December 14th, 2006

Stolen from GRHR – Excelsior’s new office at the Peterson Funeral Home in ColeraineÂ

Oh, my, there he goes with that “L” word again…

Micheletti said that would not be the case.

â??Theyâ??re lying,â? he said.


Excelsior opens local office, spurs more debate

Than Tibbetts
Herald-Review Staff Writer
Thursday, December 14th, 2006 11:47:13 AM

Excelsior Energy officials opened their new offices in Coleraine Monday amidst a flurry of energy related activity around the region.

Excelsiorâ??s open house attracted several dozen visitors, some looking to welcome CEO Tom Micheletti and company and others stopping by looking for answers about their property values, pollution and other concerns surrounding the project.

Excelsior wants to build a $2 billion coal-fired power plant near Taconite, which would attempt to demonstrate the latest cleaner-coal burning technologies.

The projectâ??s supporters say the power plant, known as the Mesaba Energy Project, would bring much-needed jobs and economic stimulus to the region, while opponents of the project cite a number of issues, most prominently the environmental effects of pollution from the plant on the areaâ??s lakes air quality.

Before entertaining some spirited discussion about the project, Micheletti characterized some of his companyâ??s opponents as â??opposed to developmentâ? and questioned why his project was getting so much flak.

â??You never heard a peep during Boswell Four,â? he said, referencing Minnesota Powerâ??s Boswell Energy Center in Cohasset.

Coincidentally, Minnesota Power Executive Vice President David McMillan spoke at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerceâ??s monthly luncheon and talked about major upgrades planned for the Boswell facility.

He said the company is planning on spending more than $200 million to reduce emissions at the plant.

â??We are reinvesting in the jobs in the area,â? he said.

McMillan also presented information saying that after the upgrades, Boswellâ??s Unit Three would be in the same neighborhood of low emissions as Excelsiorâ??s proposed plant.

Micheletti said that would not be the case.

â??Theyâ??re lying,â? he said.

Excelsiorâ??s Vice President of Environmental Affairs Bob Evans said those number were probably based on projected goals.

â??In reality, youâ??re not going to get better than what weâ??re going to do,â? he said.

Continuing the energy activity on Tuesday, Members of the Citizens Against the Mesaba Project held an informational session at Itasca Community College.

Approximately 100 people attended the groupâ??s two-hour-long presentation, which touched on topics ranging from mercury concerns to economic impacts on the region.

Earlier on Tuesday, Micheletti met with former state Sen. Doug Johnson, who is working with Excelsior Energy, and four Iron Range legislators â?? Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook), David Dill (DFL-Orr), David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm) and Tom Saxhaug (DFL-Grand Rapids) â?? behind closed doors. Micheletti gave the legislators a short overview of the project before the â??strategy meetingâ? was closed to the public.

The public will have a chance to submit comment in Excelsiorâ??s case before the stateâ??s public utilities commission next week. The commission will determine whether Xcel Energy will be forced to purchase power from the Mesaba Energy Project.

Look for more on the Excelsior Energyâ??s Mesaba Project in Sundayâ??s Herald-Review.

Leave a Reply