Video: Your Tax Dollars, Hard At Work
Below is video of Mike Hennes of Minnkota Power Cooperative, testifying before a North Dakota Public Service Commission meeting. He is being questioned by PSC Kevin Cramer, and is asked about financing requirements related to costs for building new transmission lines associated with regulatory demands from the Fish & Wildlife service.
In answer to the question, Mr. Hennes delivers an eight minute run down of the hoops his company was forced to jump through by the federal government, something we learn at the end cost the company some $3.8 million.
“That, ladies and gentlemen, is not a Saturday Night Live skit,” says Cramer at the end. “That’s our government at work.”
This may be a little down-in-the-weeds, so let me explain.
What’s at issue is the Fish & Wildlife Service’s requirement that markers be put on power lines in the whooping crane flyway. These markers help the birds see the lines, but they also tend to gather ice in northern climates like North Dakota’s, and bring down power lines as a result, something that results in outages for power users.
Even so, the company decided to put up the markers, only not only did the Fish & Wildlife service want markers on the new transmission lines, they wanted an equal number of markers put up on existing transmission lines in the corridor. Only, Minnkota didn’t have enough transmission lines to put up all the markers. The company tried to convince other utilities to hang the markers on their behalf, but not surprisingly these other utilities don’t want the ice-prone markers on their lines.
Ultimately, Minnkota was forced to agree to bury two miles of their transmission line for every one mile that was above ground. Something that added millions to the cost of their project.
Meanwhile, wind power companies are getting an exemption from the federal government for killing whooping cranes.
So it’s bad when coal companies (and oil companies, for that matter) killing migratory birds, but it’s a-ok when wind turbines do it.Tags: coal power, fish & wildlife service, Kevin Cramer, minnkota power, North Dakota News, whooping cranes