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Plans discussed for new electric transmission line

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news Worthington, 56187

Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

JACKSON -- ITC Midwest, an energy transmission company, hosted an open house Tuesday at the Jackson County Fairgrounds for area residents to discuss a new high-voltage electric transmission line that would run through southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.

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The Minnesota-Iowa 345,000-volt Transmission Project is expected to be completed in 2017. According to ITC, about 75 miles of the line will be in Minnesota, and about 30 miles will be in Iowa.

ITC Midwest Communications Director Tom Petersen said several open houses are taking place this week to introduce ITC and the project to local landowners.

"Our primary purpose is to get information from landowners to learn about who has lines already on their property, and what local issues we need to be aware of as we start this process," Petersen said. "This is to help us do the best job we can once we get (started)."

The transmission line project will provide improved reliability, expanded access to generation sources, better system efficiency, economic growth and job creation, Petersen said.

ITC is an independent company that serves all forms of energy generation. Utility companies pay ITC to use its system, Petersen said.

"We don't discriminate from one energy source to another," Petersen said. "It depends on what the utilities needs are; we just connect them to their customers."

Feedback received from the meetings will help prepare filing notes necessary to move the project forward.

"We will do our official regulatory filing early next year," Petersen said. "We've found that talking to landowners like this before we get started helps us understand what the local issues and interests are."

ITC will cover the cost of the project, which is yet to be determined, Petersen said.

"It's based on the route and the length of the line, and those things come from the routing process," Petersen said.

The exact route and line length have not been determined, Petersen said, noting the project is still in the early phases.

He said ITC mailed about 3,700 letters to Minnesota landowners, informing them of the project and public meetings.

Bill Tusa, a local resident and one of five Jackson County commissioners, said he came to the open house to ensure ITC would treat everyone the same.

"None of us want transmission lines on our property, but at the same time it's necessary," Tusa said. "I'm sure it will bring income to the local community."

Fellow Jackson County resident Tim Keller attended the open house and agreed that the project should move forward.

Two more open houses are scheduled for today in Blue Earth and Thursday in Fairmont. More project information may be found online at www.itctransco.com.

Daily Globe Reporter Kayla Strayer may be reached at 376-7322.

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