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    Source:  SOUL of Wisconsin

    Utilities Strive to Stifle Citizen Intervenors  

    Source:  SOUL of Wisconsin | Action alerts, Economics, Emissions, Hearings, Iowa

    Iowa Cardinal Hickory Creek Hearings

    PUBLIC ATTENDANCE VITAL

    December 10, 11 and 12, 9am-5pm
    Hotel Julien, 200 Main Street
    Dubuque, Iowa

    Your presence is needed to support the efforts of public intervenors at the upcoming hearings in Dubuque. If successful, legal obstacles laid down by transmission builders ITC-Midwest and Dairyland Power Cooperative would remove Ms. Chris Klopp and three other public intervenors from impacting the technical proceedings and:

    • Eliminate the only arguments challenging need for the proposed Cardinal Hickory Creek expansion transmission line.[1]
    • Eliminate the precedent of an electric customer studying materials and substantively questioning utility assumptions and omissions in a utility case in Iowa;
    • Eliminate the precedent of an electric customer directly defending public interests upon which utility decisions are supposed to rest.
    • Eliminate the precedent of an electric customer in one state protesting the approval of a “cost shared” transmission project in another state. (Klopp resides in Cross Plains, WI, but such protest could arise from most Midwest states.)
    • Eliminate the example of an electric customer insisting on the determination of electric bill impacts and CO2 emission reduction accountability as requested by an affected county government, Dubuque County, IA.
    • Eliminate the example of an electric customer criticizing regional transmission planning for providing only regional generalizations of impact, and not clear quantification of impacts on state levels.

    Why Ratepayer Resistance?

    When a state like Iowa considers the proposal of a transmission line as large and as expensive as Cardinal Hickory Creek (CHC), profiting utilities and citizen parties known as “intervenors” make their arguments in a legal setting or “case.” Unlike regular citizens, utilities can afford to hire several law firms and industry experts to plead for them. Unless they have extra thousands, regular citizens must use the judicial right to represent themselves (without counsel) and, unless they hire technical experts, rely on records in the case or elsewhere to make their observations. Because of her great familiarity intervening in CHC in Wisconsin, this is the path Ms. Klopp has taken in Iowa. Here are some of samples of her observations: Iowa rates increasing fast (p15); transmission builder’s profits (p17); CO2 emissions on order of 2%-4% (p29) Dubuque County Iowa Requests for ratepayers (p7) and lack of cost benefit analysis for Iowa electric customers (p18)

    What Obstacles Have Utilities Laid?

    The four citizen intervenors are alone against large sums being spent to silence them. In the months leading up to the crucial public hearings December 10-12 in Dubuque, Ms. Klopp has faced round after round of legal filings seeking to strike her testimony and block her participation. She has endured repeated attempts to invade her personal life. Even though Ms. Klopp has studied the CHC case for nearly two years, holds a degree in Chemistry and has decades of experience at the Wisconsin DNR, Ms. Klopp has been routinely called down by law firms and lobbyists for clean energy groups as “lack[ing] training, education, or experience;” and making “misleading statements.” CHC agents are encouraging state regulators to strike her words from the record and “reject her position as unreasonable.”[2,3]

    So far, while caring for family members with special needs at the same time, Ms. Klopp has managed to defend her rights from this barrage. The grind will continues through the holiday season without respite.

    What Motivates Citizen Intervenors?

    Like the majority of families living in rural settings, Ms. Klopp and fellow citizen intervenors Mike Deutmeyer, Linda Grice and Dena Kurt are protecting everything: their homes, farms and the natural assets they steward. Before and after assessments show that property affected by 345 kV transmission lines can lose from 15-75% value.[4] But even greater than devastating financial loss, they know from the experiences of others that once the towering, ever-present reminder is built, it forces people to abandon their homes, their purpose and their pride.

    But that is not her strongest motivation. Ms. Klopp, who is also on the SOUL Board, recounted this summer that, personally, she could not allow the Cardinal Hickory Creek proposal that should have been defeated in Wisconsin earlier this year to breeze through Iowa regulatory review without constructive public discussion about the right energy path going forward. She observed that if engineering staff of Public Service Commission of Wisconsin was strong enough to stand up for truth and state that CHC was unlikely to meet transmission builders’ promises and to recommend much less expensive transmission system upgrades, she could too. Ms. Klopp filed to join the three citizen intervenors, bringing in her awareness, experience and skills.

    An Injury to One is an Injury to All

    Increasingly, citizens, land keepers, environmentalists, neighborhoods and communities across the county are being encroached upon by outside developers seeking to extract local resources for their personal gain. In some respects, the fight for the right of access to lunch counters, busses and elite clubs has climbed to higher order places where state law, agencies and courts are consistently swayed by those who yield more money and legal fire power. Monied interests are increasingly bold in their affronts because they are entirely unafraid to see matters, small and large, end up in court.

    Despite the historical, popular opposition to CHC in Wisconsin that included hundreds of thousands of dollars of (mostly pro bono) legal commitment and the best experts in the US, PSC Com-missioners simply stood behind their association with monied interests and thumbed their noses at what was in the best interests of all. When challenged for having conflicted interests, Com-missioner Huebsch, who cannot propose transmission lines on his own, threatened the public in attendance, “And if you believe that this transmission line that we put up is the last you are going to have to deal with, you are wrong.”

    Through history, it has been self-betterment, education and the will to solve problems as communities that has forged what is dearest to all. The ability to solve problems, through the bonds of friendships, families, neighbors and nations gives us grace and peace.

    Developers with less generous interests are far less inclined to proceed when encountering persons like Chris Klopp and every community possesses such individuals. Consciously recognizing this ability in ourselves and those we depend on may be one of the most important things we can do.

    Consider carpooling to Dubuque during the hearings December 10-12 and showing your support. Directions to Hotel Julien: https://goo.gl/maps/gwk1jJazb6n9G6XK9

    NOTES
    1. Klopp Reply Testimony, https://efs.iowa.gov/cs/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dID=277152
    Klopp Response to Motion to Strike Testimony, https://efs.iowa.gov/cs/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dID=279403
    Klopp Prehearing Brief, https://efs.iowa.gov/cs/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dID=280177
    2. Motion to Strike Chris Klopp Reply Testimony and Exhibits, https://efs.iowa.gov/cs/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dID=277864
    Resistance in Opposition to Chris Klopp’s Petition to Intervene, https://efs.iowa.gov/cs/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dID=273996
    Klopp Response to Motion To Strike https://efs.iowa.gov/cs/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dID=279403
    3. Quotes, in order:
    ITC/DPC Prehearing Brief p.12 https://efs.iowa.gov/cs/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dID=280124
    Clean Energy Intervenors Prehearing Brief p.15, https://efs.iowa.gov/cs/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dID=280117
    4. Valuation Guidelines for Properties with Electric Transmission Lines, By: Kurt C. Kielisch, http://fieldpost.org/StarkEnergy/Studies/Valuation%20Guidelines%20for%20Properties%20with%20Electric%20Transmission%20Lines%201.pdf

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