Useful information? Please donate!

Cash-Register

Donate!!!  Yes, you!!   See that “PayPal” button up to the right?  Join the challenge to transmission that they don’t need and we don’t want!  Residents and Ratepayers Against Not-so-Great-Northern Transmission, an ad hoc advocacy association, has Intervened in the Certificate of Need, a public interest intervention focused on showing up to weigh in on the big picture issues (Important note, we’re aiding public participation, but not taking a position on route.).

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Filed under Certificate of Need, Environmental Review, Hearings, Information Requests, Need, Open Houses, Presidential Permit

ALLETE, GRE & MISO Joint Answer

FERClogo

ALLETE, Great River Energy and MISO have filed a response to the Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) and Residents and Ratepayers Against the Not-so-Great Northern Transmission Line (RRANT) comments filed earlier this month:

ALLETE GRE MISO_Reply to MRES and RRANT

Here are the previous filings in reverse chrono order:

Supplemental Protest_MRES_20160405-5187(31361348)

Comments_RRANT_ER16-1107_ER16-1108_ER16-1116

MP&GRE_JointAnswer2MRES_20160329-5071(31343963)-1

FERC_Notice_Extenstion_20160330-3021(31346379)

MRES_Intrervention&ExtensionRequest_20160324-5182(31336403)-1

Notice_CancellationServiceAgmt_MISO-ALLETE_20160308-5259(31297754)

(search FERC dockets ER16-1107; ER16-1108 and ER16-1116 for initial filings)

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GNTL – FERC Docket and Comments

FERClogo

Looks like MP, GRE, and MISO are trying to shift things around through new “Zonal Agreements.  I learned about this scrolling through the junk box — those newsletters can be a great source of info, but getting to the wheat takes some wading.

So after learning about this docket, and getting the FERC_Notice_Extenstion_20160330-3021(31346379) filing, stating that the Comment period had been extended for interested parties, that TODAY was the deadline, I quick filed this on behalf of RRANT:

Comments_RRANT_ER16-1107_ER16-1108_ER16-1116

What’s this about?  MP, GRE and MISO have filed new “Zonal Agreements” which are:

  1. Coordinated Local Planning Agreement
  2. Joint Pricing Zone Revenue Allocation Agreement
  3. Revenue Credit Agreement for the Great Northern Transmission Line Project
  4. Wholesale Distribution Service Agreement

Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) objected, “protested” and filed a Motion to Intervene and I think they’ve got credible points, that these filings would/could have the impact of transferring GNTL costs to non-Minnesota Power ratepayers, despite this being a “participant funded” project.  Here’s their Motion:

MRES_Intrervention & Request for Extension_20160324-5182(31336403)

And to that, here’s their response:

MP & GRE_Joint Answer 2 MRES_20160329-5071(31343963)

To look at the proposed “Zonal Agreements” and everything filed in this docket, go HERE (FERC eLibrary) and scroll down to “Docket Number” and plug in “ER16-1116” (for cancellation docket) and “ER16-1107” and/or “ER16-1108” for the new agreements (BIG FILES).

What does all this mean?  I think they’re trying to circumvent the policies of FERC (and Minnesota PUC, too) regarding “participant funded” transmission projects, and/or trying to shift the costs of the Great Northern Transmission Project to other rate payers, beyond the “participants.”  Possible?  Yes.  Only time and SCRUTINY will tell if that’s the case.  As MRES notes, and of course MP and GRE objects to that characterization, these were negotiated “outside of Commission processes” and are inconsistent with MISO tariff and Commission precedent.  Let’s get it all out in the sun and give it a look-see!

 

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Filed under FERC Filings

Watch the GNTL Commission deliberation NOW!

BogLine

The Great Northern Transmission Routing Permit is now up at the Public Utilities Commission.

LISTEN HERE, NOW!

Just click on the link, and you’re there!  Live!

PUC STAFF BRIEFING PAPERS – AMENDED

New Commissioner Matt Schuerger does understand transmission, and has exposed their nonsense of this being a “reliability risk” issue.  Will they care?

Libschultz: It’s a continuum, not a precipice?

And MP is hiding their theory under “Trade Secret” evidence that was withdrawn from the record.

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Filed under Meetings, MISO, Routing Docket

Commission Meeting 2/25 — this is it!

High-Voltage-Warning-Sign-S-2217

Hot off the press — the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will deliberate, and most likely decide, on the route for Minnesota Power’s Great Northern Transmission Line at its February 25, 2016 meeting:

Notice of Commission Meeting_20162-118248-01

Thursday, February 25, 2016, no earlier than 10:30 a.m.

Public Utilities Commission

Large Hearing Room, 3rd Floor

121 – 7th Place East, St. Paul, MN  55101

On the other hand, they might put the decision off until early March:

2-25-2016NoticeNotice issues — you may recall the notice issues raised at the public hearing — this is another one of those transmission dockets where additional routes were added and landowners on those new routes were not given notice:

Last Minute Notice to Landowners — NOT OK!

LATE NOTICE to Landowners, and Public Hearings Aug 12 & 13

From the ALJ’s Recommendation, the issues I’d raised — the lateness of the EIS was not made part of the Findings, the FEIS came out long after the Public Comment period closed, and even after the party briefs were due.  How could anyone comment on the adequacy of the FEIS?  Here’s the cut and paste from the ALJ’s report:

Overland1Overland2
The issues raised should have been stated here, and not dismissed via referral to the Order Denying RRANT’s Motion… The contortions and contradictions of Commerce’s ongoing “explanations” should be a matter of public record, because it started out bizarre at the hearing, and over the next couple of weeks got even stranger:

20158-113450-01 PUBLIC 14-21 TL DOC-EERA LETTER 08/21/2015
20158-113402-01 PUBLIC 14-21 TL OAH LETTER–CORRESPONDENCE TO MS. JENSEN 08/20/2015
20158-113405-01 PUBLIC 14-21 TL OAH OTHER–CORRESPONDENCE 08/20/2015
20158-113397-01 PUBLIC 14-21 TL RESIDENTS AND RATEPAYERS AGAINST NOT-SO-GREAT-NORTHERN TRANSMISSION RRANT REPLY BRIEF–RRANT REPLY LETTER BRIEF TO DOC-EERA 08/19/2015
20158-113390-01 PUBLIC 14-21 TL DOC-EERA BRIEF 08/19/2015

Oh, it’s my job to enter the Work Group report into the record?  Methinks that’s the job of Commerce, why didn’t Commerce enter it into the record?  Turns out it IS in the record:

201411-104621-06 PUBLIC 14-21 TL DOC EERA OTHER–APPENDIX E – SUMMARY OF WORKING GROUP MEETINGS 11/13/2014

The ALJ did look into these notice issues, and in the ALJ’s Findings, there was a lot more than “just” the notice issues I raised:

NoticeFindingsNotice97

And the footnotes to the ALJ’s findings about Notice referenced in the above snippets show that the Applicant has not met the statutory notice requirements:

Notice

fn2

And generally, a few points of interest:

  • The ALJ recommended the EffieVariation (East Section) including the East Bear Lake Variation;
  • The ALJ recommended the Trout Lake Alignment;
  • And the ALJ recommended addressing issues raised by Charlotte Neigh in the Findings of Fact:

216Neigh

217NeighAnd in the Recommendation:

25_NeighCharlotte Neigh’s complete Comments:

201511-115341-01 PUBLIC 14-21 TL PUC PUBLIC COMMENT–PUBLIC COMMENT OUTSIDE OF OPEN COMMENT PERIOD 11/02/2015
20159-113725-01 PUBLIC 14-21 TL PUC PUBLIC COMMENT 09/02/2015

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Filed under PUC Filings, Routing Docket

ALJ’s Recommendation is out!

gavel

The ALJ’s Recommend for a route for the Not-so-Great Northern Transmission Line is out:

ALJ Recommendation_20161-116959-01

Short story, the ALJ recommends the Effie alternative, and the Trout Lake alternative, and more to follow.

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Filed under PUC Filings, Routing Docket

Oxymoronic Manitoba Hydro!!

CanadaDry

RECEIVED!!!  Damaged in transit, one can blew up, and I’d guess caused much consternation and intrigue at the Post Office.  Package ripped up, stuck half in a bag, or half in the bag put in the bag by someone on overtime.

OH MY…  A BRIBE!!!  A CapX 2020 La Crosse hat, and now this!!!  In a plain brown wrapper, but we know where this came from (ginger pale ale next time?!?!) (and about that little retirement tico in Costa Rico?!?).  To be clear, it’s not Manitoba Hydro because that would indeed be contrary to Canada Dry!

Here’s a toast to Minnesota Power, and their attorney ERK too, and to another year of being a royal Pain In The Patoot to them.  We’re not done with the Not-so-Great Northern Transmission Line, and we’re not done with the Menahga Transmission Project yet (though on Menahga, we’re making progress, EH?).

p.s. I don’t know where I put my coal supply, it’s gonna be late this year…

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Filed under Canada permitting, Presidential Permit, Routing Docket

Federal Court says NO to appeal of a Presidential Permit

AC-SL-Projects-Map

No, it’s the Enbridge Line 67 Expansion and not the Great Northern Transmission Line, but it’s relevant because the court says that because it’s a Presidential Permit, based on an Executive Order, it’s not an agency action, and it cannot be appealed.  Really:

Line 67 ruling Dec 2015

Here’s the full lineup from the Great Northern Transmission Line site (they’ve done a good job of thorough posting of documents under the “Resources” tab):

Presidential Permit 

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Filed under DOE (Dept of Energy), Presidential Permit

Concerns about hydro? Really, Fresh Energy?

conawapa

In today’s STrib, there’s a piece written by Ron Way about hydro power, with a familiar scenario presenting about how then Northern States Power did a deal with Sen. Gaylord Nelson to get its Allen S. King coal plant built, there’s a book there waiting to be written.  But what’s disturbing is the commentary from Fresh Energy’s Micheal Noble with “concerns” about hydro.  Concerns?  And what exactly have you done about those concerns?  I have no time for this “concern” first, because ME3, Fresh Energy’s prior identity, had an active hydro program, and that was disappeared, and second, that the Great Northern Transmission Project has been going on for more than three years and Fresh Energy was absent.

Yet this OpEd today had this to say:

Such projects are still being built, and the social disorder they cause has a connection to the Twin Cities, because here’s where the electricity is consumed. This is a very large concern of Michael Nobel at the nonprofit Fresh Energy in St. Paul.

Here’s why:

Manitoba Hydro of Winnipeg operates a giant system of hydropower dams and reservoirs on the Nelson River that flows north to Hudson Bay. A raging controversy concerns the Cree Nation, which is seeing its pastoral culture shredded and livelihoods shattered by sprawling reservoirs in that system.

Xcel Energy has a long-term power-supply contract with Manitoba Hydro. So in a very real sense, the electricity used here is contributing directly to Cree suffering.

What especially worries Nobel is that Manitoba Hydro plans to aggressively expand its network of dams and reservoirs, further devastating the Cree. Some suspect that Xcel will seek much of the future supply from Manitoba as its aging baseload plants in Minnesota are retired within the next 20 years.

Assessing whether hydropower can be classed with solar and wind as “clean and green renewable energy” is, Nobel said, complicated at best.

Overland’s comment about that “concern” about hydro:

This is nothing new.  Of course Xcel will get more power from Manitoba Hydro now.  So will Minnesota Power.  IF anyone is so concerned about the new dam going up in Manitoba, why is it that that NO ONE intervened in MP’s hydro transmission case, where Minnesota Power and Manitoba Hydro are building the largest capacity transmission project (500 kV triple bundled) in Minnesota in decades (it matches the Forbes-Chisago line).  The Certificate of Need is long done (PUC Docket 12-1163).  That routing docket (14-21) is also now complete, waiting only for the judge’s recommendation and Public Utilities Commission decision.  Not one funded group intervened, Fresh Energy was no where to be seen.  Without transmission, that hydro power wouldn’t be coming into Minnesota.  No that they’ll have that transmission line built, it’s going to be marketed and imported, nothing will stop it.  Fresh Energy’s hydro program disappeared about the same time ME3 did.  This concern about Xcel’s increased use of hydro is more than three years too late — the largest transmission line in Minnesota is about to be routed.  “Concern” doesn’t cut it.  You have to show up.

What are some Fresh Energy’s concerns that play out in its spending?

$460k for being the RE-AMP Media Center

$67k for being the RE-AMP Host

$159,915 to Michael Noble (salary & benefits)

RE-AMP was a major promoter of coal gasification back in 2005 when Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project was getting going (as a result of the 2003 Prairie Island nuclear deal).  Then RE-AMP became a major promoter of transmission.  Good choices, folks…

And $159k is just too much to be paid in a “non-profit” because to sustain that level of pay, well, it takes a lot of hustling.  We see what advocacy activities are taken on, and what advocacy activities are avoided.  The “mission” of Fresh Energy is to “Shape and drive realistic, visionary policies that benefit all,” but I’ve seen advocacy of policies that presume the public interest but in fact work against it — coal gasification and transmission are two that come to mind.

Oh, and now Jeff Broberg is on the board!!!  Remember his antics for Oronoco Twp. on the CapX 2020 Hampton – La Crosse transmission line?  There’s Oronoco Twp’s Exhibit 89 and Oronoco Township – Testimony of Broberg and Exhibits – see Exhibit 7!  And Oronoco squeals about “new testimony?!?”  Someone of his claimed experience should know better…  His spot on the Board of Fresh Energy makes me wonder what they’ll do next!

And hydro?  Fresh Energy used to have a hydro program specifically about the dams about Manitoba.  What happened to it?  Here’s the ME3 Hydro page back when they had a real website.

From Ron Way in today’s STrib, the full piece:

Is hydropower green? Not really

‘Nothing alters a river as totally as a dam.’ 

Harnessing energy from flowing water has helped advance societies since the days of the Roman Empire. “Hydropower” launched the Industrial Revolution, shaped modern Europe and fueled an emerging America.

Hydropower’s attractions surged in the mid-19th century, when dams were first fitted with turbines to produce electricity, setting off a building frenzy that filled American rivers and streams with thousands of dams.

Water energy at St. Anthony Falls made early Minneapolis a thriving center for mills to saw timber floated in from northern forests, and later to grind wheat into flour, making the city’s milling district world-famous.

It all makes sense. Hydropower’s fuel — water, moved by gravity — just keeps rolling along. No need for an expensive mine or long coal hauls. Amid present-day worries over climate change, emission-free hydroelectricity is seen by some as “clean, green and renewable” — unlike gas-fired and especially coal-fired plants that spew greenhouse gases by the millions of tons.

But is hydropower, in the larger sense, “green”?

Far from it, as more and more are coming to realize.

Hydropower relies on dams that impound water and create vertical pressure to spin turbines. Dams and reservoirs have profound environmental effects that are coming under intense scrutiny, with one prominent national group, American Rivers, pushing hard — and successfully — for dam removal.

“Nothing alters a river as totally as a dam,” writes author and river advocate Patrick McCully.

Minnesota native Denny Caneff at the Wisconsin River Alliance in Madison adds that the relatively small amount of power generated from hydro is “disproportionate [to] the environmental harm that it causes.”

A dam, in essence, is a curtain of concrete that severs a river. The reservoir it creates is wholly unlike the river it replaces, and the change is certainly not for the better.

University of Minnesota biosystems researcher Chris Lenhert’s recent report for the McKnight Foundation on effects of the Ford Dam reads like a rap sheet on how the dam’s reservoir has radically altered the Mississippi Gorge through Minneapolis.

“The dam submerged one of the Mississippi’s largest high-gradient, boulder-and-cobble streambeds and almost entirely blocked upstream movement of fish and mussels,” Lenhert said, adding that many mid-channel islands in the Gorge were destroyed — and, with them, prime eagle habitat.

The idea was to promote barge navigation, a plan that went bust. Some now say the dam, which annually costs taxpayers more than $1 million to maintain, should go. The only remaining commerce at the Ford Dam is a privately owned hydro plant that produces a piddling amount of electricity (less than a tenth of a percent of all power generated in the state).

Caneff said the downside effects listed in Lenhert’s report apply to most every dam.

Here’s how:

As they impound water, dam reservoirs slow a river’s flow. Its sediment load is dropped, creating a silted bottom that chokes out aquatic vegetation. Reservoirs trap toxics like PCBs and heavy metals along with nutrients that grow algae in water that’s warmer than the river it covered up.

Dams are mostly built at river constrictions where gradients and rocky bottoms create riffles and rapids that oxygenate and clean the water. Gravel in pooled eddies is ideal fish spawning habitat.

Impermeable dams block fish movement, so species in the pool are far fewer than in the larger river. Mussels and clams, whose filtering is a vital for water quality, disappear, as they have in the Mississippi Gorge.

All of these effects are present at nearby River Falls, Wis., where critics have stalled the city’s application to relicense its two power dams on the Kinnickinnic River.

Friends of the Kinni and a local chapter of Trout Unlimited cite another casualty of the dams: The falls that is River Falls’ namesake has been submerged under the languid reservoir. That’s similar to Ford Dam’s reservoir, which covered a 5-mile stretch of world-class rapids through the Mississippi Gorge. Removing the dams would restore free-flowing rivers and natural features.

It’s the same at Taylors Falls, Minn., and neighboring St. Croix Falls, Wis. Both were named for a falls that’s under the reservoir of Xcel Energy’s hydroelectric dam, which flooded one of the most scenic and environmentally valuable places on the entire St. Croix.

It was the St. Croix, by the way, that was central in a curious tale of intrigue about replacing hydropower with coal. You see, it’s usually the other way around.

In the 1950s, Xcel’s predecessor, Northern States Power Co. (NSP), was pivoting from hydro to coal and nuclear baseload generators. NSP had gone through a bruising battle over its St. Croix Falls hydro plant and wanted to avoid a similar public maelstrom over another hydro project planned for farther up the river. This one would flood a huge area all the way to Danbury, Wis.

NSP was eyeing a large coal-fired plant at Stillwater, but an upstart politician, Gaylord Nelson of nearby Clear Lake, Wis., wouldn’t hear of it. Nelson, who later served two terms as Wisconsin’s governor and three terms as a U.S. senator, was also eyeing the St. Croix. But his vision was some kind of set-aside protection. He didn’t want a tall, carbon-spewing stack piercing the St. Croix’s skyline.

NSP dispatched emissaries to a remote cabin near Mellen, Wis., with a deal: Nelson would drop his objection to the coal plant, and NSP would donate 30,000 acres it owned for the planned second reservoir on the St. Croix.

Nelson “cut a deal with the devil and accepted,” said one who attended the meeting. The Allen S. King Plant today still sends smoke up its very tall stack at Stillwater, and a legacy achievement of the late Sen. Nelson is a St. Croix that’s a federally protected Wild and Scenic River.

Another downside to hydropower is the social disruption of the reservoirs.

Near Hayward, Wis., the 15,300-acre Chippewa Flowage, renowned for trophy muskies, was built in 1925 to stabilize flow on the Chippewa River for downstream hydropower plants. The project proceeded over strong but futile objections of the Lac Courte Oreilles band of Chippewa, whose lands were flooded.

Construction in 1933 of the massive dams and reservoirs of the Tennessee Valley Authority meant relocating 15,000 families and destruction of whole towns.

North Dakota’s Garrison Dam displaced Mandan and other bands on the Fort Berthold Reservation and South Dakota’s Oahe took thousands of prime farmland acres from the Cheyenne. All the tribes strongly opposed the projects and refused to sell land, but it didn’t matter because the builders had eminent domain on their side.

Same for the colossal Columbia River hydro projects — some 125 hydro plants in all — in the Pacific Northwest that displaced scores of American Indian tribes in four states. Worse, operating the system profoundly altered a salmon-based Indian culture whose history spans 3,500 years.

Such projects are still being built, and the social disorder they cause has a connection to the Twin Cities, because here’s where the electricity is consumed. This is a very large concern of Michael Nobel at the nonprofit Fresh Energy in St. Paul.

Here’s why:

Manitoba Hydro of Winnipeg operates a giant system of hydropower dams and reservoirs on the Nelson River that flows north to Hudson Bay. A raging controversy concerns the Cree Nation, which is seeing its pastoral culture shredded and livelihoods shattered by sprawling reservoirs in that system.

Xcel Energy has a long-term power-supply contract with Manitoba Hydro. So in a very real sense, the electricity used here is contributing directly to Cree suffering.

What especially worries Nobel is that Manitoba Hydro plans to aggressively expand its network of dams and reservoirs, further devastating the Cree. Some suspect that Xcel will seek much of the future supply from Manitoba as its aging baseload plants in Minnesota are retired within the next 20 years.

Assessing whether hydropower can be classed with solar and wind as “clean and green renewable energy” is, Nobel said, complicated at best.

 

Ron Way is a former official with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the U.S. Department of the Interior. He lives in Edina.

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Filed under Canada permitting, Certificate of Need, Condemnation, Media, Presidential Permit, Routing Docket

Annual Hearing – Power Plant Siting Act 12/1

NSP_Stack

I’m having a difficult time getting worked up about the PPSA Annual Hearing this year.  It’s the time we have to tell the Commission what does and does not work with the Power Plant Siting Act.  I’ve been at this for 20 years now, and it never ends, doesn’t change, so many of the same problems, over and over.  It is SO hard for people to participate and while it got better for a while, when people stood up and leveled the playing field, and with Gov. Ventura’s active outreach to the public, well, can’t have that happen, so then NSP’s big buck lobbyists changed the laws to their advantage (2001) and then bought off the funded intervenors and they rewrote the laws together (2003 & 2005) and now the head of one of those funded intervenors, the Waltons, is at Commerce in charge of utility permitting (CoN and Route/Siting) and another on the Commission.

Oh well, it’s that time again… Let’s all put this on our calendar and once more, with feeling, tell them what we really think!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Notice of the Power Plant Siting and Transmission Line Routing Program Annual Hearing

Issued: November 6, 2015

In the Matter of the 2015 Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing

Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Docket Number: E999/M-15-785

Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) Docket Number: 60-2500-32901

Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Time: 9:30 a.m.

Location: Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Large Hearing Room, 121 7th Place East, Suite 350, Saint Paul, MN 55101

Bad weather? Find out if a meeting is canceled. Call (toll-free) 1-855-731-6208 or 651-201-2213 or visit mn.gov/puc

Hearing Description

The annual hearing is required by Minnesota Statute § 216E.07, which provides that:

Thecommission shall hold an annual public hearing at a time and place prescribed by rule in order to afford interested persons an opportunity to be heard regarding any matters relating to the siting of large electric generating power plants and routing of high-voltage transmission lines. At the meeting, the commission shall advise the public of the permits issued by the commission in the past year….

Note – No decisions about specific projects are made at the annual hearing.

Public Hearing Information

  • Public hearings start on time.
  • Arrive a few minutes early so you have time to sign in, pick up materials, and find a seat.
  • Administrative Law Judge James LaFave will preside over the hearing.
  • Public Utilities Commission and Department of Commerce staff members are available to answer questions about the Power Plant Siting Act processes and the projects.
  • You may add verbal comments, written comments, or both into the record.
  • Learn more about participating at a public hearing at http://mn.gov/puc/resources/meetings-and-hearings.jsp
  • Judge LaFave will use information gathered at the public hearing and during the comment period to write a summary report for the Commission

Submit Comments

Topics for Public Comment:

  • Any matters related to the site permit process for large electric generating power plants and routing of high-voltage transmission lines.

Comment Period: November 6, 2015 through January 5, 2016 at 4:30pm.

  • Comments must be received by 4:30pm on the close date
  • Comments received after comment period closes may not be considered

Online Visit mn.gov/puc, select Speak Up!, find this docket (15-785), and add your comments to the discussion.

If you wish to include an exhibit, map or other attachment, please send your comments via eFiling (see below) or U.S. Mail.

Please include the Commission’s docket number in all communications.

Filing Requirements: Utilities and state agencies are required to file documents using the Commission’s electronic filing system (eFiling). All parties, participants and interested persons are encouraged to use eFiling: mn.gov/puc, select eFiling, and follow the prompts.

Important Comments will be made available to the public via the Public Utilities Commission’s website, except in limited circumstances consistent with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. The Commission does not edit or delete personal identifying information from submissions.

Hearing Agenda

I. Introductions
II.Overview of Programs
A. Public Utilities Commission – Facilities Permitting and Public Advisor
B. Department of Commerce – Energy Facilities Permitting Unit
C. Role of Other Agencies
III. Projects Reviewed
A. Projects Permitted in 2015
B. Pending and Anticipated Projects
C. Electric Facilities Subject to Power Plant Siting Act
1. Generating Plants
2. Transmission Lines
IV. Public Questions and Testimony
V. Adjourn

How to Learn More

Subscribe to the Docket: Subscribe to receive email notifications when new documents are filed. Note – subscribing may result in a large number of emails.

  1. mn.gov/puc
  2. Select Subscribe to a Docket
  3. Type your email address
  4. For Type of Subscription, select Docket Number
  5. For Docket Number, select 15 in the first box, type 785 in the second box
  6. Select Add to List
  7. Select Save

Full Case Record: See all documents filed in this docket via the Commission’s website – mn.gov/puc, select Search eDockets, enter the year (15) and the docket number (785), select Search.

Project Mailing Lists: Sign up to receive notices and opportunities to participate in other dockets relating to specific projects in which you are interested (meetings, comment periods, etc.). Contact docketing.puc@state.mn.us or 651-201-2234 with the docket number, your name, mailing address and email address.

Minnesota Statutes and Rules: The hearing is being conducted according to Minnesota Statute 216E.07. Minnesota Statutes are available at www.revisor.mn.gov.

Project Contacts

Public Utilities Commission Public Advisor

Tracy Smetana – consumer.puc@state.mn.us, 651-296-0406 or 1-800-657-3782

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FEIS released for Great Northern Transmission Line

CorridorMap

It’s a Final Environmental Impact Statement kind of day today.  The Great Northern Transmission Line FINAL EIS has been released by the Deptartment of Energy, which is in charge of the Presidential Permit and so they’re doing joint environmental review with the State of Minnesota.  It’s out, released while I was on the road, and so here it is, a couple days late!

Applicant’s Environmental Impact Statement Page HERE!

And here’s a cut and paste of their format, which is a LOT better than the PUC’s official eDockets page:

Final Environmental Impact Statement

Main Document

  • Cover Sheet and Table of Contents
  • Summary
  • Chapter 1 – Regulatory FrameworkDescribes the regulatory framework associated with the proposed Project, including the purpose and need for agency action, major federal permits (including the U.S. DOE Presidential permit), federal consultation requirements, state permitting requirements (including the MN PUC Route Permit), other state and local permits, and a summary of agencies, tribes, and persons consulted.
  • Chapter 2 – Proposed Project: Describes the project as proposed by the Applicant including proposed routes, structures, objectives, route selection process, estimated costs, and proposed schedule. Chapter 2 also describes the Applicant’s engineering, design, and construction plans, land acquisition processes, and Applicant proposed measures to avoid and minimize environmental impacts.
  • Chapter 3 – No Action Alternative: Describes the “No Action alternative,” in which the DOE would not issue a Presidential permit and the proposed Project would not be built. The analysis of the No Action alternative summarizes the impacts of not constructing the project and provides a baseline for analyzing and comparing potential environmental impacts from DOE’s proposed action and alternatives.
  • Chapter 4 – Route and Alignment Alternatives Proposed During Scoping: Describes the four border crossing alternatives, 22 route variations, and nine alignment modifications that were proposed by agencies and the public during scoping. Chapter 4 also summarizes the process used by DOE in coordination with the DOC-EERA to jointly determine which border crossings and routes to include in the scope of this EIS. Chapter 4 also describes how the selected routes, route variations, and alignments are analyzed by dividing the 220-mile long project area into the three major sections: the West Section, the Central Section, and the East Section.
  • Chapter 5 Part 1 – Affected Environment and Potential Impacts: Describes the affected environment for the proposed Project, including descriptions of each resource, the region of influence (ROI) of the proposed Project on the resource, and impacts expected from the construction, operation, maintenance, and connection of the proposed Project. Chapter 5.0 first describes the impacts of the proposed Project that are common to all geographic sections and do not vary by route or route variation. Chapter 5.0 then describes the resources that do vary by geographic section and for which impacts vary by route and route variation—the impacts and resources are carried forward for detailed analysis and comparison in Chapter 6.0.
  • Chapter 5 Part 2 – Affected Environment and Potential Impacts
  • Chapter 6 Part 1 – Comparative Environmental Consequences: Presents detailed analysis and comparison of the potential human and environmental impacts of the proposed Project and alternative route variations, and describes mitigation measures by geographic section, route, and route variation.
  • Chapter 6 Part 2 – Comparative Environmental Consequences
  • Chapter 6 Part 3 – Comparative Environmental Consequences
  • Chapter 7 Cumulative and Other Impacts: Describes reasonably foreseeable projects in the proposed Project area and assesses impacts of the proposed Project in the context of these reasonably foreseeable projects along with other past and present projects in the same area. Chapter 7 also describes unavoidable, irretrievable, and other impacts as required by federal and state regulations.
  • Chapter 8 – List of Preparers
  • Chapter 9 – References
  • Chapter 10 – Acronyms
  • Chapter 11 – Index

Appendices

Here’s the filing from Commerce – I’ve deleted a few columns from the PUC’s eDockets so it’ll fit here, and it’s in no discernable order, that’s why I prefer the version above:

201511-115405-01 14-21 DOC EERA NOTICE–OF AVAILABILITY OF FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT 11/03/2015
201510-115238-06 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX F 10/30/2015
201510-115262-01 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX Z 10/30/2015
201510-115248-06 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX M 10/30/2015
201510-115258-01 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX S – MAP BOOK CENTRAL SECTION – PART 1 OF 6 10/30/2015
201510-115261-02 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX U 10/30/2015
201510-115251-10 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX R 10/30/2015
201510-115248-04 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX L – PART 3 OF 4 10/30/2015
201510-115261-07 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX Y – PART 2 OF 5 10/30/2015
201510-115232-03 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 1 – PART 13 OF 14 10/30/2015
201510-115231-02 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 1 – PART 10 OF 14 10/30/2015
201510-115251-08 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX P 10/30/2015
201510-115238-03 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX C 10/30/2015
201510-115231-01 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 1 – PART 9 OF 14 10/30/2015
201510-115238-09 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX I 10/30/2015
201510-115238-02 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX B 10/30/2015
201510-115251-09 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX Q 10/30/2015
201510-115251-04 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX N – PART 8 OF 10 10/30/2015
201510-115258-05 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX S – MAP BOOK CENTRAL SECTION – PART 5 OF 6 10/30/2015
201510-115248-01 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX K 10/30/2015
201510-115238-01 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX A 10/30/2015
201510-115261-04 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX W 10/30/2015
201510-115258-06 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX S – MAP BOOK CENTRAL SECTION – PART 6 OF 6 10/30/2015
201510-115248-05 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX L – PART 4 OF 4 10/30/2015
201510-115248-10 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX N – PART 4 OF 10 10/30/2015
201510-115238-04 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX D 10/30/2015
201510-115258-07 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX S – MAP BOOK EAST SECTION – PART 1 OF 2 10/30/2015
201510-115232-01 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 1 – PART 11 OF 14 10/30/2015
201510-115251-06 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX N – PART 10 OF 10 10/30/2015
201510-115232-02 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 1 – PART 12 OF 14 10/30/2015
201510-115238-08 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX H 10/30/2015
201510-115258-04 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX S – MAP BOOK CENTRAL SECTION – PART 4 OF 6 10/30/2015
201510-115258-03 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX S – MAP BOOK CENTRAL SECTION – PART 3 OF 6 10/30/2015
201510-115248-03 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX L – PART 2 OF 4 10/30/2015
201510-115258-08 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX S – MAP BOOK EAST SECTION – PART 2 OF 2 10/30/2015
201510-115251-07 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX O 10/30/2015
201510-115251-05 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX N – PART 9 OF 10 10/30/2015
201510-115238-07 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX G 10/30/2015
201510-115261-06 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX Y – PART 1 OF 5 10/30/2015
201510-115261-08 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX Y – PART 3 OF 5 10/30/2015
201510-115238-10 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX J 10/30/2015
201510-115261-05 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX X 10/30/2015
201510-115251-03 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX N – PART 7 OF 10 10/30/2015
201510-115248-09 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX N – PART 3 OF 10 10/30/2015
201510-115258-09 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX S – MAP BOOK WEST SECTION – PART 1 OF 2 10/30/2015
201510-115258-02 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX S – MAP BOOK CENTRAL SECTION – PART 2 OF 6 10/30/2015
201510-115248-07 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX N – PART 1 OF 10 10/30/2015
201510-115258-10 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX S – MAP BOOK WEST SECTION – PART 2 OF 2 10/30/2015
201510-115261-09 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX Y – PART 4 OF 5 10/30/2015
201510-115248-08 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX N – PART 2 OF 10 10/30/2015
201510-115238-05 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX E 10/30/2015
201510-115261-03 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX V 10/30/2015
201510-115251-02 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX N – PART 6 OF 10 10/30/2015
201510-115261-10 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX Y – PART 5 OF 5 10/30/2015
201510-115251-01 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX N – PART 5 OF 10 10/30/2015
201510-115261-01 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX T 10/30/2015
201510-115248-02 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 2 – APPENDIX L – PART 1 OF 4 10/30/2015
201510-115232-04 14-21 DOC EERA OTHER–FINAL EIS – VOLUME 1 – PART 14 OF 14 10/30/2015

 

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