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Crawford County Board votes ‘no’ to powerline resolution

Crawford County Board votes ‘no’ to powerline resolution

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POSTED December 29, 2018 1:01 p.m.

CRAWFORD COUNTY - At their meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 18, the Crawford County Board of Supervisors voted 9-7 against a resolution concerning High Capacity Transmission Lines that was already passed unanimously by the Crawford County Land and Water Conservation Committee. The vote was preceded by a lengthy discussion.

The resolution concerns High Capacity Transmission Lines and seeks to hold utility companies legally accountable by providing clear information, research, and non-transmission alternatives to the county, such as energy efficiency and distributed renewable energy production.

Similar resolutions were passed recently in both Grant and Vernon counties.

These alternatives have been shown to be lower-cost and more energy efficient. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy these non-transmission alternatives are the most effective ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The resolution read as follows:

TO THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION (PSC) OF WISCONSIN AND UTILITY APPLICANTS FOR DOCKET 05-CE-146 REGARDING THE CARDINAL-HICKORY CREEK PROPOSAL  AND CONSIDERATION OF ALTERNATIVES

WHEREAS, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has received a joint utility application containing  an option  for  a  345-kV high-capacity  transmission   line from  Middleton,  Wisconsin to Montfort, Wisconsin to Dubuque County, Iowa; and,

WHEREAS, the high voltage transmission option includes the potential construction  of a large-scale, 345- kV substation facility in the Montfort, area creating the possibility of additional, potentially impactful, transmission facilities connecting to the facility in the future;  and,

WHEREAS, our municipality's responsibilities include protecting and enhancing natural and local economic assets, including scenic beauty and development potential that could be Impacted by 110 to 170-foot steel or concrete poles and wires for high voltage transmission; and

WHEREAS, high-profile   transmission lines have the   potential to  reduce   property values  and  slow economic development due to their prominent visibility and perceived negative health effects; and,

WHEREAS, growth of demand for electricity in Wisconsin and adjacent states has been flat in recent years and utilities that might utilize the facility are not projecting significant increases in energy use or peak demand; and,

WHEREAS, the cumulative, long-term costs considering construction, financing, operation, maintenance and securitization   could place significant financial burden on electric customers within and beyond our jurisdiction; and,

WHEREAS, it is unknown whether any increase in energy demand estimated  by the applicants might be more  cost  effectively met   with comparable or  lesser  investment  in  accelerated energy   efficiency, conservation, load management, and development of local renewable  power options; and,

WHEREAS, it is unknown if the high voltage transmission option or investments to improve the efficiency and self-sufficiency of homes, farms and businesses could develop and stabilize local economies with minimal negative impacts; and,

WHEREAS, Wisconsin State Statute 1.13(2) encourages     governmental units to  define  their energy planning priorities and Wisconsin State Statute 1.11(2) encourages the WI PSC to study, develop, and describe appropriate alternatives to recommended courses of action for full public consideration; and,

WHEREAS, our county lacks important information required to make informed recommendations during the public information stage of this docket; and,

WHEREAS, informed recommendations by counties and municipalities should receive review and consideration by PSC staff and additional experts;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that

1) Crawford County requests that the following information be a part of the completed application to   appropriately evaluate  impact  of  the   proposed scope  and   goals  of  said   application and subsequent considerations

 (a) Crawford County   requests 40 year, estimated total  cost for the high voltage  transmission option that  electric customers would  pay. These 40-year costs should itemize  capital and other construction period  costs; return  on the  investment; financing costs; operation and  maintenance costs; costs for securing the facility against  cyber  or physical attacks; and any other costs that  are ultimately paid by electric customers in sum.

 (b) Crawford County requests clear, easy   to  read   comparisons of impacts on average residential, commercial and industrial utility bills for years 5, 10 and  20 with and  without high voltage  transmission in service  for all alternatives in the submitted application.

 (c) Crawford County   requests that modern load   management, developing local renewable energy, alternative spending towards energy efficiency, end  user improvements, and updating out of date distribution lines be a part of the  application.

(d) Crawford County, in consideration of long-term, potential impacts of establishing 345 kV substation in or near  Montfort, request the applicants provide  knowledge (even speculation) of future interests in constructing new 138 kV or larger transmission lines connecting with the 345-kV facility.

2) Following PSC receipt   of the application for Cardinal Hickory Creek, our county requests the Public Service Commission  ask applicants for clarifications and information as required to ensure that information in the application is clear, understood by the  public, and contains adequate information to arrive at a fair, just judgement of the  proposal.

3) If, after   180  days   following the PSC's completeness letter   the  applicants  have  not  provided   all of the information requested by our County  in 1(a)-1(d) above, Crawford County  requests that  the Public Service   Commission   of Wisconsin   consider  the  application  as   incomplete and   terminate the application process.

4) Our municipality requests the Public ServiceCommission of Wisconsin to record this resolution in the public record of Docket 05-CE-146 and to include  it, in entirety, in the Appendixes of the  PSC's draft and final Environmental Impact Statements for same docket.

The person/agent below is authorized to transmit this resolution and other appropriate documents to

 Wisconsin Public Service Commission on docket NOS-CE-146.

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