Kenyon wind farm foes turned down flat
Mike Chase and a Kenyon citizens' group were given the brush Thursday by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
The PUC unanimously declined Chase's request that commissioners reconsider a permit they approved for a new nine-turbine wind farm in Kenyon and Cherry Grove townships.
Goodhue County residents, many of whom drove an hour to St. Paul and took a day off work, were not given the chance to speak.
"It was flat-out rude," said Chase, president of Citizens for Environmental Rights and Safety. "I stood there and I was dumbfounded."
Instead of walking away deterred, Chase said he and his contingent left St. Paul determined.
"We are not going away," Chase said. "We will continue this until we get the appropriate audience."
Chase, on behalf of CFERS, submitted a petition in August to the PUC requesting members reconsider a permit for the Kenyon Wind farm.
The document cited several areas of concern with the project that CFERS members believe need further explanation or research.
State staff working on the project say CFERS' claims are addressed in the permit.
"CFERS' petition has failed to identify any errors or ambiguities in the order, nor does it provide sufficient support for the commission to reconsider its decision," staff wrote in briefing papers.
When Chase was notified last month his request would be put on the PUC agenda, he assumed he would be able to address the commission.
So he prepared more evidence and planned on presenting new information to PUC members. Chase said he was able to distribute the documents but commissioners voted right away to deny his request.
"To me, this was somebody's political statement of, 'Go away, don't bother us,'" Chase said. "That won't happen."
John Daniels Jr., chief manager of Kenyon Wind LLC, said construction on the wind farm will begin in the next few months.
Xcel Energy has said it will purchase electricity from the commercial-size wind farm.
Jen Cullen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651) 301-7872.