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Letter: Public should be skeptical about transmission line

The proposed Great Northern Transmission Line is in the pre-application stage, and an application to the Minnesota PUC in September 2013 would begin the Certificate of Need. Open houses are being held over the next two weeks. If the developer obtains a Certificate of Need, it would pursue a permit for routing. Phase I would run from the Canadian border to the Blackberry substation east of Grand Rapids, Minn. Phase II, to Duluth, is on hold. It is too early to talk about routes.

Consumers and ratepayers would pay for this high-capacity, high-voltage electrical transmission line. The wasteful development pattern this is part of likely would be a drain on our economy and harmful to the environment.

Developers often lead the public into thinking about routes. This is misleading because the need is what's at issue now and requires public scrutiny.

Developers often ask for public feedback about routes, which require implied choices and approval that divide communities. Route "choice" means, "Would you rather we burned your left hand or right?"

The question is one of need, but Minnesota Power's claim of need is as misleading as the way they handle the public at open houses. If any need exists, then that need should be defined. Minnesota Power hasn't done that. System alternatives to transmission must be considered. What is most cost effective, beneficial, and in the public interest?

Who am I to ask these questions? I am a member of SOUL of Wisconsin, and I've been there. We've participated in transmission proceedings in Wisconsin, and have seen how utilities manipulate information about electric transmission. The public should be skeptical about need -- don't leave it to the Minnesota PUC. Seek out information and become involved.

John Dunn

Mauston, Wis.