United Tribes opposes power line
‘We are not moving’
By April Baumgarten
The state’s Native American tribes have openly opposed Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s plans to build a transmission line across a battlefield site that researchers call “the Gettysburg of the Plains.”
But the company is not backing down from the project that would provide much-needed electricity to western North Dakota.
“While we have been proactive in moving the substation, we are not moving the line,” said Curt Pearson, project coordination representative for Basin’s external relations and communications department.
The United Tribes of North Dakota unanimously passed a resolution opposing Basin’s 197-mile long power line, stating it “could potentially disturb the remains of those killed” at the Killdeer Mountain Battlefield site.
“We need to extend protections to that location where so many people died and still remain,”David M. Gipp, United Tribes Technical College president said. Rather than industrial intrusions, we need to protect and preserve the location and provide more comprehensive and inclusive interpretation of what happened there.”
The power line would head west from Antelope Valley Station to Highway 85 before going north to Williston then east to Tioga. Basin estimated the project would cost approximately $375 million.
A study by North Dakota State University revealed the line would pass over the Killdeer Mountain Battlefield site, where Lakota and Dakota warriors fought against U.S. Calvary. More than 4,400 combatants met near the Killdeer Mountains in 1864.
“This was the largest single military engagement ever to take place on the Great Plains of North America,”NDSU history professor Tom Isern wrote in 10-page document to the PSC. 的t was a rare event for there to be massed forces on both sides in Indian-white conflict on the plains.”