Power pole siting controversy dominates commission agenda
By Annette Tait
The controversial siting of five transmission line structures in the road ditch south of 23rd Street SW west of ND 25 and across from the Yucca Cemetery, once again dominated an Oliver County Commission agenda, this time at the commission’s end-of-year meeting Dec. 29, 2015. Minnkota Power Cooperative, Inc., Vice President, Transmission, Mike Hennes and Staff Attorney Joel Larson met with commissioners Lee Husfloen, Darrell Berger, and Blake Wilkens, and County Attorney John Mahoney to continue the discussion.
The issue first appeared on the commission agenda in April 2014, when commissioners questioned the placement of the power poles and expressed safety concerns regarding their location. Since that time, there have been several meetings between Minnkota and the commissioners, with Minnkota maintaining the county was given siting information prior to installation of the structures, and the county holding firm that it expected Minnkota to follow state law. State law requires a 75-foot distance between the structure and the centerline of the road; the structures in question are approximately 33 feet from the 23rd Street SW centerline.
The Dec. 29 meeting was much like those in the past, with Hennes presenting a timeline of activities including the initial meeting between Minnkota and the commission to begin discussion on the proposed transmission line, and various milestones through the process such as obtaining easements, narrowing the corridor, and filing permit applications with the North Dakota Public Service Commission.