re: proposed transmission lines Background on proposed MN-WI transmission lines
Transmission line - Updates: 2002 . 2001: 01-04 , 05-09 .
• 2000: 01-04, 05, 06-07, 08-10, 11, 12..  1999 .
  WI Wisconsin's Rural Rebellion
Model Resolution on proposed Transmission Lines
re: hydroelectric power Background on hydroelectric dams destroying Manitoba Cree rivers
Hydroelectric Dams - Updates: 2001, 2000: 01-03., 04-07, 1999


power lines
Page Contents:
Proposed MN-WI transmission lines -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jan. - Apr. 2001 updates

Page Contents:
Jan.   4 The technical hearings began today in Madison at PSC.
Jan.   7 High Tenson Up NorthHIGH TENSION UP NORTH
Jan. 16 Northwestern Wisconsin County Board Votes To Oppose Transmission Line
Jan. 30 Judge: Power line upgrade shouldn't require permits
Feb. 14 Weekly Vigil at Xcel Energy
Feb. 14 Developing Clean Energy Resources, Increasing Efficiency Will Help Midwest Avoid California-Style Problems Study Finds
Feb. 21 Re: February 14, 2001 Sidewalk Witness
Feb. 23 Friday is the last day of technical hearings.
Feb. 28 Technical hearings over, commissioners to decide Utilities' application ruling expected sometime in July
Feb. 28 Manitoba's Premier admits lobbying to build the Duluth-Wausau line
Mar. 16 Minnesota Power Co. can seek permits
Apr. 16 Wisconsin Commission to Issue Decision on Proposed Power Transmission Line
Apr. 20 Power line decision clears way for lawsuit Board says more review not needed
Apr. 21 Residents prepare to fight condemnation for power line route
Apr. 25 Xcel Energy Annual Meeting

UK SCIENTISTS LINK POWER LINES TO CHILD LEUKEMIA - LONDON, United Kingdom, March 6, 2001 (ENS) - The possible health effects of living near power lines are being assessed after UK scientists found that children exposed to certain levels of electromagnetic fields for prolonged periods could be at an increased risk of leukemia.
For full text and graphics, visit:




Commencing January 3, 2001
Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
Madison, WI


Jan. 4, 2001
Save Our Unique Lands (SOUL)
Contact: Ed Garvey or
Pam McGillivray 608-256-1003

Background: The technical hearings consisting of experts on both sides, began today in Madison at the Public Service Commission. The hearings are being conducted by Administrative Law Judge, Janine Geske who also presided over two weeks of public hearings where over 1,000 citizens came forward in opposition to the Arrowhead-Arpin line. (250 miles from Superior to Wausau.) Tom Kreager, President of SOUL participated throughout today�s session. The first witness was Larry Borgard, vice-president of Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, one of two utilities wishing to construct the quarter-billion dollar 13 story line.

Kreager made these observations: �It was good to finally get one of the utility executives under oath. Borgard admitted that the proposed line would increase wheeling of power outside of Wisconsin. They have already admitted that the line would not help people of northwest Wisconsin and now it seems that the market will determine how much, if any electricity from this line will remain in Wisconsin.

�In what must be described as bizarre, Borgard admitted that his company has already sold the rights to the line and will not have any control over the flow of electricity over the line should it be approved. He also admitted that even if there were a shortage of electricity in Wisconsin that his company would not build new generating plants in Wisconsin for the foreseeable future unless the State of Wisconsin deregulates his industry. Blackmail might be too strong a term but it comes to mind.

�Borgard wants permission to overbuild a line for improbable and extraordinary circumstances. He cited one-if coal were cut off from Southeastern Wisconsin. �Finally, Borgard could not determine if the sale of this proposed line will help or hurt the shareholders of Wisconsin Public Service Corporation.

�It is our hope that the PSC will determine that this is a bad idea that is opposed by the Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service, 8 of 11 County Boards impacted by the line. It should not be approved.�

Citizens group, utilities dig in for fight over 240-mile power line

by Lee Hawkins Jr.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Jan. 7, 2001 front page

Tomahawk - Tom Kreager remembers that Saturday clearly: He looked across his wooded 43 acres as he drove from his driveway and was startled to see a stranger walking the land. The man told Kreager he was a surveyor for Wisconsin Public Service Corp. He said he was marking the property for a 240-mile electrical line the company was planning to build between Wausau and Duluth, Minn. Kreager couldn't believe it. The thought of 150-foot-tall electrical towers and a huge power line slicing through his land near Mosinee angered him. What made him madder was that he knew nothing about it.

"They never even contacted me to tell me they were coming," he said.

That chance encounter two years ago led Kreager to form what has become one of the best funded and most organized protest groups ever in Wisconsin. Save Our Unique Lands is now fighting a bitter war in the North Woods with WPS and its partner, Minnesota Power Inc., over the line.

The utilities, most businesses and even some groups that traditionally oppose the power companies argue that a new source of electricity is crucial to the state's economic viability. Wisconsin's power grid is fragile, they argue, and this power line - a superhighway to transport electricity from Minnesota and beyond - is a vital element of any plan to shore up the system. They have at least the tacit support of Gov. Tommy G. Thompson.

But the utilities are fighting more than just a passionate group of residents who want nothing to do with a power line in their backyards. They also are fighting Wisconsin's tradition of conservation and state residents' almost mythic love for their treasured North Woods.

A state Public Service Commission decision on the project is expected this spring or summer. Hearings began last week to help determine its exact route.

Group has 2,500 members

As Kreager learned more about the project, he contacted some of his fellow North Woods residents. Together, they formed SOUL in 1999 with Kreager as president. The group now has more than 2,500 members, with about 1,000 subscribers to the newsletter it publishes monthly. It also has hundreds of non-members who contribute money but don't show up on its membership rolls.

The top executive at WPS acknowledged that SOUL is a formidable opponent.

"In America, grass-roots campaigns tend to have a lot of clout, and SOUL has had quite an impact," said Larry Weyers, chairman and chief executive officer of WPS. "But the overriding concern here is that the state needs additional import capacity. And regardless of the feelings of any constituents in the state, the line has to be built someplace."

SOUL's strategy includes the courtroom. Its lawyers said they will file court challenges to stop or impede the process if necessary. WPS and Minnesota Power say they are prepared to stay in the fight if it shifts from the regulators to the courts.

"We are concerned that they will try to hold it up and delay it in the courts," Weyers said. "But we believe the state of Wisconsin needs additional transmission, and we will do whatever is necessary to push it forward."

But as Alliant Energy Corp. learned in 1998, such fights can be bruising.

The Madison-based utility and SkyGen Energy LLC of Northbrook, Ill., announced plans that year to build a 450-megawatt power plant near

the village of Rockdale in eastern Dane County. An environmental group known by its acronym, RURAL, managed to keep the project tied up in the courts for more than a year. A Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling eventually allowed the project to move forward.

"It can be an effective strategy," said David Helbach, director of corporate affairs for Alliant. "The RockGen facility was held up not by the PSC or the Legislature, but by court actions."

Health, environmental concerns

For many SOUL members, fighting the line is an emotional experience. Some are defending their property; others the environment or their view of what the North Woods should be.

Property owners believe the line will significantly diminish the value of their land. They also are concerned over reports that living near such lines and their electromagnetic fields can increase the chances of developing leukemia and other cancers or cause other health problems. That those reports are disputed does not diminish the concern.

If built, the line would cross dozens of rivers and streams, including such scenic rivers as the Chippewa, Flambeau, Namekagon, St. Croix and Wisconsin. To some, these waterways and the vast stretches of forest lining the North Woodsare priceless.

Sylvia Wollemann watches nature unfold on the 120 acres of land her grandfather settled in Brantwood 100 years ago.

"These acres are all forest and wetland," Wollemann said. "There has been no development on these parcels, mostly because of the wetland areas that make it practically impossible to access except on foot."

Kreager, SOUL's leader, has lived in the North Woods his whole life. He built his home from the trees on his land. He cuts wood for his stove and taps the maples each spring for syrup.

Kreager said many of SOUL's members share similar stories, and they frequently swap them online. The Internet is an integral part of the group's strategy. SOUL has a Web site,, and its members rely heavily on faxes and e-mails to communicate.

SOUL also has a fair amount of money. To help fight the project, the group asked the PSC for $320,393 from a state fund that allows parties in cases before the commission to hire experts. The agency awarded the group $150,000 and $54,411 to retain Madison lawyer Ed Garvey's firm, records show. It was the largest award the PSC has ever issued in a lump sum.

When it authorized the award, the agency estimated that a reasonable attorney's fee would be about $120 an hour. SOUL raised the extra funds, mainly through individual contributions, to hire Garvey at a rate of about $180 an hour.

Big-money battle brewing

Despite the war chest, some SOUL members feel outgunned.

"This comes down to money and power," said Barb Finkelson, a landowner from Abbotsford. "Whoever has the most of each is going to prevail."

If that's true, SOUL will lose. Even with its strong support, the group is no match for the money and power that WPS and Minnesota Power are willing to wield.

"We have certainly dedicated more resources to getting people to understand the need for this project than we would have had that not been necessary," said WPS' Weyers. "The efforts of our lobbyists have certainly aided in getting the word out to legislators."

All told, WPS spent $166,158 in lobbying fees in the state between January 1999 and December 2000, according to the Wisconsin State Ethics Board.

The company likely is paying substantially more than SOUL for attorney's fees. Sources familiar with the billing rates of Foley & Lardner, the firm representing WPS, estimated that Foley typically would charge $300 to $350 an hour. WPS also has contributed to the election coffers of key politicians. Since 1991, WPS or its employees have given $12,425 to Thompson, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Wisconsin State Elections Board. Of that number, $250 came directly from WPS, and the remainder came from individual employees, records show.

In total, WPS and individual employees of the company have contributed $29,456 to Wisconsin politicians since 1991.

Thompson openly supported the project before it became a hot-button issue in the North Woods. Over the past few months, as widespread opposition from landowners grew louder, he has declined to discuss his position. Privately, sources say, he remains a supporter. Thompson appointed all three members of the PSC: Chairwoman Ave Bie, Joe Mettner and John Farrow. Many opponents of the line believe the PSC will rubber-stamp the project as a result.

In addition, longtime Thompson aide Bill McCoshen, who left state government in 1998, is on the WPS team.

With Thompson leaving for a job in the Bush administration, attention now turns to Lt. Gov. Scott McCallum, who will take Thompson's place. While McCallum has not taken a public position on the line, his concern about the shortage of electricity in Wisconsin makes him a likely backer, supporters of the line believe.

"I believe that McCallum understands the need for this line," Weyerssaid.

Through a spokeswoman, McCallum declined to be interviewed, saying he didn't have the time because of state budget briefings.

WPS also has picked up the backing of some North Woods' businesses. Nicolet Hardwoods, of Leona, struggled for years with sporadic power, said Peter Connor, junior vice president at the company.

"Every time the heat gets above 80 degrees in Ohio, Minnesota or Chicago, we have to worry about whether our power is going to be shut off here," Connor said. "Without good power, it's almost like living in a Third World country up here."

Connor said the North Woods has become increasingly attractive as a retirement area, and people continue to live as they lived in the city.

"Back in the old days it was unheard of for people to have air conditioning in their cabins. Now it's common," Connor said. "It's time that people realize that they are part of the problem, not the solution. The whole idea that this is a conspiracy to pave over the North Woods is ridiculous. All we are asking for is some consistent power."

One key member of Thompson's cabinet - the state's chief environmental regulator - is dissenting. George Meyer, secretary of the state Department of Natural Resources, said he is against the line as proposed.

PSC hearings heated

While frequently framing the battle as the little guy vs. the moneyed interests, SOUL also has complained loudly that the PSC hearings in November and December were unfair to typical property owners. The PSC changed its process for the transmission lines hearings, under the guidance of Ed Marion, a former state Justice Department attorney who also served as chief of staff for Thompson.

For the first time, the PSC allowed citizens to submit their comments in writing, but those who did so had to be willing to answer questions from the opposing side's attorneys. The questions are typically used by attorneys to discredit or clarify the testimony of their opponents' witnesses, lawyers said.

Having that opportunity is important, because PSC commissioners are expected to read about 3,000 pages of documents from the hearings before they make their final decision, the lawyers say. The commissioners attended some of the hearings, but missed most of the testimony during the two-week period. The new rules produced some heated exchanges, some of which neatly summed up the battle now joined in the North Woods. One such encounter took place in Rhinelander on Nov. 28 after 78-year-old Lola Strong said she opposed the line. Strong said she had seen research concluding that electromagnetic fields from such lines have the potential to cause cancer.

After her testimony, Trevor Will of Milwaukee law firm Foley & Lardner, who represents Wisconsin Public Service, said he wanted to cross-examine Strong.

"Are you a physician?" he asked.

After a few seconds of silence, she shot back: "No, I am not. I am just a grandma trying to keep the environment in shape in the North Woods."

Northwestern Wisconsin County Board Votes To Oppose Transmission Line


Nine counties of the eleven affected by the so-called Arrowhead-Weston "bulk transfer" 345,000 volt line OPPOSE the line. Washburn County voted unanimously against the line on Jan. 16.

January 16, 2001
Contact: Bob Olsgard, Washburn County Board Supervisor 715 635 8171
Sandy Lyon: 715 766 2725

After many months of study the Washburn County Board unanimously voted to oppose the so-called Arrowhead-Weston 345,000 volt transmission line.

Washburn County Supervisor, Robert Lester, who introduced the resolution said "we hope the Public Service Commission listens to the County."

"We recommend that the Washburn County Board of Supervisors oppose the construction of the Arrowhead to Weston line across Washburn County. We make this recommendation not because of any overwhelming evidence that the line should not be constructed here, but rather because of lack of solid evidence that this powerline proposal is the best option for resolving any electrical demand problems. This is very important because we feel we cannot justify the disruption of peoples lives and our environment without strong evidence showing need for the line, " the resolution states.

"We have not been shown that the Arrowhead to Weston route is the best option for the location of a line or that a 345kv electrical line is the best answer for solving these problems, " the resolution continues, and further states, " We have not been shown that the construction of the Arrowhead to Weston line would have any direct benefit to Washburn County's local power grids."

"The route would pass through the northeastern corner of the county and then through Sawyer county. Some huge Mennonite dairy farms are located on the Sawyer/Washburn boundary. They would be devasted by the line as well as many lake property owners", according to Ed Gregory, Stone Lake township supervisor. "What happens in Washburn County affects all the land owners up and down the line. We believe that if the line is stopped in Washburn County, the rest of the line will never be built."

Washburn County Board Supervisor, Bob Olsgard, praised the committee members saying, "the passage of this resolution shows that real people can look into complex issues and in the end do the right thing. This action protects our land, our air, our water and our people."

Glenn Woods, a Washburn county resident spoke to the board, "I built a solar electric house here 10 years ago and this line will do nothing for me except allow the electric utilities to continue to pollute with mercury from coal and take more of our future away from our children. I strongly disagree with this line and I highly commend our supervisors for their action in opposing this line. You are heroes, old style heroes."

There are 21 members on the Washburn County Board. Four were absent tonight.


Judge: Power line upgrade shouldn't require permits
Ruling clears way for Minnesota board to grant exemption request for project

By Steve Kuchera
News Tribune staff writer
January 30, 2001

Minnesota Power should be allowed to upgrade 12 miles of high-voltage power line between Hermantown and the St. Louis River without having to obtain state permits, a Minnesota judge has recommended.

If the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board follows Judge Kenneth Nickolai's recommendations, the project -- part of the controversial Arrowhead-Weston transmission line proposal -- would be the largest ever exempted from state permitting requirements.

Project supporters say the line is needed to help meet Wisconsin's growing need for power and to increase the reliability of the regional transmission system. Opponents contend the line could harm their health, livestock, property values and the environment.

However, Minnesota Power "has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that, with one exception, the Arrowhead Project will not create significant human or environmental impact," Nickolai wrote in his recommendation, released late Monday afternoon.

The one exception would be increased noise from additional transformers at the Arrowhead substation, and Nickolai tempered his recommendation for an exemption with one that the state require Minnesota Power to reduce noise at the substation by using sound barriers and/or quieter transformers.

"With noise mitigation, the Arrowhead Project will have no significant impact," Nickolai wrote.

Minnesota Power was pleased with Nickolai's recommendation for the state to grant its exemption request.

"But we do realize that this is just a recommendation and it's just one step in the entire process," company spokesman Eric Olson said. "It's an encouraging step, but we're not finished yet."

The 15-member Minnesota Environmental Quality Board will consider Nickolai's recommendation later this year when it decides to grant or deny Minnesota Power's request.

"Obviously we're disappointed in the judge's recommendation to allow this to go forward without any environmental assessment or environmental impact statement," said Pam McGillivary, a Madison attorney for Save Our Unique Lands, a grass-roots group opposing Arrowhead-Weston.

Nickolai reached his recommendation after reviewing the 2,600 pages of transcripts from 10 days and two evenings of hearings on the exemption request in Proctor last fall, plus several hundred pages of post-hearing briefs.

"It's not over," McGillivary said. "We still have an opportunity to argue before the EQB before any final decision."

If the MEQB rejects the exemption request, the company could appeal the decision to the State Court of Appeals. If it decides to apply for a permit, the process would take about one year.

Minnesota Power will upgrade the 12 miles of line only if the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin allows it and Wisconsin Public Service to build the remainder of the 250-mile-long, 345-kilovolt line between Oliver and the Wausau, Wis., area.

Technical hearings on the Wisconsin portion of the line began Jan. 3. So far, 22 of 53 witnesses have testified, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin spokesman Jeff Butson said Monday.

"I expect the hearings to last well into February," he said. "I think May is the earliest we can expect to see a decision from the commission."

The Wisconsin section of Arrowhead-Weston requires an entirely new power line. The 12-mile segment of line in Minnesota follows an existing 115-kilovolt line. Minnesota Power plans to replace the existing poles and string both the existing and the new, 345-kilovolt transmission lines from them.

The new poles will average about 135 feet, considerably taller than the 57- to 67-foot-tall poles there now. But having both lines on the same poles reduces the need to cut a wider right-of-way, although the first 3.2 miles of right-of-way will be expanded 20 feet farther west.

The one other right-of-way change would move .8 mile of the existing line near the DM&IR tracks in Gary to a 100-foot-wide corridor roughly 900 feet east of 96th Avenue West.



Weekly Vigil at Xcel Energy
February 14, 2001

Xcel Energy Shareholders and Ratepayers will gather at Corporate Headquarters US Bancorp Center 800 Nicollet Mall beginning Wednesday February 14th, 2001 11:30 am-12:30 pm.

We are working in support of the shareholder resolution to not renew electricity contracts between XCEL ENERGY and Manitoba Hydro which are causing severe human rights violations of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation in Manitoba Canada.

We will work to sustain a weekly presence on Wednesdays at the same time until the April Annual Meeting.


more info 651-777-3629

Developing Clean Energy Resources,
Increasing Efficiency Will Help Midwest Avoid California-Style Problems Study Finds

February 14, 2001

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 /U.S. Newswire/ -- As the country wrestles with the implications of the California energy crisis and national and state leaders call for a reassessment of American energy practices, a study released today provides new insight and some possible solutions. "Repowering the Midwest:

The Clean Energy Development Plan for the Heartland," released by the Environmental Law and Policy Center of the Midwest (ELPC), provides a blueprint for developing clean energy to help diversify energy sources, reduce pollution, increase energy efficiency and help improve the reliability of the power supply. The report was developed in conjunction with a steering committee that includes Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, Dakota Resource Council, Iowa RENEW, Izaak Walton League of America, Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy, RENEW Wisconsin and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The report, which focuses on 10 Midwestern states, uses sophisticated modeling to compare the Midwest's energy future through 2020 using "business-as-usual" practices versus implementing the Clean Energy Development Plan. The plan calls for expanding investment in energy efficiency and for increasing supplies of renewable electricity, including power generated from wind, solar and biomass resources. In addition to diversifying the power supply, these strategies to develop modern energy efficiency technologies would curb electricity consumption by 17 percent over the next decade and 28 percent by 2020, while yielding dramatic reductions in hazardous pollution, according to the report.

"What is happening in California is a wake-up call to the rest of the country," said Howard Learner, ELPC executive director. "As the 21st century begins, the Midwest can lead the way to a clean energy future. 'Repowering the Midwest' is a blueprint for sustainable energy development that will produce economically robust and environmentally sound electricity throughout the heartland. The lesson of California is to plan ahead now by investing in clean energy efficiency. Let's not wait until we have to struggle with crisis management."

The Midwest is in a strong position to capitalize economically on the development of clean energy, the report finds. The region is a budding manufacturing center for modern energy-efficient technologies that save money and avoid pollution. In addition, wind- and solar-power technology firms are providing a new clean energy manufacturing base in the region and can provide new economic opportunities for farmers.

"Clean Energy equals more green jobs in a growing business sector for the Midwest," Learner said.

When it comes to wind power, six of the 10 states with the highest wind potential are in the Midwest, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Iowa and Minnesota are leading the way with more than 500 megawatts of wind power (equivalent to the size of a typical coal plant) coming online since 1998.

"Energy efficiency is the best, fastest and cheapest way to avoid power shortages," Learner said. "By investing in available modern clean energy technology now, we will be investing in the future of our businesses, schools and communities."

By increasing energy efficiency measures, demand for electricity will remain essentially constant over time instead of growing steadily each year. Coal and nuclear power generation will decline and renewable energy resources will rise, supplying roughly eight percent of the power generation by 2010 and 22 percent by 2020. That will reduce the emissions that cause acid rain, smog and global warming, as well as cut nuclear waste.

The report notes that these clean energy resources will not reach their full potential without significant public policy support. Coal plants and nuclear energy currently receive substantial financial subsidies and policy benefits, and the report says policies are needed to reduce the "market barriers" currently hindering energy efficiency and renewable energy resources.

The plan calls for an Energy Efficiency Investment Fund to be developed at the state and federal levels to support energy efficient development. Under the plan, each state would establish a fund supported by a non-bypassable charge of 0.3 cents to support energy efficiency initiatives, which would be managed by an independent third-party administrator. The report also suggests that Congress should enact legislation to provide substantial matching energy efficiency investment funds that can be used by states to supplement or partially offset their investment funds. The report recommends federal and state legislation to establish a "renewables portfolio standard," which would require all electricity suppliers to include a specified percentage of renewable resources in their generation mix. It also proposes creation of a renewable energy investment fund to support wind, solar and biomass power development.

Finally, the report says that utilities and state utility regulatory commissions across the Midwest should work cooperatively to establish standard business interconnection terms and conditions that will help overcome existing institutional barriers.

--- The Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) is the Midwest's leading public-interest environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization. ELPC works to achieve cleaner energy resources and implement sustainable energy strategies, promote innovative and efficient transportation and land use approaches that produce cleaner air and more jobs, and develop sound environmental management practices that conserve natural resources and improve the quality of life in communities.

For the executive summary or full copy of "Repowering the Midwest: The Clean Energy Development Plan for the Heartland," please contact Mike Truppa, Director of Communications, ELPC, 312-673-6500, or download a copy at

  • Cambridge, MA Alan Noee, Union of Concerned Scientists, 617-547-5552
  • Dickinson, ND Mark Trechock, Dakota Resource Council, 701-483-2851
  • Indianapolis, IN Mike Mullett, Citizens Action Coalition/IN, 317-636-5165
  • Indianapolis, IN Chris Williams, Citizens Action Coalition/IN, 317-205-3535
  • Madison, WI Michael Vickerman, RENEW Wisconsin, 608-255-4044
  • Prole, IA Ed Woolsey, IA Renewable Energy Assoc., 641-764-2689
  • St. Paul, MN Bill Grant, Izaak Walton League, 651-649-1446
  • St. Paul, MN Michael Nobel/Matt Shuerger, 651-225-1133 Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy



Re: February 14, 2001 Sidewalk Witness

Dear Cree supporters,

Our first Wednesday Sidewalk Witness last week (Feb. 14) on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis outside the front doors of Xcel Energy's headquarters was a success in spite of the fierce wind chill.

The theme of the Witness, kicked off on Valentine's Day, was, "Have a Heart, Xcel. Unplug from Manitoba Hydro. It's time to Xcel in human rights." Our flyer bore the shareholder resolution and a sample letter to Xcel's president. See sample letter below. Please consider sending a similar one soon.

Your help in attracting both shareholders and ratepayers to support the shareholders resolution--before the April 25 annual shareholders meeting--is much needed and appreciated.

We've got a special button you can wear to support the resolution. It shows a light bulb with a green heart shining inside. The caption is "Have a Heart, Xcel. Unplug from Manitoba Hydro." Get one by coming to a Wednesday noontime Witness:

Wednesdays, 11:30 to 12:30
February 21 & 28,
March 7, 14, 21 & 28,
April 4, 11 & 18
800 Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis.

Bring a new and interesting sign emphasizing the shareholder resolution and the Annual meeting April 25.

Hope to see you there.

Sample letter to Xcel

Mr. Wayne H. Brunetti
President and CEO
Xcel Energy
800 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55402-2023

Dear Mr. Brunetti:

I support the shareholder resolution filed November 2000 about Xcel Energy's electricity purchases from Manitoba Hydro.

I understand that Xcel Energy's board of directors has not visited Pimicikamak Cree Nation's territory, nor formally met with its leadership. Manitoba Hydro, a willing seller, asserts that the environmental, social and economic concerns of Pimicikamak Cree Nation will be resolved in a timely manner. Xcel Energy has continued to depend on those assertions of Manitoba Hydro-- your company's public comments to American media, elected officials, and at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission demonstrate this dependence.

But Pimicikamak Crees have recently told Minnesotans that a satisfactory resolution to their concerns is not happening--the treaty they signed with Manitoba Hydro twenty-four years ago has never been implemented.

In response to this situation, I ask you to take all necessary steps now to ensure that Xcel Energy's electricity contracts, both present and future, will greatly reduce or end the adverse impacts experienced by Pimicikamak Cree Nation.


                              Your name and address



February 23, 2001
- Friday is the last day of technical hearings.

FROM: Tom Kreager,
Save Our Unique Lands (SOUL)

Hello Everyone,

I have just been informed that it is VERY IMPORTANT to have as many people as possible at the FRIDAY morning Public Service Commission hearings in MADISON on the transmission line. This is the last day of the technical hearings and it is important to make a showing of force. The 9 am hearing on Friday is expected to last until about 12 noon. Plan on being there, stand up for your rights! Please wear your SOUL orange. If you would like to attempt a car caravan I would suggest meeting at the Stage Stop Restaurant at 7:00 AM Friday. This is located immediately west of I-39 at highway 153 in Mosinee.

Bring your brothers, mothers, cousins, friends and whoever else can go, numbers are very important.

If you want to drive directly to the Public Service Commission the address is 610 North Whitney Way, Madison. The best way to get there from the north is take I-90 to Madison, exit highway 19 north of Madison. At the bottom of the ramp turn right on to highway 19 (west) and follow roughly 5 miles to highway 113. Turn left on to highway 113 (south) and follow to 1st stoplights, this is highway M. Turn right on highway M (west), follow past highway K to highway Q south (Don't take highway Q north). You will be traveling on highway M for a while. Turn left on highway Q south and follow to it's end. Turn left on University Ave, follow to Whitney Way and turn right on Whitney Way. The Public Service Commission is on the right in the 1st block, behind Irish Waters.

                    See you in MADISON,

                        Tom Kreager


Wisconsin's largest truly grassroots movement, SOUL ("Save Our Unique Lands") calls for rally at end of high voltage transmission line hearings.

Madison: SOUL board members from northern Wisconsin, where the proposed 345,000 volt "extension cord" transmission line would cross, announced a rally at the "Public" Service Commission PSC offices on Whitney Way in Madison, where the final day of the two month long 'technical' hearings have been taking place.

The opposition to the 250 mile long route is huge in the north and rally organizers want the so called commissioners to see some of the rage. "We are land owners because we act right," said Ellie Steffen, whose 482 acre Rusk County retirement homestead lies on the proposed route, "but, we will become transmission line right of way routes if we continue to 'act right'. We will no longer stand for this farce of justice. We want the commission to see who we are, we are not just line routes on a map, we are real people with real lives in real places�.and we will not let that line pass through here."

The proposed high voltage transmission line would directly affect some 11,500 private property owners. 9 of the 11 counties through which the line would pass have publicly declared opposition to the line.

"If the hearing process on this line was taking place in a non-political environment, we would be the 'hands down' victors," said Sandy Lyon, SOUL board member of Washburn County," but, with all the political appointments and cozy relationship between utilities, past and present governors and lobbyists and the commissioners, I don't see the process as being 'good for Wisconsin's energy future'. The old way of "advance planning" made much more sense. We see right through the 'powers that be", the emperor has no clothes. Come election time, we will vote for what is right."

Ed Garvey will be at the rally at noon. Bring an extention cord and signs. Something like, "A Victory for Wisconsin's Bright Future Has No Line" or "Renewable Energy YES: Line NO!" "Bring Back The Advance Plan"




Technical hearings over, commissioners to decide Utilities'
application ruling expected sometime in July

Cathy Peterson
Phillips WI
February 28, 2001

The technical hearings on the proposed Duluth to Wausau transmission line project, which began Wed., Jan 3, concluded on Friday, Feb. 23. By the end of the final day, 53 witnesses had testified about the factors involved in the application by Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and Minnesota Power to build a 250-mile, 345-kilovolt electric power line through 11 counties in northern Wisconsin.

Several of the intervenors at the hearings represented groups, including other utility providers, businesses and corporations that favored the transmission line. Other intervenors represented individuals and organizations opposed to the project, including Save Our Unique Lands, Wisconsin's Environmental Decade and Citizens' Utility Board Their witnesses provided testimony which countered that of the witnesses testifying on behalf of the applicants and their supporters.

The main debates focused on whether or not the proposed transmission line is an appropriate, effective and efficient way to meet Wisconsin's electrical energy needs, how to establish what these needs are without an energy policy in place, the expense of the project in both in dollars and the environment, the amount of value lost to northern Wisconsin property owners and county governments and the potential for health and safety impacts.

For example, when Wisconsin Public Services Corporation's assistant director of environmental services Gregory Egtvedt testified on Wednesday, Feb. 21, he testified that the environmental impact of the proposed transmission line on northern Wisconsin wetlands would be minimal, that the vegetation would not be adversely affected, nor would the transmission line have any effect on endangered species in the area.

When asked if WPS provides environmental inspectors, Egtvedt admitted that it does not, but said construction engineers are trained to do project inspections. He said if the environmental damage could be significant, it might be necessary for the WPS to have an inspector for the Duluth to Wausau transmission line, if it is approved.

When asked about the siting of the line through the Lac Courtes Oreilles reservation, Egtvedt testified that Native Americans have the right to hunt, fish and trap on the ceded territories, but do not have regulatory rights.

He said when Native American cultural resources or burial sites are found while transmission lines are being constructed, the work would be halted until a specialist from the Wisconsin State Historical Society could be consulted.

If the proposed line is built along one of the Tripoli routes, more than 10,000 acres of county forests would be impacted, according to SOUL intervenor Linda Ceylor. She quoted testimony presented by Price County Forester Pete Bartelt at a public hearing in Tomahawk explaining the negative effects of siting the transmission line though the county forests.

Egtvedt acknowledged that there would be a loss of overall income to the county if the line was located through county forests, but said the county would gain some income because the trees which would be cut down along the route and the right-of-way could be sold and the county would receive payment for the use of the land.

He said the damage to the forest ecosystem would have an adverse impact only in areas with small blocks of forested land, but stated he did not know the overall effects of a transmission line on forest fragmentation.

Pat Berg, Athens, asked Egtevedt what WPS could do about their stand of maple trees in the Ogema area. She said the route would bisect the entire stand and make it impossible for the family to continue to operate their maple syrup business. She was told some type of settlement would be made for the trees that had to be cut down but the family would not be reimbursed for the loss of possible income.

In response to questions from David Ludwig, an attorney for the Public Service Commission, Egtvedt said the transmission lines should use as much of the existing corridors, like highways and railroad rights- of-way as possible. He said the potential impacts of the proposed transmission line won't be known for years.

"We would not burn the vegetation from the transmission line rights-of-way, but use chemical controls and cutting to control growth," Egtvedt said. "Any destruction of a wetland caused by construction and maintenance of a transmission line would depend on the quality of the wetland itself."

Under questioning by George Crocker, intervenor for the North American Water Office, Egtvedt said there would be environmental impacts in northern Wisconsin if the transmission line was approved and built. He said the impacts were reasonable in terms of other manmade intrusions in the area, for example, highways, commercial developments and rural housing projects.

When asked which of the routes the WPS prefers, Egtvedt said the utility prefers a proposed Tripoli route rather than one which goes through the Owen area. He said a Tripoli route would allow the utility to upgrade service in the Rhinelander area, but acknowledged that their preferred route has the most potential for environmental impact.

Egtvedt said he had investigated the Tripoli route sites by car, by plane and by looking at aerial maps. When questioned by several of the intervenors about upgrades to existing lines, generation plants and other systems alternatives to transmission lines, he stated that he did not complete a system level analysis on alternatives.

UW-Madison science professors David Zaber PhD. and Quentin Carpenter PhD. questioned Egtvedt on the effects on wetland biology and pollution which the transmission line could cause. They disputed the WPS witness's testimony that the transmission line would have little environmental impact on the area. Carpenter testified that if one of his students had done environmental research in the manner described by the witness, the student would not have received a passing grade.

The final witnesses addressed how the proposed transmission lines might contribute to stray voltage, electric and electromagnetic fields, ground currents and other related problems.

According to Ceylor, Janine Jeske, the administrative law judge who conducted the hearings, said it was the longest and most complicated case she has ever had. She praised the judge's decision to reverse her own earlier ruling requesting SOUL's membership list.

"Judge Jeske said she was satisfied that there was no coached testimony by SOUL's witnesses," Ceylor said. "She accepted copies of minutes of SOUL board meetings and said she will read them, but not give them to the attorneys for the utilities as they had requested. The judge commented that many of the witnesses who spoke against the transmission line were concerned landowners speaking on their own behalf."

Now that the technical hearings, which included some very long days, according to Ceylor, have concluded, the two utility applicants and the intervenors have until Friday, March 16, to request changes in hearing transcripts.

"For example, if there is a misquote or it appears that a statement was not clear, we can asked to have corrections made," Ceylor said. "With 10,000 pages of testimony to review, the judge could extend the deadline for a week, giving us until Friday, March 23, to look over all the transcripts."

She said case briefs are due on Thursday, May 24, with 30 days allowed for response briefs, which are due on Friday, June 22. Ceylor has started reviewing all the transcripts and the exhibits introduced during the hearing to prepare her briefs.

"Once the final briefs are submitted, it will be up to the three Public Service Commissioners to either approve or not approve the utilities' application to construct the transmission line," she said. "We should have their decision sometime in July."

Ceylor believes if the three commissioners, Ave Bie, Joseph Mettner and newly appointed Robert Garvin, take a close look at the record of testimony and exhibits presented during the public and the technical hearings, they would not approve construction of the transmission line.

Garvin, who will begin his commission duties March 1, was appointed by former Governor Tommy Thompson to replace former commissioner John Farrow who did not seek re-appointment. Garvin has most recently been the executive assistant to PSC chairperson Ave Bie. Prior to joining the PSC, he worked as a legal counsel and policy director for the speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly and has served as a legal counsel and manager of governmental affairs for WPPI, Inc., a wholesale supplier of electricity to over 30 municipalities in the state of Wisconsin.

Ceylor said Garvin should be familiar with the case since he has been an assistant to Commissioner Bie, but expressed disappointment that PSC commissioner John Farrow would not be involved in making the final decision, since he had attended some of the public hearings held in northern Wisconsin prior to the technical hearings..

"This Duluth to Wausau transmission line project was actually drawn up in response to two electrical shortage problems, one in 1997 and one in 1998," Ceylor said. " There is no electrical crisis now and no need for the line. The state has more electric transfer capacity and increased electric generation. Merchant power plants create more jobs when they are built where electric power is needed. People don't usually object to power plants sited in industrial areas where the power will be used."

She said if the commissioners take a good hard look at the record, they should be able to see that there are better electrical energy alternatives than building a high-voltage transmission line across the environmentally sensitive, often pristine forests, wetlands and private properties of northern Wisconsin.




Manitoba's Premier admits lobbying
to build the Duluth-Wausau line

From: Ann Stewart

Note: Although Minnesota Power, one of the proponents, denied to the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board that its proposed 250-mile 345 kV line between Duluth, Minnesota and Wausau, Wisconsin, has any connection to Manitoba Hydro, here is the relevant portion of a transcript of a Winnipeg radio show, Wednesday, February 28, that demonstrates otherwise.

In January Manitoba Hydro sued Cross Lake for nonpayment of Hydro bills. The Pimicikamak Crees then counter-sued for damages done to the community's water supply. All figs in Canadian dollars. Regards, Ann

Breakfast with the Premier:
Doer responds to claims that northern communities must pay up Hydro bills.

Source: CJOB, 7:40 a.m. (Morning Show), February 28, 2001

Larry Updike, host: School day six, garbage day three, as we welcome the

premier of Manitoba, Gary Doer, to Breakfast with the Premier. Good morning.

Premier Gary Doer: Good morning.

Updike: Well, as you heard on the news with Barry Burns, Manitoba Hydro is owed eight and a half million dollars for unpaid, bills, and CJOB News has gathered news using the Access to Information Act. It turns out, seven and a half million of that is owing from first nation communities. I'll give you an example, 3.7-million owned by Cross Lake First Nation in a legal battle with Hydro at the moment. And ten other aboriginal communities that owe a $100,000 or more. Premier, there's a principle here -- that if it was me or somebody else that owed the money, why are these communities allowed to let their accounts slide?

Doer: Well, we're in a major legal and political fight with Cross Lake, and this is part of it. Cross Lake has been opposing Manitoba's export of electricity to Minnesota, and ultimately to a transmission line that we're lobbying to build in Wisconsin. We have... We're negotiating a $800-million deal to extend Manitoba power to Minnesota and Wisconsin. And we're in a fight with them, and we've taken them to court and they've taken us to court. It's the last community that has not settled under the Northern Flood Agreement. All of the other communities have settled, and places that have settled, like Nelson House, have been very, very positive, but there's no question we will...We're taking action against Cross Lake. There was an offer made by the previous government to settle this, and many other outstanding claims that was rejected by the community that would have dealt with this lack of payment, in terms of Hydro bills. But, if you get the electricity, you have to pay the bills, and we're pursuing Cross Lakr and all the other communities. And you're right -- everybody should be treated equally.

Updike: And do you look at now a policy on payment on the north? Does it speak to you of a larger problem on reserves because it's an awfully big percentage of the owed pie?

Doer: It is a big percentage of the owed pie for consumers, and we're pursuing it, with the communities. There's also no question that some of the ... a lot of the houses that are built in those northern communities have very flimsy conservation procedures and the bills are just terrific, in terms of some of the costs in those communities, but the principle of "you get the electricity, you pay the bills" is the same no matter where you live. And, I mean, hydroelectric power is providing a great advantage for Manitoba. As I mentioned to you off-air, there's an article today saying that Alberta's costs for many industries are going as high as 29 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to Manitoba's four cents per kilowatt hour. So, it's providing great economic advantage for us. A lot of the development took place in the north, and we're trying to make sure that there's some economic development in those communities for the development that did take place in giving us these advantages, but it should not be...No one should believe that because a settlement is not arrived at, that they have an excuse not to pay their bills.



Wisconsin Commission to Issue Decision
on Proposed Power Transmission Line

April 16, 2001
Lee Hawkins Jr.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Apr. 16--The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin expects to issue a decision whether a 250-mile transmission line being proposed between Wausau and Duluth, Minn., can be built sometime near the end of summer, a PSC spokeswoman said Friday.

The three-member commission originally planned to render a decision this spring. But the high volume of written testimony and other documents collected in hearings on the proposal prompted the PSC to push back the date, spokeswoman Anne Marie-Newman said.

In all, the agency collected 10,000 pages of testimony from concerned citizens and various experts, and another 16,000 pages of supporting exhibits about the project, which is being proposed by Wisconsin Public Service Corp., Green Bay, and Minnesota Power Inc., Duluth, Newman said.

"Given the sheer size of the record, (administrative law) Judge Janine Geske gave all of the involved parties additional time to prepare their cases," Newman said.

The decision gives all expert witnesses, utility companies, and others involved in the case more time to prepare briefs that offer their interpretations of state statutes. That process, called the briefing, will last until June, Newman said.

The PSC held hearings from November through February to solicit testimony on the transmission line from concerned citizens and experts. The 345-kilovolt Arrowhead-Weston line would be strung about 240 miles from Wausau to Duluth and cost $125 million to $175 million.

The project's planners expressed frustration at the delay, but said it may not keep them from completing the line on schedule.

"We are disappointed that the decision has been delayed," said Larry Weyers, chairman and chief executive officer of Wisconsin Public Service. "But if a decision is rendered by the end of the summer, we can still have the line operational by the summer of 2004."

The only event that could delay the decision further is an action proposed recently by Save Our Unique Lands, a group of landowners who oppose the transmission line. Earlier this week, the group asked the PSC to consider reopening the case so they can add information on pending proposals to build new power plants in the state.

"We want to reintroduce evidence that shows that there is no need for this new line because of all the new plants that are being built in the state," said Madison attorney Ed Garvey, who represents SOUL. "They hadn't proven a need to begin with, but now it's clear that they don't need it."

The PSC's Newman said the commission has not taken up the motion. But Weyers challenged it as a delay tactic.

"The overriding reality is that the state needs both generation and transmission. We don't need one or the other; we need both of them," Weyers said. "I don't see a good reason to reopen this case just to put in some new information, so I have to conclude that they are probably just trying to stall."

Weyers' comments came a day after WPS Resources, the holding company for Wisconsin Public Service, asked the PSC for permission to raise electric rates 16 percent because of higher costs at The Kewaunee nuclear power plant and higher fees for transporting electricity.

The rate request drew criticism from the Citizens' Utility Board, a Madison utility watchdog group, which considers the increase excessive. Weyers acknowledges that the new transmission line will bring added costs for consumers in the short-term. But it may help lower costs in the future, he said.

"Whenever you put new assets on the books, obviously you increase your cost," Weyers said. "But over the long-term, and even the intermediate term, it will have a net cost reduction to the customer. We will have access to various sources of energy that we didn't have access to before."




Power line decision clears way for
lawsuit Board says more review not needed

April 20, 2001
Duluth News Tribune

A Minnesota state board Thursday dealt an expected setback to foes of the proposed high-voltage Arrowhead-Weston transmission line.

The Minnesota Environmental Quality Board didn't act upon requests from two groups to reconsider its March decision to allow 12 miles of line in Minnesota to proceed without further environmental study and to reopen public hearings on the issue.

"That's the end of any reconsideration process before the board," said MEQB senior project manager Bob Cupit. "The next step will be appeals to district court, if they so choose."

North American Water Office Director George Crocker said Thursday's lack of action was expected, but requesting reconsideration is required before going to court.

"We do expect now to move into district court," Crocker said.

Crocker said construction of the line will lead to more pollution, and therefore should not have received an exemption from the state's power plant siting act.

The NAWO and the World Organization for Landowner Freedom asked the MEQB to reconsider its March decision and to hold new public hearings. Newly discovered evidence and irregularities at the March hearing warranted such actions, the groups said.

But in a letter to board members, MEQB staff said the evidence was all available before the hearing and that there were no irregularities.

The MEQB voted on March 15 to allow Minnesota Power to upgrade 12 miles of 115-kilovolt transmission line between Hermantown and the St. Louis River without further environmental review. The project is part of the proposed 250-mile, 345-kilowatt Arrowhead-Weston transmission line between Hermantown and the Wausau, Wis., area.

Petition protests Hydro line plan

by Brenden O'Hallarn, Legislative Reporter
Winnipeg Sun, April 20, 2001

These ain't love letters.
The first portion of a petition by East St. Paul residents, opposing a Manitoba Hydro plan to erect another transmission line near their homes, was presented to the Manitoba Legislature yesterday. And a portion of the petition will be presented every day until the end of the session.

"You want to keep the issue on the forefront of the political agenda," Springfield MLA Ron Schuler said of the persistent petitions.

"(Hydro) Minister (Greg) Selinger knows every day there are concerned citizens who want him to act on this issue in a reasonable fashion."

The residents are wary of Hydro's plan to erect a 230-kilovolt transmission line to the north of existing 230-kV and 500-kV lines in a 200-metre-wide patch of green space in East and West St. Paul. They fear declining property values and possible increased health risks from the electromagnetic fields associated with power lines. Selinger said the Clean Environment Commission, an arm's length government agency, received a consensus statement from top Manitoba scientists demonstrating that electromagnetic fields are safe. He accused Schuler of inciting fear among area residents without having the facts.



Residents prepare to fight condemnation for power line route

by Steve Kuchera
Duluth News Tribune staff writer
April 21, 2001

Superior Township resident Joe Kimmes is ready to fight the possible condemnation of his property for the proposed Arrowhead-Weston power line "quite a ways."

"This line is for profit," he said. "Why should our (property) valuations go down to line their pockets?"

Kimmes made his comments at a news conference Friday with neighbor Chris Litchke. The two hired Superior lawyer Daniel Hannula to question the constitutionality of a state law authorizing the creation of an electrical transmission company.

Without the newly formed American Transmission Co., Hannula claims, the utilities that want to build the controversial high-voltage line across Northwestern Wisconsin won't be able to condemn land for the project.

Attorney General James Doyle's office is close to a decision on Hannula's request to find the law unconstitutional, spokesman Mitch Henck said Friday.

"Lawyers are reviewing the issue and may have a decision next week," he said.

If Doyle's office finds the law constitutional, Kimmes, Litchke and others will be free to fight the battle in court.

But whether or not American Transmission is found constitutional, Minnesota Power and Wisconsin Public Service Corp. have the right to condemn land if the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin approves the project, PSC spokesman Jeff Butson said.

Project supporters say the line is needed to increase the reliability of the region's transmission system.

The PSC decision on whether to authorize the line, which would be operated by American Transmission, could be made by late summer. The PSC would decide which of several alternate routes the line could follow.

One possible route crosses Litchke and Kimmes' land. Litchke raises beef cattle, Kimmes raises pure-bred cattle and horses. Litchke said it makes no sense to cross farmland when the line could be built through wetlands or along pipeline corridors.

"Why make one more eyesore in that part of the county?" he said.

"I am sure it would drop my valuation about 70 percent," Kimmes said.

"I'm not against the line," he said. "I am against them not following the right-of-ways they said they were going to use at first."

The utilities presented several possible routes to the public at 14 meetings in Wisconsin and four in Minnesota.

"It was based on feedback from those meetings that we dropped a number of routes and added others," Minnesota Power property rights manager Cary Weber said, noting that one of Kimmes' sons lives along a route that was dropped from consideration.

Weber rejected Kimmes' allegation that the companies want to cross farms because it would be easier than crossing wetlands.

"That's totally false," he said. "We'll build the line wherever the route is given to us."

During Friday's news conference, Hannula attacked the 1999 legislation that authorized the creation of a transmission company whose sole purpose would be to plan, build, operate, maintain and expand transmission facilities.

Steve Kuchera can be reached at (218) 279-5503, toll free at (877) 269-9672, or by e-mail at



Xcel Energy Annual Meeting
Wednesday, April 25th at 8:15am

Minneapolis Convention Center
1301 2nd Avenue South
Commemorate Earth Week 2001 and the 15th anniversary of Chernobyl Support Proxy #2 (Pimicikamak Cree Nation's renewable energy shareholder resolution)
It's time to Xcel in human rights

Join a peaceful protest against environmental injustices in Utah, Minnesota, Manitoba and Nevada. The solution to environmental injustice in Xcel's electricity system is to make the transition to clean, renewable energy.



Background on proposed MN-WI transmission lines
Transmission line - Updates: 2002 . 2001, 01-04 , 05-09 .
• 2000: 01-04, 05, 06-07, 08-10, 11, 12 . 1999 .
Wisconsin's Rural RebellionModel Resolution on proposed Transmission Lines
Background on hydroelectric dams destroying Manitoba Cree rivers
Hydroelectric Dams - Updates: 2001, 2000: 01-03, 04-07 . 1999 .
Midwest Treaty Network Contents