September 9, 2013

United Tribes opposes power line

By April Baumgarten

The state’s Native American tribes have openly opposed Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s plans to build 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," said David M. Gipp, United Tribes Technical College president. "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.


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