ST. PAUL, MN. June 8, 2010— The Minnesota Court of Appeals announced today a ruling in favor of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) on the challenge of the MPUC by Citizens Energy Task Force (CETF) and UCAN, who argued that demand forecasts have dropped, that the CapX2020 ultra high power lines are not needed and that other feasible alternatives would create less environmental harm. CapX2020 utilities (Xcel Energy, Great River Energy, Dairyland Power and 8 others) will be allowed to continue their plan for 600 miles of ultra high voltage power lines from North Dakota and South Dakota running through Minnesota to Wisconsin. The CapX2020 power lines would cost nearly $2 billion and be constructed on steel towers up to 170 feet tall, equivalent to a 15-story building.  Details on the appeal submitted by CETF and UCAN are available by clicking here.

“I regret that the Court did not take a stronger position to protect the environment and the future of energy in Minnesota and neighboring states,” stated Paula Maccabee, attorney for Citizens Energy Task Force.

Although they didn’t prevail today in the Minnesota Court of Appeals, citizens will continue to challenge the need for CapX2020 and to suggest local generation and transmission alternatives with less environmental impact. CETF’s attorney has also submitted comments to the MPUC regarding the utilities’ request to push back the start date of the Brookings Line. The utilities have admitted that there is no financial plan to pay for this expensive Project. By 2015, their new proposed date, the data used to determine regional need will be a decade old.

People in Minnesota and Wisconsin concerned about protecting the Wildlife Refuge and scenic Mississippi as well as our energy future will have additional opportunities to challenge the CapX2020 projects in Wisconsin proceedings and the federal environmental review process currently underway. There are alternatives based on local transmission and generation that would prevent this environmental harm and keep the lights on at lower cost.

A community educational effort of CETF is working to inform citizens of MN and WI about the importance of an energy future that involves local, clean renewable energy.