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Carol Overland - Legalectric
Carol A. Overland, Overland Law Office -- Utility Regulatory and Land Use Advocacy
Updated: 1 hour 47 min ago
WOW, what a long strange trip this has been. I’ve been on this since Chisago I (1996) and Arrowhead:
Arrowhead was exempted, and hence Buy the Farm doesn’t apply, so that went to the Appellate Court, which tossed it out. And the 2001 statutory changes, which defined “high voltage transmission lines” as anything over 100 kV, meaning Buy the Farm would apply to 115 kV lines like SE Metro, and Chisago, but nooooo, can’t have that, so Sen. Metzen then amended in 2002 so that it only applies to lines 200 kV or over. GRRRRRRRRRRRR.
Here’s the update in the Belle Plaine Herald (why is there nothing whatsoever in the STrib?). GRE’s Randy Fordice claims it’s vaguely worded, but I think it’s pretty specific:
All rights and protections provided to an owner under chapter 117 apply to acquisition of land or an interest in land under this section.
DOH! Vague my ass…
The amendment was passed “with great bipartisan support,” 114-18, said Sen. Kevin Dahle, DFL-Northfield. It requires companies like CapX 2020, which is running a transmission line from Sioux Falls, S.D. across Minnesota to reimburse landowners and farmers for fees incurred in the process of acquiring land via eminent domain for losses incurred during the process.
Monday afternoon, Dahle said he believed the amendment would win passage in the House, but only if the House of Representatives finished its business dealing with budget, taxation and childcare unionization issues. Those meaty issues had to be addressed before the House would take up the amendment to the “Buy the Farm” law.
Dahle was able to win passage of the amendment by linking it to another utility-related bill, avoiding a committee hearing process by which most bills are vetted. He said the end run annoyed some lawmakers, but that it is a tactic periodically used to get a bill through the process on short order.
On the House side, Woodard said the amendment was originally included in the environment bill, but pulled out during conference committee. With efforts of Bly and Woodard lobbying their respective colleagues for support, passage was assured, Woodard said.
CapX is less than thrilled with the passage. Randy Fordice, a spokesman for the group of utilities working together on high-voltage power line projects across the state, including the line that runs south of Belle Plaine across Blakeley and Belle Plaine townships, said the vaguely-worded amendment muddies the issues associated with the so-called reasonableness clause included in “Buy the Farm” requests.
He added that the amendment could result in more questions associated with the ruling the Minnesota Supreme Court is considering. That case involves relocation costs and minimal compensation. A district court sided with a farmer affected by CapX’s Fargo-to-Monticello transmission line. The state appeals court sided with CapX, noting that landowners elected to move.
It’s a sad day in Red Wing and in Port Penn this morning. Our neighbor Lake, who I’ve known since he was six months old, has died.
When I met him, I was down in the street in front of the house, and he and his human, Barry, came trotting down the street. He was just a pup, and at 6 months was the size of my Katze, a year and a half old shepherd, and he was 20 pounds heavier already! He was your typical lab pup, full of energy. He and Katze would leap up the two retaining walls up to the house, run behind the house and around a few times, jump down, and repeat, and repeat, and repeat. You could hear their peals of laughter and joy in being dogs. Did I mention he was full of energy? My other dogs weren’t as good to him, frankly, they were bitches, but Lake, lab that he is, was a gentleman always.
When I’d visit the Moens, he’d always cozy up to me, maybe smelling the treats in my pocket, or maybe just enjoying my “Eau de Shep,” and his BIG head would always rest on my knee, trusting. He was the kind of dog you couldn’t resist hugging, who would make a good bedwarmer on a cold Minnesota night.
Poor dear didn’t do too well when I took care of him not that long ago, he drank and drank and made himself sick, WOW, his belly held a lot!!! He recovered quickly, ready to eat more, OK, fine, Lake, but no more water!!!!
He’d been visibly slowing down, trudging along 8th Street, not wanting to run up the bluff, and recently it got to where he couldn’t do stairs (see photo, that’s a real problem) or go for walks. Then he quit eating, where even beef and rice had no appeal. The photo of him was his last morning, surveying his kingdom in Red Wing.
Lake, we’ll miss you, good neighbor!!! Give my regards to our grrrrrrrrrrls Katze, Krie, Kenya and Summer who are there to meet you and show you the ropes… and bones, and venison steaks, and running paths!
Got to Delaware just in time — Matt and Linda got married today. As Alan says, it’s good they can be together for 18 years and still want to get married! THEY DID IT!
They’re my favorite people in Delaware, well, except for Alan of course, and Matt’s mother makes pizelles to die for! Matt and Linda run DelPizzo Construction:
Linda and Matt are both are active environmentalists, Matt has been a primary part of Delaware Audubon for ages and they did the heavy lifting last year when Audubon gave Alan its environmental award. Linda has amazing artistic talents, making Alan a beautiful 6 foot bright blue sequin fish costume for a hearing, and for a demonstration in Dover, flat black cut-outs, a water buffalo/pig (?) representing former Gov. Minner connected by chains and led around by the nose by a big bankster! That’s Matt in the tan fish outfit at the Delaware AudubonFest:
As weddings go, it was as good as it gets (well, I’m not a big fan, don’t cha know), haven’t been to a wedding in SO long… and, well, I’ve got an aversion to this day, May 18 is my anniversary, 39 years ago — I told Linda about that and she noted that she was 6 months old then. SAY WHAT! Whoa, talk about feeling like an old fart, we’re as old as their parents — I had no idea! Anyway, for them, and to get some long overdue work done in DE, we hit the road. It was in historic Odessa, Delaware, at the Corbit-Sharp House, really a complex of historic houses and a great barn for serving. Appetizers (veggies, fruit, cheeze, bread) and sufficient ETOH to be lubricated prior to the show, a short and sweet ceremony, and on to dinner, mostly vegan, PIZELLES and the Rock Fish with Chimichurri Sauce, oh so good, the Cantwell’s Tavern did the food. And PIZELLES! Vegan wedding cake of carrot and pineapple (coconut and ??? frosting, maybe soy milk or soy cream cheeze?). Have to admit, I skipped the cigar bar… and did I mention PIZELLES???!!!???
A few weeks ago when Matt was in Minnesota on an Anderson Windows junket, we corralled him for dinner, he sacrificed a tour in the pole-dancer bus, and it was clear how much he was missing Linda (well, that’s Alan and my guess anyway), they’re one of the few couples I know who are a joy to be around together. So after 18 years, here they go, married – ’bout time!
CONGRATULATIONS, Matt & Linda!
A little birdie tells me that my site is a snooze.
That’s true. I’ve been getting some domestic projects done that I’ve been ignoring, and I’ve started a big project that requires lots of research… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… believe me, that’s more of a snooze than my blog, and I hope worth the wait.
So what else is happening?
The Goodhue Wind project was taken off the May 2 Public Utilities Commission agenda and “temporarily” rescheduled for June 20, 2013. But there’s a new filing provided by Xcel Energy that got me snortin’ recently, dig this:
And no hints – you’ve got to read the whole thing. Peter Mastic is more than a little bruised after this letter!
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) released its 2012 Long Term Reliability Assessment last November. This rates a BIG SIGH, I have yet to post it. How can that be? Well, November was a hectic time, to put it mildly, but then I look and it’s the same thing last year. Anyway, here we go!
And in case you missed it:
Now, as to some of the specifics in the 2012 Reliability Assessment. I was recently asked about “wind replacing coal” which is a popular fallacy, because it doesn’t replace coal, not physically, not electrically, not legally, no way, no how.
And NERC Report p. 107 – Retiring coal plants are the old small ones (divide the MW by units)
When you’re hearing people crowing about less coal generation, about using less coal, and about generating less CO2, that’s all because there’s less demand, they’re not needing the old, expensive smaller coal plants to meet demand.
Another view of retirements –dispatch is on “economic” basis, meaning cheapest first. That means big coal. The old small coal plants are very costly to run and usually don’t. What this means is that they can shut down the small inefficient and uneconomic plants without suffering because they don’t need them for demand, and they’re high priced to operate and usually sit idle anyway. Now that natural gas is so cheap, it also means natural gas, although in Midwest, they don’t use gas for baseload, as they do on east coast. So the gas here is peaking power, and is usually more expensive because it’s owned by IPP and under Power Purchase Agreements for peaking (high price). Though Xcel owns its own gas now, remember it repowered a couple old coal plants, and they probably could use that more often and don’t have to pay the higher prices of peaking PPAs. See Retirements, NERC Report, p. 8 of 335:
And remember, not one Renewable Energy Standard “replaces” anything. It is a mandate to generate more electricity ON TOP OF the surplus. And the mandate is needed because there is no market. It’s adding surplus to surplus. Not one RES in the nation says “generation X MW of renewable and decrease fossil by X or X-Y or ?.” There is no replacement intended or accomplished. Further unlike solar, wind is off peak, when they’re doing their market transactions, selling all the coal they can. How much can they sell? Well, it’s not reported in the MISO section of the NERC report, which states that only internal transactions MISO are reported (again, click for larger view):
Anyway, bottom line is that reserve margins are twice what they need to be (click chart for the big picture):
Today begins a holiday weekend in SE Minnesota, well, it started yesterday, but so did the snow, so we’re getting a late start.100 mile garage sale!
Clean up started in earnest today, they had a bucket truck, bobcat and pick up, and I woke up to a chorus of chain saws.
The office is CLOSED today!
Need I say more? Well, there is more coming down, it’s snowing steadily…
Guy from City just came through with a front end loader and rammed into the tree and ripped it apart and plowed it over to the side:
What a mess. Once they get a plow through, snow seems to melt and it’s passable, but all over the walks and yards, it’s just sitting there. Nobody is moving. Mailman was climbing around the tree limbs, they’re everywhere. If I could get out, I’d seriously consider heading to Costa Rica. This is absurd.
They did change the headline, but the Red Wing Republican Eagle (“the Beagle”) printed my Commentary on Wednesday (the same day that the Public Utilities Commission postponed the Goodhue Wind May 2nd agenda item until June 20th!):Commentary: Respect blows strong for Earth and citizens
By: Carol Overland, The Republican Eagle
Participation is the foundation of our democracy, and the people showed up, building their credibility at every turn. Local government wrestled with divergent interests to responsibly address the issues at stake. At tremendous cost and effort, residents learned to navigate regulatory agencies, respectfully participate in many meetings, research and consult experts, network with others, meet with county, federal and state agencies and committees, join a contested case, hold informational meetings with films and speakers, write comments and press releases, and testify before decision-makers. It’s been an exhausting rollercoaster ride.
T. Boone Pickens took his financing and turbines, abandoning the project. Trishe Wind, purchaser of National Wind, rejected the project. NSP declared the Power Purchase Agreements in default and rejected all subsequent proposals.
This project fails as a matter of energy policy, because it would not replace a single megawatt of fossil generation or reduce CO2 levels. The Renewable Energy Standard is a mandate to add generation, but it’s not “either/or,” because there’s no replacement or shutdown of fossil generation.
Xcel Energy doesn’t need Goodhue Wind because it’s met its RES quota far ahead of schedule. Further, Goodhue Wind is not locally owned, not locally financed, and is not community energy development by any definition.
Developers utilized unethical practices in securing land contracts and silencing those who signed them, pitting neighbors and family members against each other. Much is deemed “trade secret,” but landowners are backing out, and the project’s land control is in doubt.
Environmentally, the Goodhue Wind project would do much harm. Despite Minnesota’s unfortunate exemption of wind projects from environmental review, we learned that “renewable” doesn’t mean there are no harmful impacts.
This project is located along the largest migratory bird pathway in North America. Eagles nest in the project footprint and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates the project would kill eight to 14 eagles annually, 160-240 dead eagles over a 20-year project life.
The developers haven’t completed avian and bat surveys, one monitor has been hanging broken for seven months, and they refuse to comply with USFWS modeling guidance. Contractors have exhibited gross arrogance in conducting surveys and in contacts with landowners, including alleged trespassing and initiating legal action against a lawful resident, enraging the judge who dismissed the case.
Were the project built, it would be without regard to the residents and livestock, with turbines closer than the county ordinance prescribes, and closer than recommended by the Minnesota Department of Health.
If built, the project would inflict low frequency noise on adjacent residents and subject them to shadow flicker for which Commerce suggests “shades” as mitigation. The only way to mitigate the impacts is to site with adequate setbacks, such as the one-half mile buffer which the health department notes should eliminate complaints.
I love it when this happens, it’s almost as good as the results of a google image search for “Excelsior yahoos” this morning:
Big thanks to a little birdie who relayed the good news:
hee hee hee hee hee, I LOVE it when this happens…