Kalk: PSC 'justified' in giving its OK to a power line route

Apr 28, 2014

The chairman of North Dakota’s Public Service Commission says he doesn’t see the need to wait for a federal environmental impact statement before the Commission would give its approval to a route for a controversial high voltage power line in western North Dakota.

The line in question would run from the Antelope Valley power plant to Tioga – and could cross the Killdeer Mountain battlefield. Chairman Brian Kalk says Basin Electric Power Cooperative needs approval from the State Historic Preservation office – and has to wait for a federal environmental impact statement. But Kalk says the PSC was justified in giving its okay. He likened it to the siting of North Dakota’s portion of the Cap-X 2020 line.

"In that case, we had a lot of groups saying, 'You can't vote on this transmission line until the diversion is ompleted,'" said Kalk. "We're now X-amount of years later, and if you want to start an argument in Fargo, all you have to do is bring up the diversion."

Kalk says in that case, he's glad the power line route moved forward.

"As we're closing in on the next season, when we absolutely need that energy in Fargo, had we not made those decisions at that time, Fargo would be in danger of not having enough electricity," said Kalk.

Kalk says the Basin line is similar – in that the oil patch is in need of more electricity.