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Power Line Controversy: Newspapers


Newsboy distributing January 1937 Minneapolis Journal.The Minnesota Historical Society holds the world's largest collection of Minnesota newspapers, with dates ranging from 1849 to the present day.

Past issues of most newspaper titles are available on microfilm in the MNHS library, but there is also digital access to select newspapers

Use the links to the left to search for newspapers available at MNHS and to search within digitized newspaper collections.   


Suggested Newspapers & Dates


  • Minneapolis: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (an index for articles published after 1960 is located in the Hubbs Microfilm Room)
  • St. Paul: St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch (an index for articles published in 1967 or after is located in the Hubbs Microfilm Room)
  • St. Paul: St. Paul Pioneer Press
  • Sauk Centre, Minn.:Sauk Centre Herald
  • Glenwood, Minn.: Pope County Tribune 
  • St. Cloud, Minn.: St. Cloud Times


  • April 1974: The Minnesota legislature passes the Power Plant Siting Act.
  • Summer 1974: The plan for a power line first comes to the attention of farmers in GRANT COUNTY, when the Cooperative Power Association and the United Power Association make a request to build a power line through the area.
  • Summer 1974: No Power Line (NPL) group is formed by Jim Nelson, a farmer in Grant County.
  • Summer 1974: Keep Towers Out (KTO) group is formed by Stearns County farmers.
  • February 1975: Towers Out of Pope Association (TOOPA) group is formed by Pope County farmers.
  • March 1975: The various county groups join together in a multi-county organization, Counties United for a Rural Environment (CURE). 
  • March 1975: CURE hires a lawyer and begins to consider legal strategies.
  • April 1975: The Minnesota Environmental Quality Commission (MEQC) accepts jurisdiction of the the power line, shifting the struggle from the county to state level.
  • Summer 1975: MEQC establishes a 49-member Citizens Advisory Committee and holds hearings on the proposed power line.
  • Summer/Fall 1975: Farmers in northern Grant County and Douglas County form two new organizations, Preserve Grant County (PGC) and Save Our Countryside (SOC).
  • October 3, 1975: MEQC rejects the corridor chosen by the Citizens Advisory Committee and chooses a path close to the one requested by the power companies.
  • December 1975: MEQC announces the precise route of the power line.
  • June 8, 1976: Cooperative Power Association and United Power Association (CPA-UPA) begin survey work. Farmers protest by obstructing the work of the surveyors.
  • Summer 1976: Due to confrontations between farmers and surveyors, Governor Wendell Anderson intervenes and persuades CPA-UPA to temporarily halt survey work in Stearns County.
  • September 1976: Surveyors resume their work and are met with continued protests from area farmers.
  • January 1977: Governor Rudy Perpich arranges arbitration meetings between the members of CURE and CPA-UPA.
  • March 1977: Arbitration meetings between members of CURE and CPA-UPA break down when farmers protest by walking out of the meetings.
  • 1977: A three-judge panel appointed by the state Supreme Court rules against the farmers.
  • January 6, 1978: After escalating tensions during protests, Governor Perpich orders the largest mobilization of state troopers in Minnesota history (at that time). 
  • March 5, 1978, the "March for Justice" takes place, with over 8,000 people marching from Lowry to Glenwood in sub-zero temperatures to protest the power line.
  • August 1978: A group that calls themselves the "Bolt Weevils" begins to sabotage power line towers and shoot out electrical insulators.
  • August 1, 1979: The CPU-UPA power line goes into commercial operation. The land it is located on is condemned.
  • September 9, 1980: The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) takes ownership of the line, in part so that attacks on the line would become federal offenses.


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