Dakota County resolution about CapX 2020

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on June 22, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

byllesbyaerial1

Dakota County passed a resolution Monday evening about CapX 2020 transmission.  Apparently they don’t want transmission over Lake Byllesby and the park.  Makes sense.  Who wants transmission.  But here they are weighing in at the last minute?  Where’ve they been all these years? And what about the rest of the County?

Here’s their Byllesby Park Master Plan:

Byllesby Park Master Plan – Dakota County

What’s interesting to me is that it’s surrounding the Byllesby dam and reservior, named after Henry Marison Byllesby, founder of Northern States Power.  From the U of M’s Clarence Darrow Collection:

byllesby

Henry Marison Byllesby (1859 – 1924) was one of the most prominent electrical engineers of his time. Around 1881, after Byllesby earned an engineering degree, he was hired by Thomas Edison to help build an electrical station in Manhattan. In 1885 he was hired by George Westinghouse to manage his electrical company. Byllesby moved to St. Paul, Minnesota in 1891 to run an electrical company. He formed a power company in 1909 and changed the name of the company to Northern States Power in 1916. The company supplied power throughout Minnesota. He formed H.M. Byllesby & Co. a Chicago-based conglomerate that owned steamships, streetcars and utility companies across the United States. He was also an officer and director of many public gas and electric utility companies.

There’s also a lot on him in “NSP: An Illustrated History of Northern States Power Company.”  Can’t find that online!  His The Responsibilities of Electrical Engineers in Making Appraisals,” however, IS online!

This Resolution was in the Dakota County Board’s packet, but I don’t know whether this is the final language:

resolution-packet

Here’s the STrib article:

Dakota County prefers no power line in park


As the CapX2020 route from Hampton to La Crosse, Wis., is chosen, Dakota County urges that the high-voltage power line avoid Lake Byllesby Regional Park.

Parks and high-voltage power lines do not mix.

That is the message the Dakota County Board plans to send to the utility companies plotting a route for the CapX2020 power line from Hampton to La Crosse, Wis.

Two of the four routes being considered have the power lines passing through Lake Byllesby Regional Park to cross the Cannon River.

“We try and protect the things which are near and dear to us,” said Commissioner Tom Egan. “Certainly, the regional park and the [Byllesby] dam are two things we’re attempting to protect.”

The planned power line in southern Dakota County, strung on poles 140 to 170 feet high, is just one segment of a 700-mile, $1.7 billion expansion of the Minnesota power grid by Xcel Energy and Great River Energy. Other segments, including one running from Brookings, S.D., to Hampton, have already been approved.

In weighing the segments near the Cannon River, the county board stopped short of picking a favorite among the two other route proposals — one along Hwy. 52 heading southeast out of Hampton, and the other snaking cross country and crossing the river near the park’s western boundary.

The route along Hwy. 52, initially preferred by the utilities, would bisect a conservation easement held by the county and the federal government that expressly prohibits the addition of utilities.

Getting around the conservation easement could push the power line farther out into private land.

“You’re kind of put between a rock and a hard spot on some of these things,” said Commissioner Liz Workman. “No one is ever happy when you get this stuff going through.”

The board members, often unanimous in their decisions, spent more than an hour in committee debating the possible power line routes and then decided on a 5-2 vote to request that the project bypass the park.

Commissioners Joe Harris and Will Branning voted against the resolution.

“I didn’t want to get involved,” said Branning, who said he preferred leaving the decision up to the CapX2020 group and the state Public Utilities Commission.

The board did not offer an opinion during the previous route selection process, from Brookings to Hampton.

Lake Byllesby Regional Park, which has a campground, boat launch and swimming beach, already has some smaller power lines running through it to connect to the hydroelectric dam that forms the reservoir.

But commissioners noted that the new line would be much larger and raised questions about how it could affect an upgrade of the dam already in the works and future plans for a pedestrian bridge connecting Dakota and Goodhue counties.

They also raised concerns about migratory birds that are prominent in the western portion of the park, drawing bird watchers.

“That’s what a lot of people come to our park for,” said Commissioner Nancy Schouweiler. “I was concerned that if you don’t say anything, they assume we agree with what they’ve got.”

An administrative law judge will consider the county’s comments and others before making a recommendation to the PUC later this year.

Pending approval, construction of the power line is expected to begin in 2012.

2 comments »

  1. You are right Carol. Duh. Not in my backyard. I already have a highwire line on our property. I was originally afraid that it would go here. The utilities said it would be too costly for them to buy out all of the owners on this route. So they are going to the point of least resistance… the farmers. Why should they have to get the brunt of it. The park is perfect. When this first started, I felt there was no stopping it. Money wins again. And that is not right.

    Comment by Judy Lane — June 23, 2011 @ 6:15 am

  2. […] the ALJ to choose a route that does not go through the Lake Byllesby Park.  Here’s the post: Dakota County resolution about CapX 2020.  And what continues to astound me is that they don’t get the origin of the park, that […]

    Pingback by No CapX 2020 » Byllesby dam route in Dakota & Goodhue Counties — March 19, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace