personal property under this subdivision.
142.33 (b) Construction of the facility must be commenced after
142.34 January 1, 2005, and before January 1, 2009. Property eligible
142.35 for this exemption does not include electric transmission lines
142.36 and interconnections or gas pipelines and interconnections
143.1 appurtenant to the property or the facility.
143.2 [EFFECTIVE DATE.] This section is effective for assessment
143.3 year 2006, taxes payable in 2007, and thereafter.


Thanks to the Cannon Falls League of Women Voters for this great event. It was the best I’ve attended in a long time, with great questions and a fact-filled open discussion. And thanks to CFLWV for helping get the word out on this power plant — I hope that everyone who attended commits to participating in civic issues going forward. Too many people sit back when issues surface, thinking “Let George do it.” Well, George’s interests and our interest, the public interest, aren’t always the same! We must do our part — it’s our jobs as humans on the planet. Let’s get to work!

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