Marshall meeting in the news

Filed under:News coverage — posted by admin on December 3, 2009 @ 1:21 pm

In the Marshall Independent:

Being heard on CapX

By Deb Gau
POSTED: December 3, 2009

MARSHALL – A second public hearing on the proposed CapX 2020 power line project drew a larger crowd than the first one in November and public testimony Tuesday, as area residents brought concerns about the project to an administrative law judge.

During one portion of the hearing Tuesday afternoon, more than 40 people were in attendance.

Concerns voiced as testimony ranged from the safety and proposed routes of the transmission lines, especially near the city of Ghent, to a lack of notification of proposed route changes in rural Minneota and Ghent.

Testimony from the hearing, presided over by administrative law judge Richard Luis, will factor in the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s selection of a route for the project.

Area residents who spoke during one part of the hearing said they were opposed to the lines passing near their homes.

Ordell Severson of rural Minneota said he was concerned about a portion of the route that would pass near his property along Lyon Lincoln Road.

“It feels like there’s got to be a better place to put it,” Severson said.

“I would like to echo the (concern about) proximity to homes,” said Dan Wambeke of rural Marshall.

Craig Poorker of Great River Energy responded that the planners of the CapX project were working with state criteria for placement of the lines. Those criteria included avoiding residences, he said.

An alternative route proposal that would pass close to the southern and eastern edges of Ghent was another specific concern. The presence of the lines might prevent development or expansion in the town, witnesses said.

Part of that proposed route would also pass near a rural water pumping station by the intersection of 310th Street and Lyon County Road 5, said Mike DeSutter of rural Ghent.

DeSutter and other residents of Grandview Township also said they had never been notified of the alternative route near their property, instead finding out about it at a Nov. 17 CapX meeting.

“We’re not getting our questions answered,” DeSutter said.

Scott Ek of the Office of Energy Security said landowner notifications for the alternative route had been dated Sept. 15 and sent out on Sept. 18. The list of landowner names and addresses had also been entered as a public exhibit for the hearing.

Nordland Township Clerk Deb Johnson said she had never received the notification letter either.

“I’ve got records for (township) mailings, and I never received anything with those dates on it, nor as a homeowner in that area have I received anything,” Johnson said. “I have a letter from Oct. 22,” announcing the November public meeting, she said, but nothing with September dates.

Johnson and Luis found the names of Johnson and her husband Kevin Johnson on the mailing list, however.

“I don’t know what to say,” Luis told Johnson. “If the concern is a lack of notice to other people, it is a concern I will take into consideration.”

However, Luis said, concerns about lack of written notice are usually waived if the person who didn’t get the notice appears at public meetings on the subject.

A public meeting on an environmental impact study for the project was held in Marshall Nov. 17. The CapX project would build a 345 kilovolt transmission line running from Brookings, S.D., east to Hampton, Minn. One branch of the line would run north from Marshall to a newly constructed substation near Granite Falls. The PUC accepted a permit application for the project in January.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace