July 26th, 2013
One more step closer to being DONE! The Public Utilities Commission has issued its “Order Declining to Extend Certificate of Need, Finding Statutory Violatino, Requiring Further Filings, and Giving Notice of Intent to Revoke Site Permit” for all the world to see:
Here’s the upshot:
1) The Commission will require the project to make a filing within 14 days in which it either surrenders its site permit or states that it intends to begin construction by August 23. If the project states that it intends to begin construction by August 23, it must demonstrate its ability to do so.
If the project states that it intends to begin construction by August 23, it must also provide by that date a more comprehensive response to the Commission’s request in section IV of the March 20 order that it investigate and respond to comments by members of the public alleging deficiencies in its performance on wildlife monitoring and protection issues. It must also file a summary of the March 27, 2013 site visit, referred to in its April 17 letter, conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the Energy Facility Permitting Staff of the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
The Commission has declined to extend the certificate of need for this project for the reasons set forth above; therefore, any construction of the project must proceed under the exemption provisions of Minn. Stat. § 216B.243. The Commission hereby gives notice of its intent to revoke the site permit if the project has neither surrendered its site permit nor filed an exemption petition by August 23, 2013.
2) The Commission finds that the transfer of the project and its associated purchased power agreements to the current owner is prohibited under Minn. Stat. § 216B.1612, subd. 3 (c), which reads as follows:
The commission shall require that C-BED projects provide sufficient security to secure performance under the power purchase agreement, and shall prohibit transfer of a C-BED project during the initial term of a power purchase agreement if the transfer will result in the project no longer qualifying under subdivision 2, paragraph (h).
First, the ownership transfer violates the plain meaning of subdivision 3 (c) of the C-BED statute. It eliminated local ownership, apparently reducing the in-state economic benefits below the threshold required for the project to qualify under subdivision 2, paragraph (h)…
Subdivision 10 Does Not Make the Anti-Transfer Provision of Subdivision 3 (c) Inapplicable to New Era… This subdivision does not repeal subdivision 3, and its provisions do not conflict with the anti-transfer provision subdivision 3 contains. It does not invalidate or otherwise free existing C-BED projects from the statutory prohibition on ownership transfers that result in existing C-BED projects failing to qualify under the eligibility criteria of subdivision 2, paragraph (h).
1. The Commission denies the project’s April 17 request to hold the case in abeyance and its June 18 request for an extension of time.
2. The Commission finds that the project violated the anti-transfer provision of Minn. Stat. § 216B.1612, subd. 3 (c) and that the transfer of power purchase agreements that occurred is prohibited.
3. The Commission declines to recertify the certificate of need due to New Era’s failure to demonstrate that it will comply with the Commission’s orders and due to its failure to show that it is prepared to move forward with the project for which the certificate of need was obtained, including the failure to specify a current in-service date.
4. Within 14 days of the date of this order, New Era shall either surrender its site permit or show cause that it intends to begin construction by August 23 and that its site permit should not be revoked. If the project states that it intends to begin construction by August 23, it shall demonstrate that it is able to begin construction by that date.
5. If New Era makes a filing stating that it intends to begin construction by August 23, it shall provide by that date a more comprehensive response to the Commission’s request in section IV of the March 20 order that it investigate and respond to comments by members of the public alleging deficiencies in its performance on wildlife monitoring and protection issues.
6. If New Era makes a filing stating that it intends to begin construction by August 23, it shall provide by that date a summary of the March 27, 2013 site visit, referred to in its April 17 letter, conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the Energy Facility Permitting Staff of the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
7. The Commission gives notice of its intent to revoke the project’s site permit if it has neither surrendered its site permit nor filed a certificate of need exemption petition by August 23, 2013.
8. This Order shall become effective immediately.
YES!!! ‘BOUT TIME!
July 24th, 2013
YES! Today NSP filed a letter that says that NSP and New Era Wind Farm agreed to terminate the Power Power Agreements:
One more step, it’s getting closer to over, but it’s not quite over yet…
July 24th, 2013
State agencies are hosting meetings in Red Wing and Winona regarding frac sand mining mandates from the last legislative session:
August 2, 2013 (Friday)
Red Wing: 9:00 a.m. at the St. James Hotel
Winona: 1:30 p.m. at Winona State University, Tau Center Rotunda, 511 Hilbert St
Here they are, hot off the press from Alan Muller’s Data Practices Act Request, the letters that went out in June and on July 16 announcing meetings in Red Wing and Winona:
I’d like to see the address for Red Wing Township!!! But it looks like they got the names and addresses straightened out by the second mailing.
July 23rd, 2013
As if two rulemakings at the EQB, in addition to development of “standards and criteria” for silica sand mining, isn’t enough, as if a rulemaking at the DNR wasn’t enough, well, here we go with a fourth silica sand rulemaking going on at the same time.
Here’s the poop on that:
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)
Request for Comments on Planned Amendments to Rules Pertaining to the
Control of Particulate Emissions and Other Pollutants from Silica Sand Projects
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (Agency) is requesting comments on plans to amend rules relating to silica sand projects as directed by the 2013 Legislature. The Agency may amend Chapters 7011 (standards of performance for specific types of facilities), 7001 (water permitting), 7007 (air permitting), 7009 (air standards), 7017 (air testing), 7050 (water standards), or other related and affected chapters.
Subject of Rules: The Agency requests comments on plans to amend its rules or establish new rules pertaining to the control of particulate emissions and other pollutants from silica sand projects that may affect the state’s air or water resources.
As will be discussed in this rulemaking, “silica sand” is well-rounded, sand-sized grains of quartz that is commercially valuable for use in the hydraulic fracturing of shale to obtain oil and natural gas. Silica sand does not include common rock, stone, aggregate, gravel, sand with a low quartz level, or silica compounds recovered as a by-product of metallic mining.
“Silica sand project” means the excavation, mining and processing of silica sand; the washing, cleaning, screening, crushing, filtering, drying, sorting, stockpiling and storing of silica sand, either at the mining site or at any other site; the hauling and transporting of silica sand; or a facility for transporting silica sand to destinations by rail, barge, truck or other means of transportation.
The Legislature has directed the Agency to adopt rules pertaining to particulate emissions from silica sand projects. The Agency will also consider adopting rules to control other potential pollutants from silica sand projects, such as those that might contribute to water pollution. This Request for Comments is the Agency’s initial notice of its intent to begin rulemaking. This is only the first of several opportunities for public comment and input on this rulemaking.
Where to Get More Information: If you are interested in being notified when a draft of the rules is available, or of other activities related to this rulemaking, please register for GovDelivery at: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/MNPCA/subscriber/new. The “Pollution from Silica Sand Projects Rules” subscriber link is located under the Public Notices and Rulemaking topic. This Request for Comments and future notices will be published on the Agency’s Public Notice website:
http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/public-notices/list.html. The Agency will establish a page on its website http://www.pca.state.mn.us/ for this rulemaking where additional information will be posted
as it becomes available.
Persons Affected: The Agency’s planned rulemaking potentially affects any owner or operator of an existing or proposed silica sand project and those persons potentially impacted by particle emissions or water discharges from silica sand projects.
Statutory Authority: Laws of Minnesota 2013, Chapter 114, Article 4, Section 105, (a) directs the Agency as follows: “The
commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency shall adopt rules pertaining to the control of particulate emissions from silica sand projects. The rulemaking is exempt from Minnesota Statutes, § 14.125.” The exemption from § 14.125 is that the Agency is not limited by an 18- month time limit to adopt, amend, or repeal rules following legislative direction. Further, the Agency plans to use existing general authorities under § 115.03, subds. 1(e) and (g); 5, and 5c; and § 116.07, subd. 4(b) to maintain rules that protect state waters.
Rules Draft: The Agency has not yet drafted the rule amendments. Persons interested in being notified when a draft of the rules is available and of other activities relating to this (or other Agency rulemakings) are encouraged to register at:
Public Comment: The Agency presently has no proposed rules on which to comment, but encourages interested parties to submit written comments or information regarding the Agency’s plans to amend rules on this subject until 4:30 p.m. on September 30, 2013. The Agency cannot publish a Notice of Intent to Adopt Rules until at least 60-days from the date of this Request for Comments. Comments or information should be submitted to the Agency contact at the address below.
Note: Written comments received in response to this notice will not necessarily be included in the formal rulemaking record submitted to the administrative law judge if and when a proceeding to adopt rules is started. The Agency is required to submit to the judge only those written comments received in response to the rules proposed in a Notice of Intent to Adopt Rules. If you submit written comments in response to this notice or during the development of the rules, and you want to ensure that the administrative law judge reviews those comments, you should resubmit those same comments in accordance with the instructions found in the Notice of Intent to Adopt Rules.
The Agency does not anticipate that the rule amendments will require a local government to adopt or amend an ordinance or other regulation under Minnesota Statutes, § 14.128. Local governments are welcome to submit written information to the contrary if this belief is incorrect.
Agency Contact Person: Written comments, requests to receive a draft of the rules when it is available, and requests for more
information on these planned rule amendments should be directed to:
Nathan Brooks Cooley
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Road North
Saint Paul MN 55155-4194
Telephone: (651) 757-2290
TTY: (651) 282-5332
Alternative Format: Upon request, this information can be made available in an alternative format, such as large print, Braille or audio. To make such a request, please contact the rule process contact person at the telephone number or address listed above.
Dated: 10 July 2013
John Linc Stine, Commissioner
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
July 23rd, 2013
Just the facts, ma’am!
First, the DNR’s release, found in the State Register while looking up MPCA rules.
To get on mailing list for notice email DNR: email@example.com
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Division of Lands and Minerals
Request for Comments on Possible Rules Governing Reclamation of Silica Sand
Mines, Revisor’s ID Number R-04198
Subject of Rules. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources requests comments on its possible rules governing reclamation of silica sand mines. The Department is considering rules that would control possible adverse environmental effects of silica sand mining, preserve natural resources, and encourage planning of future land utilization. The rules may address other reclamation issues that come up during the rulemaking process.
Persons Affected. The rules would likely affect entities that are proposing to mine or are mining silica sand, local units of government that regulate silica sand mining, and citizens and companies located in the proximity of proposed or existing silica sand mining operations.
Statutory Authority. Laws of Minnesota 2013, Chapter 114, Article 4, Section 105 (b) requires the Department to adopt rules for reclamation of silica sand mines.
Public Comment. Interested persons or groups may submit comments or information on these possible rules in writing until further notice is published in the State Register that the Department intends to adopt or to withdraw the rules. The Department will not publish a notice of intent to adopt the rules until more than 60 days have elapsed from the date of this request for comments. The Department does not plan to appoint an advisory committee to comment on the possible rules. However, the Department may consult with the silica sand technical assistance team assembled by the Environmental Quality Board pursuant to Laws of Minnesota 2013, Chapter 114, Article 4, Section 91.
Rules Drafts. The Department has not yet drafted the possible rules.
Agency Contact Person. Written comments, questions, requests to receive a draft of the rules when it has been prepared, and requests for more information on these possible rules should be directed to:
Heather Arends Department of Natural Resources 500 Lafayette Road St. Paul, MN 55155-4045 Phone: (651) 259-5376 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternative Format. Upon request, this information can be made available in an alternative format, such as large print, braille, or audio. To make such a request, please contact the agency contact person at the address or telephone number listed above.
NOTE: Comments received in response to this notice will not necessarily be included in the formal rulemaking record submitted to the administrative law judge if and when a proceeding to adopt rules is started. The agency is required to submit to the judge only those written comments received in response to the rules after they are proposed. If you submitted comments during the development of the rules and you want to ensure that the Administrative Law Judge reviews the comments, you should resubmit the comments after the rules are formally proposed.
Dated: July 13, 2013 Tom Landwehr, Commissioner
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources