February 29, 2012

Center to Grand Forks line nears construction phase

By Michael Johnson, Editor

Along the 250-mile route of the proposed Center to Grand Forks Minnkota transmission line, about 73 percent of land owners have approved of it spanning their property.  A group of about 30 residents from Wilton, Center and Bismarck assembled in the Washburn Memorial Building Wednesday still opposed to the route on their property. The Center to Grand Forks transmission line project manager, Michael Hennes, said that two of the counties the line spans have 100 percent approval. The 150-foot corridor that the line will travel along appears to be very close to moving on with construction in the summer. The attendees listened again to the scope of the project and how things will move forward. The purpose of this meeting was to consider if the location, construction and operation of the proposed facilities produce minimal adverse effects on the environment and the welfare of the citizens of North Dakota; are the proposed facilities compatible with the environmental preservation and the efficient use of resources; and will the proposed facility locations minimize adverse human and environmental impact while ensuring continuing system reliability and ensuring that energy needs are met and fulfilled in an orderly and timely fashion. The Public Service Commission members Kevin Cramer, Tony Clark and Brian Kalk did not doubt that the project would ensure that energy needs were met for users in Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. But what commissioners questioned was is the wildlife more important than the property owners? An example of that was that 31 miles of the line will be buried underground as it is in prime whooping crane fly zone. No line is going underground by resident request.

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