Greater Minnesota Transmission, LLC (GMT) and Xcel Energy proposed the construction and operation of a new natural-gas-pipeline transmission and distribution system to serve primarily the Prairie Island Indian Community in Goodhue County, Minnesota. The new pipeline runs from an interconnection point near Miesville in Dakota County to the Prairie Island Indian Reservation, located about 35 miles southeast of the Twin Cities. Barr was retained to review routes, complete field studies, prepare environmental and cultural-resources-impact reports, and guide the project through the federal and state regulatory processes required to obtain environmental approvals. The original preferred route crossed an Indian burial-mound area that Barr and a subconsultant investigated with ground-penetrating radar. The final route, although it circumvented the burial-mound area, crossed a state wildlife-management area (WMA) that receives funding from the federal government; the project also needed an easement from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to cross the Prairie Island Reservation. The WMA license and the BIA easement both required federal environmental review and National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 approval. Barr played a major role in negotiating and implementing an environmental review process with the state, federal, and tribal governments that allowed the project to move forward on time. Barr’s previous work with and good relationships within the Prairie Island Indian Community also helped facilitate communication on the project. Federal and state approvals were granted in June 2013, construction took place from July through September, and the pipeline was in service on October 1, 2013.
Vice President Senior Environmental Scientist
Senior GIS/Environmental Consultant