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Clock starts for objections to power line route

Setting in motion a 20-day time-frame for dissatisfied parties to seek reconsideration of a Minnesota Public Utilities Commission decision on the CapX2020 transmission line route, the commission on Wednesday officially released its decision from an April 12 hearing in St. Paul.

The decision reversed the recommendation of an administrative law judge, who selected a route that included a Zumbro River crossing at the Rochester Public Utilities power dam at the north end of Lake Zumbro.

The PUC's selected route shifted the crossing three miles south, to White Bridge Road — a route opposed by Oronoco Township, which said that routing high-voltage power lines through the area would upset plans for suburban residental growth there.

Oronoco Township plans to petition for PUC reconsideration, township board chairman Mark Thein has said previously.

The full route officially approved Wednesday stretches from Hampton, south of the Twin Cities, through southeastern Minnesota to a Mississippi River crossing near Kellogg.


The 69-page order issuing the route permit lays out the board's findings and conclusions from the day-long hearing, which culminated years of public meetings, official hearings and public and private debate over CapX2020, a consortium of 11 transmission-owning utilities that propose to upgrade the electrical transmission system through Minnesota and neighboring states.

The proposed 345-kilovolt power lines are described as the first major system upgrade through this region of the country in 30 years.

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