For more information contact: Joan Nichols 651-29X-XXXX
ST. PAUL – Last week, legislation (HF1633) authored by State Representative Karen Clark passed the House Energy Finance and Policy Committee, stopping Excel’s proposal to route high voltage transmission lines through East Phillips and surrounding neighborhoods in South Minneapolis.
“It’s historic to stop a major public utility company like Excel from proceeding with their plans to force high voltage transmission lines however through the heart of South Minneapolis, especially the Phillips neighborhood," said Rep. Clark. “These overhead power lines would have jeopardized the positive impact of years of economic development investments especially in the Midtown Greenway, severely damaged the value of homes and businesses which undoubtedly would have lost property tax revenue to the City of Minneapolis due to the lack of potential future development, and risked the public health and safety of residents, particularly children, threatened by long-term exposure to these lines.”
Passage of this bill would require Excel to pursue a Certificate of Need – a lengthy, well-established process that would require the public utility company to prove the need for this proposed major change in transmission lines in the inner city neighborhood of South Minneapolis.
“This legislation is successfully moving forward as a result of repeated inquiries from community members about the Excel’s proposed intent to build a 1 ˝ mile high voltage transmission line and about whether there are better ways to solve the energy issue, such as more energy conservation and renewable energy to meet the neighborhood’s energy demands” said Rep. Clark. “Many residents have asked the same question over and over because of a shared belief in the community that Excel was trying to avoid the Certificate of Need, a timely process that in the company’s view would cost them time and money. They are very concerned about the economic loss, the environmental health and the public safety of the community. Ironically, it was Excel’s own words obtained from two public reports required by law that we were able to determine Excel’s true plan to build a 12.5 mile high voltage transmission through South Minneapolis and into St. Paul. If this fact had been shared by Excel from the beginning, a Certificate of Need would have been automatically required as it is for all proposals for projects that extend beyond ten miles.”
The bill is now on its way to the House floor for a vote. This legislation was introduced last year along with a bill that promotes resources for alternative energy to deal with the perceived lack of adequate electric power in the neighborhood. These pieces of legislation follow landmark legislation passed by Rep. Clark in 2008 that requires accumulative health impact analysis for any new polluting industries in Phillips neighborhood in order to protect the public health of the majority of residents who are low-income, Indigenous American Indian or people of color who are already experiencing disproportionate environmental health burdens.
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