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Draft of Great Northern power line environmental review released

The public is invited to review a draft Environmental Impact Statement that has been released for the Great Northern Transmission Line, a 220-mile-long, 500-kilovolt line Minnesota Power proposes to build and use to import electricity from Manito...

The public is invited to review a draft Environmental Impact Statement that has been released for the Great Northern Transmission Line, a 220-mile-long, 500-kilovolt line Minnesota Power proposes to build and use to import electricity from Manitoba Hydro.
As designed, the line would cross the border in Roseau County and probably would cut across Beltrami, Koochiching and Lake of the Woods counties before reaching its terminus at the Blackberry Substation near Grand Rapids in Itasca County.
In 2013, Minnesota Power said it expected to spend between $560 million and $710 million on the project, an estimate that’s probably higher now because of inflation. The proposed line fits into Minnesota Power’s push to diversify its power supply so that one-third of its generation comes from renewable sources, another third comes from coal and the remainder comes from natural gas.
Public meetings on the draft Environmental Impact Statement are slated for July 15-16 and July 21-22 at multiple locations yet to be announced.
The document can be viewed online at greatnortherneis.org and also will be made available at libraries in communities along the proposed route of the line.
Public comment will be accepted until Oct. 10 and will be used to inform a final Environmental Impact Study.
Minnesota Power aims to have the line in operation by June 2020.

Peter Passi covers city government for the Duluth News Tribune. He joined the paper in April 2000, initially as a business reporter but has worked a number of beats through the years.
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