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!!!

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

Photo by moi

Here’s the bill everyone’s talking about:

Comments? It’s important to let them know what you think. Here’s the contact info for the Senate Energy Committee (LINKED HERE).

In last week’s Rochester Post Bulletin, about the Senate Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee meeting in Rochester:

Senators take heat on waste-burning energy

Freeborn EAW – more time!

January 23rd, 2020

The PUC has asked for additional time, noting that our Petition for EAW for the Freeborn Wind project is expected to come before the Commission on February 6, 2020. PUC asked and PUC received:

Old news on Legalectric:

EQB forwards EAW Petition to PUC
January 3rd, 2020

Petition for EAW – Freeborn Wind
January 2nd, 2020


Just in, Commerce-EERA responses to Association of Freeborn County Landowners’ 11/25/2019 Data Practices Act Request:

This was the one we sent trying to get information on a Pre-Construction meeting that we’d not heard anything about, and damned if the meeting didn’t start about half an hour after we sent this request!!! Here’s the response to that 11/25/2019 request:

Some highlights:

Yes, there is that statement again of that “quick, delete those emails” Commerce policy, stated above: “As your request was received on November 25, 2019, unless I have saved an email, emails that I could provide you with would be from August 27, 2019 to November 25, 2019. ” And six times in that missive, “EERA must reiterate that email correspondence prior to August 27, 2019 had been automatically deleted by the Agency’s email system.” Yeah, we get it…

OK, fine, we send Data Practices Act Request every 90 days… we can do that.

And when we request notice of Pre-Construction meetings, after all, after all, we’re a party, have been for years now, yet from PUC’s Kaluzniak’s email about our April 23, 2019 Data Practices Request there’s an inference drawn about AFCL attendance at meetings…

And EERA says about notice to meetings:

FYI – Here’s Xcel’s Summary of the 11/25/2019 Pre-Construction meeting that no one told us about, filed December 6, 2019:

That same day, just before that Xcel filing and almost 2 weeks after getting confirmation of our 11-25-2019 Data Practices Request from the Data gurus at both PUC and Commerce, this arrives from Rich Davis… can you spell “oppositional” anyone?


Yeah, it’s just more of the “Davis Shuffle.” Save, document, wait… we’re already sitting at the Court of Appeals, and we’re waiting for PUC to address our EAW Petition. Just keep it up…

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ANYONE?

Minn. Stat. 216E.08

Subd. 2. Other public participation.The commission shall adopt broad spectrum citizen participation​as a principal of operation. The form of public participation shall not be limited to public hearings and​advisory task forces and shall be consistent with the commission’s rules and guidelines as provided for in​section 216E.16.