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Proposed power line creating concerns among area residents

| Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 18, 2011 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

Original date: June 19, 2011

ONALASKA, Wis. — The proposed project runs all the way from the Madison area up to the Coulee Region. And plans to enhance the power grid are creating quite a buzz.

Thousands of area homeowners could someday see more of power lines. That’s if the American Transmission Company gets approval from the state Public Service Commission to build a massive power line through western Wisconsin.

"It appears that it’s a necessary evil, if you will. The power grid obviously is under capacity at this point," said Onalaska homeowner Leslie Clatworthy.

But Clatworthy isn’t fully onboard with the project. It would stretch 150 miles through western Wisconsin, covering nine counties. "As a property owner I have concerns about the aesthetics, about any kind of residual noise or other impact that it might have on our property value and also on our standard of living," said Clatworthy.

Which is why ATC says it wants to work to address those concerns and possibly make modifications. "We have a very long, deliberate process where we visit communities that are potentially affected by our project. We have open houses, four rounds of open houses, where we have a variety of experts," said Kaya Freiman, Corporate Communications Specialist for ATC.

Proposed power line creating concerns among area residents

Paying close attention to what happens is the Onalaska Land Use and Development Department. The department has been working for years on a project to revamp the look of the city’s downtown. 

The proposed power line could get in the way. "Not sure at this point whether or not Onalaska will be affected by the Badger Coulee Transmission Project," said Jason Gilman, Onalaska Land Use and Development.

Gilman says many people in the community would prefer to see the lines built elsewhere. "The two preferred alternatives in Onalaska are along US 53, which is a freeway that bisects our entire community. But it has a lot of housing and a lot of development next to it. So, there are issues associated with that I think ATC would just assume avoid," said Gilman. 

The American Transmission Company wants to start construction on the Badger Coulee Transmission line in 2016. That’s contingent on getting approval from the state.

Before then, ATC is hosting several opportunities for the public to share feedback on the project. An open house will be held Monday, June 20th, at the Stoney Creek Inn in Onalaska. There will also be an open house on Wednesday in Cashton. Both open house’s will run from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

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About John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power. More

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