Just filed… Walleye Neighbors in Minnesota and South Dakota Comments on the Walleye Wind Draft Site Permit. Now it’s time for a nap!

Dorenne Hansen has died

May 18th, 2021

Dorenne Hansen died this morning, and we’re mourning.

A visitation will be held from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 21, 2021 at Bonnerup Funeral Service, Albert Lea, and one hour prior to services at the church. A funeral service will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Myrtle with Pastor Josh Blair officiating. Interment will follow at Pilgrim’s Rest Cemetery. A celebration of life meal will be held at the Glenville City Hall following committal services.

She was a founder and the very life of Association of Freeborn County Landowners. When we met, she let me know that she had been living with Stage 4 cancer for a while, that was June, 2017, and she’d said that she was on some sort of trial, the longest living person in the medical world. She was a delight, off the charts brilliant, strong, exacting, and angry and a fighter in the best of ways.

Dorenne was able to motivate and turn out her community, with neighbors meeting and coming together to foil the intruder to their neighborhood.

Dorenne was a little hesitant at first, and after a few rounds with Invenergy and the Public Utilities Commission, she got in the groove, was adept at reading between the lines, and channeled her outrage into action, rallying the troops for yet another round.

Dorenne Hansen was the voice of AFCL.

Association of Freeborn Landowners got the first ever contested case for siting a wind project, and in another first, the ALJ recommended the project’s permit be denied:

No small feat!! In the STrib’s article then, on both Freeborn Wind and the Bent Tree project, wind developers and wind promoters were histrionic:

Administrative Law Judge says PUC should reject Freeborn County wind project

A choice snippet from Litchfield in the STrib article:

Dan Litchfield, an Invenergy senior manager, objected to Schlatter’s interpretation of Minnesota’s noise regulations, saying it “is impossible to meet for a wind farm. … Every other wind farm in the state has not been subject to this interpretation.”

And what did the PUC do??

Freeborn? PUC upends ALJ’s Freeborn Wind Recommendation

Marie McNamara, who has been through the PUC grist mill with Goodhue Wind Truth, put it well:

Despite getting the site permit, Freeborn Wind did move 17 of the 41 turbines to Iowa, a different sort of success, 24 shy of our goal. Yet after that initial administrative win, followed by the PUC’s 180, it was downhill from there. The last gasp of our efforts came last month:

Freeborn Wind appeal – we lose…

And then NSP/Xcel tries to send us a bill, adding insult to injury — our Objection is here:

Xcel, cost taxation? WHAT?

Throughout all these very intense years, Dorenne was undergoing routine chemo treatments, on and off and on and off, with time to recover some in between, and she was often literally working on our Freeborn Wind project while infusing! We spent a lot of time at the library bonding over transcripts, zzzzzzzzzzzzz. And Myre-Big Island State Park was right next door, so a good place to have confabs and convenient for hearings in Albert Lea.

Dorenne and I last talked not long before the appeal came down, and she was getting ready to stop chemo, which because the cancer had progressed, was on a weekly basis, utter torture with no respite between treatments. She was not having fun, her quality of life was nil, and she was ready to stop chemo, though she was so mindful of her family and friends whom she cared about and who cared so much about her. I appreciated her advance notice and a chance to let her know how much I appreciated and enjoyed and leaned on her.

Over the last four years, people in the community who had not met before got together, worked together, and became fast friends over wind turbines, becoming large parts of each others lives. Dorenne, you will be sorely missed. What an impact you’ve had… what a life well lived…

Xcel, cost taxation? WHAT?

April 30th, 2021

Just wow… It’s the sort of thing that makes my head burst!

Association of Freeborn County Landowners has been challenging the invasion of Freeborn Wind, a/k/a Xcel Energy a/k/a Northern States Power into this existing community.

Hundreds of meetings, filings, over the last FOUR YEARS, and we got the first contested case hearing ever for a wind project in Minnesota… the first in 20+ years of siting wind projects, and the first time a projects comes to the test, the ALJ recommends the permit be denied!

The Recommendation of the Administrative Law Judge:

The Public Utilities Commission does a perverse and contorted 180 and lets Freeborn have their way, and the public, residents be damned.

Freeborn? PUC upends ALJ’s Freeborn Wind Recommendation

Then 17 turbines left for Iowa, but 24 remain.

… we get tossed out by the appellate court, which affirmed the Commission’s decisions and Orders.

Freeborn Wind appeal – we lose…

And earlier this week, they serve this:

Let’s see… they have open access to ratepayer pocketbooks, they’re reimbursed for their costs! BY US! We ratepayers have to pay! Meanwhile, for the public to show up, and to challenge for FOUR YEARS on this project, or any project, like the Mesaba project, or CapX 2020!, people hold garage sales, put grain in at the elevator, a silent auction in a tornado, and plain old arm-twisting to cover our comparatively nominal costs.

Our objection just filed:

NOW THEY THINK WE SHOULD PAY THEM $3,312.75?

Meanwhile, don’t cha wonder how’s Xcel Energy doing these days? Their 1Q report just out… More customers, decreased sales, and stock soars:

Hmmmmmmm, remember that Texas storm? Here’s the impacts:

Xcel easily tops earnings estimates

Ain’t capitalism grand…

… sigh… Totally ignores ALJ Recommendation after contested case hearing, setting up the issues that followed:

A new noise study not provided until AFTER the initial permit was granted, there was NO demonstration that they could comply, and what they provided after the first permit granted, and before the second decision, was NOT subject to a contested case. Earth to Mars, it’s “material issues of FACT,” not “issues” that must be demonstrated to get a contested case, and these are thousands of pages of facts not in evidence and not subject to contested case.

This is just so wrong, an application is NOT environmental review:

And this — how could issues and facts NOT part of the contested case have been addressed in the contested case?

New material issues of FACTS – FACTS not in existence for initial contested case, FACTS not provided until AFTER the initial permit was granted. “…relator therefore alleges no new material facts beyond those raised at the first contested-case hearing.” WHAT?!?!

How’s this for new material FACT beyond those raised at the first contested-case hearing:

How many hundred pages of NEW material FACTS? All this was part of PUC record, AFTER the first permit was issued. All this was included as new material issues of fact in our request for a second contested case. All this was included in appeal. Yet:

“As to these issues, relator therefore alleges no new material facts beyond those raised at the first contested-case hearing.”

My head is going to explode. Such deceptive word games, summarized with a demonstrably false statement.

Soon… Freeborn Wind appeal

April 14th, 2021