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Dodge Center residents prepare for the worst in power line dispute

An issue concerning many in Dodge Center could come to a head in the near future. There’s a brewing debate over proposed power lines that would run to a future wind farm in the area.

FOX 47 first spoke to Dodge Center resident Tom Applegate a month ago. Back then he claimed several residents, including himself, were being taken advantage of.

The problem is a route option currently in front of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for a 345 kV (345,000 volt) transmission line that would go over his house.

I spoke with Dodge Center Mayor, Bill Ketchum, Tuesday afternoon and he says he would be shocked if they actually decided to use that proposed alternative route, because of the issues it would cause in the community, plus the expense for the PUC.

Applegate claims due to Minnesota laws, there needs to be at least 75 feet of clearance between the proposed power lines and any home.

He says the alternative route option would affect more than 40 Dodge Center homes. While Ketchum is confident that option would not be selected, Applegate wants to make sure it isn’t even an option.

“We don’t want them to even consider this. I’m sure the people who fought for non-proliferation weren’t expecting them to dislocate people, in order to achieve that goal. It’s an honorable goal, but 50 houses? Bulldozed? Come on,” explained Applegate.

Non-proliferation means using existing power line routes, which is what the proposal Applegate is concerned about would do. The lines currently along that route are for residential distribution.

Mayor Ketchum reiterated that the city and county boards already approved two rural power line proposals, both of which would avoid going through town.

He believes there’s no reason to think the PUC would go with anything other than those two options.