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Minnesota Public Utilities Commissioners J. Dennis O'Brien, right, and Tom Pugh confer before a Thursday hearing on the Big Stone II transmission project. (Scott Wente/St. Paul Bureau)

Regulators approve Big Stone II lines

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ST. PAUL - Utility regulators backed a controversial plan today to build large electric transmission lines in western Minnesota, but required certain conditions be met.

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The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved the project by Fergus Falls-based Otter Tail Power Company and four other utilities. The companies want improved transmission lines to distribute electricity generated by the planned Big Stone II coal-fired power plant in eastern South Dakota.

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