- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A citizens’ group wants the federal Rural Utilities Service to force a power company to redraw plans for a transmission line that avoids crossing the historic Killdeer Mountain Battlefield area in western North Dakota.

Basin Electric Power Cooperative wants to build the 200-mile line from the Antelope Valley Station power plant near Beulah to a spot near Tioga to deliver more electricity to western North Dakota’s oil patch.

The Bismarck Tribune reports (https://bit.ly/1mo1hcF ) that the Killdeer Mountain Alliance wants to protect the site of a historical 1864 battle between Army soldiers and American Indians.

Basin wants to borrow up to $500 million from the federal Rural Utilities Service to build the project.

The co-op has submitted two alternatives that would put both lines on the east side of the Killdeer Mountains and avoid going near Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s north unit, but all three alternatives include construction of a main feeder line through the battlefield area to a main substation by U.S. Highway 85.

Rob Sand, spokesman for the alliance, said it doesn’t make sense for one federal agency to degrade the battlefield while the National Park Service is trying to protect it through the National Register of Historic Places.

Sand said the 150th anniversary of the battle will be observed this summer.

“What must be done to avoid degrading this unique historical and cultural site?” Sand said.

Basin already has a line to the substation south of the one planned for construction through the battlefield.

Basin spokesman Curt Pearson said that existing line can’t be used to carry the additional capacity.

“An outage on that line would not allow us to meet our member cooperatives’ needs. A second line offers redundancy. If one line is out of service, the loads can be served by the second line,” he said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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