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.).
RRANT, Residents and Ratepayers Against Not-so-Great-Northern Transmission have filed to be a “Commenter” in Canada’s National Energy Board proceeding for the “Manitoba-Minnesota” transmission line, the Canada portion of Great Northern Transmission Line. It’ll address both need and route, but particularly need.
This transmission project is HUGE, it’s a bundled 500 kV line with the capacity of Susquehanna-Roseland, over 4,000 MVA! And it is yet another transmission project that isn’t needed, and is designed 8+ times too large for the stated/claimed need and the Presidential Permit, particularly because one dam was admittedly not needed.
And in Minnesota, it was weird… for routing, people did not get proper notice, and agency comments were being hidden off in the EIS and not incorporated into the hearing record, comments that were oh-so-relevant in routing, so I did have to raise a stink about that:
So on to Ccanada… Oh, Canadda!!! How will this go in Canada? Why the NEB process?
Here’s the HEARING ORDER: A88851-1 NEB – Letter – Manitoba Hydro – MMTP – Hearing Order EH-001-2017 – A5Y6X8
How to participate? GUIDANCE HERE!
Much is already online, and they have the filings up and will utilize what’s been filed thus far, and those intervenors in the earlier Canadian process are intervenors in this one.
The Minnesota part of this project required a lot of travel, and testing out the “new” camper in Big Bog State Park (never again, way too hot and humid, what a mosquito and fly hell hole!). The rain was so intense that the Rainy River was over its banks, water in all the ditches, covering roads. That was July 2014, and I’m still brushing and vacuuming fly carcases out of the recesses of screens!
We’ll see what Canada has to say about this! No, not high hopes…
Got this in the inbox yesterday, and this Canadian process WILL address “need” for this transmission line — in Canada it’s called the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project (MMTP):
Intervention deadline: February 7, 2018
From the NEB site:
17 January 2018 – NEB Hearing for Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project
Support for participants
Participant funding is available. Refer to the Participant Funding Program page for information on deadlines, eligibility, how to apply for funding, and how to submit claims.
The Process Advisor’s role is to support the public (e.g., landowners, concerned citizens, environmental non-governmental organizations) and Aboriginal groups if they have questions about the NEB’s assessment of the project.
National Energy Board
Telephone (toll free): 1-800-899-1265
Facsimile (toll free): 1-877-288-8803
TTY (Teletype): 1-800-632-1663
Public participation, getting the lay of the land — it’s messy, it’s time consuming, and it’s where it’s at in transmission siting proceeding, it is the essential guts of transmission line siting. Get ready for another round of meetings some time after January 17, 2018 up in Canada!
Last report was that Canada;s National Energy Board had suddenly decided that there was a need for a public hearing process that had somehow been left out of the mix! WHAT? More pubic process is always better, but a series of public hearings for this huge transmission project, both in length and capacity, isn’t too much to ask of Canada. It’s expected!
Well, Manitoba Hydro is now agreeing to the public hearings… mighty nice of them. Something tells me they had no choice. It’s still up in the air how soon that will happen, but mark you calendars, because on January 17, Manitoba Hydor will make the announcement of the hearing dates and locations!
Published in CBC news:
The province-owned utility was told in December that Ottawa officials had accepted a National Energy Board recommendation that the $453-million Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project go through a certificate process, which means it will be subject to more public hearings.
Hydro had instead sought a process in which the energy board would do a technical assessment and issue a permit to build the 213-kilometre transmission line without more public hearings. Hydro officials said a public hearing process involving all stakeholders, including Indigenous groups, had already been done by the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission.
“We respect Ottawa’s decision to adopt the National Energy Board’s recommendation regarding a certificate process for the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project,” said Manitoba Hydro spokesperson Bruce Owen.
Owen also said Hydro officials are happy the energy board has “expeditiously issued a directive regarding commencement of the federal proceedings” and committed to a Hydro request to try to avoid duplication of other measures that were completed by the province and the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission.
Last year, the Crown corporation expressed concern that the National Energy Board certificate process would delay the project, but Manitoba Hydro still hopes to complete the project by 2020, said Owen.
And an earlier article:
Really! And here’s the info straight from the National Energy Board’s “Manitoba-Minnesota” page:
31 October 2017: Recommendation to the Minister regarding Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project [Filing A87404]
- The recommendation to elevate the regulatory process to a certificate was made following careful analysis of recent Supreme Court rulings and the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission recommendation report for the project.
- A certificate process will ensure that Indigenous considerations are fully taken into account as part of the Board’s assessment.
- The process will provide greater regulatory certainty to Manitoba Hydro as it imposes a legislated time limit on the assessment.
- Wherever possible, the NEB will seek to minimize duplication between the provincial and federal processes.
- The NEB is committed to carrying out a regulatory assessment of the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project that is open, fair, timely and accessible.
Therefore the Board is recommending to the Minister, pursuant to subsection 58.14 (1) of the NEB Act that the Project be designated by order of the Governor in Council under section 58.15 of the NEB Act as an IPL that is to be constructed and operated in accordance with a certificate issued under section 58.16.
There will be an Order, either following through on this recommendation, or denying it and proceeding. But this is an interesting twist, focused on First Nation rights.
Here’s where you can get more information from the Canadian side of the border:
I’m putting this map of Enbridge’s “Line 3” proposal because it has way too much in common with the “Not-so-Great” Northern Transmission Line route.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement has been released, and there’s a limited time to comment on it. Commerce says the DEIS available here:
Here’s the meeting schedule, starting tomorrow (this site was down, my server disappeared it, and it just came back after three messages to them!!):
If you can’t make it to the hearing, send comments by July 10th. From the Notice:
And don’t forget that there will be Public Hearings on both the Need for this project and the pipeline route (note that these dates and locations may change):
To keep up on this, check out the eDockets for filings. To do that, go HERE, and plug in dockets 14-916 (for Certificate of Need) and 15-137 (for Routing). When you get there, have the docket pulled up, subscribe by clicking on the docket column square under “subscribe” and it will bring you to a screen to sign up.
And FYI, here’s a process chart, I added to the PUC’s official process chart, because opportunities for people to participate were not on the chart!
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:
Here are the previous filings in reverse chrono order:
(search FERC dockets ER16-1107; ER16-1108 and ER16-1116 for initial filings)
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:
What’s this about? MP, GRE and MISO have filed new “Zonal Agreements” which are:
- Coordinated Local Planning Agreement
- Joint Pricing Zone Revenue Allocation Agreement
- Revenue Credit Agreement for the Great Northern Transmission Line Project
- 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:
And to that, here’s their response:
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!
The Great Northern Transmission Routing Permit is now up at the Public Utilities Commission.
Just click on the link, and you’re there! Live!
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.
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:
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:
Notice 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:
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:
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:
|20158-113402-01||PUBLIC||14-21||TL||OAH||LETTER–CORRESPONDENCE TO MS. JENSEN||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|
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:
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:
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:
|201511-115341-01||PUBLIC||14-21||TL||PUC||PUBLIC COMMENT–PUBLIC COMMENT OUTSIDE OF OPEN COMMENT PERIOD||11/02/2015|