The dispute centers on requests filed by Guerrero and Brusven to "list each member or participant of Goodhue Wind Truth," to "provide the home address of each individual" and to "identify all parcels in Goodhue County in the project area and buffer area ... that are owned or rented, either directly or through a trust or business entity" of the anti-wind-farm group's members. Goodhue Wind Truth's motion, filed Monday, seeks "to protect (anti-wind group members) from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression or undue burden or expense." The protective order motion claims the developer's request "serves to chill our constitutionally protected right to public participation."
The fight over a controversial wind energy project in Goodhue County is stirring up accusations from southeastern Minnesota to St. Paul.
Goodhue Wind Truth, a group opposed to the project, filed a motion for protective order this week after the project developer asked for the names, addresses and details of the land parcels owned by members of the group.
That motion, filed with the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), comes six weeks before a March 15-17 hearing before Administrative Law Judge Kathleen D. Sheehy.
It is part of a contested hearing case before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. AWA Goodhue LLC developers want to build a 78-megawatt wind farm, which would include up to 52 General Electric wind turbines.
The main reason for the March hearing is to determine how a wind turbine setback passed by Goodhue County commissioners differs from state law and whether it is appropriate.
Carol Overland, a Red Wing attorney representing Goodhue Wind Truth, characterized the request for names, addresses and information about land parcels near the proposed wind development as “harassment and intimidation.”
“People have a hard enough time standing up for themselves,” Overland said. “This is kind of like throwing gas on the fire.”
She also describes the information requests – from Fredrikson & Byron attorneys Todd J. Guerrero and Christina Brusven – as “flailing.”
The dispute centers on requests filed by Guerrero and Brusven to “list each member or participant of Goodhue Wind Truth,” to “provide the home address of each individual” and to “identify all parcels in Goodhue County in the project area and buffer area … that are owned or rented, either directly or through a trust or business entity” of the anti-wind-farm group’s members.
Goodhue Wind Truth’s motion, filed Monday, seeks “to protect (anti-wind group members) from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression or undue burden or expense.”
The protective order motion claims the developer’s request “serves to chill our constitutionally protected right to public participation.”
In a Wednesday e-mail response to the parties, Guerrero maintained that information requests about the group were within the bounds set during a pre-hearing for the case.
But late Wednesday, Sheehy told Guerrero in an e-mail message that AWA Goodhue LLC would need to file a formal motion by Thursday.
Chuck Burdick, senior wind developer for National Wind, the Minneapolis developer of AWA Goodhue LLC, said Thursday that Guerrero planned to file a motion by then.
As for Overland’s comment about the developer flailing, Burdick said, “We totally disagree with her accusations.” He declined to comment further because of the case’s active status.
Bob Rosenquist, a member of Goodhue Wind Truth who lives near Zumbrota, said Thursday that obtaining a list of members would be impossible because of the group’s loose-knit nature.
“We don’t have a membership list,” said Rosenquist, who lives between one and two miles from the proposed development. His home is far beyond the 10-rotor diameter setback passed by the Goodhue County Board last year. A 10-rotor diameter is about half a mile.
National Wind has expressed concerns that a 10-rotor setback would severely limit the development of wind energy in Goodhue County, in southeastern Minnesota.
Wind energy opponents have testified that the turbines are unsightly, cause shadow-flicker, create low-frequency noise and generate stray voltage.
AWA Goodhue would not be the lone developer affected by the 10-rotor setback if it is upheld. Rosenquist said the 50-megawatt Goodhue Wind Energy project planned by Edina-based Geronimo Wind Energy also could be affected.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding