DULUTH (AP) -- Some foes of a 250-mile electrical power line can offer testimony and cross-examine Minnesota Power Co. witnesses at an upcoming public hearing on the project, an administrative law judge says.
Minnesota Power, in partnership with Wisconsin Public Service Corp., wants to build a 345-kilovolt line from Duluth to Wausau, Wis., to provide customers in the Upper Midwest with more reliable electricity.
The utilities say the project will cost between $125 million and $175 million.
Administrative Law Judge Phyllis Reha on Thursday granted seven petitioners the status of ''interveners'' in the review of the 12-mile Minnesota portion of the project.
Reha said Minnesota law mandates ''broad citizen participation'' in the project and set a Jan. 31 hearing before the state Environmental Quality Board.
Allowed as interveners are the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Clean Water Action Alliance, North American Water Office, World Organization for Landowner Freedom, Lake Superior Greens and the Dairyland Power Cooperative.
Wisconsin Public Service, based in Green Bay, provides electricity and natural gas to 400,000 customers in a 19-county area in north-central and northeastern Wisconsin and part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Minnesota Power, with headquarters in Duluth, provides electric service in northeastern and central Minnesota. A subsidiary -- Superior Water, Light and Power -- provides electricity, natural gas and water service to customers in Superior and nearby areas of northwestern Wisconsin.
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