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Power Line Controversy: Overview


Electric power line tower, owned by Northern States Power Company, Bayport, 06/30/1920.

The power line controversy arose from the routing of a high-voltage power line through western and central Minnesota. The line has 659 towers placed at intervals of one-quarter mile on the property of 476 landowners. The controversy escalated as costs of the project rose and additional frustration was created by review processes, and by what many protesters saw as excessive concern by the federal and state governments for wildlife areas and highway right of ways at the expense of protection for productive farmland. In addition to local and state government, the controversy involved political parties, churches, civic organizations, and businesses in communities throughout the affected region.

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