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Public Citizen to Xcel Shareholders: No More Power From Manitoba Hydro

March 2, 2001

Public Citizen to Xcel Shareholders: No More Power
From Manitoba Hydro

WASHINGTON, DC — Public Citizen supports a shareholder resolution recently certified by the Securities and Exchange Commission that questions the impacts of an Xcel Energy contract with Manitoba Hydro to purchase power.

In response to the efforts of Native American, environmental and human rights organizations, Minnesota state officials have expressed concern about the negative impacts of the possible purchase of up to 500 megawatts from a dam owned by Manitoba Hydro on the Nelson River in Manitoba, Canada, by the state?s largest utility, Xcel Energy.

Xcel Energy, an international energy company with more than $21 billion in assets, has negotiated for Manitoba Hydro to provide 500 megawatts of electricity from the Canadian company?s hydroelectric dam to Minnesota beginning in 2005, pending approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. If the deal were to go through, Manitoba Hydro would have to expand its dam capacity.

Public Citizen agrees with the network of grassroots organizations and elected officials who believe that Xcel?s purchase of power from this dam would irreparably harm the Pimicikamak Cree Nation. That society depends upon the Nelson River, which is being altered by the dam?s operation. Flooding from the dam already has washed out 3 million acres of Pimicikamak Cree Nation land, and the expansion necessary to meet the needs of the proposed contract would exacerbate the environmental harm.

“We strongly urge Minnesota regulatory officials to block this contract,” said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen?s Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program. “The state?s utilities should instead use renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar technologies, and increase conservation. Public Citizen recommends that Xcel shareholders support the resolution.”