Here’s the decision:

Line 67 ruling Dec 2015

This decision is important because it is not just this pipeline — because the basis for it is the Presidential Permit, and the notion that issuance of a Presidential Permit may not be appealed applies to the Presidential Permit for the (Not-so) Great Northern Transmission Line too!


Last week there was a large info dump from the DOE. Environmental Impact Statements are rolling through the Dept. of Energy’s Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, one for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line (see BLOCK Clean Line) and its ; another for the Great Northern Transmission Line (see Not-so-Great Northern Transmission Line)  They’re in different departments at this office, “Clean Line” is a “Section 1222” review and the “Not-so-Great Northern” is a Presidential Permit application.

Here’s the Record of Decision schedule (click for larger version):


And the full DOE EIS schedule (they’ve not yet released the November schedule):

Key EIS Chart – October 2015

  • Record of Decision expected 1/16/2016.  The Clean Line project has no associated state permitting and review process, because the applicant was rejected by the State of Arkansas as a utility, and because they’re not a utility, they’re not eligible for a state permit.  To make things more complicated, the Section 1222 review is something new, there are no rules, and it’s a financing law, and that is all (though Clean Line wants it to be so much more!).  The DOE held scoping meetings and hearings in Texas and Tennessee, and in multiple locations across Oklahoma and Arkansas, but these were only about environmental review, and not the Section 1222 issues or anything else.  They’ve not scheduled hearings, there’s no evidentiary hearing, nothing, despite a specific request.  Comment letters are in Appendix Q, and there are THREE of them!   They listed on the comments the FEIS sections where comments are addressed.  What a pain to go back and forth, where the sections are not clearly identified on the links.
  • Record of Decision “uncertain.”  What does that mean?  The “Not-so-Great” Northern Transmission Project is before the DOE because the applicants Minnesota Power and Manitoba Hydro (in the U.S., it’s just Minnesota Power, doing the lifting for both) have applied for a Presidential Permit, essentially permission to market power between Canada and the US.  In tandem with this DOE Presidential Permit, MP has applied for a state Certificate of Need and Routing Permit.  Hearings are over, briefs are in (there are NO intervenors in this docket), and now we’re waiting for the ALJ Recommendation.  Then exceptions to the Recommendation, and on the the PUC.  that’s probably why the RoD date is “uncertain,” because there’s the state agency that they’re dealing with.

So there are procedural differences, timing differences.  But it sure is a lot to wade through.  Plus the PolyMet FEIS just came out.


Hot off the press,here at the Plains & Eastern EIS site!

Appendix Q contains the Comments and responses to those Comments:

Here’s a very problematic statement from the intro letter:

Based on the information presented in the Final EIS, DOE has identified participation in the Project as its preferred alternative in the Final EIS.

Why?  Most improper in that the EIS is not supposed about a “preferred alternative,” which goes too far towards bias of a supposedly neutral party.  It’s pretty basic — the purpose of an EIS is to inform the record, and the decision makers, of the IMPACTS.  It is not a decisional document, it is not the basis for a recommendation.  Add to that the lack of a thorough evaluation of need, which, particularly in this case, is to be the deciding factor.  A project of this magnitude doesn’t go forward just because, or because the developers want it.  That’s not enough.  It’s about need.  If you search the Table of Contents, there is only one mention of “need” in the intro, talking about the “need” for an EIS, and there is one section in the text, entitled “Department of Energy Purpose and Need.”  There doesn’t seem to be any evaluation of need for the P-R-O-J-E-C-T!

Here ’tis:

And HERE’S a nearly verbatim cut and paste of their email, release of yet another FEIS from the Department of Energy:

Plains & Eastern EIS

You are receiving this email because you signed up to receive information and updates about the Plains & Eastern EIS. Thank you for your interest in this project.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project is now available

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS–0486; Final EIS) is available on the project website at and on the DOE National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) website at DOE has not made a decision regarding the proposed Plains & Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project.

DOE is the lead federal agency for the preparation of the Final EIS, which examines the potential environmental impacts from the Applicant Proposed Project and the range of reasonable alternatives. The Applicant is Clean Line Energy Partners LLC of Houston, Texas, the parent company of Plains and Eastern Clean Line LLC and Plains and Eastern Clean Line Oklahoma LLC (collectively referred to as Clean Line or the Applicant).

The Final EIS considers comments submitted on the Draft EIS, including those submitted during the public comment period that began on December 19, 2014, and ended on April 20, 2015. Late comments have been considered to the extent practicable. During the comment period, DOE held 15 public hearings in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Approximately 950 comment documents were received from individuals, interested groups, tribal governments, and federal, state, and local agencies. In addition to numerous comments that provided a statement of general opposition or support, the primary topics raised include, but are not limited to: concern about electric and magnetic fields from the transmission line; concern about reductions in property value; concern about impacts to agricultural resources such as crop production, irrigation, and aerial spraying; concern about the use of eminent domain; and concern about visual impacts from the transmission line. A Comment Response Document, included as Appendix Q of the Final EIS, contains the comments received on the Draft EIS and DOE’s responses to these comments.

Parallel with the NEPA process, DOE is evaluating Clean Line’s application under Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This non-NEPA evaluation includes, but is not limited to, reviewing the application against statutory criteria and other factors listed in the 2010 request for proposals (75 Federal Register 32940). An outcome of this evaluation could be a Participation Agreement between Clean Line and DOE, which would define under what conditions DOE would participate with Clean Line and, if applicable, would include any stipulations or requirements that resulted from this environmental review under NEPA. The DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability website ( provides more information about the Section 1222 evaluation.

If DOE decides to participate in the proposed Project, it will publish a Record of Decision no sooner than 30 days after publication of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. Copies of the Final EIS and supporting documents are available for inspection at public reading rooms.

Have questions? Email us at

SPP Map 2013

As if they don’t exist?  Yes, and that’s because they don’t.  That’s because they’re transmission projects in their own minds, and not in reality.

What?  SPP, the Southwest Power Pool, dissing Clean Line?  See for yourself!  It’s as simple as doing a simple search of the SPP planning reports.

We know, Clean Line is all about Clean Line, but there’s a significant disconnect between what Clean Line is saying about SPP, claiming “approval” of its projects and incorporation of those projects into SPP’s plans, and the reality of what shows up in those plans.  Or more correctly, what DOESN’T show up in those plans:




Whadda ya mean?  Well, on November 19, 2012, Plains & Eastern Clean Line sent out this press release:

SPP Transmission Working Group approves Plains & Eastern Clean Line reliability studies

This press release was EVERYWHERE, with Clean Line jubilant, jumping up and down, so excited and so elated, and stated that:

The Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) Transmission Working Group today unanimously passed a motion accepting that the Plains & Eastern Clean Line reliability studies completed to date have met the coordinated planning requirements.

And went on to say (emphasis added) that:

Clean Line is also pleased to announce that it recently submitted the Plains & Eastern Clean Line and Grain Belt Express Clean Line projects, both +/- 600 kV high voltage direct current transmission projects capable of transmitting 3,500 MW from the SPP footprint to external-to-SPP sinks, in each of the ITP20 Futures 1 through 4. The objective of ITP20 is to develop an EHV backbone (345 kV and above) transmission plan for a 20-year horizon. The assessment will identify a robust transmission plan that is capable of reliably and economically providing deliverability of energy to the SPP market while enabling policy initiatives. The current ITP20 process is the second Integrated Transmission Planning Year 20 Assessment (ITP20). The assessment is conducted in accordance with the SPP Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) Attachment O, and the approved ITP Manual. The assessment begins in January 2012 and is scheduled to be finalized in July 2013.

Here’s that 2013 ITP 20:

2013 ITP20 Report – Southwest Power Pool

Now check out the map of their ITP20 projects in this report — do you see either the Plains & Eastern or Grain Belt mentioned above on this map:

SPP 2013 ITP20 Consolidated Portfolio 1Nope, neither do I.  I did a search of the narrative, and “Clean Line” isn’t even mentioned once!

And there are no ITP20s after that 2013 one above, either HERE on the ITP Assessments page or HERE on the ITP20 Documents page!

Oh, OK, so what about the SPP Planning and SPP’s STEP (not unlike the MTEP and RTEP!):


Do a search — nada… so I tried a search on “transmission” and blew up the computer.  So the search function works and in this report also, there’s no mention of Clean Line whatsoever, be it Plains & Eastern Clean Line or Grain Belt Clean Line or just plain ol’ Clean Line.

And there’s nothing here either:

2014 ITPNT Report

It’s only in the 2015 ITP10 SCOPE that there’s any mention of “Clean Line” and it’s only the Plains & Eastern Clean Line, not both, AND it’s only for sensitivity analysis.  This is not being included as a project, contemplated or promoted.

2015 ITP10 Scope Final MOPC

And in the resulting 2015 ITP10?  A mention in the list of sensitivities, and then three mentions on p. 103:


And in the SPP 2015 Final Near Term Assessment, not a mention:


When it comes to the scope of their next ITP10, Clean Line disappears, not even one mention, nada, again, not even an honorable mention as a “sensitivity” in the scope:


Meanwhile, Illinois is holding “public hearings” that are very limited for what a large project this is, and very odd, considering that there are pending Motions for Reconsideration in this docket (Grain Belt Express Docket #15-0277 online at ICC’s e-docket system at

Public hearings tonight and tomorrow in Illinois:

ILL Hearings

I’d hope that Illinois, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee pay attention to this lack of incorporation of any Clean Line project into SPP Planning!

Oh, and of course, the DOE should be paying attention!  Hey Office of Electric Deliverability and Energy Reliability, are you paying attention?


Here are a few comments filed, very articulate and specific reasons why the Department of Energy shouldn’t “participate” in this Section 1222 transmission project:

From BLOCK Plains & Eastern here are a few links (thanks for sending them, hard to get anything up here in the woods):

Please skip to page 264 of the PDF to read our BLOCK Plains & Eastern Clean Line: Arkansas and Oklahoma official comment:…/Comment%20from%20BLOCK%20Plains%20%…

We would also like to acknowledge and thank Downwind, LLC, for formally supporting our efforts to date. They are an organization of landowners in eastern Arkansas (represented by Jordan Wimpy of Gill Ragon Owen, PA, Little Rock) that has formed in opposition to the Plains and Eastern project:…/Comment%20from%20Downwind%2C%20LLC%…

Jordan Wimpy’s FANTASTIC comment on behalf of Downwind, LLC:…/Comment%20from%20Downwind%2C%20LLC%…

Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt for his Office’s comment. The potential protection to landowners in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee that your comment might help afford cannot be overstated:…/f24/Comment%20from%20OAG%2007-13-15…

Southwest Power Resources Association lays out the MANY problems RE: liability in this project, and their comment should be read by all with an interest:…/Comment%20from%20Scott%20Williams%2…

Comment from the Colorado River Energy Distributors Association (The equivalent to SPRA for the Western Area Power Association) supporting SPRA’s objections to the Project:…/Comment%20from%20Leslie%20James%20o…

Will tidy this up when there’s better access.  Internet is NOT to be taken for granted, nor is cell phone access, here on the Canadian Border!  It’s the “Not-so-Great Northern Transmission Line road show.  The same DOE office is handling the GNTL project as the Plains & Eastern Clean Line, different staff, but pretty close.  The transition from D.C. to Roseau and Baudette must be a rough one!  But there’s good coffee and treats, thanks for breakfast!