Category Archives: Health

Care2 Petition Active

CETF and SOUL have collaborated on circulating a petition to raise awareness of the need to consider alternatives to transmission lines for energy management.

With the Wisconsin PSC weighing the application for the Badger-Coulee transmission line, this petition has an immediate need. However, there are many long term economic, health, and environmental considerations, as well.

Please consider signing this petition. Thank you.

Stop Utilities from Investing Our Money in Obsolete Systems that Protect Their Profits

Badger Coulee Transmission Line Draws National Attention

by Deb Severson, Citizens Energy Task Force

The Center for Biodiversity, a national organization dedicated to protecting endangered species and wild lands, had learned of regional transmission expansion impacting Wisconsin after the deadline to intervene. The Center used the public comment opportunity to share concerns regarding deficiencies in the Public Service Commission’s Environmental Impact Statement.

The project cannot meet requirements under Wisconsin laws requiring PSC-approved facilities not have undue adverse impact on environmental values including ecological balance, public health and welfare, historic sites, geological formations, aesthetics of land and water, and recreational use, staff attorney April Rose Sommer said in the Center’s comment.

Construction and operation of the Badger Coulee line would result in the death of protected bird species, clear-cutting thousands of acres of unique and fragile habitat including wetlands and forests, impact hundreds of waterway, and have ongoing adverse impacts on wildlife and wildlands and the people who enjoy them, she said.

The PSC’s Environmental Impact Statement on the Badger Coulee fails to evaluate the effects of the proposed project and alternatives as required by Wisconsin law, Sommer wrote, contending either the PSC, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources or applicant had time to conduct the required studies. Failure to accurately describe the project or affected environment violates the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act (WEPA) and deprives the public of the right to make meaningful comment on the project, she said.

The proposal will have a “tragic affect on Wisconsin`s birds,” especially its eagles and cranes, Sommer predicted. Singling out “the plan to sandwich the Holland Sand Prairie State Natural Area, the largest remaining grassland bird habitat in this region, between two transmission lines; to construct a crane and waterfowl death trap in between the foraging and rousting grounds of Leopold-Pine Island IBA; and to run the line through the Kickapoo-Wildcat IBA, home to 25 percent of Wisconsin`s over-wintering golden eagle population,” she said “these will have a devastating and permanent impact on the state`s birds and runs afoul of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald Eagle Protection Act.”

Though noting that the project applicants belong to the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC), Sommer said they have “demonstrated an abject disregard for avian protection,” concluding “the project should not be approved based on the certainty of high level of bird death by collision and electrocutions.”

The EIS also doesn’t tell the total acres that will be clear-cut, in violation of WEPA, or describe herbicide application in right-of-ways, the center’s comment says.

“It is unclear,” Sommer said, “why the PSC has expended significant resources on processing an application for a project that, by its own terms, is impossible as described.”

Wisconsin PSC combines SOUL and CETF for Intervenor Funds

By Bev Vaillancourt, CETF Board Member

As you may know, XCEL Energy and American Transmission Company (ATC)’s application for the Badger-Coulee line has been received by the Wisconsin PSC. Following that, SOUL and CETF separately applied to the Wisconsin PSC for intervenor funds to cover the cost of expert testimony as part of the application review process. Though together the request was for over $200,000, the Wisconsin PSC determined that the intervenor applications were duplicative enough to award a joint amount of $75,000.

With that decision, SOUL and CETF were faced with the problem of having to dramatically reduce what the two groups could offer in compensation to expert witnesses while still presenting a solid and compelling stance that the Badger Coulee line is 1) not needed, 2) environmentally harmful, and 3) economically obscene. In effect, SOUL and CETF were expected to divide the funds in any way the two groups could agree to do so.

After a great deal of introspection and discussion, the SOUL and CETF boards independently voted to join forces and dollars, with a focus on compensating key expert witnesses. A newly developed joint workplan, as required by the WPSC, will be submitted soon. A steering committee made up of 2 SOUL board members and 2 CETF board members has been formed to monitor progress of all documents required of expert witnesses, to ensure that filings with the WPSC are done in a timely manner, and to maximize our opportunities for collaboration and effective dissent.

Fund raising efforts are ongoing to try to maximize the dollars awarded by the WPSC. Look for more information on this website posted as this process unfolds.

We will keep you updated as more happens. The CETF Board is excited about working in joint effort with SOUL. In unity there is strength! The CETF board very much wants to hear from you. Feel free to post your thoughts to this blog. More about SOUL can be found here.

 

Saving Wisconsin’s Farms and Communities

Let’s work together to save Wisconsin’s Farms and Communities. Let your thoughts be known to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC). With its power to determine the future of transmission line buildout in Wisconsin, the PSC holds the fate of your ratepayer dollars (your utility bills) in its hands — ratepayer dollars nicely wrapped and tucked away in ATC’s cookie jar. Cost = MILLIONS that you and I will pay for transmission lines at a time when energy demand is flat lining. Who benefits from these lines?

Read on: http://soulwisconsin.org/Resources/Input_to_PSC_Scoping.html

cutting across Wisconsin's  farm fields and communities
cutting across Wisconsin’s farm fields and communities

North America’s love affair with transmission lines

Bill Howley writes….

If you want to see really high density HV transmission, drive to Montreal.  There are huge lines all over the place on the south bank of the St. Lawrence.  And they are all because of Hydro Quebec’s huge, and I mean huge, hydropower system in northern Quebec.  If you are ever in Quebec City, go to the Quebec Museum there.  Hydro Quebec give them gazillions of dollars and got a big wing of its own to tout its hydro power developments on land and waters they stole from the Cree back in the 1960s and 1970s.  Strangers Devour the Land is an excellent account of this theft.

I’m a big fan of hydro power, but this is exactly what is happening now with Big Wind.  Big development of renewable resources must always happen in areas where the basic resource is maximized, because big, centralized development is so expensive.  That means exploiting high resource areas and, because these areas have relatively low population density, building massive transmission to reach high load areas.

Read more about North America’s love affair with transmission lines at The Power Line.

 

 

 

Can powerlines harm your health?

You’ve probably heard of the harmful health effects of the electromagnetic radiation (aka EMR or EMF) emitted by high voltage powerlines. You may also have heard that there’s no certain proof that the adverse health effects were caused by the EMF. It reminds one of how we heard for decades that there may or may not be a link between cigarettes and lung cancer. An extensive BioInitiative Report released last year makes a strong case that responsible public policy should limit public exposure to EMF. The report is long, but at least take a look at the Preface and the Summary and Conclusions section. The briefest summary starts on page 34.