Press Release

Conservation Groups React after Wisconsin Court Upholds Approval of Driftless Transmission Line, Federal Case Still Pending

"We remain committed to protecting the unique landscape of the Driftless Area and working to enhance its health and diversity"

Madison, WI. – In response to Dane County (WI) Circuit Court Judge Jacob Frost’s decision affirming that the Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s decision approving a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to American Transmission Company, ITC Midwest, and Dairyland Power Cooperative, to build the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line:

Jennifer Filipiak, Executive Director of the Driftless Area Land Conservancy, said:

“The Driftless Area Land Conservancy (DALC) is disappointed in this State court decision upholding the flawed Public Service Commission process that failed to fully and fairly consider less damaging alternatives to the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line. It is important to hold our regulatory bodies and developers accountable, and we are proud to have worked with so many in our community and other committed organizations to do so. We remain committed to protecting the unique landscape of the Driftless Area and working to enhance its health and diversity. We are considering next steps and actions.”

 Mark LaBarbera, Executive Director at Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, said:

“The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation (WWF) is disappointed that the Public Service Commission did not look more seriously at potential alternatives to this massive new transmission line, especially now that the costs have ballooned much higher than originally estimated. The company reported it has spent more than $530 million on this unfinished project, already exceeding its original $492 million total estimate. The dramatic cost increase makes clear why it’s essential to thoroughly study and consider alternatives before starting to build large projects that will damage Wisconsin’s natural environment. We are considering next steps and actions.”

Brad Klein, Senior Attorney at the Environmental Law & Policy Center and Attorney for DALC and WWF, said:

“We are carefully reviewing the judge’s decision and considering next steps, including an appeal on behalf of the conservation groups. While we’re disappointed in the Dane County Circuit Court’s opinion, this state law case does not affect the Federal District Court decision last year stating that the federal agencies’ approval of the transmission line violated federal law. That decision is currently on appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and will determine whether this huge transmission line can be completed along the company’s proposed route running through the protected Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.”

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