Are you interested in participating in a transmission Advisory Task Force? Do you want your local government official to represent you on the Task Force? Are you part of a group that wants representation on an Advisory Task Force? Here’s a form I’ve put together simply tailored to groups and individuals (see below for more information about Task Forces):
The Department of Commerce has requested that the PUC Reconsider its authorization of Task Forces for the Great Northern Transmission Line as the invitations were sent out but few have offered to participate. Commerce focused on local government officials because the statute specifies that, but local interest groups and regular people should be a part of this process as well. Anyway, based on that lack of response, to their credit, Commerce got on the phone, started calling, and the efforts they made are all listed here in the request to the Commission to Reconsider:
Have the people whose job it is to show up and participate in Task Forces been contacted? Does Commerce have the right contact names? Has there been time to select a representative? Most townships meet just once a month? Are there groups missing that should receive invitations? Should this be published in local papers, Public Service Announcements for the radio? Looks like it’s time to contact local government officials and find out why they’re not participating! Looks like it’s time to sign up and volunteer!
The PUC has opened a Comment period — if you care about the Task Force, if you want the PUC to move forward with the Task Force, if you want to see it review the application, if you want to be a part of it, and if you want your Township, County, City or other group to have a representative on it, you’ve got to let the Commission know before August 22nd:
From that PUC Notice:
Submit Public Comments: Visit mn.gov/puc, select Comment on an Issue, find docket 14-21, and add your comments to the discussion. Persons without internet access may send by U.S. mail to: Burl Haar, Executive Secretary Minnesota Public Utilities Commission 121 7th Place East, Suite 350, St. Paul MN 55101-2147. Please include the Commission’s docket number in all communications.
Who cares? Well, it’s one of the primary means for the public to participate and be heard about routing, environmental review, and suggest alternate routes to be analyzed in the Environmental Impact Statement. So I’d hope that everyone in the area would care!!!
Unfortunately, well, take a look at the Request to Reconsider Task Forces and look at all the local government representatives that were contacted and said they’re “NOT INTERESTED!”
Part of the Minnesota Power Plant Siting Act, the chapter of laws for siting utility infrastructure such as the Not-so-Great Northern Transmission Line, is a statute, Minn. Stat. 216E.08, which authorizes the use of Citizen Advisory Task Forces to review the application, consider their community, and raise issues that the state should consider in both routing and environmental review, including alternate routes.
The people who live and work in a community know best the environmental, economic, and social considerations, it’s one of those “ya have to be there” things. A “desktop survey” is not enough, those on the ground need to weigh in on what’s important in a community.
Here’s a form to submit to become a member of the Advisory Task Force:
Note this was tailored for local government officials only. This is a problem, because participation is NOT limited to local government officials. Members of local groups and individuals can participate, SHOULD participate:
The commission may appoint one or more advisory task forces to assist it in carrying out its duties. Task forces appointed to evaluate sites or routes considered for designation shall be comprised of as many persons as may be designated by the commission, but at least one representative from each of the following: Regional development commissions, counties and municipal corporations and one town board member from each county in which a site or route is proposed to be located. No officer, agent, or employee of a utility shall serve on an advisory task force.
Here’s an alternate form that I just cobbled together — if you’re interested, send it in ASAP so that they’ll know there IS interest!