Final set of public hearings over transmission line proposal

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The Public Service Commission hosted its second-to-last set of public hearings on Wednesday on the Cardinal-Hick Creek transmission line proposal. Opposition groups, including conservationists, landowners and farmers gathered ahead of the hearing to speak out against the plan.

The transmission line, proposed by American Transmission Company, would run from Middleton to Dubuque, Iowa, cutting through several southern Wisconsin communities. The project would cost around $500 million.

People opposed to the plan testified at Wednesday afternoon's public hearing. Many said the transmission line. would lower property values and negatively affect business and tourism in Wisconsin communities.

"We have Taliesin that's just down the road from us, Frank Lloyd Wright's house, we hvae American Player's Theatre which is a really big tourist destination, and this would really affect the beauty of the area which our townships rely on," said Kiley Cates, who owns a family farm in Iowa County, close to where the line would be.

Supporters of the proposed transmission line have said it would improve access to cheaper power and more renewable energy. Conservationists said on Wednesday the line would hurt the environment.

Many people also said they would like to see more of a focus on locally-generated renewable energy.

"I would love to put solar panels on our farm, but it's a big investment, and I think more incentives for business owners and small families to make that jump, make that leap would be great," said Eric Cates, who owns the Iowa County farm with Kiley.

There are two more hearings on the plan, which will be the last chance for the public to voice their opinion. The hearings will be at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday at Dodger Bowl Lanes, 318 King St. in Dodgeville.
Online comments can be submitted through Friday.

The Public Service Commission is expected to announce its decision by the end of August.