Category Archives: Routing Docket

And GNTL is energized…

The Great Northern Transmission Line has been energized, and RRANTing is over. Right on schedule, as above, Minnesota Power’s Great Northern Transmission Line is up and running, bringing Manitoba Hydro generated electricity to Minnesota, and likely beyond.

Here’s their press release, hot off the press from Minnesota Power, but I got sidetracked:

In Minnesota as proposed:

In Canada:

And in the air:

And the press lapped it up:

Minnesota Power to reach 50% renewables in 2021 with Canadian hydropower

Minnesota Power energizes Great Northern Transmission Line, bringing 250 MW delivery capabilities online

And it looks like a cut and paste of the MP press release in the Grand Rapids paper:

Minnesota Power energizes Great Northern Transmission Line to move company closer to 50 percent renewable energy by 2021

This was a LONG project, starting at the PUC in 2012, EIGHT YEARS AGO, with Minnesota Power’s planning starting long before that.

To look at the full Public Utilities Commission siting docket, go HERE and search for 14-21. The Certificate of Need docket is 12-1163.

There was also a DOE Presidential Permit, that’s where the DOE’s Environmental Impact Statement came in, a limited scope:

There were also three FERC dockets regarding Zonal Agreements, ER16-1107, ER16-110, an ER16-1116.

And then there’s Canada!

Open houses beginning in Canada for GNTL

January 17 – Canada will announce public hearings

Canada’s National Energy Board recommends “MMTP”

Suffice it to say, this was a long and complicated haul. As well it should be, two countries involved, and multiple agencies here in the U.S. and Minnesota. So many road shows, and I sure couldn’t go on all of them.

There were some really cold meetings, I remember one in the ambulance hall, because I was handing out flyers, freezing… Here’s what I’d been handing out in attempt to let people know how to weigh in. They’re affected, they’re right there, and they know the situation on the ground.

Handout – November GNTL Meetings

Notice Plan Comment Form – click to download editable form

I usually did that outside, but whew, but sometimes it was TOO COLD:

That’s the meeting where MP folks were not too happy that I brought up my Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line details of the capacity for that initially quad-bundled 500 kV line, MVA over 4,000. This line is pretty much the same, though now I can’t remember if this is quad or “just” tri-bundled. It’s absurd design for “250 MW” load, so we know there’s going to be more. Though with the energy market as it is, can’t see a need for more anytime soon, and with COVID shutdown, Minnesota Power demand is down 40% or so.

It was so cold that first year. Minnesota Power held its own PR meetings before it even formally applied, in International Falls circa 2012:

In Grand Rapids at the Sawmill:

Formal meetings were held later, also in Grand Rapids. And Burl Ives (yes, that’s his name, and he’s a County Commissioner, District 4, now) wasn’t thrilled that I was handing out flyers at his hotel, but we had a good chat and he got it, he saw that I was graciously greeting people and handing out info, not making them run the gauntlet:

And Taconite?

And 2013, another cold winter road show, THE COLDEST, this was in the ambulance garage, and I really did not have fun on this road show:

In 2014, we had meetings in warmth, all over, another road show, well attended, with good treats:

Note the Executive Order, E.O. 12038:

And some not so well attended…

And came 2015, the DOE’s EIS meetings, unbearably hot, unfunded so couldn’t get hotel, and we stayed in site 12 in Big Bog State Park in our “new” pop-up, the site had a dock, and was swarming with bugs, the worst I’ve ever experienced. NEVER AGAIN! We were picking out bug carcasses for years afterward (there were still bugs embedded in the screens when we sold it last fall!).

And then the rain, the Rainy River was overflowing the banks, one city’s municipal campground was flooded, standing water everywhere through torrential rainfall and super high winds:

Who knew there were honey bee colonies all over along Hwy 11??

And PUC hearings the following month, another series of road shows:

Then the PUC’s permit:

And now it’s up and running… sigh…

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Filed under Canada permitting, Certificate of Need, DOE (Dept of Energy), Environmental Review, FERC Filings, Hearings, Media, Meetings, MP, Need, Open Houses, Presidential Permit, PUC Filings, Routing Docket

Watch the GNTL Commission deliberation NOW!


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.

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Filed under Meetings, MISO, Routing Docket

Commission Meeting 2/25 — this is it!


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:

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
20158-113390-01 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:


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:


217NeighAnd in the Recommendation:

25_NeighCharlotte Neigh’s complete Comments:

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!


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!!


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

Concerns about hydro? Really, Fresh Energy?


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

ALJ Order filed, no RRANT intervention


ALJ O’Reilly has issued her Order, and each of RRANT’s Motions were denied.  Here’s the Order:


It seems that it’s not a problem if landowners potentially affected don’t get notice, landowners who could have transmission over their land.  A point raised was that none of these landowners have tried to intervene… well… do they even know???

… sigh…

Well, the RRANT public comment is in, and we’ll see what happens.

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Filed under 7850, Condemnation, Easements, Hearings, Meetings, PUC Filings, Routing Docket

RRANT Public Comments just filed

So here I sit, in the Bear Paw campground next to Lake Itasca, and realize that there’s been no Order on the RRANT_Motion to Intervene Out of Time and TODAY is the deadline for Public Comments.  So the choice was to file something today, or forever hold my peace if the ALJ doesn’t file an Order.  OK… fine… whatever… there’s internet access in the Bear Paw campground, site 38e, love the information age, so BRING IT ON!


Just filed: RRANT Public Comment FINAL

The DNR filed some new comments too, haven’t read them, but referenced them because they’d requested more information about the “Effie alternative” and Minnesota Power did NOT want that alternative to be used.




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Filed under 7850, Hearings, PUC Filings, Routing Docket

Can you believe Commerce EERA would file this?





Here’s the recap:

The most recent Dept. of Commerce EERA letter…


… was sent in response to the Administrative Law Judge’s letter directing them to follow through on her request for an Affidavit from the person who mailed the landowners notice, those “ADDITIONAL new landowners” who were supposedly sent notice prior to the one that was sent in July.

From the top:

  • Notice sent out to some landowners on February 9, 2015, and to some on July 27, 2015, evidenced by filing in eDockets:
  • I discovered this eFiled document and contacted Sharon Ferguson about the mailing of the 27th of July, and after reviewing the document, she said that yes, she served that last page of “ADDITIONAL new landowners” on July 27, 2015, and that the others had been served earlier, on February 9, 2015.  I went over it twice to be clear, to make sure I understood it correctly.
  • Upon learning that the one page of “ADDITIONAL new landowners” got their first notice on July 27, 2015, I filed for RRANT (Intervenor in Certificate of Need docket) to intervene in this routing docket: RRANT_Motion to Intervene Out of Time.
  • At the hearing the following day, I entered the last two pages of the Notice, the “24 landowners” list and the July 27, 2015 Certificate of Service as Exhibit 280.  Pages 18-19 from 7272015_Notice_p18_20157-112741-01
  • At the hearing, I was told by Asst. A.G. Jensen that this was just a clerical error, that Sharon Ferguson was handed a big pile of landowner lists that had previously been served and instructed to file them on eDockets (see above, eDocket filing 20157-112741-01 ), and for some unknown reason she also filed a Certificate of Service dated July 27, 2015, in addition to the one dated February 9, 2015, that was in the eDocket filing with the letter and landowner lists.
  • During the hearing, Bill Storm stated (was he under oath?)(from DRAFT Transcript (selected)_8-13-2015) (note that only Sharon Ferguson is mentioned):




Speculative hearsay…  Then Asst. A.G. Linda Jensen went on to state:


Then Judge O’Reilly asks, to clarify:


“Correct.”  Uh-huh… and more clarification:


But Exhibit 113 does not equal 20157-112741-01Exhibit 113 is missing the last page of what was filed on eDockets.  And yet Exhibit 113 was entered after July 27, 2015… and it was entered into the record with certain representations… (when that transcript comes out, I’ll post that snippet.).

And the wrap-up:




And now, the kicker:


And from Mr. Storm:


Nope, doesn’t seem that he can!  What Commerce EERA produces is an Affidavit from Bill Storm, not Sharon Ferguson, with more and different speculative hearsay, and this time it’s not about Sharon Ferguson, but now it’s about a new character, “Caren Warner,” who supposedly sent that one page of “ADDITIONAL new landowners” notice that their land may be affected…

Letter  Brief & Attachments_20158-113390-01

EH?  There’s still no Affidavit of Sharon Ferguson!  What happened to the Affidavit from Sharon Ferguson?  The story now is different than it was at the hearing, as reflected in the transcript, and now there’s a new character!  Caren Warner!  And no Affidavit of Caren Warner!



Next the Administrative Law Judge fired this off:

Letter from ALJ O’Reilly to DOC Asst. A.G. Jensen_20158-113402-01

… in pertinent part:


So what did Commerce produce this time?  Check it out:



Ms. Warner has no memory of that day:


Sounds like the Rose Mary Woods School of Clerical Endeavors:


Looks to me that the logical presumption is that those 24 “ADDITIONAL new landowners” were not served on February 9, 2015.

Do the Rose Mary!!!  On a count of four, the backwards-leaning stretch reach, and forward for a count of 4.  Ready, 1, 2, 3, 4,  BACKwards-leaning STRETCH REACH, forward 2 3 4, BACKwards-leaning STRETCH REACH, forward 2 3 4, BACKwards-leaning STRETCH REACH, forward 2 3 4, BACKwards-leaning STRETCH REACH, forward 2 3  vamp, 1, 2, 3, 4, hold that RRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEACH!  18.5 minutes… HOLD…. HOLD… HOLD…. HOLD… 18.5 minutes… HOLD…. HOLD… HOLD…. HOLD… 18.5 minutes… HOLD…. HOLD… HOLD…. HOLD…


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Filed under 7850, Hearings, PUC Filings, Routing Docket

Commerce EERA Responds… NOT!


UPDATE:  Letter from ALJ O’Reilly to DOC Asst. A.G. Jensen_20158-113402-01



That letter above pretty much sums up the issue at hand.

The ALJ asked Commerce-EERA to produce an Affidavit from the person serving late notice to the “ADDITIONAL new landowners” and they didn’t do it.   Affidavit regarding service of the person who actually did it?  Yup, it was pretty specific.  From the transcript, pages 33-35:


And this:


And this:


Here’s the RRANT_Motion to Intervene Out of Time.

Here’s selected parts of the 8-13-2015 hearing transcript, thanks to David Moeller, Minnesota Power:

Transcript (selected)_8-13-2015

So what did Commerce EERA send?


Starting with this:


This “takes no position” declaration was followed by 2+ pages, single spaced, of position after position!  The letter discussed everything BUT the issue at hand” Did the 24 “ADDITIONAL new landowners” get notice of this proceeding on February 9, 2015, and the Affidavit regarding same from the person who did or didn’t do it.

Rather than attach an Affidavit from the person serving notice, as requested by the ALJ, they attached an Affidavit of Bill Storm, as much speculative hearsay as it was at the hearing on August 13, 2015.

Rather than attach an Affidavit from the person serving notice, as requested by the ALJ, they imply that because “Attachment 3” shows that John Wahlberg asked to be put on the service list in June, JUNE, at the same address as Wahlberg Trust, one of the 24 “ADDITIONAL new landowners,” must have received notice.   Constructive notice is likely, but what about actual notice?  That’s what we’re trying to get at here.

So if it went down as Commerce EERA says it did, why aren’t they producing an Affidavit from the primary person who served Notice on February 9, 2015, be it Sharon Ferguson, Caren Warner, or someone else?

This isn’t a criminal trial, and administrative rules of evidence are not court rules, BUT… not producing the Affidavit as ALJ O’Reilly requested, specifically, several times, opens the door to an inference that they’re doing the best they can and that they can’t produce what the ALJ asked for.

Lack of notice has been a recurrent problem, and yes, we’re trying to deal with this in rulemaking, latest draft released earlier this month:

Onward with PUC Certificate of Need and Routing Rulemaking

Anyway, here’s what I sent in response:

RRANT Response to DOC-EERA

To this RRANT Response, MP’s attorney writes, just now:

Judge O’Reilly – I would note that while OAH Rules (1405.0900) allow other parties or persons to respond or object to a Petition To Intervene, the Rules do not provide for “a reply to the replies.” At some point, the process must stop or parties and participants could continually reply to one another. Minnesota Power respectfully suggests that Ms. Overland’ latest filing should be ignored and a decision made on the basis of the filings and arguments to date.

Yeah… whatever… OAH Rules 1405.0900 is not prohibitive either.  Let’s be clear, Minnesota Power, this is NOT about you (though in other dockets it’s been the Applicants bringing in new routes at the last minute).  This is about the Minnesota Department of Commerce apparently failing to provide notice to landowners targeted in scoping, and failing to comply with the ALJ’s request for an Affidavit regarding service from the person doing the job, not Bill Storm and his speculative hearsay.

Decision time?  Yes, bring it on…

What bothers me about this is that never, at no time, ever, should any landowner be subjected to a transmission line without notice and an opportunity to speak their mind about it, to decide whether to participate or not, to intervene or not, and if they do, to do all they can to speak up!  If anyone thinks that someone who has not been given notice should “host” a transmission line, or be considered to “host” a transmission line, there’s a serious hole where their sense of ethics and their moral compass should be.  And then there’s that pesky matter of due process.



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