Carol Overland - Legalectric

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Carol A. Overland, Overland Law Office -- Utility Regulatory and Land Use Advocacy
Updated: 46 min 24 sec ago

Cardinal-Hickory Creek webcast!

Sat, 06/15/2019 - 12:04pm
Routes through part of Iowa County

NEXT WEEK, LIVE AT PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, starts 9:30 a.m., they’ll update link just before then:

Categories: Citizens

Dodge Center 345 kV transmission?

Sat, 06/15/2019 - 10:52am
345kV transmission through Dodge Center?

I’ve been trying to figure out where the notion of these two routes through Dodge Center originated, and went back to the Public Utilities Commission meeting video of the March 5, 2019 meeting. We have Commissioner Tuma to thank for this hare-brained idea:

Check this video (how long do they leave them up) between 7:09 and 24:50:

Commissioner Tuma suggested this right out the gate. He said “I went and google mapped… walked through these cities and unless you put it on the same pole, you’re not going to do it.” EERA’s Steinhauer’s befuddlement is apparent, and to include these route proposals in the Scoping Decision is an absolute waste of time — if Tuma had indeed gone over the routes on google earth, if he had any notion of the width of a 345kV transmission line… Earth to Mars, even if you put it on a pole, you’re not going to do it. This is what it looks like on Google Earth:

Here’s the letter we sent to Commerce yesterday — the green and red routes through Dodge Center are not workable in any sense. Look at the impact on the folks who live there — people who would be uprooted from their homes:

Applegate_Dodge County Xmsn Comments_Commerce_FINALDownload

This is the letter sent by the City of Dodge Center.

20196-153593-01_City LetterDownload

It’s something, it’s a start, but there are basic factual errors, i.e., “200 feet” mentioned twice?

Where did they get that “200” number from? 345kV easements are 150 feet, yet this 200′ is repeated over and over, and no where is there a mention of 200 feet. It also makes light of the reality of what these routes would mean, i.e., “passing within 200 feet,” rather than saying that at least ______ homes would be within the easement, residents/landowners would be displaced, and properties would be razed and clear cut. “Passing within” is just too passive…

The good news is that the City has committed to attending and speaking up at future hearings if these routes should go forward. In light of the reality of these proposals, I don’t see how Commerce could recommend they go further.

Back to the video, between 7:09 and 24:50:

In the video above, Commissioner Tuma kept referring to Freeborn, and I don’t see a similar issue here. ??? He spoke of landowners objecting, and of course landowners object, but what is the connection or similarity with the routes he’s proposing? And it was good to hear Commissioner Schuerger raising the oversized 345kV line. That’s utterly absurd, and I sure hope they get into the reasoning behind that. I’ll bet it’s all about financing and that the developer wouldn’t be held responsible for costs if it’s part of a regional system build-out like MVP.

Onward… it’s obscene to think that a transmission line of this size can be run through Dodge Center, run through people’s yards, over their homes, to waste people’s time, and subject them to this bogus “alternative” with the specter of ejecting them and bulldozing their homes.


Categories: Citizens

Xmsn through Dodge Center?

Tue, 06/04/2019 - 11:36am

The Dept. of Commerce was instructed by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to include routes for the Dodge County Wind project to include existing transmission corridors. Commerce didn’t haul out a transmission map at the time to say “WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST” and instead chose “routes” that run right through the heart of Dodge Center, and which would, with a 150′ easement, not only tower over residential neighborhood but would displace rows of homes because the easement edge would run right through the houses!

CLICK HERE for Dept. of Commerce Dodge County transmission site.


Here’s what it looks like from the sky:


CLICK HERE for City of Dodge Center page on this transmission proposal.

City of Dodge Center is missing the boat in suggesting people wait to let Commerce know how bizarre, unconstructable, and most importantly, how many people would be displaced, how many homes would be bulldozed, to build a 345kV transmission line with 150 foot rights of way through town. The time to send WRITTEN comments to Commerce is NOW, because when the DEIS is released at the end of June (probably, though maybe later), it should say that those routes through town should not be further considered as they just won’t work.

Send comments, with photos showing existing transmission in relation to your home, your neighbors’ homes, to:

The sooner you weigh in the easier it is to alter the outcome. In the case of administrative proceedings, you snooze, you lose.

The City of Dodge Center needs to get on this too, NOW. Why? It’s in the City’s interest to have routes through town and through these neighborhoods stopped, to assure that they don’t go forward in the environmental review. If you’re in Dodge Center and are concerned, contact your City Council representative:


Comments must be in writing, phone calls don’t count (though you can get more information that way, by calling Suzanne Steinhauer: (651) 201-2251).


Categories: Citizens


Mon, 06/03/2019 - 2:17pm

Inadequate — and REMANDED! Here’s the Appellate Court decision, just out:


Bottom line:
However, the commission acted in a manner unsupported by substantial evidence and arbitrary and capricious when it determined the FEIS adequate despite its failure to address the issue—raised during scoping and in public comments on the DEIS—of how an oil spill from Enbridge’s Line 3 project would impact Lake Superior and its watershed. Accordingly, we reverse the commission’s adequacy decision and remand for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

Love it when that happens…

Categories: Citizens

Supplement EIS! Just do it!

Sat, 06/01/2019 - 10:36am
Platteville to Dodgeville along U.S. Hwy 151

On Tuesday, Jewell Jinkins Intervenors had filed a Motion to Supplement the EIS in the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line project.


Neither the applicants nor the PSC were enamored with the idea. Here are their responses, filed yesterday:

Applicants’ Response to JJI’s Motion to Supplement the FEISDownload PSCW Response to JJI Motion to Supplement EISDownload

In short, they say ALJ has no authority to order a Supplement to the EIS, and that anyway, this route idea is not new, is not substantial. Oh, really? And to suggest that we wait, WAIT, until briefing! Wait until the hearing is OVER, to argue that the EIS is inadequate? Oh, right, that’ll go real far. And of course, then it’s not “new,” is it!

We have a status conferenc on June 13, 2019 at the PSC to deal with whatever is left hanging before the following week’s hearing. We’ll see how that goes.

Categories: Citizens

Reminder – Scoping meeting tomorrow – PUC Public Participation

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 12:04pm

Hot off the press, errrrr, just received email:

Reminder, the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) is holding a public meeting tomorrow to gather input about the Public Utilities Commission’s public engagement processes. 

Other Ways to Comment

If you are unable to attend the meeting, you may send us written comments through our website.  Or, you may e-mail or Laura Schwartz, the project manager, at


We do not have a deadline for comments.  However, we will use the input we receive tomorrow to help us shape the evaluation, so the sooner the better.  Most of our evaluation activities will occur throughout the summer, and the final evaluation report is planned for release in early 2020.  You may send written comments about your experiences with the Public Utilities Commission’s public engagement processes throughout the evaluation, but we encourage you to send them early. 

Meeting Details

Date:  Friday, May 31, 2019

Time:  10:00-11:00 AM

Location:  State Office Building, Room 10, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155


Please let us know if you would like to share comments confidentially.  OLA has the authority to protect your identity through Minnesota Statutes 2018, 3.979, subd. 3(c).

Laura Schwartz | Program Evaluation Manager | Office of the Legislative Auditor | Program Evaluation Division

140 Centennial Building, 658 Cedar Street, St. Paul, MN 55155 | 651-296-1232 | Fax: 651-296-4712

  Office of the Legislative Auditor

Categories: Citizens

Love letter from WI’s PSC

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 4:18pm

April 11, 2019 was one of those days at the PSC of Wisconsin (Massive Agenda at PSC tomorrow, and we’re at the tail end – April 10, 2019). As expected it went poorly, and the Commission stamped all the dockets, the two Badger Hollow (9697-CE-100) and Two Creeks (9696-CE-100) solar siting dockets (CPCN granted despite no solar siting rules); the two Badger Hollow (9697-CE-101) and Two Creeks (9696-CE-101) transmission dockets, and the joint Two Creeks and Badger Hollow acquisition docket (5-BS-228), allowing MGE and WPSC to buy the approved project’s CPCN and to build them, the new “site and acquire” model. You can review these dockets at DOCKET SEARCH HERE and plug in any and all of the docket numbers above.

Today written orders came out on the Badger Hollow solar siting CPCN and the acquisition docket. The acquisition docket is a must read, methinks they doth protesteth too much!

FINAL FINAL ORDERDownload Petition for Rehearing-JJI-05-bs-228Download FINAL ORDERDownload

And don’t forget this intense Order where the ALJ gave Quarles, Commission Chair Valcq’s former firm, what for about their unreasonable acts:


Quarles deserved every blistering word of that Order.

Methinks they doth protesteth too much!

Categories: Citizens

Busy day at WI’s PSC!

Tue, 05/28/2019 - 5:22pm

Today Rebuttal Testimony was due, and Alan Jewell, of Jewell Jinkins Intervenors was spending the day on the tractor in the mud, outstanding in his field. What a day…

Filed was the testimony and a Motion for Supplement to EIS:

Rebuttal-JJI-JewellDownload Motion-JJI-SupplementEISDownload

How is it that PSC staff proposes a reasonable route that offers significant benefit, that of running on U.S. Hwy. 151 corridor rather than cross-country through farm fields, and the PSC (yes, same PSC!) doesn’t do more than talk about in the FEIS, doesn’t analyze the route so it could be considered in the mix?!?! Time to Supplement the EIS and get it in the record, DOH!

Categories: Citizens

PSC denies Badger Hollow Rehearing

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 4:02pm

Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission works in strange ways… Today they denied the Petitions for Rehearing in the three Badger Hollow dockets. Our Petitions:

Rehearing-Jewell Jinkins Intervenors-9697-CE-100_FINALDownload Rehearing-Jewell Jinkins Intervenors-9697-CE-101_FINALDownload Rehearing-Jewell Jinkins Intervenors-05-BS-228_FINALDownload

And though they were dated a week ago, they did not publish the Staff Memorandum for each until TODAY! That’s where the staff lays out the docket record (supposedly, but, well, read them) for the Commission:

Staff Memorandum_5-16-2019_9697-CE-100Download Staff Memorandum_5-17-2019_9697-CE-10Download Staff Memorandum_5-16-2019_5-BS-228Download

Suffice it to say, this is SO depressing. This case, siting 300 MW of solar on “exclusive agricultural” land, without siting rules, and tossing out our request for rulemaking so they’d have something to go by, is absurd. This is a HUGE project covering 3,000 acres, tying up and restricting use of that land for 30-50 years, coming into a long-established agricultural community and forever changing land-use, viewshed, property values, with no consideration for the people living there, farming there, taking away their use and enjoyment of their property.

Can you spell N-U-I-S-A-N-C-E???

Categories: Citizens

Another Xcel deal…

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 3:16pm
Monticello looms above the Metro…

Over the many years, there have been many “agreements,” and over the many years, time after time, people affected by these “agreements” have come to me for advice, to represent them, as they’re faced with consequences of these agreements. What agreements? The 1994 (Chapter 641) and 2003 (Chapter 11) Prairie Island bills, the
Merger Stipulation Dec 15 1999, the 2005 Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell (Chapter 97), the e21 Xcel Business Plan pieces dribbling into Omnibus bills 2015 (Chapter 1) and since. Now this:

20195-153019-01_MEC&IRP DealDownload

The two page agreement made public is in that filing. Note the requirements related to this docket and the IRP, to support, to facilitate, to not object to Xcel’s plan. They agree to “supporting the Company’s request to recover the undepreciated balance of the King plant as a regulatory asset through 2037… of the Sherco 3 plant through 2035” [which was just rehabbed and we’re paying for that now]. They agree to Sherco 2 use “on a seasonal basis until its retirement in 2023;” 706.4 GWh of energy efficiency savings annually (not cumulative, methinks?); support of decoupling, support of acquisition of at least 3,00 MW of solar before end of 3020; and support acquisition by bidding process and proposals of build and own.

They’re using this to gain approval of Xcel’s acquisition of the Mankato Energy Center doing an end run around the Integrated Resource Plan, due to be filed any second now.

This first came to my attention when I saw Sierra Club request withdrawal of its comments in the 18-702 docket, regarding Xcel acquisition of the Mankato Energy Center (MEC) gas plant.

20195-153016-01_Sierra Withdrawal RequestDownload

What? Withdraw Comments? That’s not possible. Once something is filed, it cannot be deleted. Hmmmmmm, what on earth is it that they want to withdraw? Here ya go, note these are the “public” comments, so some redactions:

20193-150876-02_Sierra Initial Comments_PublicDownload

Very well done Comments, eh? And note, they’re right in line with the Comments of the Office of the Attorney General – RUD, which concludes:


And in a shorter version, ILSR hits the highlights:


Looking at all of this, I had to weigh in. I’m so tired of these deals that are against the public interest, deals that inflict infrastructure and other harms on unsuspecting people. Unintended consequences? Intended consequences? Reckless actions not caring? It’s not that hard to envision the resulting problems.


Really, I am so tired of these deals that are not in the public interest, and are all about rolling over for Xcel, giving them what they want, and getting a significant kicker for all that “support.” That’s how it’s happened in the past (remember all that funding for pushing transmission and coal gasification?), and odds are it’s no different today.

Remember the signs in so many windows, on so many lawns? How things change…

Categories: Citizens