Alma crossing of Mississippi and Blair route now favored???

Filed under:News coverage — posted by admin on June 9, 2009 @ 6:11 am

Whatever are they thinking…

A correction/clarification from Grant Stevenson:

Today's news articles aren't quite right -- we are 
not changing routing focus.  Rather, we've casted 
a wider net for study -- corridors to the Arcadia 
and Blair areas are additions, they do not replace 

In addition, all three potential Mississippi River 
crossings are still being studied.  

In today’s STrib:

New route for power line on Minn-Wis border

It’s also being picked up in C-O-A-L country, wonder why:

KXMC-Minot, ND – New route for power line on Minn.Wis. border

Both of these are a shortened version of this article, from Winona Daily News:

CapX2020 power lines may detour around river valley

By Mark Sommerhauser |

A proposed high-voltage power line through the Winona area may detour around the Mississippi River valley, based on a new proposal by energy companies seeking to build the line.

CapX2020, an 11-company consortium including Xcel Energy, got first-stage approval in April from Minnesota regulators to build a $1.7 billion network of high-voltage lines that includes a line from the Twin Cities area to La Crosse, Wis. Local opponents of the plan announced Monday that they’re raising money to mount a legal challenge to the April ruling.
Meanwhile, federal environmental officials appear to want the lines — which may cross the Mississippi River at Winona, Alma, Wis., or La Crescent, Minn. — away from the river valley.

Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge officials likely won’t allow energy companies to acquire more right-of-way to run the high-voltage line through the refuge, the agency notified CapX2020 last month. And in 2008, refuge officials suggested the lines should be routed away from the Mississippi River valley.

Also last month, CapX2020 officials proposed a second option for the Alma route, which previously routed the lines only down the river valley, through Fountain City, Wis., and Trempealeau, Wis. The new detour would route the line from Alma east to Blair, Wis., then south to La Crosse, adding at least 15 miles to the route. CapX2020 spokesman Tim Carlsgaard said Monday that the new route was a response to “a lot of concern” from citizens and regulatory agencies about a high-voltage line extending down the river valley.

While CapX2020 has initial approval from Minnesota authorities, the project also needs at least one permit from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission — a process that’s just getting started.

CapX2020 foes, including the Citizens Energy Task Force and Bluff Land Environment Watch, gathered at Wilson Township Hall on Monday night. The groups said the lines would cause visual and environmental harm, and said Minnesota ratepayers could foot the bill for a coal-energy expressway through Minnesota to Chicago and points east.

I wonder if they know Dave Stetzer’s in Blair, Wisconsin…  If I were Dave Stetzer, I’d regard this as  a personal affront, and if I were CapX 2020, I’d duck and cover.  This is going to be “interesting.”

What about this EIS???

Filed under:Laws & Rules,RUS EIS — posted by admin on June 8, 2009 @ 12:42 pm

YEAAAAAAAAAA!  RUS EIS is on the way!!!

So what’s the big deal that the Rural Utility Service is doing an EIS on CapX 2020?  And just the LaCrosse line part of CapX 2020?

Consider the piss-poor excuse of “environmental review” done in the Certificate of Need proceeding, when what was needed was the level of review in a RUS EIS.  Look at the state’s “scope” and look what was EXPRESSLY EXCLUDED:

Scope of Environmental Report

Then, look at the result:

Environmental Report

Environmental Report – Maps

The state scope is very important because Commerce blew us off, saying that federal review wasn’t going to happen:


And they specifically said an EIS by RUS was not anticipated and blew off so many of us saying that they needed to do a joint EIS:



So now, it appears, there will be an RUS EIS, because of the RUS money going in for Dairyland, and it’s stating what we knew all along.  By doing it this way, by doing it at this stage, at this late date, it limits RUS  review to just this one part of what we know is one big honkin’ project, not just this Phase I group, but also Phase II and Phase III and who knows what all else.  They admit it in their Application, Appendix A-1 where they list the big chart of “common facilities.”


As Carter Bishop always said in Contracts, “Well…. that’s one option.”   Here’s another:

1) The important thing in this RUS EIS is to tie it all together, that this is just one small part of the plan, phased and connected actions, and they must address all:

* Applied for in CoN as ONE PROJECT
* Needs all pieces to work
* Application lists the full spectrum of “common elements” that they want to build (see Application, Appendix A-1)
* The LaX to mid-WI has been announced
* Mississippi River is “only” one crossing and Minnesota River has two, TWICE the impacts, both are designated Scenic Byways, both have Federal Wildlife Management Areas.

2) Systems alternatives must be addressed and the NO BUILD alternative must be addressed – and not “NO BUILD” for just that part, but for ALL OF IT.

3) Another thing to bring in here is impact of this line if it is used for various capacity ranges of coal.  The wind lobby talks of getting 700MW of wind, BFD where potential capacity means it’s about 1/6 of capacity… sigh….this was NOT addressed in any way.

* Line has 4,100MVA capacity.
* MISO goal is to displace natural gas with coal
* EIS must address emissions impacts of various scenarios of coal generation on CapX lines (and not just CO2):
o 10% -    410 MW
o 30% – 1,230 MW
o 50% – 2,050 MW
o 75% – 3,033 MW
o 85% – 3,485 MW

Here’s a comparative emissions chart from a recent MPCA analysis, with some ballpark comparative levels for NOx, SO2, PM, Hg, CO2, and you can figure some estimates for 410, 1,230, 2,050, 3,033, 3,485 and 4,100MW of polluting:


In case it’s not legible, here’s the chart in pdf:

MPCA Final – from Mesaba Project

In short, if they put more coal on line, what emissions are enabled?  And then, what are impacts, because it would be wafting over Minnesota!  Dumping on Minnesota!

That all said, it seems to me that those are the things that need to be addressed in this EIS!  Those things that the state wouldn’t touch… wouldn’t touch because they know it poses a problem.  Now’s our chance!

USDA publishes Notice of EIS

Filed under:RUS EIS,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on June 5, 2009 @ 4:42 am


YES!  It’s about time



Rural Utilities Service

Dairyland Power Cooperative, Inc.:  Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Hold Public Scoping Meetings

Agency: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

Action: Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Hold Public Scoping Meetings

SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and hold public scoping meetings and in connection with possible impacts related to a project proposed by Dairyland Power Cooperative in the CapX 2020 Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse Transmission Line Project. The proposal consists of the construction of a 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission line and associated infrastructure between Hampton, Minnesota and the La Crosse area in Wisconsin. The project also includes construction of new 161-kV transmission lines and associated facilities in the area of Rochester, Minnesota. The total length of 345-kV and 161-kV transmission lines associated with the proposed project will be approximately 150 miles. Proposed and alternate transmission segments and locations for proposed and alternate associated facilities have been identified by Dairyland Power Cooperative. Dairyland Power Cooperative is requesting RUS to provide financing for its portion of the proposed project.

DATES: RUS will conduct six public scoping meetings in an open-house format followed by a discussion period:

June 16, 2009
Plainview-Elgin-Millville High School
500 West Broadway
Plainview, Minnesota

June 17, 2009
Wanamingo Community Center
401 Main Street, Wanamingo

June 18, 2009
City of St. Charles Community Meeting Room
830 Whitewater Avenue
St. Charles, Minnesota

June 23, 2009
La Crescent American Legion
509 N. Chestnut
La Crescent, Minnesota

June 24, 2009
Centerville/Town of Trempealeau Community Center
W24854 State Road 54/93
Galesville, Wisconsin

June 25, 2009
Cochrane-Fountain City High School
S2770 State Road 35
Fountain City, Wisconsin

All meetings will be held between 6-8:00 PM local time. Comments regarding the proposed project may be submitted (orally or in writing) at the public scoping meetings or in writing to RUS at the address listed in this notice no later than June 29, 2009.

ADDRESSES: To send comments or for further information, contact Stephanie Strength, Environmental Protection Specialist, USDA, Rural Utilities Service, Engineering and Environmental Staff, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Stop 1571,

Washington, DC 20250-1571, telephone: (202) 720-0468 or e-mail:

An Alternative Evaluation Study (AES) and Macro Corridor Study (MCS), prepared by

Dairyland Power Cooperative, will be presented at the public scoping meetings. The reports are available for public review at the RUS address provided in this notice and at Dairyland Power Cooperative, 3251 East Avenue South, La Crosse, WI 54602. In Addition, the reports will be available at RUS’ website,

… and at the following repositories:

Alma Public Library
312 North Main Street
Alma, WI 54610
Phone: 608-685-3823

Arcadia Public Library
406 E Main Street
Arcadia, WI 54612
Phone: 608-323-7505

Blair-Preston Library
122 Urberg Street
Blair, WI 54616
Phone: 608-989-2502

Campbell Library
2219 Bainbridge Street
La Crosse, WI 54603
Phone: 608-783-0052

Cannon Falls Library
306 West Mill Street
Cannon Falls, MN 55009
Phone: 507-263-2804

Dairyland Power Cooperative
500 Old State Highway 35
Alma, WI 54610
Phone: 608-685-4497

Galesville Public Library
16787 South Main Street
Galesville, WI 54630
Phone: 608-582-2552

Hokah Public Library
57 Main Street
Hokah, MN 55941
Phone: 507-894-2665

Holmen Area Library
16787 South Main Street
Galesville, WI 54630
Phone: 608-526-4198

Kenyon Public Library
709 2nd Street
Kenyon, MN 55946
Phone: 507-789-6821

Riverland Energy Cooperative
N28988 State Road 93
Arcadia, WI 54612?Phone:
608- 323-3381

Rochester Public Library
101 2nd Street SE
Rochester, MN 55963
Phone: 507-328-2309

Shirley M. Wright Memorial Library
11455 Fremont Street
Trempealeau, WI 54650
Phone: 608-534-6197

St. Charles Public Library
125 W 11th Street
St. Charles, MN 55927
Phone: 507-932-3227

Tri-County Electric
31110 Cooperative Way
Rushford, MN 55971
Phone: 507-864-7783

La Crescent Public Library
321 Main Street
La Crescent, MN 55947
Phone: 507-895-4047

La Crosse Public Library
800 Main Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
Phone: 608-789-7109

Onalaska Public Library
741 Oak Avenue South
Onalaska, WI 54650
Phone: 608-781-9568

People’s Cooperative Services
3935 Hwy 14 E
Rochester, MN 55903
Phone: 507-288-4004

Plainview Public Library
115 SE 3rd Street
Pine Island, MN 55963
Phone: 507-534-3425

Van Horn Public Library
115 SE 3rd Street
Pine Island, MN 55963
Phone: 507-356-8558

Winona Public Library
151 West 5th Street
Winona, MN 55987
Phone: 507-452-4582

Xcel Energy
5050 Service Drive
Winona, MN 55987
Phone: 800-422-0782

Xcel Energy
1414 West Hamilton Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Phone: 715-839-2621

Zumbrota Public Library
100 West Avenue
Zumbrota, MN 55992
Phone: 507-732-5211

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Preliminary proposed transmission line corridors and siting areas for substations have been identified. The EIS will address the construction, operation, and management of the proposed project, which includes a 345-kV transmission line and associated infrastructure between Hampton, Minnesota and the La Crosse area of Wisconsin; 161-kV transmission lines in the vicinity of Rochester, Minnesota; construction and maintenance of access roads for all proposed transmission lines; construction of up to three new substations, and expansion of up to three existing substations. Total length of the transmission lines for the proposed project will be approximately 150 miles. The project study area includes part or all of the following counties in Minnesota: Dakota, Goodhue, Wabasha, Winona, Houston, Olmsted, Rice, and Dodge. In Wisconsin, the project area includes parts of the following counties: La Crosse, Trempealeau, and Buffalo.

Among the alternatives RUS will address in the EIS is the No Action alternative, under which the project would not be undertaken. In the EIS, the effects of the proposed project will be compared to the existing conditions in the area affected. Alternative transmission line corridors and substation locations will be refined as part of the EIS scoping process and will be addressed in the Draft EIS. RUS will carefully study public health and safety, environmental impacts, and engineering aspects of the proposed project and all related facilities.

RUS will use input provided by government agencies, private organizations, and the public in the preparation of the Draft EIS. The Draft EIS will be available for review and comment for 45 days. A Final EIS that considers all comments received will subsequently be prepared. The Final EIS will be available for review and comment for 30 days. Following the 30-day comment period, RUS will prepare a Record of Decision (ROD). Notices announcing the availability of the Draft EIS, the Final EIS, and the ROD will be published in the Federal Register and in local newspapers.

Any final action by RUS related to the proposed project will be subject to, and contingent upon, compliance with all relevant federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations and completion of the environmental review requirements as prescribed in the RUS Environmental

Policies and Procedures (7 CFR Part 1794).

Dated: May 28, 2009


Mark S. Plank, Director
Engineering and Environmental Staff
USDA/Rural Utilities Service

(FR Doc. E9-12407 Filed 5-27-09; 8:45 am)

(June 4)

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace