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Town of Holland residents speak out about proposed power line route

Published On: Aug 28 2013 10:56:38 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 29 2013 08:01:47 PM CDT
IMAGE: TOWN OF HOLLAND

WKBT, News 8000

TOWN OF HOLLAND, WI -

A high-voltage power-line project known as CapX2020 has been approved to run through Minnesota.  La Crosse County residents are expressing their concerns over what happens when those power-lines reach the Holmen area.

The plan is to have the CapX2020 project connect with another power-line project, known as the Badger Coulee Line, at a substation in the Holmen area.  The Badger Coulee Line would stretch from the La Crosse area to the Madison area.  The route those power-lines could take through the Town of Holland has many concerned about the impact on health, the environment, and property values.

Representatives from both Xcel Energy and the American Transmission Company were at a special Town of Holland meeting Wednesday night, fielding questions from residents and members of the town board.

One of the proposed routes for the Badger Coulee project would have power-lines, possibly on poles 150 feet high, running near a neighborhood.

Residents say while there have been public meetings on the project, the proposed route that has many people the most concerned was not presented to them until just recently.

"We have a couple different routes that could really affect the whole Town of Holland.  Not only through farms, but residences and MVC property as well," says Town of Holland resident Brian Meeter.  "We just found out about that three weeks ago."

Meeter says his research shows property within 1,000 feet of power-lines like the ones part of the Badger Coulee project could lose 15% of their value.  He says there are at least 20 properties along one of the proposed routes.

One proposed route for the power-lines through the Town of Holland would start at the Briggs Road substation, head toward Onalaska, then to Sparta, and on to Madison.

Another would have the same starting point, but would head north to Galesville, then to Madison via Black River Falls.

Brad Nelson was at Wednesday night's meeting.  He's a manager with Xcel Energy.  Nelson says the plans are tentative, and were chosen after several meetings with the public, government officials, and people invested in the project.  He say the possible power-line routes are chosen objectively.  "There are many factors that are considered," says Nelson.  "Some are environmental concerns, construct-ability, cost, impact on land uses, residential properties, just to name a few."

After choosing a preferred route, project officials will submit a permit application to Wisconsin's Public Service Commission.  Nelson says they expect to do that by the end of this year.  He doesn't expect a decision from the PSC before 2015.  If approved, construction on the Badger Coulee Line could start in 2016, and be finished by 2018.

There will be a few more meetings before anything is submitted for the state's final approval.

For more information, check out the Badger Coulee Line project's website.

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