Latest News & Events

Comments for draft of Federal EIS

The draft of the Federal EIS is now out.  Once again, we have the opportunity to submit comments.  We will provide information about this shortly.

The public meetings hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service (RUS) for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek 345-kV Transmission Line Project (C-HC Project) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) have been postponed due to the partial Federal Government shutdown. The cancelled meetings are listed below and will be rescheduled once the Federal Government reopens.

January 24, 2019   Formal Public Meeting on Draft of Federal EIS, Dodgeville Bowl, Dodgeville WI 5-7PM
January 28, 2019   Formal Public Meeting on Draft of Federal EIS, Deer Valley Lodge, Barneveld WI 5-8PM
January 29, 2019   Formal Public Meeting on Draft of Federal EIS, Madison Marriott West, Middleton WI 5-8PM
February 5, 2019   Deadline for Federal EIS comments



Thanks to everyone who submitted comments to WI Public Service Commission (PSC) regarding the State Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).


On November 29, 2018, the Dane County Board of Commissions voted unanimously to intervene.  They join the Iowa County Board of Commissioners in opposing CHC in this important way. 

Information for Submitting a Comment to the Public Service Commission (PSC)

The PSC and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will use public comments to help write an environmental impact statement (EIS)
for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek proposed transmission line.

PSC Docket ID: 5-CE 146
Deadline for submitting comments: January 4, 2019

The Public Service Commission has begun the Review Period that will ultimately result in making a decision about Cardinal-Hickory Creek. There will be three phases during which the public can make comments; the first, present, phase seeks comments on what issues should be addressed in the environmental impact statement. It is extremely important that we be actively involved in every phase of the process, providing input whenever we can.

The following is information and suggestions to help you prepare a letter and submit it to the PSC. Make your letter personal, introduce yourself, explain your connection to the transmission lines and describe how they will impact you. Even if you submitted a comment at the Scoping Meetings, please consider writing a letter that is more detailed or that covers a different topic. A letter, rather than a form, is the most effective way to communicate with the PSC.

If you would like help with your letter please contact one of our opposition groups listed below* or attend one of these Scoping Letter Writing Assistance Workshops. If you have a lap top, please bring it along. You need not come promptly at 6:30. When you arrive knowledgeable volunteers will assist as needed.

Tuesday, Dec. 4, 6:30 – 8:30 pm – Plymouth Congregational UCC Church hall, 115 W. Merrimac St., Dodgeville. Please use the north, lower side entrance.

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 6:30 – 8:30 pm – Mt. Horeb Public Library, 105 Perimeter Rd., Mt. Horeb.


Composing, Mailing, and PSC Documentation

Use the attached worksheet to collect information and gather your thoughts about what you want to communicate with the PSC. You do not have to write something under each heading; they simply serve as prompts for you. You can also include a topic not listed on the worksheet.

The PSC states online: “A comment may consist of the writer’s personal knowledge or personal opinions only. A reference document, newspaper article, professional journal article, white paper, study or any other prepared material not written by the person commenting is not considered a public comment, but may be referenced in a person’s comment.”

Using your completed worksheet as a guide, write your letter to the PSC. They suggest first using your word processor and later copying and pasting it to their website. Do not submit the worksheet.

Attaching maps and/or drawings online does not presently work with the PSC Electronic Records File (ERF) system. You therefore need to snail mail them separately. When you do, be sure to mark the map or drawing with the name and address you used when submitting your comment online and label with the docket number 5-CE 146.

Make a copy of your letter and send it to one of the opposition groups listed below.* It will be helpful for us to have during the proceedings, it will keep us abreast of our letter-writing campaign, and you will be able to use it again during the next two phases of public input.

Submit your letter online at Each letter you submit online will be assigned a number and posted now on the PSC Electronic Records Filing System (ERF) system, which is available to the public.

If online submission is not convenient, on your letter write “Docket # 5-CE-146,” include your name and address, and mail to:

Wisconsin Public Commission 4822 Madison Yards Way Madison, WI 53705

Snail mail letters will not be posted now on ERF. Instead they will be scanned and uploaded as one single document to ERF after the January 4, 2019 deadline. If you are concerned about whether your comment or snail mail has been entered, contact, Case Administrator, who will verify it for you. She states that all documents, whether on ERF or not, will be read and considered equally.

Number of Comments

You may submit more than one comment but you should try to limit the number. Do not submit the same comment over and over. Repetitive paperwork slows down the process for the PSC and will be entered as only one comment. Additional comments that are valuable to send are those that elaborate on a previous comment or provide new and detailed information.

Sample Letters

Attached are copies of letters that have been entered into the docket via the PSC Electronic Filing System. (ERF)

How to view comments on PSC Electronic Records Filing System (ERF)

If you would like to see comments as they are posted, along with intervenor requests and other documents, you can subscribe as follows: Go to, click on e-Subscribe, on right fill in Docket ID (5-CE 146) and your email address. Click on “Send Code Now,” you will receive an email with the code. Be prepared to receive a lot of emails!

If you do not want to subscribe, you can access comments at your convenience as follows: Go to, click on Docket Search, under “Search Case Management System” type in Case # 5-CE 146, click on Search, next page click on Documents, click on Comments, list will come up in chronological order.

* Opposition groups:
Driftless Area Land Conservancy Driftless Defenders
Western Dane Preservation Campaign

Sample of Letters Recorded on PSC Docket

I am a beekeeper. I have hives in various locations. Since the suggested routes will interfere with my bee activity I will be out of business and the environment will lose a significant amount of bees( It is scientifically proven the power lines interfere with healthy bee behavior. Losing bees in the environment will have a negative impact on the environment


As a farm property owner the following are some of the reasons that I oppose the Cardinal Hickory Creek High Voltage Transmission Line:
1. The electricity is simply not needed for Wisconsin.
2. I favor local production of electricity instead of bringing it in from out-of-state or out-of-country. Much power is lost when transmitting electricity long distances.

3. Farmers could be paid a premium for producing renewable power instead of paying more for their electric bill to cover the long term debt to finance the high voltage line.
4. Instead of paying for the transmission line over 40 years, more money could be available for Focus on Energy programs to help fund the cost of renewable energy systems installed on our farms.

5. Our farm and our neighbors` farms are certified organic. Spraying herbicides on the transmission line easement area would damage organic crops nearby and risk the loss of certification.
6. Our property values would be reduced because of the unsightly huge towers and the concerns that people have about health issues related to stray voltage and magnetic fields near the wires.

7. While ATC would like us to believe that the CHC line is needed in order to use more renewable energy. It appears that more energy produced from fossil fuel (e.g. dirty coal) will be transmitted over the “open” line.
8. I am concerned about a private company (ATC) using eminent domain to take valuable farm property. It is simply morally and ethically wrong!


The first time I visited the Rocky Mts, about 40 years ago I was appalled at the mine tailing that dominated the landscape. Are we too, here in the Driftless Area, an area unlike any other on our planet, to be subjected to this obtrusive visible destruction of our environment when there are cheaper and less destructive ways to get power to the point of usage? For once can the decision be made on what is right instead of the pocket book of the big corporation that is going to profit with a 10% return, a return out of reach of the Wisconsin taxpayer who will be paying for the Cardinal Hickory Creek power line.


More transmission lines make absolutely no sense other than to cause more $$$ to be paid in fees. A better alternative would be to purchase & install solar panels on every home in Wi that has a roof facing south. This would help build more jobs & keep more dollars in the state. A discount would be given for each house owner on the electric.

I am deeply opposed to the construction of the Cardinal Hickory Creek Transmission lines through southwestern Wisconsin. There are times when we all must sacrifice the beauty of our landscapes, our ability to attract tourists, or even the fauna that have called this area home, to serve our communities. We have made such sacrifices in the past, and are prepared to in the future. There must, however, be significant gains, to our community, gains the Cardinal Hickory Creek Transmission lines do not offer us. Our homes and businesses do not suffer from a lack of energy delivery, and therefore see no gain for such an immense sacrifice. We understand the value of carrying energy across our state to areas in greater need, but cannot understand why we should be expected to put such a stain on our own community, one which we have worked hard to steadily improve.

Southwest Wisconsin relies on tourism, particularly eco-tourism. These tourists come, in large part, to see the unsullied landscapes that cover our countryside. Installing these towers in our countryside will detract from one of the greatest attractions we have in Southwest Wisconsin. We rely on those attractions to bring tourists to Taliesin, American Players Theatre, the local galleries that dot our area, and of course, all the stores, restaurants, and lodging facilities that support them.

Please allow us to take care of our greatest asset, and keep the tourists flowing for years to come.


As a landowner and homeowner in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, I am opposed to the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission lines for a number of reasons.
First, our electric bills are already some of the highest in the area, as we are already paying for massive transmission projects that have been built over the last 10 years.

Second, this transmission lines will be used to move electricity from areas west of us to more highly populated areas east of us. They will not benefit us here in Wisconsin.
Third, the utilities need to be restructured so that they are rewarded for lowering our electricity expenses and for lowering carbon emissions. Currently they are structured in a way

where they are guaranteed payback on large building projects, which may have worked in the early 20th century but is no longer what is needed today.
Finally, the Driftless Area is a unique landscape, not just in Wisconsin or the midwest, but in the entire United States and indeed in the world. It is imperative that it be

protected from further fragmentation and degradation. This transmission line would create irreparable harm to the area it bisects, and would fragment habitat for many
insects, mammals, amphibians, birds and plants. Some of these are unique to this area and would be lost in the process.

It is time to move to new technologies and new ways of providing energy solutions that are less destructive, environmentally sound, less expensive and more secure.


This worksheet is not intended for submission to the PSC. Instead use it as a tool to help you collect detailed information and organize your thoughts. You do not have to write something under each heading; you can also include a topic not listed here. Once you have completed the worksheet as you would like, then write your letter. Make it personal — introduce yourself, explain your connection to the transmission lines, describe how they will impact you, and include your specific information. See page 1 for information on how to submit your letter.

Lack of Need

Property Values

Farm/Agricultural Economy & Operation

Ecosystem Harm & Ecological Impact on Plants, Animals, and Water Resources

Local Business Impacts & Future Development Concerns

Tourism & Recreation Impacts

Historical, Cultural, Aesthetic and Rural Character Impacts

Alternative Energy Options — Local Solar and Wind, Greater Efficiency


You can also download this information, including the worksheet, from the downloads in the menu to the right – “Sample Letters to PSC with Worksheets to Help You Write Yours.”

Show your opposition to the proposed Cardinal-Hickory Creek Line

Attend one of three “Scoping” sessions conducted by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Thursday, November 8, identical sessions at 2:00 & 6:00

Dodger Bowl, 318 King St, Dodgeville

Monday, November 12, identical sessions at 2:00 & 6:00

Madison Marriott West – Salon A, 1313 John Q. Hammons Dr, Middleton

Wednesday, November 14, identical sessions at 2:00 & 6:00

Grant County Fairgrounds, UWEX Youth and Agriculture Center Auditorium, 916 E Elm St, Lancaster

Now that ATC’s application to the PSC has been deemed complete, they have begun their review processes of which the above “Scoping Sessions” are part. The purpose of the meetings is to inform the public about the PSC regulatory process and to solicit public input that will be used in creating a Wisconsin Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). They need to hear from us about what we consider to be the full range (scope) of potential environmental impacts of the lines. For the purpose of this EIS, “environment” encompasses an expansive range of natural, cultural, economic, social and related factors.

Your presence at one of the Scoping Sessions is very important. By having large numbers of people attend we will send a strong message about the widespread extent of public opposition to CHC. You will have the opportunity to submit comments, but it is not required to do so at these meetings.

Written comments can be submitted to the PSC up until January 4, 2019 at Please send a copy to Driftless Defenders, in conjunction with other opposition groups, will send out information to help you create high-impact comment submissions to the PSC. We will also hold a scoping comment help session; the time and place will be announced later.

We look forward to seeing you on either November 8, 12, or 14!

Driftless Defenders Leadership Team

Cardinal-Hickory Creek Application Accepted by Wisconsin Public Service Commission

The application to build the Cardinal-Hickory Creek high-capacity transmission line has been deemed acceptable by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC). The initial 180-day application review period has begun.

Now is the time that voices of citizens like you are critical to the effort to stop its construction and operation across southern Wisconsin. We need to keep up the pressure and increase our groundswell of public opposition. You can help raise public awareness by talking with people about CHC, writing Letters to the Editor, displaying yard signs and vehicle stickers, and contacting legislators.

As the PSC review process moves forward, there will be a number of public comment opportunities for you to make your concerns known. These include:

  • Oral and/or written comments in the initial draft of the USDA Rural Utility Services’ (RUS) federal environmental impact statement (EIS) – expected Fall/Winter 2018.
  • Written comments in connection with the scoping* for the state EIS – expected Winter/Spring 2019.
  • Oral and/or written comments in connection with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s considering of the need for the CHC line – expected Spring 2019.
  • Oral and/or written comments on the draft state EIS – expected Spring/Summer 2019.

Remember, the main thing we want our elected representatives, RUS and the Wisconsin PSC to know at every step of the way is that opposition to this line is well-reasoned, salient, passionate, and widespread. That means we want to help you make your voice heard on each of the opportunities for public participation in the PSC process.

We hope you will participate in all phases of the process. You should know that when making your comments to the PSC, it is always appropriate to simply express your opposition to the line. Your opposition may be based on the lack of need for the project, an environmental impact that you and your family are feeling directly, or another reason. We are also urging the PSC to consider alternatives to the massive, unneeded line, including approving “no action.” In any case, we encourage you to include matters of specific concern to you.

As soon as we know the specific time frame, locations, and other details for each public comment opportunity, we will let you know. We also will include ideas for comments particular to each opportunity. In addition, we will hold in-person meetings for those interested in learning more about the comment process and how best to share your comments.

For up-to-date information on those opportunities, see our PSC Updates page.

*Scoping refers to the gathering and examining of the full array of potential environmental impacts. “Environment” encompasses the broad range of natural, cultural, economic, social etc. factors.

Grid Reliability and the False Claims of ATC

ATC has changed its tune. It’s no longer using energy need to justify the building of Cardinal-Hickory Creek; now it’s all about grid reliability.  Once again, this is a false issue.  Our real reliability issues in Southwest Wisconsin are with the distribution lines – those wooden poles that bring electricity to our homes, businesses, and farms – not the high voltage transmission lines that ATC builds.  If ATC is talking about the reliability of the national grid, of which the ATC lines are a part, decentralized micro-grids that generate power locally and that can be coupled and then uncoupled when there’s a danger of wide spread black outs, are more reliable in preventing massive grid level failures.

Read More

Cobb Corn Roast Parade

Driftless Defenders will again be walking in the parade and possibly have a table at the Cobb Corn Roast Festival.

The corn roast activities run from August 8th – 12th.  We will be there Sunday, August 12th. The parade is at 2pm.

If you’d like to volunteer to assist please email


Still Protecting the Driftless Rally – Saturday, July 21st


The Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line is NOT A DONE DEAL. Join us and show your support for the opposition! Learn more about the latest progress on the application process, the financial challenges that are ahead and how you can help. Area candidates for State Assembly, State Senate and Governor have been invited. All are welcome!

(608) 636-5776

Farmers Appreciation Day

Farmers Appreciation Day Parade
Iowa Street, Dodgeville, WI
Sunday, July 8
line up:  @ 10:30            parade 11:00 – @ noon
In the past line up was on side streets on the south end of the city.
The parade proceeds down the main drag (Iowa Street) and turns right by the trailer park, where the parade generally breaks up.  Some people continue on to Harris Park (but most likely not us).
For Farmers Appreciation we usually wear anything, sometimes a bandana around our neck (provided) if it isn’t too hot.
NOTE:  the email address is no longer active on the banner… please contact for additional parade information.

Rally in Mt Horeb gets air time!


Watch video here: 


A group rallied in Mount Horeb Saturday to bring attention to the driftless area.

They call themselves the “Driftless Defenders” and are concerned about a proposed 125-mile transmission line that would run through the area.

The group believes the Military Ridge State Trail would be threatened by the transmission lines. Organizer Betsy D’Angelo says, “Bikers and hikers use that trail all the time to have a nice experience in nature. If ATC has its way that trail would have huge industrial-sized steel towers on it.”

27 News reached out to American Transmission Company (ATC) Friday ahead of the rally, which released this statement:

“The application for the Cardinal-Hickory-Creek transmission line project will be reviewed by the Public Service Commission, with opportunities for public involvement. We appreciate the public’s input in helping to evaluate possible routes over the last few years; that input helped shape our application. We looked at hundreds of paths for these lines and made adjustments based on what we learned from area residents. The project is designed to improve electric reliability, access to lower-cost power and access to cost-effective, in-demand renewable resources. It would also improve the flexibility of the grid to address the retirement of traditional power plants and the addition of new sources of electric generation.”


Mineral Point 4th of July Parade

Fourth of July Parade
Mineral Point, WI    
Wednesday, July 4th
line up 10:30-10:45     parade 11:00 – @ noon
In the past line up was on side streets at the top of the hill near the water tower. The parade proceeds downhill on High Street.

Driftless Defenders, Mineral Point Fourth of July parade, 7/4/2017. In front: Will. Left to right: Kerry Beheler, Ann Wolfe, Susan Van Sicklen, Mike Van Sicklen, Betsy D’Angelo, Amy Noble, Julie, Greg Firkus, Pat Murphy, Lea Stroncek.