Soon… Freeborn Wind appeal

April 14th, 2021

On Wednesday, Association of Freeborn County Landowners filed an appeal of the Public Utilities Commission’s denial of AFCL’s Petition for and Environmental Assessment Worksheet. It was mailed Certified Mail yesterday, as required by statute, and today, filed on the PUC’s eDockets:

The PUC really screwed this up, in so many ways. Granted there are few Petitions for EAW to the Commission, and Commission staff may not be familiar with EQB rules and process. However, in the only other Petition for Environmental Assessment Worksheet/EIS, they denied a Motion and then a Petition for EAW forwarded by the EQB, and it was sent back to the Commission by the Appellate Court:

In the Matter of Minnesota Power’s Petition for Approval of the EnergyForward Resource Package

Lesson not learned. We’ve been trying to get environmental review of wind projects for how long now, particularly given the demonstrable impacts, actual and constructive notice, beyond the “potential” for environmental impacts. Bent Tree noise excedences and landowner settlements? What more is needed?

Bent Tree Order filed by PUC

In the Staff Briefing Papers, which is staff’s recommendation to the Commission, over and over it was said that the Petition was insufficient because there were not 100 signatures, but there were 380+ signatures! In the Staff Briefing Papers, over and over it was said that the Commission could declare the Petition insufficient, when it is NOT the Commission’s job to address sufficiency, that was already determined by the Environmental Quality Board, which validated the Petition and forwarded it to the Commission for action! Read the Briefing Papers… really, it’s that absurd:

I fired off a letter requesting correction, which never happened:

And even after denying AFCL’s Petition, they went further, and provided “notice” in an email to the EQB that the Board had made its decision:

And that “notice” was published in the EQB Monitor on February 18, 2020:

And yet to this date, they’ve not filed an Order or the Record of Decision on this decision! WHAT?!?! Yes, really!!

I’d sent a letter to the EQB about the Commission’s failure to file the Order and Record of Decision nearly a month ago:

STILL NO ORDER OR RECORD OF DECISION. There are no Findings of Facts to explain, to support, the Commission’s decision. I guess it’s harder to make them up than staff thought?!?!

Meanwhile, the appeal deadline of a decision on an EAW Petition is 30 days after the notice is published in the EQB Monitor. Minn. Stat. 116D.04, Subd. 10. It’s kind of hard to Appeal a decision without the necessary documents, so I can guess that’s one more reason the Commission has chosen not to file! Oh well… ONWARD!

Prior posts on AFCL’s Petition for Environmental Assessment Worksheet:

Freeborn EAW – more time!

EQB forwards EAW Petition to PUC

Petition for EAW – Freeborn Wind

And the good news is… the Minnesota Supreme Court has upheld Winona County’s frac sand mining ban:

Check out the court’s rejection of Minnesota Sands’ takings claim, starting on p. 26.


It’s a complicated thing.  The PUC made its oh-so-contorted decision on AWA’s Goodhue Wind Project:

PUC’s Site Permit for AWA Goodhue

And then we filed our Motions for Reconsideration… here’s one:

GWT – Reconsideration – Site Permit

Today AWA filed their respose:

AWA Goodhue Wind Reply to Reconsideration

For all of them, go to and click on the blue “Search eDockets” button and search for docket “08-1233” and “09-1186.”

So far on the Appellate  site and the filings that we’ve exchanged (the Notice of Appeal was in my inbox before I got back to Red Wing, with a reference to Belle Creek, though not Goodhue County’s but their filings were in the inbox!):

A111681 – Belle Creek

Belle Creek Township’s Appeal – Initial Filings – Petition for Writ and Statement of Case

A111689 – Goodhue Wind Truth

GWT – Appeal Notice & Initial Filings – Petition for Writ and Statement of Case

No Appellate Docket yet – Goodhue County

Goodhue County Appeal –  Initial Pleading – Petition for Writ and Statement of Case

No Appellate Docket yet – Coalition for Sensible Siting

CSS Appeal – Initial Pleading – Petition for Write and Statement of Case

This is shaping up to be a “robust” appeal… I’m so tickled to see the county’s recognition and appreciation of Goodhue Wind Truth’s efforts (really, read the pleadings).  And personally, it’s a thrill to see how far we’ve come since the struggle of the nuclear  “in Goodhue County” days.