Library from Minnesota
Dan Schleck, CSS's attorney, did not return calls Monday, but CSS member Steve Groth says this ruling likely isn't the end of the already-protracted legal battle. CSS plans to meet Thursday to discuss options; it has 60 days to appeal the ruling to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Despite the support from the courts, though, the Goodhue Wind Project is at a standstill. The PUC in February rejected a plan by the company, AWA Goodhue Wind LLC, to monitor and protect eagles and bats around the proposed 32,700-acre site.
Work on a 32-turbine wind farm in Clay, Becker and Otter Tail counties will start next month.
After a lengthy discussion, city councilors decided to enact a moratorium. City Planner Dusty Finke said he expected to bring a revised ordinance before the City Council in late July or early August, thus making possible an early lifting of the moratorium. The difference between small wind and big wind might be a key issue.
A Hennepin County District Court judge has dismissed a harassment complaint filed against a Goodhue County farmer by an environmental scientist hired to do research for the AWA Goodhue wind project. ...Ryan's attorney got the case dismissed without even turning to his legal arguments.
The woman in the car was Brie Anderson, a field ecologist who was working for AWA. She said she was looking for evidence indicating whether those opposed to the wind development were putting down bait for eagles to draw more of them into the area. The number of eagles in the area could be a key to whether AWA will be one of the nation's first companies to get a federal license to legally kill or injure a specified number of them.
The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (FFM) has learned that the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is investigating a report of a dead bald eagle found beneath a wind turbine in southeast Minnesota. The bald eagle was reportedly found over the weekend on a farm near the town of LeRoy.
The AWA Goodhue project has been seeking state approval since 2008 - dividing Goodhue County opinion over turbine setback distances, road-use agreements, wildlife protection, permitting issues and disputed contracts. In late April, developer AWA Goodhue Wind filed a lawsuit against a handful of landowners, alleging illegal termination of their leases.
On Tuesday, the tribe filed a federal temporary restraining order against the project and held a protest outside the offices of Pattern Energy, which had its Ocotillo Wind Energy Project approved by the U.S. Department of Interior May 11. Quechan Tribal President Keeny Escalanti said outside Pattern's La Jolla offices that new, sacred cremation sites have been found on the project site.
The report states that the impact to most wildlife species is expected to be minimal. Bird and bat deaths would occur, the report states, but the impact could be reduced by placing turbines away from habitat areas.
In the last two weeks, Minneola and Belle Creek townships have both tabled negotiations with the wind company on required road-use agreements. Perhaps more importantly, multiple reports have surfaced this week that Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens may want out as an investor in the $180 million project.
"The spots in Minnesota where you can put big wind (projects) are gone," Juhl told the national publication. "When a developer tries to force a project into a more populated area, that's when you get a project like (AWA) Goodhue. But we're also seeing that in a lot of other states.
A T. Boone Pickens-backed wind energy company is suing several Goodhue County landowners who backed out of leases for a proposed wind farm near Red Wing that has run into opposition from surrounding residents.
After the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission decided Goodhue County's 10-rotor diameter zoning setback for wind turbines wasn't necessary, concerned citizens rallied together to ask the PUC for a reconsideration. Now, if Coalition for Sensible Siting isn't satisfied with the court's decision, ...they've been told by a few lawyers that this is a great case to take to the Supreme Court."
Dan Schleck, the attorney representing the Coalition of Sensible Siting, told the panel of three administrative law judges that the PUC "failed to use the proper standard" and "errored" when trying to establish "good cause" to overrule local authority as established by state statute. Further, Schleck argued that Minnesota's renewable energy standard adopted in 2007 cannot be used as a means to supersede local control.
"We don't have a noise standard that's designed to work for turbines," said Commissioner Paul Aasen, Dayton's appointee to Minnesota's Pollution Control Agency. Yet, the distance between an industrial wind turbine and your house is determined using the state's noise standard.
Carol Overland of Goodhue Wind Truth and Dan Schleck of Coalition for Sensible Siting have been ordered to register as lobbyists retroactive to 2011 and 2010, respectively, after probable cause was found that they received more than $3,000 for their involvement in the project's permitting process. The lobbying complaint was filed in December by Mesa Power executive Mark Ward,
On Wednesday, April 4, the council voted unanimously to support an appeal against the project filed by neighborhood residents Rene and Rachel Lerma. ...The turbine proposal "is negatively viewed by numerous residents, but also something that cannot be reversed once set in motion," Rachel Lerma said.
Xcel Energy Inc., based in Minneapolis, says it has the most wind power on its system of any U.S. electric utility. MidAmerican Energy Co., based in Des Moines, says it's the top utility in wind generation ownership. The competing claims are both legitimate, and they underscore two distinct business approaches to harnessing wind power: To own or not to own?
Nearly two months of negotiations failed to settle a lawsuit against Xcel Energy over a stalled $400 million North Dakota wind farm, Xcel Energy said Tuesday, March 20. Now Xcel is preparing for a trial, but the wind farm developer, enXco Development Corp., says it's still open to talks.