March 31st, 2013
Just yesterday, I went for a drive in Goodhue County, wanted to get an eyefull of the area of Significant Biodiversity on the north end of the Goodhue Wind Project footprint, the part they’ve left out of all their surveys so far — it’s the purple area on the map below, pretty much along White Rock Trail (this is two maps combined to show biodiversity areas within footprint). The blue stars are new nests, three of which could be new eagle nests):
Map above: The red line is the boundary of the Goodhue Wind Project footprint. The dashed line is the area that’s supposed to be included in their surveys, the green diagonal lines are the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood Forest, and the purple are the areas of Significant Biodiversity.
When we were cruising around, we went into a little dip with running water on both sides in the ditch and lightly wooded, scruffy trees that were new growth, and along the ditches, in the trees, on the shoulder and even on the middle of the road were hundreds and hundreds of robins. I’ve never seen that many before, everywhere there were robins and they were singing up a storm.
Turns out Marie McNamara was driving around the same area, and found… are you ready?
YES!!! TRUMPETER OR TUNDRA SWANS!
With any luck, the DNR will get out there and figure it out!
March 29th, 2013
The Public Utilities Commission Order on the Goodhue Wind Project is out, well, it came out a while ago and so much has been going on that I didn’t get it posted! But it’s sure worth the wait:
Just after the meeting, based on the comments, particularly of Chair Heydinger, regarding “parties” and that there were no parties, I sent in yet another Petition for Intervention — almost exactly three years after the first one, which was denied:
And that was granted earlier this week, no one objected:
Well, now there is at least ONE party. So back to the PUC’s Order… like wow… we’re supposed to address a few questions:
II. Issues to be Addressed
• Has New Era Wind Farm, due to ownership changes or for any other reason, lost the C-BED status the Commission found to exist in its April 28, 2010 order?
• If New Era does not meet the criteria for C-BED status at this time, what is its factual basis for asserting that it will meet the standard by its proposed in-service date?
• Does the project meet the requirements of the certificate of need statute and certificate of need rules without C-BED status?
• Do the revisions to the C-BED statute enacted in 2010 affect the project’s ability to meet the requirements of the certificate of need statute and rules without current C-BED status?
• Did the change in ownership of the limited liability company that owns the project violate the anti-transfer provisions applicable to C-BED projects under Minn. Stat. § 216B.1612, subd. 3 (c)? If so, what action should the Commission take?
Other Changes in Circumstances
• Does the project’s loss of financing, the absence of turbine purchase agreements, or the unsettled status of the power purchase contracts affect the certificate of need determination?
• Does the project currently have in hand the land leases, easements, and wind rights required to construct the 78-megawatt wind farm for which it received a certificate of need? How does the answer to this question affect the certificate of need determination?
• If the project currently lacks the land leases, easements, and wind rights required to construct the wind farm as originally certificated, what alternatives are available for consideration? What is the likelihood of changes to the size of the wind farm or the size, type, or configuration of the turbines? What is the project’s projected time frame for making these determinations and then for proceeding? How do the answers to these questions affect the certificate of need determination?
• How would changes in the size of the wind farm or in the size, type, or configuration of the turbines affect the environmental and wildlife protection considerations made in the certificate of need determination? How would they affect the certificate of need determination itself?
• Would accommodating the concerns of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service require changes in the size, type, or timing of the wind farm or in any of the substantive provisions of the certificate of need or the site permit? If so, does the project intend to make these accommodations? How do the answers to these questions affect the certificate of need determination?
• If changes in the size of the wind farm or in the size, type, or configuration of the turbines were proposed – raising new environmental considerations – how would the project engage and collaborate with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?
• What is the current in-service date for the project? What is the expected in-service date, or, if the date is not known, when do the parties anticipate the conclusion of the negotiations between the Applicant and Xcel regarding the power purchase agreements?
• Does the new project owner stand behind all representations made in the application for the certificate of need and in the application for the site permit? Is the new owner willing and able to comply with all terms and conditions in the certificate of need and the site permit?
The list above does not include every issue that could affect this certificate of need decision, and the Commission invites parties, participants, and members of the public to raise any other issues they consider material during the initial comment period established below. Newly raised issues will then be addressed during the reply comment period.
Finally, the Commission requests comments on what process it should use going forward to resolve the issues identified above and any additional issues raised in the course of this proceeding
Wow, that does go on. Could it get any better than that? Well, yes, it could. It’s about time the Public Utilities Commission said “ENOUGH” and pulled the plug on this vaporware project. Oh well, on to writing comments, due within 14 days.
If you have Comments, there are 14 days to file them, so April 3, 2013. Reply Comments are due 14 days after, that, on April 17th, so Monday April 18, 2013. Either eFile Comments to eDockets (eDocket 09-1185; 09-1349 and 09-1350), or email them to ??? I guess firstname.lastname@example.org with the docket numbers (09-1185; 09-1349 and 09-1350) in the subject line and in the body of the email. KEEP YOUR COMMENTS TO THE ISSUES RAISED ABOVE. I’d quite the issue you want to comment on, and then elaborate as best you can, and attach any documentation to support your comment. Have at it!
March 20th, 2013
Calling all shep nuts! There’s a shep mix in Minot, North Dakota who needs a home, and if we can find one soon, there’s transport available and we can get here, to Minnesota. She’s in the pound up there and has not been claimed. She’s 2 or younger, and as a stray, we don’t know much about her at all. But a picture says a thousand words — she looks liver colored, and a bit worried,who wouldn’t be, but she appears calm and gentle, not bouncing off the walls.
We’re full and can’t take her. Can you?!?!?!
If you’re interested in this grrrrrrrrl, QUICK, contact the Goodhue County Humane Society, email@example.com , and make sure to state “Minot, ND Shep Mix” so they’ll know which dog you’re referring to.
March 16th, 2013
More frac sand mining promotion! The Rochester Chamber of Commerce, run for just 7 months, over a decade ago, by none other than illustrious soon-to-be-former Mayor Dennis Egan, is hosting a frac sand event.
Friday, March 22, 11:30a.m. -1:00p.m.
Canadian Honker Events at the Ramada 1517 - 16th St SW Rochester, Minnesota
Cost: Members $25, Non-members $35 (includes lunch)
Word first arrived on March 14, 2013, as a email from the Rochester Chamber, where Egan was listed as “Mayor of Red Wing & Exec. Director, Minnesota Industrial Sand Council.” They have altered that to say only “Minnesota Industrial Sand Council” on their website:
And from their website:
Experts! Who are the “experts” in this Rochester Chamber cast of characters?
Vern Baker is clear about his interests! Good job!
We all know about Dennis Egan and his ethical standards and expertise in frac sand mining…
Jeffery Broberg represents landowners such as David Nisbit who want mines on their property, and who said at a public hearing, “As the applicant’s representative, I have a higher level of rights on these issues.” His promotional bent is clear in his statement after the St. Charles rail site was denied by the City:
Jeff Broberg, a geologic consultant to the frac sand industry who lives near St. Charles, said any meaningful expansion of industrial sand mining in the area will depend on the kind of large-scale, rail-aided logistics envisioned by Minnesota Proppant. He said that in his view, fear-mongering and negative exaggerations poisoned public discussion of the St. Charles proposal. “It’s a setback for the industry and for St. Charles,” Broberg said.
From the NoCapX site, we know an awful lot about Broberg, for example his classic “Exhibit 7” portrayal of the long closed sand-barred boat landing at the White Bridge Road!
Dave Christianson is billed as “Project Manager, Minnesota Department of Transportation.
He was billed as something similar at soon-to-be-former Mayor Egan’s Frac Sand Forum. What does Google have to say? MnDOT Freight, Rail, & Waterways Staff; City of Winona powerpoint, and he’s all for expansion: “We believe it is very well controlled,” he said. “It’s something we look forward to seeing expanded and properly managed as we go forward.”
So of this lot, all are proponents, and not one speaker is independent, and not one speaker is opposed. “Advocacy” is part of the title of the Chamber staffer who sent the email, and it’s pretty clear what they’re advocating for!
March 15th, 2013
The rain has just turned to snow, the mess is heading south… at the “Environmental Congress” right now, and Gov. Dayton must be here because there’s a big police presence… well, for Bloomington, that is.
Last night was “Getting Real About Climate Change” at Mayflower Church, part of the 2013 League of Women Voters Minneapolis Health Legacy Forum. It was very well attended, though heavy in the silver-haired crowd.
I grew up at Mayflower, that’s where I learned about the importance of participation and a sense of stewardship, some responsibility for this world and conditions of life in it. My parents were both very involved for over 50 years, and I called the organizers of this event, and emailed too, about getting a booth. The organizer left a message, I called back, we had a positive chat, and explained some about who I am and what I do, Legalectric and No CapX 2020, and it was no problem, asked about cost and there was none, and I got to drafting handouts, getting a poster printed. Got there and, well, funny how that works… the bottom line was that I was told that someone talked to someone and suddenly I was not welcome, amid a couple rounds of caning and assumptions, and though the source was not identified, this is not rocket science…
Well, Rev. Sarah Campbell was indeed welcoming, it was good to see her again, a joy as always. I can see why my mother thought so much of her.
And never mind the LWV bottom line — we had a table in the van and got set up right inside the dining room door. Handed out more than a few flyers, 200 minus about 6 left over of my Grist piece:
And while we’re talking about “getting real about climate change,” what is it going to take to tie the Renewable Energy Standard to closing down coal plants? As of now, there’s no connection, and the RES has zip, squat, to do with production of CO2. Second, now that through CapX 2020 transmission we’re locked into 50 years of central station coal, how will anything have an impact? Since we’ve given them access to market, why would they shut down those big existing coal plants?
Issues to be raised upstairs at the break out session. Back to it… almost LIVE from the Ramada in Bloomington: