Trump’s energy agenda, vague as it is, has been essentially to promote “clean coal,” nuclear and to deny climate change and dismantle federal climate change and “renewable” energy programs, of course with no move to eliminate subsidies for coal and nuclear.  The “transition team” sent a big laundry list of questions to the Department of Energy, and it’s pretty broad.  It’s also something that would be both telling and intimidating to receive.  Looking at this, there’s no doubt where they’re headed.

Here’s the document — read it and see what you think… and note how many of these questions are “Can you provide…” which are easily answered with just a “Yes” or “No” and that’s the end of it!

DOE – Trump Transition’s Questions

But wait… there’s another version (similar, but different order, etc.):

DOE – Trump Transition Question #2

I think Trump needs somebody to write his questions for him, somebody new that is.  He obviously didn’t come up with this, but his staff person who did, well, if they worked for me, “YOU’RE FIRED!”


Here we go again, the Annual Hearing for the Power Plant Siting Act.


The full Notice:

16-0433 Notice of the Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing

Now’s the time to dig back into the cobwebs of memory of all the dockets over the last year, and the last 20+ years, and let them know how the Power Plant Siting Act is working, and more importantly, how it’s not working.

Comments are open until January 20, 2017.  To file in eDockets (highly recommended), go here, and log in.  If you don’t have an account, register (it’s simple, and fast) and then file in docket 16-18.

Note something different, this year they’re going to go over pipeline projects:

iiid2Recently, I’ve been involved in a project working toward increased meaningful and effective public participation in a pipeline docket, and what’s going through my head as I attend meetings, conference calls, and read very long intense emails, is that this is exactly what we’ve been talking about at these Power Plant Siting Act hearings for TWENTY YEARS!  This is exactly what we’ve been working to deal with in the Certificate of Need Minn. Ch. 7849 rulemaking for THREE YEARS!  These are exactly the same issues I’ve been raising in docket after docket, gaining a remand in one, some “adjustments” in others, and even to the appellate court a couple of times — MCEA had more success in this (see the EIS decision here).  And so little changes.

2000 Summary of Proceedings

2000 Report EQB

2001 Summary of Proceedings

2001 Report EQB

2002 Summary of Proceedings

2002 Report to EQB

2003 Summary of Proceedings

2003 Report to EQB

2004 Summary of Proceedings

2004 Report to EQB

2005 Report to PUC

2006 Report to PUC – Docket 06-1733

2007 Report to PUC – Docket 07-1579

2008 Report to PUC – Docket 08-1426

2009 Report to PUC – Docket 09-1351

2010 Report to PUC – Docket 10-222

2011 Report to PUC – Docket 11-324

2012 Report to PUC – Docket 12-360

2013 Report to PUC – Docket 13-965

2014 Summary Comments– Docket 14-887

2015 Summary Report – Docket 15-785

OK, folks, time to saddle up for another cattle drive!  Let’s get to it!

And on December 20… sigh…

From the “Circular Logic” department, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency responded to my rulemaking Petition, looking for them to set wind turbine noise standards, specifically infrasound standards:

Overland – MPCA_Petition for Rulemaking

Overland – PUC Coerespondence re: Petition for Rulemaking

And here’s the response:

20169-124844-01_Letter_MPCA Commissioner Stine_9-12-2016

The bottom line… the full letter:

After consulting with colleagues at the Minnesota Departments of Health and Commerce, I have concluded that the current understanding of wind turbine noise and its potential effects is insufficient to support rulemaking at this time.  Discussions will continue among the agencies listed above, and we will monitor the science (as resources allow) to inform our decision about rulemaking in the future.

Right…  And note there was no consultation with the Environmental Quality Board.

On to the next step.  It never ends.

For more info, check the video of testimony of Rick James, INCE, at the Goodhue Wind Project public hearing:

Rick James testimony for Goodhue Wind Truth

And prefiled testimony:

testimony of Richard R. James, INCE, for Wednesday’s hearing over in Goodhue:

Direct Testimony – Richard R. James, INCE

A must read:

The “How-To” Guide to Siting Wind Turbines to Prevent Health Risks from Sound

And this was published earlier this month:

Wind Turbine Noise – What Audiologists Should Know

BlackOakGetty Modeled Residences and Project TurbinesOld siting map for Black Oak/Getty Wind Project

Heads up!  HF 3480 has been introduced and referred to the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee.  Contact committee members with your thoughts about this bill.

We’ve got major problems regarding wind generation:  Wind advocates got their legislation through a decade ago (216F ) to allow wind siting with exemption from environmental review, with the false presumption that there are no impacts.  Wind project promoters have often presented misleading and false information regarding their company, financing, projects, and impacts, and the industry will do ANYTHING to get wind projects sited.  It does not help that one of the primary lobbyists responsible for passage of Minn. Stat. 216F is Bill Grant, now Deputy Commissioner at Commerce in charge of all things “energy,” including siting of wind projects under 216F:


There needs to be legal and administrative recognition and definition of the impacts of wind turbines.  If Minnesota wants to increase wind generation, there must be respectful siting of wind.  Although solar is ramping up, wind generation is not going to disappear, so project proponents and regulators had best pay attention and address public interest, safety, and protection considerations.  It is the Public Utilities Commission’s job to regulate.  Get to work!  Do your job!

HF 3480 has been introduced to address long problematic wind noise issues, to mandate a rulemaking at MPCA to establish wind noise standards, and to mandate revision of wind setbacks in light of the new MPCA noise standards.

Here’s HF3480.0.  Check it out!

Here are my comments on it, very quick review:

HF 3480 Comments

Section 1 of the bill is too subjective, with no standards (the basic problem with 216F!) for amendment of an existing project permit.  The Commission needs the MPCA noise rules as a basis for a decision.

The one thing that just MUST be changed is the reference at 2.19 to “good cause.”  This notion of “good cause” was a big problem in the Goodhue Wind docket, where a hearing was held on whether there was “good cause,” and, well, it was a mess because it’s so arbitrary.

Also, legislatively mandated rulemaking hasn’t worked well.  Take a look at the mess with the mandated silica sand mining rulemaking!

Silica Sand Rulemaking — winding up!

Winding up?  It’s still languishing…

Silica Sand Rulemaking — Mtg. Thursday 8/28

Sandbagging Silica Sand Rulemaking – Meeting July 24

Bogus Silica Sand Rulemaking Advisory Panel

We need to learn from that mess…

Anyway, HF 3480 has been referred to the House Environment and Natural Resources committee.  It’s time to address wind noise problems and require environmental review for wind projects.  Contact committee members with your thoughts about this bill.

BlackOakGetty Modeled Residences and Project Turbines

More interesting filings today, these from the Black Oak Getty wind project, the construction plans, and a new noise report.  There are also “Environmental Supplements” and other new filings.  You can find them all at the PUC’s site — go to SEARCH and search for eDockets 10-1240 or 11-831.

Here are the filings of the Construction Plans:

20162-118362-01_Part 1

20162-118362-03_Part 2

20162-118362-05_Part 3

20162-118362-07_Part 4

20162-118362-09_Part 5

20162-118362-11_Part 6

20162-118362-13_Part 7

I’ve separated out the noise report to make it easier to send around:

Noise Technical Report_ Black Oak Getty Wind Project

And for reference, here are the Minnesota Noise Rules, found in Minn. R. Ch. 7030 — we’re long overdue for a rulemaking for Noise Rules specifically regulating wind noise:

7030.0020 DEFINITIONS.
7030.0080 VARIANCE.