Minnesota Power seeks permit for new power line; skeptics question need

Duluth-based Minnesota Power has filed permit applications with state and federal regulators to build a new transmission line from Canada to the Iron Range.

The Great Northern Transmission Line would carry at least 750 megawatts of electricity into the U.S. beginning in 2020. Minnesota Power plans to import 250 megawatts of hydropower generated from dams in northern Manitoba. The utility says it will help power new mining operations and continue its diversification away from coal.

But Carol Overland, an attorney who represents a group of landowners in northern Minnesota with concerns about the project, says it's not needed.

"What it does is give you this gigantic line, to nowhere," Overland said. "Why are we building this, what would be the cost to Minnesota ratepayers?"

The Minnesota Public Utilities commission is scheduled to decide on the project's certificate of need and routing applications in 2015.

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