There’s another Letter to the Editor today in the Grand Rapids Herald Review — the writer doesn’t take into account the pollution and health hazards that the Mesaba Proect presents, nor does he address the extreme burden his proposal would place on Minnesota Power, already distressed about the rate impacts of the transmission cost!

Relocate the Mesaba project

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007 10:52:51 AM


The Itasca County Board is supporting the construction of an approximately 600 MW coal gasification plant which so far is apparently publicly funded. Part of this public support is the construction of infrastructure and part is the agreement that the project will not pay taxes back to the county in the near future.

On the other hand, other large companies like Blandin and Minnesota Power do pay taxes that benefit Itasca County as well as providing good jobs.

By locating the Mesaba project on its Highway 7 proposed site, the county must construct a short line rail and accept long wait times at rail crossings, extend a gas pipeline, construct a transmission line, dedicate the waters of the Canisteo pit and convert a greenfield site. Why not locate the project in a more suitable location where most of this infrastructure already exists?

If the project were located at the current Boswell plant site, it would be in an industrial location where gas, rail and transmission corridors exist. With lower emissions (as stated by Excelsior), it could replace Units 1 and 2 to the benefit of the environment. Operating costs would be reduced as the cost of coal delivery would be lowered.

It appears that the main objection to the Mesaba project is the chosen site and the exposure of Itasca County taxpayers to risk from funding and operating infrastructure projects. Relocating the project to the Boswell site would address both of these concerns while still preserving the project and the jobs.

Dean Sedgwick

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