February 15, 2007 at 7:27 a.m.
People should plan on viewing a number of drawings of pole styles proposed for the upgrade and seeing the powerline layout in an informal format.
The meeting is open for people to come and go from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Debra Pyle, Dept. of Commerce Energy Facility Permit Division, told the Chisago County Press that all sorts of public input is being collected in this first forum.
Citizens are welcome to comment verbally, ask departmental officials questions, submit written opinions at the meeting, or just view the information and mail or e mail comments later.
This first portion of fact-finding on the Xcel permit will close March 13.
If sending comments into the state-- direct them to Sharon Ferguson, 85 7th Place East, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55101-2198.
Pyle said within a month or so of the comment period ending the Environmental Assessment is completed and released.
Then the administrative law phase gets underway. The whole review is expected to take about six months, Pyle added. "A record of all that's been submitted is then presented to the Public Utilities Commission."
There will also be a Local Advisory Task Force appointed by city and township government units to help oversee the permit process. If you are interested in serving on the advisory group contact a supervisor, mayor or city council person in your town.
Xcel is in the Environmental Assessment stage of its permit applications for both the Certificate of Need for the rebuilding of the powerline and the route of the line. The two were combined into one parallel process.
Pyle said the Feb. 27 meeting is a good time for anyone to ask about undergrounding of the enhanced powerline. This is also when alternative routes should be brought up. Any environmental-related factors that need to be considered should also be presented at the upcoming meeting. "We try to do this part fairly informally," she explained.
A copy of the Xcel proposal is available at the Chisago Lakes Area Library. This newspaper also has a copy at our offices.
Xcel submitted the routing permit to the PUC January 5.
Xcel wants to replace the line between the Chisago Substation in Lent Township (on County Road 14) from 69 kV to 115 kilovolts to a new substation on the west side of Taylors Falls. Out of Taylors Falls the power capacity would become 161 kilovolts and continue across the river dam to Wisconsin's electric network.