Agitating project for today in quarantine — contact all the pink and grey states on this map. Message? “LOCKDOWN NOW! You’re putting your state’s people at risk, and increasing infection, sickness, and deaths. Just do it — issue stay-at-home order NOW!”

What the hell is wrong with these states? And this is one reason why we need honest and ethical leadership at federal level.

Fauci: I don’t understand why all states are not under stay-at-home orders

Well, it’s called federal lack of leadership. Most states have stay-at-home orders, I was on Gov. Walz to do that, and we should have done it before Wisconsin, but at least he did do it. Now, on to these others, some of which have local stay-at-home but no STATEWIDE stay at home. Come on, Governors, just do it:

Contact Alabama Governor

Contact Arkansas Governor

Contact Iowa Governor

Contact Missouri Governor

Contact Nebraska Governor

Contact North Dakota Governor

Contact Oklahoma Governor

Contact South Carolina Governor

Contact South Dakota Governor

Contact Utah Governor

Contact Wyoming Governor

It’s out, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s Order both rejecting Association of Freeborn County Landowners’ Petition for Environmental Assessment Worksheet and approving the Xcel Energy site permit amendment.

The Commission meeting amending Xcel Energy’s permit as requested was back on December 19, 2019, and the Commission’s deliberation and “decision” rejecting the AFCL Petition for an EAW was February 6, 2020:

VIEW WEBCAST HERE!

Per the EQB rules (Minn. R. 4410.1100, Subp. 6), the Commission was supposed to issue an Order and Record of Decision WAY BACK, but didn’t. We appealed their “decision.”

AFCL appeals PUC denial of EAW Petition

This new order (20203-161639-01_Order-Site Permit Amendment and Denial of AFCL Petition for EAW) has many statements, some pretty wild ones, but I don’t see what ought to be there.

It’s time to get out the magnifying glass for a careful read. AFCL, this means all of us!!!

Last month, both Invenergy and NextEra had issued Notice of Force Majure:

Solar Force Majure in WI – Coronavirus February 26th, 2020

Then NextEra cancelled its notice, and apparently plans to move forward with the Two Creeks project.

Here’s a recent industry blurb about the impacts, mentioning Badger Hollow solar and the rush to get projects in the ground before the tax credit and subsidies deadline, and trying to get perks in the COVID relief bill:

U.S. wind, solar industries plead for “tweaks” to coronavirus stimulus to keep projects alive

From the article:

Developer Invenergy LLC also issued a force majeure notice on its 300 megawatt (MW) Badger Hollow solar project in Wisconsin, according to a regulatory filing, citing the potential impact of factory shutdowns and travel restrictions on its suppliers and contractors. A spokeswoman for Invenergy declined to comment.

This is so disturbing to me, I wrote about it before I became speechless — in the Red Wing Republican Eagle:

Letter: Willful disregard and willful ignorance in Pierce County

I’m fuming. I just read with shock and disbelief that there’s a second case of COVID-19 in Pierce County. The cause of my shock and disbelief stems from the article which said that, “band and choir students were in New Orleans March 9-14, which also was spring break. The person attended the senior high school choir trip, according to the message.”

A school trip March 9-14? COVID was in the news in January and February. There were very public self-isolation and social distancing recommendations, including warnings not to travel, the first week of March. Yet the Ellsworth trip went forward the second week of March?

This display of willful ignorance and willful disregard for people’s health, perhaps their lives, is hard to accept. School administrators, trip organizers and the school board are responsible for the health and safety of those in their care. Parents are responsible for their children. The “children” are senior high students, some maybe “adults,” but in any case, old enough to be thinking for themselves. The responsibility for this ill-advised trip is a shared responsibility.

Thinking “it can’t happen here” or “it won’t happen to me”? There is no rational basis for such ideas, and science says otherwise, it can and will happen. Look around. It is happening, it is happening to people you ostensibly care about, and it is happening to the community around you.To go forward on a school trip when there’s a burgeoning pandemic with isolation, distancing, and no-travel recommendations, it is just so irresponsible. It goes beyond poor judgment – it is willful disregard and willful ignorance – selfish “me first” disregard and ignorance that puts people in harm’s way.

Get to work to fix this mess. What are you doing to help your friends and neighbors who are now or who will become sick, for those who are quarantined and unable to care for themselves? It’s time for continuing education in science, situational ethics, critical thinking, and public health for the district officials, staff, and students alike, with a healthy dose of public service.

Carol A. Overland

Red Wing

On Wednesday, Association of Freeborn County Landowners filed an appeal of the Public Utilities Commission’s denial of AFCL’s Petition for and Environmental Assessment Worksheet. It was mailed Certified Mail yesterday, as required by statute, and today, filed on the PUC’s eDockets:

The PUC really screwed this up, in so many ways. Granted there are few Petitions for EAW to the Commission, and Commission staff may not be familiar with EQB rules and process. However, in the only other Petition for Environmental Assessment Worksheet/EIS, they denied a Motion and then a Petition for EAW forwarded by the EQB, and it was sent back to the Commission by the Appellate Court:

In the Matter of Minnesota Power’s Petition for Approval of the EnergyForward Resource Package

Lesson not learned. We’ve been trying to get environmental review of wind projects for how long now, particularly given the demonstrable impacts, actual and constructive notice, beyond the “potential” for environmental impacts. Bent Tree noise excedences and landowner settlements? What more is needed?

Bent Tree Order filed by PUC

In the Staff Briefing Papers, which is staff’s recommendation to the Commission, over and over it was said that the Petition was insufficient because there were not 100 signatures, but there were 380+ signatures! In the Staff Briefing Papers, over and over it was said that the Commission could declare the Petition insufficient, when it is NOT the Commission’s job to address sufficiency, that was already determined by the Environmental Quality Board, which validated the Petition and forwarded it to the Commission for action! Read the Briefing Papers… really, it’s that absurd:

I fired off a letter requesting correction, which never happened:

And even after denying AFCL’s Petition, they went further, and provided “notice” in an email to the EQB that the Board had made its decision:

And that “notice” was published in the EQB Monitor on February 18, 2020:

And yet to this date, they’ve not filed an Order or the Record of Decision on this decision! WHAT?!?! Yes, really!!

I’d sent a letter to the EQB about the Commission’s failure to file the Order and Record of Decision nearly a month ago:

STILL NO ORDER OR RECORD OF DECISION. There are no Findings of Facts to explain, to support, the Commission’s decision. I guess it’s harder to make them up than staff thought?!?!

Meanwhile, the appeal deadline of a decision on an EAW Petition is 30 days after the notice is published in the EQB Monitor. Minn. Stat. 116D.04, Subd. 10. It’s kind of hard to Appeal a decision without the necessary documents, so I can guess that’s one more reason the Commission has chosen not to file! Oh well… ONWARD!

Prior posts on AFCL’s Petition for Environmental Assessment Worksheet:

Freeborn EAW – more time!

EQB forwards EAW Petition to PUC

Petition for EAW – Freeborn Wind