Here it is, published in the Federal Register today:

Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats

tRump claims that:

…the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, has determined that a small number of countries—out of nearly 200 evaluated—remain deficient at this time with respect to their identity-management and information-sharing capabilities, protocols, and practices. In some cases, these countries also have a significant terrorist presence within their territory.

Oh?!?!  Yes, he says, “Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen” plus Somalia.

Where does he get these ideas?  How is this anything but WRONG!

Here we go with another round of lawsuits…

Yesterday Neighbors Against the Burner filed this Petition to Intervene in a docket at the PUC where Xcel Energy has filed a request for approval of a Power Purchase Agreement slashing the rate paid to Hennepin Energy Recovery Center – HERC for electricity generated at the HERC garbage burner:

Neighbors Against The Burner_Cover-Notice of Appearance -Petition to Intervene

Check out the Public Utilities Commission docket:

Click “Search Documents” HERE and search for docket 17-532

Here’s the Neighbors Against the Burner page for HERC:

HERC page and links via Wayback Machine

And check out Alan Muller’s powerpoint from the successful challenge to attempt to increase garbage burning:

HERC_Power Point

There was an announcement in April, 2016, of  the “HERC Clean Power Plan Coalition” with multiple groups joining to shut down HERCSierra Club North Star Chapter, MPIRG, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, Community Power, St. Joan of Arc, etc.  HERC has been raised as an issue in this fall’s Minneapolis Mayoral election. 

Now’s the time to get it done!  SHUT IT DOWN!

Albert Lea, MN — Last night was the Dept. of Commerce information meeting where Commerce collected comments concerning (love alliteration, eh?) the Draft Site Permit it’s putting together for the Freeborn Wind Project.

For the Public Utilities Commission docket on this project, go HERE and then search for docket 17-410.

Before heading over to the meeting, I filed this Motion for Certification and Petition for Task Force and Scientific Advisory Task Force.  Because this is the first contested case for a wind project siting docket in Minnesota, and because we’re operating under Minn. R. ch. 1405 Power Plant Siting Act for procedure, and because the wind siting chapter, Minn. Stat. 216F, specifically exempts wind from MOST of the Power Plant Siting Act, but specifically not 216E.08 which authorizes Task Forces, and most importantly, because there are material issues of fact about which Task Forces could help build the record, this is oh-so-important.  Let’s get going on it!

The place was packed, and many more came in after I took this photo, it was standing room only.

And folks didn’t come only for the treats (great treats by the way, especially for this camper working in an office in the woods!).  One man was very upset early on, jumping in during Rich Davis’ presentation, riled because he did not get notice about this project until it had already been applied for.  This is a legitimate issue, and because there was no Certificate of Need, there was no legal requirement that notice be provided until after the application had been accepted as complete.  He stormed out, not wanting to sit through all the “blah-blah” at the front end of this meeting (it did go on and on and on).

Rich Davis’ presentation did include some process explanation that was more specific about what comprises a contested case than that provided by PUC’s Mike Kaluzniak (the latest “Public Advisor” quit, and they’re looking for someone again).  They never want to talk about “Intervention” and explain how people can become parties and when the deadline is to decide and file.  They didn’t talk about the public comment period after the public hearing or include that in the powerpoint.  They didn’t talk about the opportunity to file exceptions to the report of the Administrative Law Judge.  etc… GRRRRRRR. And because this case is an odd one, the first contested case for wind, we’re in need of procedural guidance, what there is, and there is much that is known and which needs to be disclosed.

The Association of Freeborn County Landowners was there, filled the room, and did a tremendous job.  Very specific comments, most with documents supporting their comments.  Like wow, for the first time out the gate, very impressive.  Keep up the good work!

Here’s the handout I’d passed around:

How 2 Comment on the Freeborn Wind Project


Comments by mail or email – again, due by 4:30 October 9, 2017:

Richard Davis           

MN Dept of Commerce

85 7th Place East, Suite 500

St. Paul, MN 55101-2198

Or better yet, eFile in PUC’s eDockets system so everyone can see and consider your comment (otherwise they end up in a big long bundle of a pdf with everyone else’s comments), again, due 4:30 October 9, 2017:      

Register:  Registration is easy and fast. Then follow prompts to eFile!

What was best about last night’s meeting is that the comments were specific and on point.  I have 17 pages of notes, single spaced, and close to carpal tunnel from writing it all.  Way to go, folks!!  Meeting minutes will be posted on the Commerce site sometime soon, and I’ll post.

Also, soon the ALJ’s Scheduling Order/First Prehearing Order will be issued, and I’ll also post the official schedule here.


Also, although in 1995 the legislature specifically exempted wind siting from the Power Plant Siting Act, some sections DO apply, including the criteria for siting, now Minn. Stat. 216E.03, Subd. 7:

Subd. 7.Considerations in designating sites and routes.

(a) The commission’s site and route permit determinations must be guided by the state’s goals to conserve resources, minimize environmental impacts, minimize human settlement and other land use conflicts, and ensure the state’s electric energy security through efficient, cost-effective power supply and electric transmission infrastructure.

(b) To facilitate the study, research, evaluation, and designation of sites and routes, the commission shall be guided by, but not limited to, the following considerations:

(1) evaluation of research and investigations relating to the effects on land, water and air resources of large electric power generating plants and high-voltage transmission lines and the effects of water and air discharges and electric and magnetic fields resulting from such facilities on public health and welfare, vegetation, animals, materials and aesthetic values, including baseline studies, predictive modeling, and evaluation of new or improved methods for minimizing adverse impacts of water and air discharges and other matters pertaining to the effects of power plants on the water and air environment;

(2) environmental evaluation of sites and routes proposed for future development and expansion and their relationship to the land, water, air and human resources of the state;

(3) evaluation of the effects of new electric power generation and transmission technologies and systems related to power plants designed to minimize adverse environmental effects;

(4) evaluation of the potential for beneficial uses of waste energy from proposed large electric power generating plants;

(5) analysis of the direct and indirect economic impact of proposed sites and routes including, but not limited to, productive agricultural land lost or impaired;

(6) evaluation of adverse direct and indirect environmental effects that cannot be avoided should the proposed site and route be accepted;

(7) evaluation of alternatives to the applicant’s proposed site or route proposed pursuant to subdivisions 1 and 2;

(8) evaluation of potential routes that would use or parallel existing railroad and highway rights-of-way;

(9) evaluation of governmental survey lines and other natural division lines of agricultural land so as to minimize interference with agricultural operations;

(10) evaluation of the future needs for additional high-voltage transmission lines in the same general area as any proposed route, and the advisability of ordering the construction of structures capable of expansion in transmission capacity through multiple circuiting or design modifications;

(11) evaluation of irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources should the proposed site or route be approved; and

(12) when appropriate, consideration of problems raised by other state and federal agencies and local entities.

(c) If the commission’s rules are substantially similar to existing regulations of a federal agency to which the utility in the state is subject, the federal regulations must be applied by the commission.

(d) No site or route shall be designated which violates state agency rules.

(e) The commission must make specific findings that it has considered locating a route for a high-voltage transmission line on an existing high-voltage transmission route and the use of parallel existing highway right-of-way and, to the extent those are not used for the route, the commission must state the reasons.

This is the criteria that we need to focus on when presenting issues, testimony, comments, briefs and exceptions to the ALJ’s report.

More coming soon!  In the meantime, it’s time to break camp and head out!  Myre-Big Island is a great park. Though the bathroom/showers at the Big Island campground suck, they’re superb at the other campground in the park (White Fox). Yes, posted a campground review, inquiring minds need to know where the good state park bathrooms are!

Here’s the view right across the road night before last, the site is fronting the lake:

Freeborn Wind Application HERE!

September 15th, 2017

For all of you planning to comment on the Freeborn Wind application, whether at the meeting Thursday (September 20) in Albert Lea or in writing, here is the Application and appendices to review.  Remember that for your comments to carry any weight, they need to be specific about what is and is not in the application and what Commerce needs to address in its Draft Site Permit.  Focus!!!

Siting_Initial Filing_Application_Narrative_20176-132804-01

Siting_Initial Filng_Figures1-17_20176-132804-02

Siting_Initial Filing_App A_Agency Correspondence

Siting_Initial Filing_App B_Noise analysis20176-132804-04

Siting_Initial Filing_App C_ShadowFlickerAnalysis_20176-132804-05

Siting_Initial Filing_App D_TelecomReports_20176-132804-06

Siting_Initial Filing_App E_MarketImpactAnalysis_20176-132804-07-1

Siting_Initial FIling_App F_Tier3WildlifeStudies_20176-132804-08

Siting_Initia lFIling_App G_Tier1&2_20176-132804-09

Siting_Initia lFiling_App H_AvianBatPPDraft_20176-132804-10

Just released today — the Minnesota Supreme Court invalidates the disorderly conduct statute and sends Robin Hensel’s conviction down to the lower court:


In the STrib:

Minn. Supreme Court invalidates law that bars disturbing public meetings