A Minnesota court said on December 23 that the proposed natural gas power plant in neighboring Wisconsin must undergo a more detailed environmental review before construction can proceed, which goes against the previous decision of the Council of State to approve the installation.
The state court of appeal said on Monday that state regulators should investigate whether the Nemadji Trail Energy Center in Superior, Wisconsin, had received significant environmental impact, which was approved by the PUC in October 2018, generating 525 to 625 MW of electricity in the area. . The court decision forced PUC to re-examine the plant.
Minnesota Power Corporation is the utility division of Duluth-based Midwest Energy Company ALLETE, and Dairyland Power Cooperative, based in La Crosse, Wisconsin, hopes to build the proposed $ 700 million in land between the Nemadji River and the premium terminal of Enbridge Energy. Nemadji Trail plant near Lake Superior at the junction of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The terminal is a hub for imports of American crude oil and a distribution center for crude oil circulating in the United States.
Minnesota’s power plants will support its transition from electricity generation to coal and complement its increased use of renewable energy resources. The PUC will decide to appeal Monday’s decision or to comply with a court order. PUC President Katie Sieben said the committee is reviewing today’s decision but has not yet decided whether the committee will appeal.
Environmental groups said the PUC was wrong to approve a gas-powered plant because the agency ruled that an environmental review was not necessary. The groups said utility services did not show that a new plant was needed, and also said that Minnesota should give preference to producing electricity without emissions.
The Court of Appeal, in its decision on Monday, stated that state law requires an environmental assessment sheet when a citizen’s petition demonstrates that significant environmental consequences are possible due to the nature or location of the action proposed in the agreement. The three-judge panel was unanimous in its decision that the PUC should consider whether this worksheet is needed for the Nemadgi route, and if so, whether a full environmental impact statement is required to continue the project.
Since the power plant is located in Wisconsin, the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) is studying the project to determine if the power plant meets the public’s reasonable demand for sufficient electrical power, regardless of its design, location, or route. It is in the public interest to ensure that there are no undue adverse effects on other environmental values. The Wisconsin PSC will make a decision next year.
In October, senior city councillors expressed support for the Nimadgi Trail power plant and unanimously passed a resolution stating that the city fully supports the Nemadji Trail Energy Center, the largest private investment in the city’s history.