The Small City of Superior Stands Up to Utility Corporations and Says No to a Large Gas Plant Near the Nemadji River and Lake Superior


Date: April 4, 2024


Laura Lane,, (608) 215-0112

Megan Wittman,

The Small City of Superior Stands Up to Utility Corporations and Says No to a Large Gas Plant Near the Nemadji River and Lake Superior

The City Council’s rejection of the proposed gas plant protects community health, Indigenous rights, and climate. 

Superior, WI – After months of robust public input from city residents, Tribal leaders, health professionals, and utility representatives, the Superior City Council voted yesterday against another public hearing and will move ahead with the recommendation of its Plan Commission to deny Minnesota Power’s requests to vacate city streets, rezone land, and amend Superior’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan to allow for the build-out of a 625 MW methane gas plant known as the Nemadji Trail Energy Center (NTEC).

Superior residents, including a group known as Neighbors Against NTEC, applauded the decision to prioritize Superior residents above short-term utility shareholders’ profits. “Before I went to medical school, I ran a lot of ambulance calls of kids struggling to breathe. Kids are suffering and adding to their disease burden by allowing a plant like this to be built is simply unconscionable. I am glad Superior leaders choose to listen to healthcare workers over corporate interests,” said Kari Olson, a medical student who lives within one mile of the proposed gas plant site.

Methane gas extraction and combustion pollution can lead to negative health impacts, including preterm births, asthma, cancer, respiratory infections, heart attacks, strokes, and neurodevelopmental issues. “We do not need to sacrifice our health or climate for fossil fuel infrastructure when we have better, safer, and more reliable options like renewable energy and battery storage,” said Abby Novinska Lois, the executive director of Healthy Climate Wisconsin. “As public health and healthcare professionals, we were pleased to see the City Council vote to protect community health and clean air by denying the NTEC gas plant.”

Dairyland Power Cooperative, the Wisconsin utility that is working in conjunction with Minnesota Power, applied to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a subsidized loan that would account for approximately half of the $700 million needed to build NTEC.  Indigenous leaders have called upon the USDA and federal leaders to deny the $350 million loan application. The proposed site for NTEC borders the Tribal burial grounds of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa whose graves were relocated a century ago for ore docks that were never built.

The USDA has yet to issue a decision on the subsidized loan, although President Biden has pledged to end all fossil fuel subsidies in response to the climate crisis. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, NTEC alone would cause $2.15 billion in climate damages by 2040.

“We applaud the Superior City Council for listening to their constituents and saying no to Minnesota Power’s requests. Proponents of NTEC continue to sow a false narrative that this new gas plant in the Twin Ports is needed, when the reality is that renewables, storage, and energy efficiency can meet our energy needs at a significantly lower price and create good local jobs– without risk to public health or natural resources. This decision was also critical for protecting and respecting the neighboring Indigenous burial grounds and the treaty rights held by Ojibwe tribes in the region. The Superior City Council has done the right thing– protecting its constituents and putting people first, not fossil fuel interests,” said Jadine Sonoda, Campaign Coordinator for Sierra Club – Wisconsin.


About Healthy Climate Wisconsin

Healthy Climate Wisconsin is an organization led by nurses, doctors, healthcare workers, and public health leaders across Wisconsin. Healthy Climate Wisconsin protects the health and quality of life of patients and communities by advancing climate and health equity. For more information, visit

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person’s right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit

Laura Lane

Communications Coordinator

Healthy Climate Wisconsin