PSC Updates

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).

Here is the Driftless Defenders Letter to the PSC for the State EIS

Driftless Defenders began in May 2016, as a response to the announcement that American Transmission Company (ATC), ITC Midwest, and Dairyland Power Co-op proposed to build massive steel towers and 345 kilovolt transmission lines through 125 miles of our rural towns and scenic countryside. We are an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots coalition of citizens dedicated to preventing the construction of high voltage transmission lines through the geologically unique Driftless Area of Wisconsin.

The proposed Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line project was a well-kept secret. The transmission companies are required to inform people living only within a few hundred feet of the lines when, in fact, they will impact everyone. We began various outreach efforts to inform the public about the project, focusing on these four main topics:


* Demand for electricity has been flat or declining in Wisconsin and adjacent states.

* Wisconsin ranks in top ten states for grid reliability.

* Our energy needs can be better met with locally-produced, cost-effective, and up-to-date 21st century alternatives that do not require massive and obtrusive transmission lines.


* Construction alone is estimated at $500-$700 million. Other expenses raise cost to $1 billion.

* For 40 years we will be forced to pay for this project on our electric bills, which already are among the highest in the Midwest.

* Meanwhile, ATC investors will receive a 10.2% guaranteed annual rate of return!


* Tourism businesses will suffer when the area loses its scenic appeal.

* Real estate values will drop by as much as 40% on and near the routes of the transmission lines.

* Property will be difficult to sell.

* Farm operations will be compromised.


* The scenic beauty and serenity of our unique Driftless landscape and the character of our rural area will be radically and permanently altered by the presence of massive, industrial-style steel towers with their buzzing and popping wires.

* Native plants and wildlife will be impacted.

* Clear cutting and herbicide treatments will be used regularly to maintain a corridor under the lines measuring 150 feet wide by 125 miles long.

People were shocked to learn about the massive scale of CHC. People who live in the Driftless care deeply about the environment and the scenic landscape and they want to protect it. More and more people volunteered to help raise public awareness at various venues. Thus our group grew by leaps and bounds. People donated money to pay for printed matter, signs, bumper stickers, and billboards. People took the time to write almost 100 Letters to Editors to various newspapers voicing their opposition to the line. They collected 1,168 signatures on our hard-copy opposition petition and 798 on our online Care2 opposition petition which calls upon the Wisconsin PSC to deny approval of Cardinal-Hickory Creek. People would not have done any of this unless they were passionate about the issue.

Our members` reasons for opposing the lines often extend beyond Driftless Defenders` four main points listed above, and they will have enumerated them in their scoping letters. Whatever their reasons, however, the bottom line is that they are adamant about the fact that Cardinal-Hickory Creek should not be built, not built anywhere!

We have reached over a thousand people. Other grassroots organizations similar to ours have reached more people. The EIS should take into account the significant extent of public opposition to the transmission lines and recommend to the PSC that they deny approval of this destructive, wasteful, outmoded, and unnecessary project.

Thank you for providing this opportunity to provide comments.

Driftless Defenders Leadership Team

If you’re interested, the comments submitted by ELPC for the State EIS can be found here.