Tribal consortium opposes power line
Groups cite 'ongoing environmental devastation'
Spooner Advocate [Spooner WI] week of 20 March 2000
The Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council Inc. (GLITC), a consortium of tribes in
Wisconsin, unanimously passed a resolution on Wednesday, March 15, that
calls for increased investments by tribal, local, state, and national
governments in energy conservation and renewable resources.
Local members of the GLITC include the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of
Wisconsin and the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
³We have reaffirmed our historic commitment to protecting the lands, waters,
and people of Wisconsin,² Tom Maulson, GLITC president, said. ³We are
sending a clear message to our utilities that we oppose the construction of
power lines that will bring more harm to the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of
Lake Superior Chippewa [LCO] in Hayward, and the Pimicikamak Cree Nation in
The 250-mile 345,000 volt power line jointly proposed by Minnesota Power and
Public Service Corporation of Wisconsin would cross a portion of the LCO
³LCO still suffers from our peopleıs displacement when Northern States Power
built a dam and reservoir 80 years ago on our traditional territory,² said
gaiashkibos, chairman of Lac Courte Oreilles band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
³We refuse to be a party to more destruction of indigenous peoples, their
way of life, and our environment.²
The proposed transmission line that will originate outside of Duluth and
terminate in Wausau is expected to carry electricity generated by a
22-year-old hydroelectric project in northern Manitoba.
Cree Indians have asked American tribes to support them in their campaign to
stop new contracts with American utilities because of what tribal officials
have called ³ongoing environmental devastation.²
The GLITC resolution also says investments in locally generated resources
will result in greater reliability and self-sufficiency for tribal members
and for the citizens of Wisconsin and Minnesota.
³Instead of exporting dollars to Manitoba, weıd be better off supporting the
wind and solar resources of the Midwest,² Maulson said.
The Duluth-to-Wausau power line could carry power from more than just the
Manitoba area, according to local utility officials.
³People need to understand,² said Dan Rodamaker, general manager and chief
executive officer of Rice Lake Utilities, ³that this line would deliver all
kinds of electricity not just hydropower from Manitoba or Ontario.
³There are many diverse sources of domestic electricity to the west of
Wisconsin,² he said. ³Wisconsin Public Power gets 107 megawatts of
electricity from a power plant in northern Minnesota. Wisconsin Electric
gets biomass and hydropower from sources in the Duluth area.
³New gas-fired generation is being built in Minnesota. North Dakota is
capable of exporting more than 1,500 megawatts of power from scrubbed
lignite power plants. There is also substantial hydropower available from
the Western Area Power Administration and Basin Electric.
³All of these diverse sources benefit Wisconsin consumers, but we need a
reliable system to deliver the power,² Rodamaker said.
Ken Peterson, manager of Barron Electric said: ³Some people have targeted
this line, based on a distant conflict between Manitoba Hydro and the Cree
nation. Unfortunately, this opposition strategy also threatens Wisconsinıs
access to every domestic power source to the west.
³Thatıs not in the best interest of electric consumers in Spooner or
anywhere else in Wisconsin.²