The Big Stone II power plant proceeding is happening right now in South Dakota. Here in Minnesota, we get the emissions and transmission, and so they’ve scheduled hearings on the Minnesota side, near the anticipated transmission line route. The hearings are scoping hearings, to determine the scope, what will be addressed, in the Environmental Impact Statement for the transmission line. Big Stone II transmission line hearings were held recently in Granite Falls, MN, and from the reports, it seems people are getting it, the truth is coming out — and it’s about time! On the project developer’s Big Stone II site, the real plant is going up faster than the site! The links to the plant application and transmission application work. But there’s lots of good info on the Sierra Club site. Sierra is putting up one hell of a fight on the power plant proceeding in South Dakota.

Here’s the lie — that it’s “for wind.”

And here’s a report from the Willmar paper about the Hearing in Granite Falls, where people are getting the truth, straight from Steve Schultz of Ottertail Power: Area residents raise concerns about powerline

Otter Tail Power cannot reserve transmission capacity for wind or any other power source, according to Steve Schultz, public communications manager with Otter Tail Power. The power is provided on a â??first-come, first-served basisâ? by federal regulation.

And what’s already waiting in line? Coal! Here’s comments about that point:

The Canby-to-Granite Falls line would carry 800 to 1,000 megawatts of capacity beyond that needed for the power produced by the Big Stone power plant.

Many had expected this extra capacity to be available to carry wind energy to urban markets and help develop that industry in the state.

However, most if not all of that excess is already spoken for by other power plants proposed in North and South Dakota, according to Falk, plants that presumably will be fired by coal or other fossil fuels when they come online.

People care about mercury emmissions that make fish unsafe to eat and do not accept adding more mercury into already contaminated waters. Is BS II paying attention?

Butch Halterman, a Montevideo science instructor, said that an upper portion of the Minnesota River is already considered impaired due to mercury falling into the water from the existing Big Stone power plant. He warned that mercury accumulates in the environment, and that the new plant would be damaging the health of children for generations to come.

â??Do we want mercury in our childrenâ??s children?â? he asked. â??It doesnâ??t go away.â?

Dick Kroeger of Cottonwood held up a pop bottle and said that one-half capful of mercury poured into a 50-acre lake is enough to make all of the fish unsafe to eat in it.

The current Big Stone power plant emits 189 pounds of mercury into the atmosphere each year, according to Mary Joe Stueve, a Graceville resident and member of Clean Water Action.

To find the Docket at “the agency formerly known as the EQB,” including site applications, for BS II, go HERE, and scroll down to Big Stone.

Comments on the scope of the EIS are due February 13, 2006. Send to:

Sharon Ferguson or email
Docket Manager
Dept. of Commerce
85 – 7th Place East, Suite 500
St. Paul, MN 55101-2198

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