New Prague public meeting on power line is April 7

By Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

New Prague will host one of a series of public information meetings regarding the route permit application for the 345-kilovolt CapX 2020 transmission line. the meeting will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, at the New Prague High School commons area.

The meeting will begin with the Minnesota Department of Commerce Office of Energy Security (OES) holding an open house for the first hour. A presentation by the OES and question and answer period will follow.

CapX 2020, a joint initiative of 11 utilities in Minnesota and the surrounding region, are proposing the transmission line. One of the agencies is the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, of which New Prague Utilities is a member. The group is seeking to expand the electric transmission grid to accommodate customer demand for electricity.

Under the proposal, the 345-kilovolt power would be built along a 210-mile corridor stretching from Brookings, SD, to Hampton in Dakota County. There are two proposed routes with the preferred route passing on the north side of New Prague along Scott County Road 2. The alternate route would pass within two miles of New Prague's southern city limits. Towers for the power lines will be 8 to 10 feet wide at the base and approximately 150 feet tall.

CapX 2020 submitted its proposed routes to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in December. It hopes to build the line as early as 2012. The line and three others in the project are estimated to cost up to $1.7 billion.

Task forces have been formed that have included area residents and city and county representatives. A recent task force meeting in Henderson listed concerns ranging from economics to the environment.

Also, opposition groups have met concerning the power line. United Citizens Action Network (UCAN) and NoCapX held two local meetings in February and one in March. Another is Citizens for Smart Energy, which has listed among its concerns harm to the environment and damage to property values.

Three other area meetings will be held on Wednesday, April 8, at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, 20800 Kenrick Ave., in Lakeville. The meetings will be from 9 a.m. to noon, 1 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.

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