Association of Freeborn County Landowners had filed a Complaint against Public Utilities Commissioner John Tuma and Chair Katie Sieben:

AFCL files Complaint against Tuma & Sieben

They filed their response and shipped it off to Office of Administrative Hearings for an investigation (note statute says “hearing” … oh well…):

AFCL Complaint forwarded to OAH for hearing

Here’s the result, hot off the press:

There’s no requirement of public participation? Minn. Stat. 216E.08, Subd. 2. And parties? No mention. What’s the point of being a party? And following that Office of Legislative Auditor report, guess it doesn’t matter, no one is paying attention.:

Public Utilities Commission’s Public Participation Processes – OLA-Report

Notice of a new topic on the agenda isn’t required? Yeah, I guess the notice statutes don’t matter.

Talking to a participant is not ex party contact? The County is indeed a participant…

Next step is that it goes to the Commission to rubber stamp it.

Who cares? Listen to this:

Association of Freeborn County Landowners filed a Complaint with the Public Utilities Commission against Commissioner John Tuma and Chair Katie Sieben last week.

The PUC responded with this… oh my… and an Affidavit from John Tuma, he DID contact a Freeborn County Commissioner about pre-empting the township’s Ordinance and local control:

And under the statute, Minn. Stat. §216A.037, the PUC must refer it to the Office of Administrative Hearings:

The administrative law judge assigned to the ex parte complaint proceeding by the Office of Administrative Hearings shall conduct a hearing investigation and shall issue a report within 30 days after the matter is referred. If the administrative law judge determines that the report cannot be properly completed within that time period, the judge shall report that fact to the commission within the 30-day period and shall file a final report within a reasonable time thereafter, no later than 60 days after the referral to the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Minn. Stat. §216A.03

… so today, it was referred. GOOD!

Why? Well, this is about the July 16, 2020 meeting, the one where you just have to listen to the video – yeah, we’ve got the transcript, but the video just conveys so much more:

AFCL v. PUC & others

August 5th, 2020

On June 10, 2020, Association of Freeborn County Landowners filed a Complaint against the Public Utilities Commission and four wind projects: Freeborn Wind, Plum Creek Wind, Buffalo Ridge Wind and Three Waters Wind:

AFCL brought this suit under MERA, the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act, which gives anyone standing to sue, and sue we did, seeking:

  • A declaratory order that the state’s permitting of Large Wind Energy Conversion Projects is not in compliance with the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act;
  • A declaratory order that the Public Utilities Commission has not complied, and must comply, with the mandate of Minn. Stat. §216F.05 to develop rules for environmental review of wind projects;
  • An order that the Public Utilities Commission promulgate rules for wind siting and environmental review;
  • A remand for additional proceedings as required by law and the Commission’s rules. 
  • AFCL also seeks a temporary injunction pending these directives and actions by the Commission.  Minn. Stat. §116B.10.

All the Defendants have brought Motions to Dismiss, and today I received reams of paper with their arguments:

Filings from the PUC:

Filings from NSP & Plum Creek:

Filings from Buffalo Ridge Wind and Three Waters Wind:

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Onward toward the Motion Hearing on September 2, 2020! Lots of reading and writing to do in response to these, and lots of writing to do for our Motion for Temporary Injunction!

OLA Report on PUC

July 27th, 2020

Hot off the press from the Office of the Legislative Auditor, its report:

In short:

And it’s in the STrib:

Minnesota’s state watchdog agency dings utilities commission on dealings with public

PUC on Freeborn 12-31-2019

July 19th, 2020

Oh, look out, now that I’ve learned how to clip snippets from videos, there’s no stopping me!!

This is the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s deliberation and decision from December 19, 2019, on Xcel/NSP (they never use the name consistently) Application for Amendment of the Freeborn Wind Project site permit: