Friday, January 17, 2014

Basin Electric members and tribal members testify at RUS hearing

Basin Electric members and tribal members testify at RUS hearing

The proposed north Killdeer loop will deliver power into member cooperative McKenzie Electric Cooperative’s service territory.
John Skurupey   
John Skurupey, McKenzie Electric CEO and
general manager, testifies in favor of Basin
Electric's proposed north Killdeer loop transmission
line segment.
Representatives of Basin Electric member cooperatives testified in favor of a proposed Basin Electric transmission project in the Williston Basin at a public hearing held by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Jan. 16 in Watford City, ND.
Basin Electric plans to build, operate and maintain an approximately 278-mile 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission project from Antelope Valley Station (AVS) to Neset in western North Dakota. The RUS, an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is considering funding the project and is preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project.
The Jan. 16 hearing gave the public an opportunity to comment on a supplemental draft EIS that evaluates an additional transmission line segment that would interconnect with the previously proposed AVS to Neset project at a switchyard near Killdeer, ND. The project, called the north Killdeer loop, includes 60 miles of 345-kV transmission line and two substations that will deliver power into member cooperative McKenzie Electric Cooperative’s service territory.
About 20 people attended the Jan. 16 hearing. Representing Basin Electric Basin Electric were Curt Pearson, manager of media and community relations; Kelly Suko, property and right of way project coordinator; and Cris Miller, senior environmental project administrator. Basin Electric members Claire Vigesaa, Upper Missouri G & T Electric Cooperative manager, and John Skurupey, McKenzie Electric CEO and general manager, testified at the hearing.
Skurupey said that the cooperative’s rapid growth warrants construction of the additional line segment.
“Without this additional north Killdeer loop, members who may want additional electricity or new members wanting electricity at a new home site, water well or commercial location will eventually be refused service for the sake of keeping the lights on for those who are currently being served,” Skurupey said. “This is not a futuristic prediction but rather a road we’re traveling and a stop sign we’re already slowing down for.”
Several members of North Dakota Native American tribes and a member of the Killdeer Mountain Alliance spoke against the proposed route of the AVS to Neset line at the hearing. As proposed, the line would run south of the Killdeer Mountain Battlefield State Historic Site, though cross about 27 square miles of a proposed study of privately-owned lands near the designated historic site.
The north Killdeer loop project requires authorization from the North Dakota Public Service Commission and several federal and state agencies to move forward in the federal EIS process. Basin Electric plans to start construction on the transmission line segment in 2016, with the line in service in 2017.
The public comment period ends Feb. 3. Written comments on the scope of the EIS should be sent todennis.rankin@wdc.usda.gov or:
Mr. Dennis Rankin, environmental protection specialist
USDA, Rural Utilities Service
1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Stop 1571
Washington, DC 20250-1571
The supplemental draft EIS is available at www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWP-AVS-Neset.html.

http://www.basinelectric.com/News_Center/Publications/News_Briefs/basin-electric-members-and-tribal-members-testify-at-rus-hearing.html