More CapX 2020 in the news… errr… NO CapX!

Filed under:News coverage,RUS EIS,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on July 3, 2009 @ 8:15 pm

In the Red Wing Republican Beagle (picked up from the Kenyon Leader):

Transmission line proposal floors some area residents

And in the Houston County News:

Feds make entrance into CapX 2020

By Ryan Stotts of the Houston County News

The U.S. Agricultural Department’s Rural Utilities Service officially has begun looking into the proposed CapX2020 high-voltage line project.

The federal agency hosted a meeting June 23 at La Crescent’s American Legion to collect public comment and explain the review process.

The service will do a single environmental impact statement for the project, said Stephanie Strength of the RUS, which will be the lead federal agency on the project.

Dairyland Power Cooperative had approached the RUS about financing its portion of the project, an estimated 11 percent, she said.

It will take at least two years to complete the federal review and make a funding decision, she said.

Dairyland first asked the agency about funding at least three years ago, said Chuck Thompson of Dairyland Power. It would take Dairyland 30 to 35 years to repay the approximately $50 million needed.

The environmental impact statement, including comments from the meeting, likely will be completed by summer 2010, followed by a public hearing, Strength said.

Tim Carlsgaard, of CapX2020, said they have identified dual routes for the 345-kilovolt power lines along existing routes into La Crosse, Winona or Alma, Wis., but a preferred route has not been chosen.

Also yet to be determined is where the lines would cross the Mississippi River, he said.

Lines could run along or just north of Interstate 90, then cross south into La Crescent, he said.

If the lines go into Winona, he said, the route could run through agricultural land north of I-90. The Alma route would run through farmland north of Plainview.

A routing permit application will likely be filed some time in the fall, Carlsgaard said, and that will start a 12- to 15-month process when more public meetings will be held.

Early in the process, he said, after the Office of Energy Security has a chance to review the application, people will be able to propose and suggest alternative routes.

“Whether it’s just a small segment,” Carlsgaard said, “a small area, or 20 miles, or whatever it is.”

On the Wisconsin side, he said, a single routing and need permit will likely be filed before the end of the year.

Jeremy Chipps, of the Citizens Energy Task Force, said the massive project isn’t needed — and the group has petitioned the state to look into whether it should be built.

Chipps said even the most “sophisticated electric minds” in the industry, on a state and federal level, are doubting the efficacy of such a project.

He believes localized renewable energy should be investigated and analyzed, he said.

But, Chipps said, the truth is “the country lacks the very analytical tools to do the research to find out what our needs will even be.”

With federal coffers now being opened to fund the project, the decreasing demand for power, as well as safer alternatives than CapX2020, should be scrutinized, he said.

Gene Semin of La Crescent Township said he supports the project, even though he already has two large power lines in front of his house.

“We’re going to need the electrical power in this country to develop our manufacturing base so that our economy can recover,” Semin said.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace