KILLDEER, N.D. (AP) — Basin Electric Power Cooperative is scrapping plans to build an electrical substation in the Killdeer Mountains area of western North Dakota, but is still planning to build a transmission line in the area of a historical 1864 battle between Army soldiers and American Indians.
The utility 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 the Bakken oil fields, where there is a growing demand for power. State regulators held a hearing in Killdeer on Wednesday about the proposal. Public Service Commission President Brian Kalk said it could be two months before the group makes a decision on approval.
The proposed $300 million project — which also needs federal approval because Basin plans to seek financing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture — comes at a time when an alliance is trying to protect the Killdeer Mountains region from oil drilling.
The transmission line route and the substation were proposed in an area where soldiers led by Army Brig. Gen. Alfred Sully clashed with Sioux warriors more than 200 years ago. The battlefield is now a state historic site, and the National Park Service has approved a $90,000 study to be led by North Dakota State University on whether it should be considered for federal protection.
Basin's engineering manager, Duey Marthaller, said the co-op didn't learn of the study until early last week and moved immediately to remove a proposed 12-acre substation from the area. Substations help distribute electricity to consumers.
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