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Thursday, September 30, 2010

ATC starts public meetings on proposed $425 million line in southwestern Wisconsin

From an article by Gregg Hoffman on WisBusiness.com

American Transmission Co. has started a series of public informational meetings on the Badger Coulee Project, a 150-mile, 345 kilowatt transmission line that would run through western Wisconsin.

ATC held sessions in Onalaska in La Crosse County on Monday and in Westby in Vernon County on Tuesday. A list of upcoming sessions can be found at the end of this story.

“We are very early in the process at this point,” said Sarah Justus, who is handling the public outreach for the project. “We are encouraging the public to become involved in the process. We want to get input from the people who live in the area.”

A group of business, labor and renewable energy organizations this week released a letter in support of the evaluation process.

“The multiple benefits of ATC’s proposed transmission line in western Wisconsin – reliability, economics and renewables – make good business sense," said Phil Prange, president and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Business Council. "Any time you are presented with a solution that addresses multiple issues, you’ve got to pay attention. I encourage the business community to pay attention and get involved in the development of this project over the next several years.”

ATC bills the project as having multiple benefits. “It will improve reliability of service and upgrade access to electricity,” Justus said. ATC says western Wisconsin needs about $140 million in lower voltage updates, and this new line, with an estimated cost of $425 million, could offset much of that need in addition to providing other benefits.

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