Levels of Power on Display
THURS., JAN. 3, 10 AM
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
4822 Madison Yards Way, Madison
Commission Judge to Determine More Than 50 Intervenor Requests in Cardinal Hickory Creek Transmission Line Case.
In 2014, two Wisconsin households stepped forward to use their law-granted rights1 to formally represent their own, substantial interests in the review of the Badger-Coulee expansion transmission line. For the Bay Lake transmission expansion proposal in 2013, two households also stepped forward.
A lot has changed in four years.
In response to the eighth transmission expansion line proposed in Wisconsin, Cardinal Hickory Creek, the number has increased to more than 50 households and 8 municipal governments requesting roles as public intervenors to defend their substantial interests.
On December 10, the Administrative Law Judge who will preside over key aspects of the PSC’s review of the highly controversial 100-120 mile transmission line took a surprising step. The Judge stated that he might deny the personal representation rights for as many of 43 intervenors and 6 municipalities on the basis of apparent, “coordination of filing.2” Noticing that the bulk of the filings were made as the deadline approached, he has asked the 49 parties to consider being represented by one, non-profit organization, namely, SOUL of Wisconsin.
“We are perplexed by the Judge’s idea that a not-for-profit organization could represent the detailed interests of numerous, unique, households-- not to mention those of six municipal governments with elected leadership,” observed Keith Ashley Wright, President of SOUL.
Both in principle and in practice, SOUL is unable to represent the land-based concerns raised by the private and municipal intervenors. The state’s requirement of multiple transmission route options makes it impossible for any organization to represent one landowner’s interests without creating conflicts with other landowners. Only nine of the requesting intervenors are SOUL members. The SOUL board restricted its intervention efforts to demonstrating the cost and environmental effectiveness of Non-Transmission Alternatives. The organization is not seeking funding from the state to pay for the required experts.
SOUL’s historical stance concerning land based impacts is that that no acre should be sacrificed for unneeded and backwards transmission expansion lines. Board members have always been free to intervene on their own as they deem necessary, and they have.
For more than 17 years, SOUL has been deeply involved with helping interested citizens, households, local governments and counties with responses to seven, prior expansion transmission lines. Wide citizen interest in Cardinal Hickory Creek intervention was sparked at a March 2018 conference at which leaders from successful, national transmission opposition efforts shared their suggestions.
In the months following, private individuals chose to host public information meetings to address increasing questioning about intervention. Turnout and show of personal commitment was strong. SOUL of Wisconsin was one of the intervenors invited to help answer questions at some of the gatherings.
Now individuals and municipalities are hoping the judge will allow each intervening party to further explain her or his unique substantial interests concerning property values, impacts on tourism, natural habitats, electric bill increases, the ability to influence energy direction in Wisconsin and more. The opportunity to explain these interests rests entirely with the judge along with the citizens' rights to represent their own interests.
In total, 96 parties have requested to intervene. Should you wish to witness the powers around this crucial case, there should be an impressive display for viewing on Jan 3--- including 50 fellow citizens seeking their rights to represent their own substantial interests.
Cardinal Hickory Creek Pre-Hearing Conference.
Thurs., January 3, 10 a.m.
Public Service Commission Hearing Room, First floor
Hill Farms State Office Building,
4822 Madison Yards Way, Madison
Come Home to Grant County Wisconsin!
Today, Wisconsin begins here,
in a very rural and scenic area.
I know; I have lived here 65 years.
With strong farming communities, tourist industry and
plenty of choices for recreation,
It is economically unfeasible to become a utility district
The Driftless area includes Grant County:
a national gem.
I love the area and I am thankful to God for being able to live here. I have always said, "The state is the body and we are the beauty."
I have met many tourists and they all remark at the beauty.
We are at a fork in the road.
I pray wisdom is used to bring justice to this area of Wisconsin.
Thank you, Judge Newmark, for allowing us to intervene
- Patrick L Patterson and
Marlene J Patterson,
US Government DRAFT Study:
Cardinal Hickory Creek Linked to Potential Utility Land Rush
In a section entitled, "ENABLE GENERATION IN SOUTHWESTERN AND SOUTH-CENTRAL WISCONSIN,” a draft study authored by the Rural Utility Service of the US Department of Agriculture has observed that,
”Renewable generators are requesting to interconnect with or near the Cardinal - Hickory Creek Project in Wisconsin. A 200 MW wind farm Red Barn is presently under study at MISO for a potential connection to the new Hill Valley Substation that is part of the C-HC Project. Additionally, three other renewable projects, Red Barn and Badger Hollow have requested interconnection to ATC’s existing Eden Substation near the new Hill Valley Substation. If these projects become operational, it is highly likely that they would be connected at Hill Valley….there are almost 1,800 MW of generation interconnection requests in southwestern and south-central Wisconsin. Many of these requests, though not directly connecting to the C-HC Project, would likely benefit from C-HC in the form of lower costs to interconnect."
- Pdf p. 54 USDA DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
STATEMENT Dec., 2018 http://bit.ly/CHC-RUS-DEIS-Vol-1 .
61% Fossil Fuel Generation
A close look a Table 1.4-2 in the study reveals interests in the development 15 new fossil fuel and renewable generation power plants. When the intermittency of the renewable plants is factored in, 61% of the new generation in the USDA’s list would be powered by fossil fuel with only 39% from renewable sources.
The Red Barn wind power plant proposal describes 25 turbines surrounding Montfort, WI with heights up to 660 feet. As the tallest structures in Wisconsin, these turbine profiles would be visible up to 29 miles away.
A search of the the largest solar power plants in North America shows that all solar power plants 300MW in size or larger are located in the desert not on prime agricultural ground.
Harnessing Our Local
Meeting Our Priorities with Household and Local Solutions
Shortfalls in Transmission Review Process and Busting Utility Myths
Confronting the Harmful Land and Economic Impacts of Transmission Expansion
Trustee, Village of Montfort, WI
StopPATH WV, Shepherdstown, WV
Participation, Politics, and Public Opinion
Driftless Area Land Conservancy, Dodgeville, WI
Protecting the Natural Habitats and Local Economies of the Driftless Area from Unnecessary Transmission Expansion
Powers Engineering, San Diego, CA
Local-Based Energy Futures and the Obstacle of Transmission Expansion
The grid to nowhere
An argument against building giant transmission lines
BY MICHAEL LENEHAN
MARCH 1, 2018