A Minnesota study assessing the environmental impacts of new high-voltage power lines crossing the Mississippi River near Alma, Wis., will not be released until March, two months later than anticipated.

The draft environmental impact statement will assess the Minnesota portion of a proposed $450 million transmission project stretching from Hampton, Minn., to La Crosse, Wis.

State officials had said the draft statement would be released late this month, but that work is taking longer than anticipated, and the document is now slated to be released March 21, according to recently released state documents.

“Additional time is required to prepare the draft EIS due to the number of route alternatives developed during the public scoping process and the resulting evaluation of impacts and mitigation measures,” according to a letter from the Minnesota Office of Energy Security. 

The proposed CapX2020 project includes 120 to 145 miles of 345-kilovolt lines and a 10-acre substation in Onalaska, Wis.

But at least two groups have been ardently battling the Minnesota portions of the plans, filing legal challenges aiming at slowing down the project. Officials with those groups have pointed to the environmental studies as possible sources of future disputes.

Wisconsin and federal officials are both also working on separate environmental impact statements on the project, but those documents are expected to be delayed as well and likely will not be released by May, according to the Minnesota Office of Energy Security letter.

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