You may remember prior posts about that but I’ll start from the beginning and try to make it quick.  There’s a pattern at the Office of Administrative Hearings that is disturbing…

Way back on the MinnCan pipeline, members of U-CAN had tried to intervene and were refused.  They got late notice and were not represented, stumbling through the administrative process pro se.  MPIRG showed an interest and started working on it, among other things, submitting a Petition for Intervention:

MPIRG Petition for Intervention – MinnCan Pipeline

Despite the late notice and their attempts to “work within the system,” the Petition of MPRIG individual U-CAN members was denied:

OAH – Denial of Intervention

And when they appealed, they were tossed out, as if they had not even tried to intervene:

MinnCan Appellate Decision

So when CapX 2020 hit, and they filed a Certificate of Need and landowners learned it wasn’t just the pipeline, but now transmission TOO (how much can a landowner stand?) they got right to it, and intervened as United Citizens Action Network (U-CAN), participating pro se as they had no resources to hire an attorney and were in condemnation and appellate court at the time.  They Petition, and were admitted as full parties.  So what happens?


Judge Heydinger, the same ALJ in the CapX Certificate of Need case as in the MinnCan pipeline case, files sua sponte (on her own initiative, not a Motion brought by parties) a demand that they explain why they, and the Prairie Island Indian Community,  should remain intervenors:

Order to Show Cause – U-CAN

Order to Show Cause – Prairie Island Indian Community

This had been done before in the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project siting docket, where ALJ Steve Mihalchick booted out Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, and my client, Public Energy – Mesaba, because no testimony had been provided:

5th Prehearing Order


This docket went forward, there were two days of hearings, first in Taconite, where ALJ Mihalchick rammed through 4 witnesses and where we weren’t provided adequate opportunity for questioning, and, I swear, when I tried to get a table, he said, “Whatever would you need a table for?”  Really… after much hassle, Bill Storm of Commerce found one (thank you!!).  Since that day, I bring my own.  Anyway, the second day, it was -30 in Hoyt Lakes and the hearing was in the unheated gym next to the hockey rink.


That day, Judge Mihalchick rammed through … what… 16 witnesses?…  in one day, and left saying, “I’m not coming back here.”


Travesty doesn’t begin to characterize that hearing.  And worse, Excelsior Energy got a permit for a vaporware project:

Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project siting hearing

Fast forward to 2011, where ALJ Heydinger has now again issued a similar Order to Show Cause regarding two intervenors, Energy Cents and Verso Paper:

Order to Show Cause

Here’s Verso Paper’s response:

Response to Order to Show Cause – Verso Paper

Just filed:   Order Confirming Party Status – Verso Paper

Where’s the Energy Cents Coalition?

Anyway, I’ve submitted a Rulemaking Petition to OAH about Minn. R. Ch. 1400 & 1405 to try to address some of this.  We shall see…