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Power line could be close to Blue Earth

By Staff | Apr 27, 2014

Some residents of a housing development just north of Blue Earth received some shocking news last Thursday.

A large, new electrical transmission line could possibly be joining the neighborhood.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce held two information and listening sessions at Hamilton Hall in Blue Earth last Thursday to explain the project and gather any comments concerning it.

ITC Midwest is seeking a state permit to build a 73-mile long, 345 kilowatt electrical power line using 130 to 190 foot tall towers. The transmission line will start near Jackson, travel east to near Huntley, then turn south to the Iowa border.

The route from Huntley south to the Iowa border will be along the western edge of Faribault County.

There are multiple variations of the proposed route. One of those alternate routes brings the line very close to the Riverside Heights development just north of Interstate 90.

“That one alternate route would bring the line within 100 to 200 feet away from my home,” Riverside Heights homeowner Randy Anderson says. “And yet I was not notified about this meeting. I just heard about it two hours ago.”

Faribault County commissioner John Roper echoed those comments.

“I am very disappointed the county was not kept in the loop on all this,” Roper said. “And I think you needed to notify all of the landowners near the proposed routes, not just the ones where you need easements for right-of-way.”

A staff member of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Ray Kirsch, replied he thought a copy of the environmental impact statement (EIS) had been sent to the county planning and zoning office.

“We are holding these meetings to allow everyone to make comments about the project,” Kirsch says. “We were here last July to gather information and comments and those have become part of the draft EIS.”

Besides the two meetings in Blue Earth, there also were listening sessions held in Jackson and Fairmont.

“People have until Friday, May 9, at 4:30 p.m. to make comments to my office,” Kirsch says. “We will incorporate all the comments into the final EIS.”

Then on May 13 and 14, an administrative law judge will hold comment sessions in Blue Earth, Fairmont and Jackson. Anyone can attend those sessions with questions, concerns and comment, Kirsch says.

On Thursday, approximately 50 people attended the afternoon comment session and about a dozen were at the evening one. Ten people made comments for the record, including several other residents of Riverside Heights.

Those giving comments included Tim Steier, Jeff Moore, Al Roesler, Carol Moore and Morris Hanson, as well as several persons from out side the local area.