Testimony in Opposition to HF1440
On behalf of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Mister / Madam Chair and members of the Committee, as a member of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, I have been asked to read a statement on the organization’s behalf in opposition to HF1440. The Alliance is Minnesota’s statewide nonprofit organization preserving historic places, a nonrenewable resource. We have significant concerns about the impact of the Crown Hydro project on the nationally significant archaeological and historic resources in the Saint Anthony Falls Historic District. Additionally, we believe that this legislation subverts the local regulatory process that was put in place to protect these resources and the people’s right to a fair and thoughtful public decision-making process.
On three occasions, the Alliance has listed National Register listed prehistoric and historic resources on the riverfront as the most endangered properties in our state through our annual 10 Most Endangered Historic Places program. The proposed Crown Hydro project prompted one of these listings, as we have yet to see an expert evaluation of the impact that Crown Hydro’s operations will have on the Mill Ruins area. This project requires significant environmental review before it can move forward so as not to destroy one nonrenewable resource for the benefit of renewable energy generation, which could feasibly be located elsewhere.
Secondly, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has continually denied permits for this project based on a transparent regulatory process allowing public input. This legislation denies local control and sets a negative precedent that sets an arbitrary ruling where the state government becomes the authority on local development projects. We ask that you lay this bill on the table and allow the local government to retain its decision-making authority.
To deny the MPRB of funding until this project is approved is setting an impossible benchmark. The FERC permit named in the legislation is no longer valid; it was applied for many years ago, and made when the project was sited in an alternate location. Moving the site to the Mill Ruins Park location now mandates new review by FERC; this is out of the control of the MPRB and inappropriately denies them funding based on a standard not in their control.
The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota urges you to lay this bill aside. Thank you.