“Double Trouble” taken by Marie McNamara on her organic dairy farm within the AWA Goodhue project footprint.

I know, too much alphabet soup in the title… but the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued the Order denying the AWA Goodhue Avian and Bat Protection Plan week before last, and I’ve been drowning in CapX and didn’t get it posted, so…


DNR Comments on ABPP

USFWS Comments on ABPP

Revised AWA Goodhue Avian and Bat Protection Plan

The DNR and USFWS wrote blisteringly negative comments, like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and AWA revised their plan, but not enough.  This was the scenario where Commerce wrote staff briefing papers for the Commission and didn’t even tell them about the agency comments, and didn’t update their “recommendation” even after the meeting had been cancelled twice for their failure to allow time for comments on the Revised Plan and failure to disclose DNR and USFWS comments and then rescheduled yet again for the PUC’s failure to provide legal notice of the meeting, an amazing series of screw-ups.  Finally, the PUC meeting was held, it lasted almost all day, and they rejected it.


PUC Order Denying AWA Goodhue’s ABPP

AWA Goodhue did NOT expect this, that was obvious.  The PUC was pretty clear that AWA had not complied, that “good enough” just wasn’t.

The Commission, too, is concerned about the extent of missing bat data because collecting a full season of data prior to construction would enable the parties and the agencies to make determinations as accurately as possible about the presence of bat species. That process has been severely compromised, and the permit condition was not met. The Commission will therefore direct AWA Goodhue to complete the acoustic bat monitoring required under the site permit and to conduct an additional season of monitoring in 2013.

And trumpeter swans!  They’re paying attention to trumpeter swans!

In August 2011, the DNR confirmed a report of trumpeter swans nesting within a two mile buffer of the Project’s footprint. AWA Goodhue stated that it will visit the nest site early in the 2012 breeding season to determine whether it is again used for nesting. AWA Goodhue also stated, however, that the Project area encompasses very little habitat potentially suitable for nesting by trumpeter swans. The DNR stated that swans are not likely to move substantially during the breeding season and that monitoring should be conducted during the breeding season, summer post fledging, and fall migration.

The Commission must ensure that the potential impacts to trumpeter swans, which were previously considered eliminated in Minnesota, are understood and addressed. The Commission concurs that future monitoring will be useful in making those determinations.

DNR’s Non-Game Wildlife – Trumpeter Swan page

Bottom line?  Here ’tis:


1. The Commission hereby denies approval of the AWA Goodhue revised avian and bat protection plan.

2. AWA Goodhue shall conduct the bat monitoring required under the site permit.

3. AWA Goodhue shall conduct an additional season of acoustic bat monitoring in 2013 from July 1 to October 15 using the methods specified in site permit condition 13.1.2.

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