This is about public participation, something that is ostensibly encouraged by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. My take on this is that OAH’s modus operandi is the previous, yet unacted upon, Draft Rules for Minn. Rules Ch. 1400 & 1405, in which public participation was proposed to be severely limited:

OAH Rulemaking Request for Comments

OAH Rulemaking Draft Changes

I’d filed a Rulemaking Petition ages ago, circa 2011, after raising issues over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again at Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearings:

Overland – Petition for Rulemaking – OAH

The OAH page regarding this 2012 rulemaking Notice, the Draft, and the several Comments received has been disappeared.  Hmmmmmmm…

Anyway, as noted before, OAH has been limiting interventions for a while now.  See Rate cases, rate design, and intervention for the privileged few…

Here’s a few posts of my current experience with No CapX 2020 intervention in Xcel’s rate case docket:

More Denial of Intervention in Xcel Rate Case  May 3rd, 2016

2nd Petition for Intervention in Xcel Rate Case January 25th, 2016

Rate Case – Response filed to Xcel’s Objection to Intervention January 6th, 2016

And now it’s also happened to both CUB Minnesota and AARP in the Minnesota Power rate case docket!



When I saw those denials, I quick whipped off a comment and filed it the Xcel Energy Rate Case (15-826) and Alternative Rate Design (15-662) and Minnesota Power Rate Case (16-664) dockets.

Overland Comment – Intervention and Public Participation

To review these dockets, GO HERE and look up the docket numbers.

And now AARP has filed for Reconsideration.  GOOD!

AARP Motion for Reconsideration_20174-130901-01

Very well put, AARP!  For example:


How could these parties interests be deemed identical?  That’s as absurd as ALJ Mihalchik’s claim that the interests of those I represented in the Big Stone II docket were “adequately represented” by the “Clean Energy Intervenors.”

But here’s an important point:

In another docket, the Xcel Energy rate case, there was a “Settlement Agreement” by many parties, and in that rate case docket (15-826) it was those who had participated in the e21_Initiative who “agreed,” and AARP did NOT agree.

How much is this prior objection to the Xcel Energy rate case agreement related to the current denial of intervention?  Methinks quite a bit…

Do take the time to read this entire AARP Motion for Reconsideration.

Tonka has arrived!

April 21st, 2017

Tonka has arrived from GSRAW in Wisconsin, who gave us Summer”

Ode to Summer…

Tonka is quickly adjusting to her home and her new roommates.  She did well on the trip, and today, greeted me by running up to me smiling.  Here ears are up, her chin is up, and she’s a happy grrrrrl.

She’ll do fine!  She even met Nigel, nose to nose (note the powerline in the background):

… and they’re fine, although she’s a little unnerved by the chickens!

Wyoming is fossil fuel country, coal plants everywhere, here a mine mouth plant on west side of Kemmerer:

And gas… EVERYWHERE, there were wells all the way up 30 and 89 up until the mountain pass, where the rain turned to snow, UGH!  This is what Wyoming looks like just north of Little America:

Remember that 2005 National Geographic article about the gas wells in Wyoming? Here’s my post with links to that article and videos — in particular, check out the “Bad Water” section, the woman holding a glass of “water” from her well reminds me of Nancy Prehn and her water when they’re pumping at the gas underground storage near Waseca:

Drilling in the West – in National Geographic this month

Up here towards Jackson Hole there are no gas wells, I don’t know if that’s because there’s no gas, that it’s not BLM land up for “lease” (at way too reduced rates), or because if the impact of $$$ in this area.

Heading back soon… and yeaaaah to GSRAW  for making this adoption happen!


UPDATE – April 19: Now there’s a Notice 0f Comment Period:

Comments are due by May 15 — see Notice 0f Comment Period  for particulars.

Last Tuesday, there was an “Informational Meeting” where Xcel Energy was allowed to present its plan for an “Alternate Rate Design” to the Commission.  Nevermind that there is an “Alternate Rate Design” PUC Docket 15-662 and there’s an ongoing rate case right now, PUC Docket 15-826.  No, Xcel gets to circumvent all that, and get special time before the Commission.

The Office of the Attorney General registered a complaint, raised some pertinent questions (OAG-RUD_Letter_20174-130495-01) and asked that the meeting be cancelled:

Pretty simple concept, but noooooo… the meeting went forward.  And Chair Lange’s position was that we’d deal with the Attorney General’s Office’s objections AFTER the presentation by Xcel — it was absurd.

At the outset, I jumped in and requested that Chair Lange and Commissioner Schuerger recuse themselves due to their work in putting together Xcel’s e21 Initiative:

Here’s the full post with background on that:

e21_MikeBull_Center for Energy and Environment

Well, that request to recuse went over like a lead balloon…

And when “discussing” this with the Asst. A.G., one Commissioner said, essentially, “Well, Xcel Energy will file its proposal, a docket will be opened, and you can just intervene in that docket.”  NOPE, no way, that’s not how it works, intervention is NOT to be assumed, presumed, and no way is that a legitimate rationale for allowing Xcel Energy’s presentation time before the Commission.

What did Xcel have to say?  Not much of substance:


But note that Xcel proposes for this process to be orchestrated by CEE and Great Plains Institute… AGAIN!

Remember the OAG-RUD’s_Letter that any rate design should be an INDEPENDENT process, not one orchestrated by Xcel Energy (and/or its toadies).

Anyway, back to the notion of intervention… We’ve been having problems with OAH limiting interventions, unduly limiting public participation, for some time now:

More Denial of Intervention in Xcel Rate Case

May 3rd, 2016

2nd Petition for Intervention in Xcel Rate Case

January 25th, 2016

Rate Case – Response filed to Xcel’s Objection to Intervention

January 6th, 2016

Just recently in a Minnesota Power rate case, there have been two examples of unreasonable denial, that of Minnesota CUB and AARP:



Both of these were cases where there were NO objections to their intervention by any party, and yet the ALJ denied intervention, claiming that their interests were “identical” to those of already admitted intervenors.  WHAT?

To be continued… In the meantime, work on those comments in the “Alternative Rate Design” docket:

Notice 0f Comment Period:

Comments are due by May 15 — see Notice 0f Comment Period.


The Tyler Hills Neighbors have filed comments on the MPCA’s Findings of Facts, Conclusions of Law and Order for Negative Declaration on Need for an Environmental Impact Statement:

Comments – Tyler Hills Neighbors_4-12-2017

Here’s the MPCA’s Findings of Facts, Conclusions of Law and Order for Negative Declaration on Need for an Environmental Impact Statement:

Lab USA FOF (MPCA Final)

Why file anything?  Well, there are three major problems:

  1. The MPCA states that French Island ash isn’t in the landfill, isn’t being dumped there!
  2. Their delineation of the Water Tank Mounds is way off.
  3. The project proposer changed the plan because there was a leachate issue, but now that they’re collecting the leachate it needs to be dumped back into the landfill to utilize the landfill leachate system.

This isn’t rocket science folks — how can you be so off on these things?

Our Loser-in-Chief has lost again, this time in his attempt to torpedo the Consent Decree, settled after the investigation by the Department of Justice into practices of the Baltimore Police Department.


It all started with a complaint, after the Freddie Gray shooting and subsequent unrest in Baltimore, against the Baltimore Police and the City, alleging Constitutional violations, and then an intense investigation of the Baltimore Police Department.  Since tRump’s inauguration, and after the settlement was reached, a Motion was filed by “the Government” in essence requesting “an additional opportunity to consider whether it wants the Court to enter the decree at all, or at least the current version of it.”  From the Order:

The parties have already agreed to the draft before the Court. It would be extraordinary for the Court to permit one side to unilaterally amend an agreement already jointly reached and signed. Moreover, early in the Court‟s review of the joint motion, but after the new administration was in office in Washington, the Government affirmed its commitment to this draft and urged the Court to sign it. (Tr. of Hrg. 7:10-24, ECF No. 20.) The Defendants, for their part, continue to urge entry of the proposed decree, consistent with the earlier joint submission. (Statement of Acting City Solicitor David Ralph in open Court, Hrg. on April 6, 2017, transcript not yet available.)

As between the parties, this case is settled. All that remains is for the Court to make its determinations under United States v. North Carolina, and it has done so above.1 The case is no longer in a phase where any party is unilaterally entitled to reconsider the terms of the settlement; the parties are bound to each other by their prior agreement. The time for negotiating the agreement is over.

As always, the footnotes are where it’s at, in this case pointing out the paucity of tRump’s arguments:

There’s a distinct trend when tRump’s administration goes to court.  L-O-S-E-R!  Now, tRump, just stop it, and take all these federal court orders and decisions into account before you stick your foot in it again.