City passes on appealIt's unlikely Red Wing will appeal a decision by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approving more dry cask storage and increased operations at the Prairie Island nuclear plant.
By: Jon Swedien, The Republican Eagle
It's unlikely Red Wing will appeal a decision by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approving more dry cask storage and increased operations at the Prairie Island nuclear plant.
That was the informal decision City Council made Monday after a talk with its attorney Tom Harlan.
"I'm against going on with an appeal," Council member Lisa Bayley said, adding the $10,000 price tag attached to an appeal was too much. "Given our cost constraints I think we've gone as far as we could go."
Instead the city will pursue its ends at the state legislature, where Xcel Energy's regulatory bid to extend operations at Prairie Island for another 20 years now sits.
Red Wing intervened in the state's judicial-style regulatory process last year that Xcel Energy underwent to extend operations at Prairie Island for another 20 years.
City officials say they support the continued operations at Prairie Island. Their goal in intervening was to urge Xcel to make payments to Red Wing to help fund its public safety departments and to lobby the state to play a stronger role in addressing long-term nuclear waste storage issues, they said.
An administrative law judge, who heard testimony from the utility and from concerned groups including the city, recommended the PUC approve Xcel's plan and the commission did.
City officials were disappointed when neither the judge nor the commission required Xcel to make payments to Red Wing as a condition of regulatory approval.
Xcel's bid has now been sent to the state legislature where lawmakers can make changes during the ongoing session or leave the plan untouched.
The city's lobbying efforts are already underway.
Last October, Council approved a $110,000 contract with the firm Flaherty and Hood to lobby lawmakers to support its request for public safety payments.
Meanwhile the city has had ongoing talks with Xcel over the same issue
The city has also thrown its weight behind a bill authored by Rep. Joe Atkins that aims to address long-term storage issues.