High Voltage Powerline Letter
February 18, 2011
Hi Supporters--We signed on to this letter to the editor on the high voltage powerline issue. We at CSP recognize that local control and environmental and rural social justice issues are an important part of our mission. While we will not be doing direct work on this issue, we support the efforts of the citizens to research and organize around this powerline proposal coming through our region.
Edie Ehlert, CSP Coordinator
Letter to the Editor
Residents and officials of Vernon County are justifiably concerned about the negative economic and ecological impacts of the proposed high-voltage power line. American Transmission Company’s (ATC) planned “Badger Coulee Transmission Line” would be an extension from La Crosse to Madison of the controversial CapX2020 project. The county’s existing lower voltage lines fall neatly in the geographical center of this path. Adjoining western Wisconsin counties, which share in the economic profits of our scenic region’s tourism, would also be affected by the potential siting of giant 150 foot towers, coursing through the Westby and Viroqua Areas on to La Farge and the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, and passing on near Hillsboro. ATC says it will announce its actual chosen route this summer.
The multiple billion dollar project would be funded directly by utility rate-payers (that means you and me). Any benefit would go to the power companies for providing energy transport and to urban areas that purportedly need more energy, not to the rural areas through which the power lines would run. The high-voltage line’s unsightly alteration of the landscape would decrease property values, a perennial concern for homeowners and local governments. Furthermore, discerning Minnesotans and fellow Wisconsinites to our area’s north have concluded that the massive expanded transmission corridor is not supported by a regional need for power. It seems that ATC would profit while local people would incur the project’s costs as well as a diminished quality of life.
Vernon County’s Town of Stark has commissioned a committee to study and report on the proposed project. This capable group intends to share its information with the greater local community. Now is the time to learn about this dubious proposal, to seek answers from ATC, and to voice concerns to the Public Service Commission and our state elected representatives.
We advocate for reducing energy usage through energy efficiency measures. We do not support an expensive project to accommodate wasteful energy usage practices. On average, we waste 30% of our energy in the U.S. The utility companies ought to invest in energy efficiency programs rather than in massive power lines, a shift that would create local jobs and truly benefit local rate-payers. We issue a resounding “No Thanks” to the proposed “Badger Coulee Transmission Line”.
Valley Stewardship Network
Crawford Stewardship Project