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Potato Lake transmission line hearing now Nov. 9

The hearing for a controversial 115 kV power line that is proposed to run along U.S. Highway 71 and east on Hubbard County Road 18 has been pulled from the Oct. 28 meeting schedule.

Called the Potato Lake line, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission was scheduled to hear arguments for and against the proposal at its St. Paul headquarters that day.

Instead a tentative meeting has been rescheduled for Nov. 9, according to Great River Energy spokesperson Lori Buffington.

At a recent local hearing in Park Rapids, residents were opposed to the line, but a final route has not been selected.

The Commission is to look at whether an environmental assessment conducted last summer adequately addressed the issues raised, including environmental, aesthetic and wildlife concerns. The need for the line and cost factors were not a part of that assessment.

The Commission will also determine whether it will issue a route permit. If so, it will determine which of three proposals is best suited for the single transmission line that will run from a new substation on Highway 71 to the Mantrap substation, a tap point on County Road 4.

Great River Energy has submitted the proposal for the line to feed a new substation, being proposed by Itasca-Mantrap Power Cooperative, on Highway 71.

Both companies maintain growing electrical demand in the Potato/Island lakes region necessitated the proposal.

Residents opposed to the plan say building and development have ground to a near-halt because of the poor economy obviating the need for more power, and the scenic County 18 is not the place to locate the line.

The lines would operate at 35 kV until the companies determined the full 115 kV was necessary to serve the demand.

The Nov. 9 hearing is tentatively scheduled for the PUC's large hearing room in St. Paul, but no time had been specified by press time.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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