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Judge orders wind opponents to disclose addresses

A judge has ordered wind opponents to submit their addresses to Goodhue Wind despite arguments that the request was a form of “intimidation.”

Administrative Law Judge Kathleen Sheehy issued an order Friday requiring all members of Goodhue Wind Truth and the Coalition for Sensible Siting to give Goodhue Wind’s attorneys their home addresses and a list of any land “in the project area and buffer area…owned or rented, either directly or through a trust or business entity” by members.

The information must be submitted to the company by Feb. 11.

The order came after Goodhue Wind made the request in early January, followed by protective orders filed by Goodhue Wind Truth and the Coalition for Sensible Siting toward the end of the month.

Carol Overland, attorney for Goodhue Wind Truth, said the request was an attempt to intimidate members and did not fall into the narrow scope of the case.

Chuck Burdick of Goodhue Wind, however, said the information would help the company determine a better layout for the project site since the opponents would likely not allow the project on their land.

Sheehy wrote in the order that since the organizations are actively involved in the case, “it is not improper to require their members to disclose property ownership or interest within the project or buffer areas.”

The company originally had requested the names of members as well, but retracted that request when its lawyers filed a Motion to Compel asking the protective order be denied.

The motions come in the contested case currently before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The goal of the case is to determine whether a Goodhue County ordinance requiring a roughly half-mile setback for wind turbines is on par with other state laws, and whether it should be applied to Goodhue Wind’s project. Hearings are scheduled for March 15-17 before Sheehy.