CapX 20-20 project may be put on hold

Project requires work into protected land

The $500 million, 345,000 volt power line known as the CapX 20-20 project is scheduled to be completed in September.

But because of a 3-mile stretch of the project preserved by the Mississippi Valley Conservancy, that deadline could be pushed back.

The land in the town of Holland is home to 11 bird species, two of which are classified as “threatened.”

XCel energy agreed not to do work in the area during the nesting season from May through August. However, crews made a mistake and started construction in the area sooner than planned. Once the mistake was realized, Xcel immediately put the project on hold.

“There could be no construction going on at that time because any disturbance to those birds especially vertical structures would cause them to either not nest or abandon those nest,” said Mississippi Valley Conservancy Executive Director Carol Abrahamzon.

The misunderstanding came when XCel officials communicated the restrictions with construction crews. The crews use iPads and an online mapping system to see any restrictions, which the project managers say were not labeled clearly.

“We put a note on that iPad said no tree clearing may 15th to august 15th what it should have said was no construction,” said Xcel Energy Project Manager Grant Stevenson.

In the three mile stretch only one mile had threatened bird species in the area, which were not harmed during the construction.

XCel has asked the state Public Service Commission to resume construction on the remaining 2 mile stretch of the project.