Nemadji Trail Energy Center dividing residents in the Twin Ports

Nemadji Trail Energy Center dividing residents in the Twin Ports

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The Nemadji Trail Energy Center or NTEC is a $700-million dollar natural gas plant proposed in the City of Superior. On January 17th, the Superior Plan Commission held the first public meeting to discuss the project.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural utilities issued a second finding of no significant impact in December. Although Mayor of Superior Jim Paine, feels the vetting has been limited.

“This has gone through a very narrow agency, the Rural Utility Service,” Mayor Paine said. “It’s worth noting outside agencies like the EPA have largely disagreed that this is a good thing.”

NTEC has proven to be an incredibly divisive for Twin Ports residents, union workers, and non-profit organizations. While Minnesota Power/ALLETE have made progress over the years, they are facing pushback from Superior to build along the Nemadji river.

“This is our city it’s got to be our decision because outside agencies from the state and the feds may be able to say that this is technically legal. We’re the ones that have to live with it,” Mayor Paine said. “We have to make a policy decision not just for ourselves, but for people that are going to be living here maybe for the next half a century.”

Despite the opposition Minnesota Power/ALLETE is looking to make progress with the Nemadji Trail Energy Center. Amy Rutledge, the director of corporate communications with Minnesota Power, said the center still working for local permits after getting state and federal approval.

“We have a vision to achieve 100% carbon free. So certainly we anticipate more projects,” Rutledge said. “In fact, we have plans to add 700 megawatts of additional wind and solar resources to our energy mix. That’s why, Energy Trail Energy Center is so important. We need to have a backup.”

The natural gas plant would also bring several employment opportunities according to Rutledge. Jenifer Cady, the vice president of regulatory and legislative affairs with Minnesota Power/ALLETE, said Union Workers support the project.

“This project would be one of the largest private investments in Douglas County history,” Cady said. “We are grateful for the ongoing support of organized labor.”

However, there is still disagreements on whether or not NTEC is necessary for Superior. Brett Korte, the staff attorney for Clean Wisconsin, said the natural gas plant operations conflict with healthier environment.

“NTEC is inconsistent with Governor Evers 100% carbon free electricity standard,” Korte said. “Our national climate commitments and the science behind limiting warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050.”

Also for more information about the Nemadji Trail Energy Center you can read more here. Furthermore, WDIO News has the story about the rally in support of the Nemadji Trail Energy Center, available here.