“hoping that facts make a difference”

From CETF’s attorney, Paula Maccabee:

Hello, Folks:

Thought you might want to see a copy of CETF’s comments on the CapX2020 La Crosse Project EIS scoping now underway through the USDA RUS.

The documents filed by Dairyland, along with the evidence of new Xcel forecast filed in the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant cases, confirm some of the conclusions we had previously projected from less complete data.  (Take a look at Figure 1, Figure 2 and Figure 3 if you only have time to
skim the documents).

Here’s hoping that facts make a difference.

Best regards,

Paula Maccabee, Esq.
Counsel for Citizens Energy Task Force

Read the rest of this concise statement of CETF’s position on CapX2020 HERE.

PUC meeting on CETF’s and NoCapX’s Petitions for Reconsideration

On July 14 the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission met concerning Petitions for Reconsideration brought by CETF and NoCapX2020.

  1. The PUC quickly decided not to reconsider any of the issues CETF or the NoCapX group asked to reconsider.
  2. Regarding the Office of Energy Security petition for removal of wind conditions on the Brookings Line:The PUC’s May 22nd 3-2 vote on wind conditions for the Brookings line made the decision vulnerable to reconsideration. The Commissioners at first discussed  removing the conditions entirely, citing “unintended consequences” of their decision on costs for energy generating companies. However, after our attorney, Paula Maccabee argued from details in the record, that cost allocation was not affected by the wind condition decision, the PUC decided they would only change wind conditions if and when the Applicants came back to them with a separate order showing why the conditions could not work. Paula’s comment from the hearing:“It was heartening to know that a big part of the reason why the wind conditions weren’t rejected entirely was the fact that citizens had been promised that the Brookings line was for wind. By the end of the discussion, even some of the least supportive commissioners were making CETF’s point.”

Important meeting tomorrow, July 14

July 14 – We need citizens to attend this very important meeting.

The PUC has scheduled the hearing on whether to accept or decline the petitions for reconsideration for Tuesday, July 14. This item is the third item on the PUC agenda, and the calendar begins at 9:30 am.

Please do your best to attend this meeting. Citizen presence made a big difference on the PUC’s decision to add wind conditions to the CapX 2020 Brookings Line and they should see that we want those conditions to remain.

At this meeting, the PUC will also decide on the CETF petition to reopen the LaCrosse Line case because of new declining energy use #’s revealed by Xcel Energy after the PUC decision was announced in May, and additional information from the USFWS that the La Crosse line would cause environmental harm.

If you have questions contact Bev Topp at 952-469-4859.

More reasons we don’t need CapX2020

Gundersen Lutheran, a major medical center that spent 4 million on utilities in 2007, is projecting to be energy neutral by 2014, with the help of a large grant from Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy.  Read about it at Gunderson Lutheran, LaCrosse Tribune, and Wisconsin State Journal, and again, comment where you can!  This is the direction we’ll be going, with or without the dinosaur-based power companies.

DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS ON THE SCOPE OF ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW FOR THE LA CROSSE CAPX2020 PROJECT HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO JULY 25, 2009

There has been some confusion about how citizens may submit their comments about the CapX2020 La Crosse Project. Comments may be submitted by mail or electronically to:

Stephanie A. Strength
Environmental Protection Specialist/RD
1400 Independence Ave. SW Room # 2244
Washington, DC 20250-1571
stephanie.strength@usda.gov

Here are some of the kinds of points you can make.

  1. Updated forecasts of electric peak demand do not support the need for the CapX2020 ultra high voltage power line projects, including the La Crosse Project;
  2. The CapX2020 La Crosse ultra high voltage power line will cause environmental harm — including visual impacts in scenic corridors, health risks due to electro-magnetic fields, decline in property values, loss of prime agricultural land, risks to rare and endangered species, fragmentation of habitat in a national wildlife refuge, and bird mortality along the Mississippi Flyway.
  3. The La Crosse Project should be considered with other CapX2020 power lines which create the potential for transmission of coal power east from the Dakotas to load centers east of Minnesota. The environmental consequences of coal and coal pollution due to the La Crosse line result in additional adverse impacts of the project.
  4. Conservation, local generation and local transmission can solve any local reliability issues at a much lower cost to ratepayers without damaging the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife Refuge, Scenic Byways and other protected natural resources that would be impaired by the La Crosse Project and without providing transmission from distant coal plants;
  5. Taxpayers should not finance any portion of the the CapX2020 La Crosse Project through the USDA Rural Utilities Service.

UPDATE: HERE is a letter from Southeast Minnesota Senator Sharon Erickson Ropes.

Powerline opposition groundswell: lots of new press

A lot is happening around CapX2020 in southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin in the last week or so.  Here are links to some recent press.  Read the articles, and post comments where you can!

For a good summary of CETF’s petition, read this backgrounder by CETF attorney Paula Macabee if you haven’t yet.