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Published November 27, 2012, 08:43 AM

North Dakota judge refuses to delay CapX2020 power line

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A judge has refused to delay construction of a major new power line in southeastern North Dakota while an appeal of its route is pending.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A judge has refused to delay construction of a major new power line in southeastern North Dakota while an appeal of its route is pending.

The 33-mile line is part of the $1.9 billion CapX2020 project, which is intended to bolster the reliability of the electric transmission network that serves many of Minnesota's largest cities. It will run from Cass County in eastern North Dakota to the St. Cloud and Monticello areas in Minnesota.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission approved the route in September. The city of Oxbow and 82 people who believe the power line might harm them or their property are appealing the PSC order and on Friday unsuccessfully asked Judge Lisa Fair McEvers to put a hold on the project while that appeal is pending, The Forum newspaper reported.

During a hearing on Monday, Fair McEvers also dismissed 79 of the 83 parties to the appeal — including the city of Oxbow — because they didn't attend the PSC's public hearing on the project in Fargo. The four people who remain in the appeal spoke at that hearing, and Fair McEvers gave their attorneys 10 days to file briefs to show their legal interest in the project.

"You need to show me somewhere in the record where they are aggrieved persons," she said.

Northern States Power Co., which does business as Xcel Energy and is one of 11 utilities involved in the CapX2020 project, wants the appeal dismissed, saying only one of the remaining four plaintiffs has demonstrated any injury from the line's route — some trees that would need to be cut down.

Construction of the line is to start early next year and be completed in 2015, Xcel spokesman Mark Nisbet said.

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