Brad Crabtree, Democratic-NPL candidate for the North Dakota Public Service Commission, offered a quick response to claims made Thursday by state Rep. Mike Brandenburg, R-Edgeley. The lawmaker said Crabtree’s policies “have brought wind energy development in Dickey County to a standstill,’ a claim that Crabtree promptly denied.
Here’s the statement Crabtree released at about 5 p.m. on Thursday:
“Today, State Representative Mike Brandenburg repeated yet again his same false statements in a press conference, attacking my involvement as a landowner and township official in crafting a zoning ordinance to protect the private property and wind rights of his neighbors.
The reality is that the FPL wind farm in Dickey County did not move forward because of a regulatory decision in Minnesota that had nothing to do with North Dakota, Dickey County or zoning in Spring Valley Township.Â Moreover, far from chasing wind energy development away, Spring Valley Township landowners are currently participating in a proposed wind project and receiving significant annual payments from enXco, which is planning a future wind farm for Xcel Energy.
Hereâ€™s what really happened.Â Ottertail Power had a power purchase agreement with FPL in 2005 to provide wind generated electricity for a corporate customer in Minnesota.Â The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission failed to approve Ottertailâ€™s power purchase agreement, leaving FPL without a customer for its wind farm and thus stopping the project.
This is a longstanding matter of public record.Â The MN PUCâ€™s order can be downloaded at http://www.puc.state.mn.us/portal/groups/public/documents/puc_pdf_orders/009790.pdf.Â It confirms that no zoning or local issues played any role in the Minnesota commissionersâ€™ decision that stopped the wind farm.Â Ottertail Power has even confirmed this publicly, stating that Township zoning was not a factor in their decision to pull the plug on the project.
Indeed, these facts have been communicated many times to the media and in legislative hearings over the past five years, and Cramer and Brandenburg are well aware of that.
Cramer and Brandenburg are apparently unable to respond substantively to specific recommendations I have made in this campaign to increase wind energy development, while protecting private property and wind rights of affected landowners and rural residents.Â Instead, they resurrect a false charge and hope that the media and the public will not pay attention.
While Brandenburg is a legislator held in low regard by leaders of both political parties, we should expect more of Kevin Cramer as a Public Service Commissioner.Â He is duty bound as a regulator in his actions and statements to uphold the facts.
Cramer knowingly presenting false information for campaign attack purposes is a deeply troubling trait in someone who holds an important regulatory office.”