Just when we thought the Coal Creek Station sale was pretty much a done deal...

Minnesota regulators pull plug on power line permit transfer.

Well, the plug isn't pulled per se but it has been deferred. Meaning, there's more months of uncertainty ahead for the good folks in Underwood, North Dakota.  It's not just Underwoodians that are affected by this decision, it's hundreds of North Dakota workers heading into the winter wondering what lies ahead.

Minnesota's Public Utilities Commission voted 4-1 to defer a decision on a permit transfer for a power line that is part of the Coal Creek Sale.

It's not just any old power line, it's a power line that met with harsh Minnesota protests in the 1970's leading to hundreds of arrests!  Mind you, it's a power line not a pipe line. More about that later.

The Associated Press just filed this report about the story...

At issue issue is a permit for a Great River high-voltage power line that runs from Traverse County at the North Dakota border to a facility near Buffalo, northwest of Minneapolis. Great River asked the commission to transfer its permit for the line and associated facilities to a new company, Nexus Line LLC, which is buying the power plant from Great River. Nexus, in turn, is an affiliate of Rainbow Energy Marketing Corp.

So there are the main players involved- along with the hundreds employed in the area.

It was just at the end of July that I filed this story about the possibility of Minnesotan climate activists upsetting the apple cart.  As it turns out they gave the green light to the project and we were all of us moving forward.  Great River would sell Coal Creek Station to Rainbow Energy Center for just a dollar and Great River would agree to purchase our dirty coal fired electricity for the next ten years. But not sooo dirty as Rainbow has plans for the no-smoke-and mirrors-miracle that is "carbon capture" along with adding wind energy to the transmission line.

But with this deferred permit transfer the final outcome may not be know for months

Of course, North Dakota also has state regulators that have to sign off on permits as well. But clearly, we'll sign anything. We just handed coal a bunch of tax breaks so we're pretty much all in already.

Here's an interesting Wikipedia read for you...see if it doesn't conjure up some NoDAPL memories for ya.  The building of just the power line itself was incredibly controversial in Minnesota.

It was titled the CU Project.

The CU Project consists of three parts: the Falkirk Mine, the Coal Creek Generating Station, and the CU Powerline.[23] A subsidiary of North American Coal Corporation runs the Falkirk Mine, a lignite coal strip mine in North Dakota that covers over twenty-five square miles and uses two of the biggest dragline excavators ever assembled.[23] The lignite uncovered by the draglines travels by conveyor belt to Coal Creek Station, the largest lignite-fired plant in North Dakota.[23] The Coal Creek Station produces AC current which is converted into DC current at a conversion station.[23] This DC current is transmitted from Coal Creek Station in North Dakota 440 miles (710 km) to a station near Buffalo, Minnesota where it is converted back into AC current. The powerline crosses 9 western and central Minnesota counties and includes a total of 659 towers placed at one-quarter mile intervals on the property of 476 landowners

The controversy of course was on the adverse effect on those 476 landowners and surrounding communities. North Dakota was OK with it, but authorities had to spray Minnesota protesters with anhydrous ammonia to get them to settle down. It's true..

The "Battle of Stearns County

On February 15, 1978, farmers sprayed troopers with anhydrous ammonia, a fertilizer that can cause serious chemical burns.[8][63] Media reaction to this act was negative and protesters became divided over tactics.[64] Protesters began making greater use of nonviolent resistance. Protesters covered themselves in pig manure and asked the police to arrest them

Click here and read the whole darn Wikipedia entry on the CU Project and maybe together we can figure out why Minnesota hates Underwood so much.


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