Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Battle Lines vs Power Lines: Part 1

Battle Lines vs Power Lines: Part 1

Posted: Nov 12, 2013 5:43 PM CSTUpdated: Nov 12, 2013 5:43 PM CST
KUMV.COM - Williston, ND - News, Weather, Sports

It was here on July 28, 1864, that a U.S. military force commanded by General Alfred Sully attacked several groups of the Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota Sioux nations camped at this location. The number of fatalities is not known, but the loss to Native American culture is profound.

It was once the site of a historic battle. But today, the Killdeer battlefield is at the center of a new dispute.

As western North Dakota continues to grow, the need for electricity grows with it. Basin Electric Co-Op has proposals to build a transmission line that will run through an area where some of the fighting took place.

"For generations the Dvirnacks have kept this site," says Craig Dvirnack.

Craig and Rhonda Dvirnack's ranch surround the 1 acre historical site that belongs to the state of North Dakota.

"When my grandfather sold his wheat crop in the fall of 1928 he made a down payment on this ranch. And so it's been in our family since...since then," says Craig.

Over the years the couple have extensively researched the battles that took place along the proposed route.

"It will go through an area where there was fighting that did take place, but it does not go through the state historic site," says Craig.

"We are on section 33, so you can see that the transmission line is over a half mile south of us," says Rhonda. 
Rhonda and Craig believe that energy development can coexist with this historic site.

"I'm for it. You have the communities along the way that this transmission line would supply power to. How can you tell these communities that you can't build a hospital, you can't build a school, you can't build houses or apartments to grow for all the influx of people. How can you tell them you can't provide power for them?" says Craig.

While the Dvirnacks support the transmission line the couple questions a historical study awarded to Professor Tom Isern at the NDSU. Their land, the historic site and the proposed transmission line are part of Isern's study area.

"We don't know what his intentions are to this day because nobody has explained to the landowners out here the ramifications if this study would happen," says Craig.

The Dvirnacks say they have not been contacted by any member of the research team, and that they will continue to support preserving the historic site, and the construction of the transmission line.