Environmental Protection Agency opens public comment period regarding Nemadji Trail Energy Center

The Environmental Protection Agency opened a public comment period July 28 as part of the National Environmental Policy Act process to determine whether the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will re-issue a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Nemadji Trail Energy Center.

Nemadji Trail Energy Center will be a 600-megawatt natural gas-based combined cycle generation facility in Superior, Wisconsin. The facility will ensure reliable, affordable, and responsible electricity is delivered to Basin Electric members.

Basin Electric is partnering with ALLETE of Duluth, Minnesota, and Dairyland Power Cooperative of La Crosse, Wisconsin, on the facility. It will interconnect into the Midcontinent ISO Planning Zone 1 regional transmission organization. Basin Electric owns 30% of the project through its subsidiary Nemadji River Generation LLC. Minnesota Power, an ALLETE company, is developing and will operate the facility.

RUS originally granted a FONSI for Nemadji Trail in 2021; however, project opponents requested reconsideration for further analysis of greenhouse gas impacts. RUS subsequently withdrew the FONSI and issued a Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) for public comment. RUS will now issue a Revised SEA to address comments received on the SEA.

Learn more about the public comment period, which is open through Sept. 10 due to an extension granted by RUS, on the Nemadji Trail Energy Center’s website.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story reported the end of the comment period being Sept. 12. RUS has corrected that date.