DODGE CENTER, Minn. (KTTC) — Some people in Dodge Center feel like they are being taken advantage of, after a new plan by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
Thomas Applegate owns a home along some power lines, which he says he and his neighbors can live with. But Applegate said he was notified earlier this week by the department, saying they want to put even bigger power lines in the area.
The Dodge County Wind Project will generate up to 170 megawatts of electric energy at its new wind farm.
Discussions with the public were held last October, with the last comment period ending in February, but Applegate said the group changed course last month.
The original plan was for the lines to go through farm country, but now they’ll come straight through his property.
He says the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission won’t listen to him or his neighbors about their concerns on the proposed 345 kV (or 345,000 volt) transmission line.
“But they’re not even bothering to hear what we have to say and to address our concerns. That is not our government, they are supposed to represent us, that’s why they’re here. That’s who they are, that’s what their job is. Their job is to protect our rights and we feel like we’re being trampled,” said Applegate.
But the state agencies are promising a chance for public feedback, in a statement sent to KTTC on Monday afternoon.
“Following the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s proposal to evaluate two new transmission routes in addition to those proposed by Dodge County Wind, LLC, the Minnesota Department of Commerce has commenced its formal Environmental Impact Statement process, in order to inform the Public Utilities Commission’s final decision on the routes,” said Emma Bauer, a spokesperson for the agency. “The Department of Commerce encourages feedback from Minnesotans throughout this public process. After the draft Environmental Impact Statement is released this summer, there will be meetings in the project area, as well as a written comment period, where the public can ask questions, comment on the information that is available and advise the administrative law judge on which route to recommend to the Public Utilities Commission.”
In its environment impact statement, MPUC said the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency will meet and exceed its Renewable Energy Standard with this project.