MINNESOTA NEWS: Wind farm lawsuit ... Feds close banks ... Cops watch beating video ... moreTwo electric consumer groups have sued Wisconsin regulators alleging they followed the wrong process when they approved a giant wind farm in Minnesota. The Public Service Commission in July approved Wisconsin Power & Light’s plan to build a $497 million wind farm in Minnesota’s Freeborn County. The farm could cost residential electric customers $9 more a month.
By: Herald Wire Reports, Grand Forks Herald
Wind farm faces lawsuit
Two electric consumer groups have sued Wisconsin regulators alleging they followed the wrong process when they approved a giant wind farm in Minnesota.
The Public Service Commission in July approved Wisconsin Power & Light’s plan to build a $497 million wind farm in Minnesota’s Freeborn County. The farm could cost residential electric customers $9 more a month.
In a lawsuit filed Friday in Madison, Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group and the Citizens Utility Board allege the PSC performed a much less stringent review than state law requires.
PSC officials didn’t immediately return a message Friday afternoon. Steve Schultz, a spokesman for WP&L parent company Alliant Energy, said the issue is settled.
Feds close Minnesota bank
Regulators have shut down small banks in Maryland and Minnesota, pushing to 83 the number of bank failures this year amid the soured economy and rising loan defaults.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over Baltimore-based Bradford Bank, with about $452 million in assets and $383 million in deposits. It also seized Mainstreet Bank, based in Forest Lake, Minn., with assets of $459 million and deposits of $434 million.
Central Bank, based in Stillwater, Minn., is assuming the deposits and assets of Mainstreet Bank, whose eight branches will reopen today as offices of Central Bank.
Cops watch beating video
The Minneapolis police chief has ordered all officers on the force to watch the video of a man being punched and kicked by six officers during a traffic stop.
Chief Tim Dolan said the estimated 800 police officers should watch the dash cam video of the Feb. 19 traffic stop with a supervisor and talk about the use of force.
Police reports said Derryl Jenkins resisted arrest during the stop. But Jenkins said he was the victim of an unprovoked attack. Jenkins was charged with assault and refusing to submit to alcohol tests. Those charges were later dropped.
Dolan also ordered an internal affairs investigator to review any use-of-force incidents caught on videotape.
PFC study results on Web
Test results from a study of perfluorochemicals in residents of the eastern metro area can now be found online.
The state Health Department is posting two reports that said east metro residents had higher-than-expected levels of the chemicals in their blood. The department released a summary of the reports in July.
The PFCs, used in nonstick cookware and stain-resistant coatings, were legally dumped into east metro landfills until the mid-1970s. They have since moved through the groundwater.
The health effects of PFCs on the general population are largely unknown, but studies on 3M workers exposed to them during manufacturing show no harmful effects.
The findings have also been presented at three town hall meetings in the metro area.
On the Net:
- Minnesota Department of Health: www.health.state.mn.us/
- Biomonitoring reports: www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/tracking/biomonitoringpilot.htm
Volunteer deputies needed
Do you ever think about working in law enforcement or just helping out the community?
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is accepting online applications from people who want to volunteer as special deputies.
Volunteers are needed in the water patrol unit, the mounted patrol, and the emergency squad unit.
The volunteers will receive extensive training. Many special deputies have full-time jobs and spend evenings and weekends volunteering. Some volunteers do it so they can see if they want to pursue a career in law enforcement.
Besides working regular shifts, special deputy volunteers also help out during community events and emergencies. Many volunteers worked during the Republican National Convention and the 35W bridge collapse.
Interested applicants must be at least 21 years old and pass a background check. Applications can be found online at www.henne
Charter school vows suit
A Minnesota charter school that educates Muslim students is threatening to sue the Minnesota Department of Education for defamation.
A lawyer for Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy alleges in a letter to Education Commissioner Alice Seagren that her deputy commissioner told a Star Tribune reporter this month that the department is investigating lease aid payments from the state to the school. Lawyer Erick Kaardal said no one at the school itself was notified of an investigation.
State aid to the school, which has sites in Blaine and Inver Grove Heights, has come under scrutiny after allegations it allowed TiZA to use taxpayer money to illegally promote religion.
Education Department spokeswoman Christine Dufour said the department won’t respond because officials haven’t seen the letter and no suit has been filed.
New ballast water rules
The Coast Guard proposed national standards Thursday for regulating the release in port of ships’ ballast water, which can introduce new, sometimes detrimental species to U.S. ecosystems.
The plan would establish a limit on the number of invasive organisms that can be released along with a vessel’s ballast water while the ship is in port. That limit would initially follow a formula used by the International Maritime Commission — a standard adopted by some states but considered weak by many environmentalists.
The goal is to establish by 2016 a national standard similar to California’s, which is considered 1,000 times more stringent than the limits set by the international commission’s formula.
Ballast water helps keep ships stable while they take on or unload cargo. Vessels can acquire ballast water in home ports or elsewhere, taking in microrganisms and fish along with it and carrying them to new places. Efforts to fix environmental damage caused by organisms that travel along with ballast water can prove quite costly — an estimated $200 million a year for the Great Lakes alone.
For years, environmentalists, particularly in the Great Lakes region, battled for tougher restrictions. They increasingly relied on individual states to adopt standards of their own, a complicating factor for shippers and less effective in fighting off unwanted species.
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