More than 90 percent of comments filed with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) on the Badger Coulee application oppose the high voltage transmission option, according to Save Our Unique Lands (SOUL) of Wisconsin.
“It is very clear that Wisconsin ratepayers are becoming aware of the capital debt and fee issues. Moms and small business owners are taking time to examine the non-transmission alternatives and telling the Commissioners they do not want to absorb billions of dollars in debt over 40 years when any potential need can be met with $19 million invested in energy efficiency and solar that produce guaranteed savings and emission reductions,” said SOUL secretary Rob Danielson.
Approximately 500 comments have been made on the application, including those spoken at recent public hearings or written during the current comment period, in addition to those submitted on the draft Environmental Impact Statement.
According to SOUL, the majority of ratepayers who have voiced opinions oppose the high voltage transmission option, no matter of route. In their comments, they question need for the line, and raise economic, cultural, health and environmental concerns. Others have opposed building a high voltage line in their community, citing similar reasons.
During the four years since the Badger Coulee was announced, more than 2,000 Wisconsin ratepayers and 90 municipalities plus a dozen legislators have asked the PSC for a cost/benefit analysis comparing the build and alternatives options of the Badger Coulee application. Wisconsin law requires this comparison, and states that if an alternative is found more cost beneficial the PSC must choose it over the build option.
Some of the people speaking at the recent hearings spoke on behalf of several people. These included Rudy Borntreger, at the public hearing in Cashton Dec. 10, who said he was speaking on behalf of 250 Amish families in the 13 districts of the Cashton Amish community. At the Dec. 9 hearing in the town of Holland, Prairie View Elementary School principal Patrice Gilbertson-Tronstad handed in letters from 177 families.
“All Wisconsin ratepayers would pay for transmission expansion. With No Wires Alternatives officially on the docket, Wisconsin can head in a direction that will only add to the beauty of our state if we speak up,” Danielson said.
SOUL of Wisconsin is aiming for 1,000 one- line comments by Jan. 5. To comment, visit: https:// bit.ly/PSC_05-CE-142. Written comments will be accepted up to Jan. 9 mailed to Comment 05-CE-142, PO Box 7854, Madison, WI 53707-7854 No emails will be accepted. If you want PSC comment forms on paper, contact the PSC or email@example.com or 608-625-4949.
Technical hearings on the application will begin Tuesday, Jan. 6, at 9:30 a.m. at the PSC Building, 610 North Whitney Way, Madison. The public can attend, but cannot speak, at these hearings.