Controversy over new transmission line proposal

DODGEVILLE, Wis (WMTV) - The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin held its first public input meeting in Dodgeville Thursday in order to get feedback on a transmission line proposal that would cut through a number of Southern Wisconsin communities.

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Dozens of people from the Dodgeville area and more showed up to voice their concerns over the project.

The Cardinal-Hickory Creek Project is a transmission line route proposal that would go from Dubuque, Iowa to Middleton. The around 500 million dollar project would stretch 100 miles, cross four counties and 38 municipalities and towns.

American Transmission Company LLC (ATC), Dairyland Power Cooperative (DPC), and the ITC Midwest jointly filed an application with the Commission to construct the new line.

Several Dodgeville residents said they are opposed to the idea. Lea Dolan- Stroncek owns an organic farm there, and said her and several neighbors have banded together.

“What’s come out of that is a group called Driftless Defenders, and that is what we have put together and organized to put up an opposition,” she said.

Dolan-Stroncek said she believes the transmission line would do much more harm than good.

“Our ability to do business, aesthetically, having people come out doing agri-tourism. That was our first concern. Our second concern was property values,” she said.

Kaya Freiman, a spokesperson for ATC attended the meeting. She said the new line is being proposed for three main reasons including electrical liability, access to lower cost power and better access to renewable energy.

“Since we have announced the project in 2014, we have held two public open house and received a lot of comments from potentially effected landowners throughout the area. We have reviewed those comments and proposed two routes that would minimize the impact,” Freiman said.

Dolan-Stroncek’s farm is on the proposed alternative route.

The commission and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will use the feedback given at the public input meetings in the draft Environmental Impact Statement.

A spokesperson for the commission said it would be fall of 2019 before the project could be approved.

There are two more meetings:

The first will be on Monday Nov. 12 at the Madison Marriott West-Salon A in Middleton. The second will be Nov. 14 at the Grant Co. Fairgrounds UWEX Youth and Agriculture Auditorium.