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Transformer Transport 1

Workers with Vic’s Crane & Heavy Haul begin the process of moving a nearly 378,000-pound transformer five miles from a rail siding in Brice Prairie to the new Briggs Road substation in Holmen. The proposed Badger-Coulee high-voltage transmission line would run from that station to Madison.

The chairman of Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission now says he may attend some of the public hearings next week on a proposed high-voltage power line between Holmen and Madison.

As of Wednesday, PSC Chairman Phil Montgomery plans to attend hearings Dec. 9-11 in Holmen, Cashton and Warrens, according to agency spokesman Nathan Conrad, who said commissioner schedules remain “fluid.”

The three governor-appointed commissioners previously said they did not plan to attend any of the five public hearings on the Badger-Coulee project, a proposed 345-kilovolt power line that is the most expensive transmission project the panel has considered.

The commissioners determine whether and where American Transmission Co. and Xcel Energy may build the line, which could encroach on up to 556 residences, as well as farm, forest and public lands. It is expected to cost up to $580 million with Wisconsin electric consumers picking up about 15 percent of the tab.

ATC and Xcel say the line, which would tie in to another high-voltage project now being built between Hampton, Minn., and Holmen, would improve system reliability, deliver cheaper power for Wisconsin consumers and provide a pipeline for wind energy from Minnesota and Iowa to population centers to the east.

Opponents say the demand is not there, and the line would allow utilities to profit by trading energy while discouraging more cost-effective alternatives such as energy efficiency and solar power.

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Conrad said Commissioner Ellen Nowak is undecided, while Commissioner Eric Callisto will not attend the hearings because his six-year term ends Feb. 28 and he does not expect to be re-appointed.

Regardless of attendance, Conrad said the commissioners read transcripts of all comments made at the hearings. Commissioners are not allowed to respond to questions or comment at public hearings, nor can they speak to the media about pending cases.

The commission is expected to issue a final decision in April.

Both opponents of the project and lawmakers — including state Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, and Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center — have urged commissioners to attend the hearings, scheduled between Dec. 8 and 15 in Waunakee, Holmen, Cashton, Warrens and Wisconsin Dells.

Written comments can be submitted through Jan. 5.

Experts will testify on behalf of applicants, opponents and other interested parties at a technical hearing scheduled for Jan. 6 in Madison.

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(7) comments

superman

Get rid of these 3 jokers!

All three seats should be elected positions.

We deserve better then to have our property stolen by some knuckleheads who can't miss the latest episode of house hunters....

Old Bowhunter

How could anyone who cares about saving the planet from man made global warming be against this power line? It is a direct result of our government creating mandates that all power companies have green power. Then the power companies under threat of non compliance with the green mandate built approximately 10,000 megawatts of wind power to the west. As I'm sure all you transmission system experts who write into the Trib know, power in this part of the country flows from west to east. Not because power companies want to ship power to Chicago but because that's the way the power flows because that's where the load is. You should all be proud that now you too can do your part to save the planet by having this power line go though this area. You should be thanking your government for mandating green power and forcing the power companies to build lines like this to get rid of the green energy because our old transmission system wasn't built to handle all that new generation to the west.

jharrimjr

Thanks for the Thuglican propaganda spin for the day. Now get out to the woods and get some of deer so our cars don't. See, you DO have a use after all.

Old Bowhunter

Everything I said is true. Just because you don't want to believe it doesn't change the facts! Do you really think that the electric utilities would build this line if there wasn't a need? The blame for this line falls directly in the laps of the radical global warming kooks and an out of control EPA. Where did you think we would get our power when they force all the coal fired power plants to close?

jharrimjr

I have a suggestion for people opposed to this powerline and its land grab: stop voting for Webummbedyouagain legislators. Two of the 3 connedmissioners were appointed by your good buddy Dictator Winker. Like him, they all sit on high and can't be bothered by mere 99% mortals like you when they have to hobnob with their Rich buddies.

Melowese Richardson

And the one showing up was appointed by Gov. Walker. One of the two now showing up was appointed by Gov. Doyle. So there goes that theory right out the window. So what was your point again? Oh yeah, just being a nattering nabob (yet again). It's gotta get old for you being stupid all the time doesn't it, jharrimjr??

jharrimjr

Smel, if standing up to your Grand Oppression Party's wistful, blissful propaganda makes me a nabob (yet again), then so be it. It's gotta get old for you being stupid all the time doesn't it, Smel?? BTW, it says he MAY attend, so get your readers out, brush up on your First Grade reader, and see if you can discern the meaning of the words "may" or "plans to" vs. "will." Duh

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