Red Wing Republican Sen. John Howe said he could not support Ellen Anderson's nomination as Public Utilities Commission chairwoman after the way she voted on a controversial wind project in his district.
In June, Anderson joined a majority of commissioners in overruling Goodhue County's new wind ordinance and issuing a site permit for AWA Goodhue's wind project. The $180 million project would cover 32,000 acres in Goodhue County and has drawn strong opposition from neighbors concerned about possible environmental impacts caused by the wind turbines.
"When you are making that decision to overrule a local governing body, it should rise to a very high level and that certainly didn't," Howe said. "And because of that and because of her legislative record, I could not support her."
Howe said DFL Gov. Mark Dayton called him on Friday about Anderson's nomination. The Red Wing Republican said he told the governor he simply could not back her. He asked that the governor consider nominating someone from rural Minnesota to head the commission who understands the impact of these energy projects.
As for Dayton's announcement that he would offer Anderson a job in his administration, Howe said he did not think that was appropriate.
He added, "One has to ask the question: If we didn't need the position before, why do we need an energy adviser in the governor's office now?"