Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Letter to the Editor: Killdeer Mountain transmission line adds insult to injury

Published September 04, 2013, 12:00 AM

Letter to the Editor: Killdeer Mountain transmission line adds insult to injury

I am writing to call attention to Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s proposal to construct transmission lines and a substation on the site of the Killdeer Mountain Battlefield. The state Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing in Killdeer today to review this proposal.
I am writing to call attention to Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s proposal to construct transmission lines and a substation on the site of the Killdeer Mountain Battlefield. The state Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing in Killdeer today to review this proposal.
Detailed maps available at the commission’s website clearly portray its intention to construct a substation within the boundary of this historic battlefield area as identified by the National Park Service in its 2010 survey. The cooperative thus is adding insult to injury in not only constructing its lines within the battlefield’s boundaries, but in adding a 12-acre substation!
This should come as no surprise. The 2012 Draft Environmental Impact Statement for this project prepared by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service makes only a passing reference to this historically significant Civil War battle. It states: “In 1864, following the Minnesota Sioux uprising of 1862, the U.S. Army under the command of General Sully, engaged a group of Teton, Yanktonai, and Dakota Sioux in the Killdeer Mountains. The location of that battle is now a state historic site.” This reference is totally misleading. The state historic site consists of only 1 acre! The 2010 study delineated over 17,000 acres of the battlefield as eligible for registration on the National Register of Historic Places. Additional alternatives should be developed that do not intrude on the battlefield or on the viewscape of the Killdeer Mountains, which in themselves constitute a unique resource in western North Dakota. The need for additional alternative analysis is further demonstrated by the recent announcement that Basin Electric wishes to construct both of the routes analyzed in the draft Environmental Impact Statement. Consequently, there remain no alternatives to be considered by North Dakota and the U. S. Department of Agriculture in the interest of making a decision which minimizes adverse impacts on the environment.
The commission should not agree to shortcut the processes leading to this important decision that will impact the area for generations. Before making any decision, the commission should insist that Basin Electric develop alternatives that avoid adverse impacts on unique historical, ecological and cultural resources associated in the proposed routes. North Dakotans deserve no less. Indeed all of the nation’s taxpayers who will be subsidizing these facilities through the Rural Utilities Service deserve that as well.

Susan Veigel Dickey,
Dickinson
http://www.thedickinsonpress.com/event/article/id/71682/