And eagle that had been feeding on that possum in the foreground, and it flew up as I approached on 110th St. in rural Freeborn County,

A wind energy company has pleaded guilty after killing at least 150 eagles

What’s really odd about this is that most of the projects that I’ve been dealing with in permitting have secured eagle take permits — I thought. In this case, NextEra seems as a policy not to have take permits. HUH?

I am remembering resistance to developers answering questions about eagle take permits, and I think that it comes down to whether USFWS requires them to get one.

Here’s USFWS info on eagle permits here in the Midwest – it appears that there are only three eagle take permits issued for Minnesota wind projects, Red Pine, Getty/Black Oak, and Pleasant Valley/Grand Meadow:

Midwest Region- NEPA Documents for Eagle Permits

This seems to say that there are only FIVE eagle take permits? Here’s the application for one project that I’d worked on:

Black Oak/Getty Wind Farm Eagle Take Permit Application

For the Freeborn Wind project, we entered information about locations of nests and photos of eagles foraging, nests and foraging territory being, supposedly, two criteria examined in siting of wind projects and consideration of need for take permits:

See Freeborn Wind ALJ Recommendation, and search for “eagle” in the Recommendation.

Methinks this will have significant impact, but sentencing a company to probation — but how does that work?

… sigh… Totally ignores ALJ Recommendation after contested case hearing, setting up the issues that followed:

A new noise study not provided until AFTER the initial permit was granted, there was NO demonstration that they could comply, and what they provided after the first permit granted, and before the second decision, was NOT subject to a contested case. Earth to Mars, it’s “material issues of FACT,” not “issues” that must be demonstrated to get a contested case, and these are thousands of pages of facts not in evidence and not subject to contested case.

This is just so wrong, an application is NOT environmental review:

And this — how could issues and facts NOT part of the contested case have been addressed in the contested case?

New material issues of FACTS – FACTS not in existence for initial contested case, FACTS not provided until AFTER the initial permit was granted. “…relator therefore alleges no new material facts beyond those raised at the first contested-case hearing.” WHAT?!?!

How’s this for new material FACT beyond those raised at the first contested-case hearing:

How many hundred pages of NEW material FACTS? All this was part of PUC record, AFTER the first permit was issued. All this was included as new material issues of fact in our request for a second contested case. All this was included in appeal. Yet:

“As to these issues, relator therefore alleges no new material facts beyond those raised at the first contested-case hearing.”

My head is going to explode. Such deceptive word games, summarized with a demonstrably false statement.

Soon… Freeborn Wind appeal

April 14th, 2021

PPSA Annual Hearing NOW

November 20th, 2020

RIGHT NOW! It’s the PPSA Annual Hearing… sigh… here we go again.

Go to webex, Event # 146 311 2620. The powerpoint slides will be here (and will also be filed on eDockets).

To be able to comment, you have to get on the phone 866-609-6127, Conference ID: 4449079, and to comment, you need to press #1 and get in queue.

Here is the Commerce info about this year’s projects:

And for the record, folks, note that wind is not exempt from many of the parts of the PPSA:

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