LTE in Duluth paper, but FYI, the part that says “My law firm” is NOT what I wrote — I wrote “” because that’s the intervenor, not MY FIRM! Why do they do things like that??? OK, off to Hoyt Lakes… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Unlikely allies agree Mesaba is a bad idea

Public-comment hearings for Excelsiorâ??s Mesaba coal gasification power plant are today at the Hoyt Lakes arena and Wednesday in Taconiteâ??s community center. Both hearings are at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. At issue is Excelsiorâ??s attempt to force Xcel to buy overpriced power it doesnâ??t need for its customers. Xcel doesnâ??t need new generation until 2015, and then, not that much. Xcel doesnâ??t want the power because itâ??s too expensive.

My law firm has joined Xcel against Excelsiorâ??s Mesaba project. Weâ??re unlikely allies who agree Mesaba is a bad idea. Others who feel the same way include landowners listed at, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota Power, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Big Stone II and the Xcel Industrial Interveners.

This weekâ??s hearings are an opportunity to address project costs and whether the project is in the public interest.

Construction is estimated at an outrageous $2.2 billion, or $3,593 per megawatt. The per-kilowatt cost is projected to be 6.83 cents, far higher than anyone expected, and certainly not â??least cost.â?

Whatâ??s included? Hard to tell, but the cost doesnâ??t include infrastructure costs that Excelsior may shift to others, including roads, railroad, natural gas, process water and treatment, and transmission interconnection and network upgrades that are necessary because the facility is not on an old mine site, a brownfield with infrastructure, as promised.

What do you think about the costs? Should this project receive federal and state money, tax credits and tax exemptions? If it does, should these benefits be passed on to ratepayers? Should others pay for Excelsiorâ??s infrastructure costs? The public hearings today in Hoyt Lakes and Wednesday in Taconite are your chance to state your concerns.

Carol A. Overland
Red Wing, Minn.
The writer is an attorney for

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