Judge Okays Plan For $700 Million Natural Gas Plant In Superior
The plan to construct a natural gas plant in Superior has made it past another obstacle. A Dane County Circuit Judge has upheld the approval on Dairyland Power Cooperative two other Minnesota utility companies have to construct a $700 million natural gas generating plan in the city limits of Superior. That plant would be known as the Nemadji Trail Energy Center when finished and online.
That move came in the form of a rejection of claims made by the Sierra Club and Clean Wisconsin. According to an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall], those environmental agencies claimed that the Wisconsin Public Service Commission "failed to consider the full environmental impact of the plant".
Dane County Circuit Judge Jacob Frost ruled in favor of Dairyland Power Cooperative and the Minnesota utility companies. In that ruling, he rejects the claims of the agencies, saying instead that "the Public Service Commission simply needs evidence on which to base its decision, not a specific burden of proof". As such, "he declined to second-guess the commission's evaluation" - instead saying "The Public Service Commission alone gets to weigh the evidence and assess credibility of witnesses".
While the ruling by Judge Frost is a positive step for the natural gas plant, it's far from its last hurdle to overcome. Regulators in Minnesota are "reviewing the long-term plans of Minnesota Power, one of the plant's owners". There's also a conflict-of-interest charge that's pending in Wisconsin - a case that's tied to earlier challenges brought forth by the Sierra Club and Clean Wisconsin.
If approved and constructed, the Nemadji Trail Energy Center would produce 625-megawatts for the Northland's electric grid.