Douglas County Arrowhead Agreement

September 29th, 2005

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Finally, ATC has forwarded the Agreement it made with Douglas County. ATC had made a Motion to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to shut down the Arrowhead docket, saying, “we’ve got a deal, game over.” The judge hadn’t even seen the deal!

Here’s the deal between Douglas County and WPS/ATC: Download file

Let’s see if I’ve added this up right:

Market Value of Timber ?

Easement/Appraisal 88,500

Existing Easement 229,500

Impact Fees ?

Legal 15,000

Staff Cost 118,064

Economic Devo Fund 119,000

Community Contributions 40,000

TOTAL: 570,064

Is my math right?

ATC had not filed the agreement with the PSC, so I did, and it was accepted almost immediately. My Reply filing still hasn’t been accepted. Reply Brief: Download file

My goal was to make this deal public. Mission Accomplished.

It never ends…

Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission has deemed a recent letter from the attorney for American Transmission Company asking the PSC to reconsider reopening the Arrowhead docket a “Motion” and that means we can reply, and have 10 days to do that in under the rules. They want it closed because an Agreement has been reached with Douglas County, Wisconsin that will allow the line to be built. The Agreement, however, has not been filed and was not served with the letter!

Here’s ATC’s missive: Download file

Here’s World Organization for Landowner Freedom’s Reply: Download file

We want the PSC to require that ATC file the Agreement it made with Douglas County and any other parties, serve it on all the Intervenors in the Arrowhead case, and then want the PSC to make a determination as to whether the agreement does indeed equitably address all the issues in the open docket. If so, docket closed, and if not, docket open. It’s that simple!

I asked whether it was filed, if the judge had a copy, and here’s the response from the PSC woman in the know:

Ms. Overland,

To answer your question about the agreement, David Whitcomb has not seen it nor does he believe anyone has asked that it be filed with the PSC.

Adela Felic
Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
PO Box 7854
Madison, WI 53707-7854
Phone: 608-266-1262
Fax: 608-266-3957

Well, it’s been asked for now! We’ll see…

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From the STrib’s Shortcuts:

Give ’em a break

“This bill is based on the premise that we believe in private free-market capitalism to develop the resources of this land in a cost-efficient fashion.”

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, describing Congress’ new energy bill, which gives $14.5 billion in new subsidies and tax breaks to the oil, gas and nuclear industries.


In Minnesota we have our own version of “giving them a break.” Minnesota invested heavily in NEW coal in last session’s Omnibus Transmission Bill from Hell. As a utility rep said, “You let us build transmission and we’ll build coal, if you don’t, we’ll build distributed generation.” The horse is out of the barn, and here we go with transmission to support coal! Three groups of projects coming soon to a field and town and backyard near you.

Great River Energy, on behalf of the CapX Utilities sent a missive announcing a slight change in plans, following on the heels of their statewide transmission meetings, a “by the way” notice that the utilities are going forward with BIG transmission plans in Minnesota that were NOT discussed at the meetings. Here’s the notice: Download file I’ll just describe them briefly, so you get the large picture.

Here’s the one by me — from Prairie Island to Rochester to LaCrosse, a big new 345kV line, it’s the red dotted line in Minnesota, and blue dotted line in Wisconsin, which I’ve learned they did talk about specifically at the part of the meeting I missed because I’m the eternally late Overland:

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This line is claimed to have grown from a Rochester Public Utilities study to cover provision of electricity to Rochester, but it really goes back to the 1998 WRAO report, it’s WRAO Option 2. I have the DRAFT study from Rochester Public Utilities, email me if you want a copy, it’s too big to upload. I’ve found a few things I need to talk to them about, a lot more on that later, but essentially, costs are grossly understated, need is grossly overstated, and the report from a Rochester perspective is a clear demonstration of the need for distributed generation. Oh, well… I’ve been following this study at the MAPP meetings for a while now, and there, and at the Rochester Minnsota Transmission Owners meeting about the Biennial Report, Southeastern Zone they did announce it’s a probable line, that’s after denying it at the MAPP meetings I’d attended. Great, here we go. That’s also what was said about Dairyland’s big coal plant in Adams, so I guess we ought to expect that too, even though it’s not listed on their “Power Supply Updates” page.

… sigh… here’s another one, or two, or three, the red dotted lines, part of the “It’s for Wind!” lie (check Transmission for Dummies #1, 2 – It’s not for Wind!, and 3) and on this map, there’s Big Stone at the western end of the lie, er… line. The divide it into three categories, called “Big Stone II Transmission,” “Buffalo Ridge Outlet” and “Buffalo Ridge — Metro 345kV. Here’s the map:

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This is what they say about Big Stone’s 600MW coal upgrade, no suprise for anyone who’s paying attention, but for those who believe the party line, it may be a shock:

The first element to be presented for certificate of need approvals will be transmission facilities associated with the Big Stone generation project. While the Big Stone II partners include some non-CapX members, those of us responsible for transmission associated with Big Stone II have been working closely with the rest of the CapX members and with MISO. As was outlined in the Big Stone notice plan, MISO interconnection studies show that a second unit at Big Stone requires a minimum of two 230kV interconnection lines. The Big Stone partners now intend to propose constructing the line connecting Big Stone and Granite Falls to 345kV standards to better meet and be integrated with CapX, state, and regional objectives. As a result, the Big Stone transmission project, in addition to providing interconnection facilities for a second unit at Big Stone, is now being planned as the first phase of a 345kV line between southwestern Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area. The Big Stone transmission partners expect to file a certificate of need for these facilities in September.

And last but not least… the “Northwest” project, a misnomer because this first one looks like it ties into Mesaba, which is planned for just a titch north of Bovey, east of Grand Rapids, and the lines there tie into the Arrowhead substation:

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And the big honkin’ 345kV line from Fargo to the Metro that will aptly handle that anticipated Coal Creek upgrade:

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As we say in transmission, “It’s all connected!”

And as they say in transmission, “You let us build transmission and we’ll build coal, if you don’t, we’ll build distributed generation.”

Take out your WRAO reports, pps. 8, 12, Appendix C-1 p. 1-10, and note that they want to build WRAO Option 2. Hmmm… wasn’t Arrowhead the be all and end all of transmission? But then the’ve permitted parts of WRAO Option 9 and Chisago is WRAO Option 5 and …

Let’s look at what WRAO recommended (p. 12):

Plan 1 (Salem – Fitchburg) – they may do 2 and from LaCrosse to Salem, so…
Plan 2 (Prairie Island-Roch-LaCrosse – to Columbia or W.Middleton) – application pending
Plan 3 (Arrowhead) permitted
Plan 5 (Chisago Weston 345kV) pending at 115/161kV with Arrowhead level capacity
Plan 9 (Lakefield-Columbia) parts to Lakefield are permitted, other parts pending
Plan 10 (King-Weston 345kV) rate increase docket in WI says King-Arpin to be upgraded

WRAO developed many options, recommended that just one, the Arrowhead line, was necessary because it was the be all and end all of transmission, yet here we are with each option considered going forward, some as planned, some morphed, but all of them now planned or permitted.

Yup, it’s all connected. Here we go, massive transmission infrastructure for Minnesota, coming soon to a community near you — or even your own back yard.

Say NO! to war

September 24th, 2005

Today – Washington D.C.


FLASHBACK: “67-68-69-70-”

“What do you think you guys are doing”

“Measuring the Pentagon. We have to see how many people we’ll need to form a ring around it.”

“You’re what!”

“It’s very simple. You see, the Pentagon is a symbol of evil in most religions. You’re religious, aren’t you?”


“Well, the only way to exorcise the evil spirits here is to form a circle around the Pentagon. 87-88-89…”

The two scouts are soon surrounded by a crops of guards, FBI agents, soldiers and some mighty impressive brass.


“Are you guys serious? It’s against the law to measure the Pentagon.”

“Are you guys serious? Show us the law. 237-238-239-240. That does it. Colonel, how much is 240 times 5?”

“What? What the hell’s going on here!”

“1200,” asnwers Bruce, an impressive-looking agent who tells us later he works in a security department that doesn’t even have a name yet.

We show them our exorcism flyers. They bust us for littering.

Methinks it’s time to levitate the Pentagon again.

Today – Photos soon from Belle Plaine, and here we are in Red Wing, doin’ our part! It’s everywhere, we’re everywhere:

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Words from Bill Habedank, who also motored over with Hank Brummer to Belle Plaine:

We meet here today as many of us did on Feb 15, 2003. On that cold, windy day about thirty or so of us protested as America was about to enter another war and we knew the real consequences of this war. We feared this new policy of pre-emptive war would unleash an era of unending war; wars which would inflict the death and horrific suffering of many innocent people. We knew it would take the precious lives of many of our young men and women. We knew it could bankrupt our treasury. We knew it could possibly destroy our democracy. Now we have found out that it made us unable to respond to natural disasters in a timely fashion or to be able to afford the reconstruction of the hurricane devastated areas.

We, who stood here on that day in Feb., 2003 are not saying these things now in hindsight. We understood then these real costs of war. We knew the probable outcome of this path to war would lead us to the full realization about the futility of war. We did not want to be right but the grim truth is now facing all of us Americans squarely in the face.

We, the American public, should be hearing, much more often, the kind of insights that were expressed by President Dwight Eisenhower, who in 1953 said: “Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”

That was spoken by a man who led this country in its? greatest moment of triumph, WWII and he later became our President. He understood the tremendous costs of war and questioned its? real worth in human terms. Whether we are fighting for democracy, our freedoms, or are seeking retribution against those who attacked us, we should never, ever forget these costs.

We should listen to the words of Gandhi who said: “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?”

Even our President, George W Bush, said something recently which should denounce the use of war when he said on May 25, 2005 in the White House “We should not use public money to support the further destruction of human life.” Of course he was using that phrase in another context where he was talking about stem-cell research. However if he truly believed that phrase how can he say the lives of the unborn are more important than the lives of the living?

The time has come for America to end this War on Iraq. This war has made us less safe and it is creating terrorists faster than we can kill them. It has made everyday life for Iraqis a hell on earth; even worse than under Sadamm Hussein. It has destroyed the chance of America getting cooperation and respect from other peoples around the earth. It is bankrupting our children?s future. It is denying us the ability to take care of our own people and of our ability to fund research necessary to create methods of using renewable energy. It will fuel a global arms race that will end with nuclear war.

Theodore Roosevelt, a great Republican president, on May 7, 1918 said this: ?To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.?

The time has come for all of us to stand up and demand that we end this war and seek peaceful means to resolve human conflict. We must oppose the policies of the Bush Administration and do it loudly and clearly. We must take it to the streets of every American town or city, to every neighborhood and to the very halls of Washington. Also, we must hold those accountable who have led us down this path of self-destruction so help us God.

Would you want to live in this house if there’s a 161kV transmission line on the other edge of the road?

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The decision on the Schou appeal came down from the Iowa Utilities Board. Here it is, and I’ll refrain from comments now because I’m on the way downtown and probably wouldn’t phrase it with the care that I should!

Decision: Download file

Note that they invited appeal on 7 out of about 10 issues we raised, and they address how many? And the others they said didn’t matter. Oh, right…

Call the welcome wagon for the new neighbors? Not quite yet!!!

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