Following Efforts from Klobuchar, Franken, Peterson, Nolan, Department of Energy Approves Great Northern Transmission Line

Nov 18, 2016 Issues: Energy

The Great Northern Transmission Line will help provide Minnesota electric customers access to reasonably priced, clean, renewable energy

Last year, Klobuchar, Franken, Peterson, and Nolan urged support for the project in a letter to Secretary Moniz and in September, the lawmakers sent another letter to Moniz urging a timely review of the project

WASHINGTON, DC – Following efforts from U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with Representatives Collin Peterson Rick Nolan, today the U.S. Department of Energy gave federal approval to Minnesota Power’s Great Northern Transmission Line, a 220-mile electric transmission line that will cross the U.S.-Canada border between Minnesota and Manitoba and help provide Minnesota electric customers access to reasonably priced, clean, renewable energy. Last year, Klobuchar, Franken, Peterson, and Nolan urged support for the project in a letter to Secretary Moniz. In September, the lawmakers sent another letter to Moniz urging a timely review of the project.    

“The federal approval of the Great Northern Transmission Line is good news for our economy and our environment,” said Klobuchar. “Now that this important project can move forward, more Minnesota households and businesses will have access to clean and renewable power.”

“The Great Northern Transmission line with help bring more affordable and reliable renewable energy to northern Minnesota families and businesses,” said Franken. “I’m pleased that the federal government has approved this important project to move forward in our state.”  

“This is an important step to providing more Minnesotans with reliable, affordable, renewable energy,” Peterson said. “The Great Northern Transmission Line has broad support from state, local and tribal governments and I am pleased that today’s approval will allow Minnesota Power to move ahead with planned construction.”

“This is an important project for securing the availability of affordable, renewable electricity in northeastern Minnesota – especially for residential consumers, as well as our mining, manufacturing, timber and tourism industries,” Nolan said. “I am very pleased the project's final stage of review has crossed over the finish line, just in time for the winter construction season. The Great Northern Transmission Line enjoys broad stakeholder support, including local tribes, and has positive energy security and environmental implications for northeastern Minnesota, the Nation, and North America. I especially want to thank Secretary Moniz for his work and responsiveness to our recent request for a timely resolution."

The letter to Secretary Moniz from September is below.

Dear Secretary Moniz:

We write to urge your timely review of the Department of Energy's (DOE) processing and issuance of the Presidential permit necessary for the Great Northern Transmission Line's (GNTL) border crossing with Canada.

We have written to you in the past on the project 's successful international collaboration between Canada and the United States, as well as the cooperation between DOE and state and local stakeholders. These efforts were noted by the Administration as a model for how other projects such as these should undertake stakeholder collaboration. Furthermore, we have been encouraged by the Administration's citation of the merits of the GNTL itself on several occasions.

Given the public support and collaboration between DOE, state regulators and other stakeholders, the project sponsor's expectation was that DOE's internal review and engagement with other federal agencies should have been well underway by the time the state route permit was issued in February by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Unfortunately, it appears DOE's Presidential permit process did not run entirely in parallel with the state approval process, causing delays. The ideal construction period  for the project is in the winter, since work over sensitive wetlands is best done when the ground is frozen. Failure to make a timely decision on the issuance of the Presidential permit could compromise the project's economics and could jeopardize  the project itself.

We would appreciate your immediate and personal attention to this matter so that the GNTL, which enjoys broad stakeholder support and has positive energy security and environmental implications for the region, the nation, and North America -can go forward as planned. Thank you for your consideration of our request.

Sincerely,