STrib today – Scott County rejects routes for power line

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on April 7, 2009 @ 8:40 pm

Methinks LeSueur County did essentially the same thing… Dakota County and Rice County — it’s your turn!

Be sure to check out the United Citizen Action Network (U-CAN) site!

Scott County rejects routes for power line


Commissioners say the preferred line runs right through land that is prime development property.

By DAVID PETERSON, Star Tribune

Last update: April 7, 2009 – 9:39 PM

A blowback is developing to plans for a gargantuan power line running across southern Scott County.

The Scott County Board on Tuesday unanimously opposed the two proposed routes. Two townships are on record against the preferred route, and a third was expected to join them late Tuesday.

“These routes will have a significant impact on future planning for this corridor,” the county’s planning manager, Brad Davis, said of County Road 2, a key roadway across the southern end of the county. “It’s slated to become an arterial, with a need for expanded right-of-way. Putting power lines there really impacts future planning.”

At issue is the so-called CAPX project, a 345-kilovolt transmission line being planned to run from Brookings, S.D., to Hampton, in rural Dakota County. The utilities proposing the line have chosen what they call “preferred” and “alternative” routes. Neither avoids Scott County, but the preferred option affects it the most.

A state agency is now considering the power line route. Open houses to explain the plans and to gather responses are taking place this week, with one in Lakeville today.

Scott County is suggesting a variant to the two routes that tries to avoid homes and areas planned for lots of future housing. Its objection to stringing the massive poles along county roads underscores the thankless task of siting major power lines.

The utilities have said that because they’re proposing single-masted structures, as opposed to mini-Eiffel Towers with multiple legs, farmers can plow right up to the base and lose little land for crops.

The lines are needed, the utilities say, because of population growth as well as rapid increases in electricity use in existing households as people add multiple televisions, computers and other devices.

But Joyce Osborne, an activist with the group United Citizens Action Network (www.u-canmn.org), blamed corporate America for foisting the project on local people, adding that it will mainly deliver coal-derived energy even as the utilities talk a lot about wind power.

“We need to curb big business,” she said. “And that’s what this is, big business.”

Commissioner Joe Wagner, said the calls and e-mails he is getting rival those opposing the plan for an amphitheater near Jordan in the late ’90s and the early part of this decade.



image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace