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Decision on power line through ND battlefield study area held over

BISMARCK – The state Public Service Commission on Wednesday delayed action on a controversial plan to run about 200 miles of high-voltage power lines across part of western North Dakota, including the study area of an 1864 battle between American Indians and Army soldiers.

A decision on Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s proposed transmission line was held over until the PSC’s next meeting at the request of Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.

“I’m still deliberating and reviewing information and I’m not ready to vote,” she said.

Under PSC policy, a commissioner who doesn’t hold the portfolio on an agenda item can have it held over for one meeting, PSC Chairman Brian Kalk said.

Kalk holds the portfolio on Basin Electric’s proposed 345-kilovolt power line, which would run from its Antelope Valley Station near Beulah to a substation near Tioga to help meet growing demand for power in western North Dakota’s oil and gas producing region.

Kalk said earlier this week he had drafted an order that would make the PSC’s approval contingent on several requirements, including that Bismarck-based Basin Electric submit a copy of the federal government’s final environmental impact statement prior to starting construction of the $375 million project.

“All the issues that I’ve had concerns about have been dealt with, so it’s time to move this forward,” Kalk said Monday.

The commission’s next regular meeting is April 23.

Mike Nowatzki

Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.