The Minnesota-Iowa transmission project, a 215 mile line connecting southern Minnesota and north central Iowa, would open new markets for renewable energy and improve system reliability and capacity. An important regulatory step took place this summer.
Developers held public meetings in the two states. In Minnesota, they were joined by officials from the state Department of Commerce. Sessions informed community members and landowners about the permitting process and the project’s plans. Developers are using the feedback they received to reevaluate plans as they draft an environmental impact study. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission attended and noted comments to use in their own project evaluation.
In Iowa, developers presented existing plans for the line to community members and took comments. Representatives from the Iowa Utilities Board attended and made the rights of landowners clear. Next, project developers will apply for a franchise permit in Iowa.
The meetings highlight an important fact about transmission lines. The regulatory process requires public involvement. In both states, developers could not move forward without holding public information meetings first.
They had to present their case. Landowners and communities were encouraged to actively participate, to voice concerns, and to give suggestions. Other states require public involvement too. But unless you participate, the opportunity is lost.
Transmission is a big deal when it’s done right. And that is with help and oversight from the public and the regulators who represent us.
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