OPPOSITION: Sierra Club
BACKGROUND: In June 2005, a group of seven regional utilities proposed a 600 megawatt expansion of the existing 450 megawatt Big Stone facility located near Millbank, South Dakota. The new plant, estimated to cost approximately $1.6 billion, was planned to be operational by 2011.
Regulatory approvals were delayed by opposition from Sierra Club and others and by the need for a Minnesota State approval of a new transmission line. In 2008 South Dakota finally approved an air permit. Then, in January 2009 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) objected to the State approval. This was the first official action of the Obama EPA. In February South Dakota issued a revised permit to address EPA concerns. Sierra Club appealed that permit. In March, Minnesota approved the transmission line. Again, Sierra Club and its affiliated organizations appealed. In September, the lead utility withdrew from the project citing the recession and regulatory uncertainty regarding CO2 emission limits. In November, the remaining utilities cancelled the project. In 2010, the lead developer petitioned for “cost recovery” from its ratepayers of $12.5 million incurred with respect to the failed project.
SOURCES: http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2009/01/25/news/state/174945.txt http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/01/23/bigstone_epa/?refid=0 http://minnesota.sierraclub.org/campaigns/air/coal/bigStoneFactsheet.htmlhttp://www.otpco.com/SAFE/default.asp?pg=NewsReleases&Func=A&AID=109810003http://www.otpco.com/NewsInformation/PDF/BigStoneIICostRecovery.pdf http://www.keloland.com/NewsDetail6162.cfm?Id=49738http://www.startribune.com/local/68805317.html
LAST UPDATED: December 6, 2010