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3-17-00

Dear Cree sympathizers:

Here's another opportunity to use your citizen clout to support the Crees in their struggle for environmental justice.

Duluth's electric company, Minnesota Power, is trying to get permission from the State of Minnesota to avoid the hassle of time and money involved in producing an Environmental Impact Assessment on its plan to construct a 12-mile powerline to send power to Wisconsin.  Powerline opponents in Minnesota and Wisconsin are trying to convince the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board that Minnesota Power does not deserve to be excused from this requirement.

This 12-mile powerline is certain to carry Manitoba Hydro-electricity into the United States.  It is a vehicle for Manitoba Hydro to increase electric exports to U.S. markets.  The Crees asked to testify in this case, but the judge won't allow that.

The agency to decide whether Minnesota Power must provide an Environmental Impact Assessment is the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (MEQB).  It will meet on Thursday, March 30, from 9:00 to noon in St. Paul.  Cree sympathizers can help the Crees by attending that meeting, sending in written comments, or both.

If the MEQB rules that Minnesota Power must undergo the full process of an Environmental Impact Assessment, then we have a chance to expose the bad effects of Manitoba Hydro, since an Assessment includes information about social outcomes from power company operations.

Written comments must be received at the MEQB by noon on March 23.  Here is the address, code number, and an example declaration you may may wish to write:

Attention:  Bob Cupit
Minnesota Environmental Quality Board
658 Cedar Street
St. Paul, MN 55155

Docket MP-HVTL-EA-1-99
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[EXAMPLE]

To the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board:

I ask you to deny Minnesota Power's exemption request for the Arrowhead-Weston Electric Transmission Line, Docket MP-HVTL-EA-1-99.

I base this request on the Power Plant Siting Act, which pertains to electric connections.  That law was not written with the intent to exempt miles of transmission line from a full review; it was only intended to apply to exempting footage of connecting transmission lines to electric substations and distribution lines.

Therefore, Minnesota Power's exemption request should be denied.  If Minnesota Power wishes to construct its planned twelve-mile line, it should submit to the total MEQB permitting process as required in the Power Plant Siting Act.

Sincerely,

Your signature
date
your name
and address

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Making a copy of your letter may prove very useful for publicizing this issue.  Please consider whether you would be willing to make a copy:  it could do double duty as a letter to the editor, as a handout to reporters, as evidence to send to your elected officials that there is opposition to the plans of utilities and for moral support for the Crees--or some other possibility that I have not thought of yet!

If you wish to attend the March 30 MEQB meeting, let me know so I can help with carpool plans.   (The meeting is in the Pollution Control Agency Board Room, 520 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.)

Environmentally yours,

Diane J. Peterson
Member, Peace and Social Action Committee
Twin Cities Friends Meeting
St. Paul, Minnesota
(651) 653-4385
birch7@goldengate.net

P.S.:  Please see my next e-mail,"MEQB's involvement," for background info on the MEQB process.  It was written by a fine public servant on the MEQB staff, Bob Cupit.  I hope you find it as helpful as I have always found Mr. Cupit to be.