Holland residents speak out against power line proposal
Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project gets CORE support
The August Prairie neighborhood is relatively new to the town of Holland. Brian Meeter built his home there in 2008, and back then, he never imagined he'd trade in his view of a blossoming community for a front-row seat to a bunch of power lines.
"When they proposed this my heart sank a little bit, because I realized they're gonna be proposing to put 120, 150-foot power lines right through our neighborhood," Meeter said.
Xcel Energy and American Transmission Company submitted their proposal for a new power line as part of the Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project. The line would run more than 160 miles from Holmen, through the town of Holland, to the Madison area.
ATC spokesperson Anne Saltholz said the project will bring an economic boost to the region, along with more a more reliable energy grid.
The project's already gaining steam with a new endorsement from a major energy coalition. The Coalition Organized for Reliable Energy, known as CORE, announced its support for the Badger Coulee project in a letter Tuesday.
"It's very important to have that kind of support for a project of this size," said Saltholz. "Having that kind of third party support for a reliable transmission grid is important in advancing the project through the regulatory phase."
The state's Public Service Commission will review the project for at least another year before signing off on it, but local residents aren't waiting around to voice their opposition.
"There's a need where we need to step up and say enough's enough, we don't want it to ruin our community and make it a place where people don't want to move," Meeter said.
He's worried about the effect these massive power lines could have on his community. According to him, the lines could decrease property values by 15 percent. Meeter is convinced it's already scaring away families who would otherwise build in the area.
"Every time they pull in their driveway, play in the yard with their kids, they're going to have these big lines hanging just almost directly over the top of them," he said.
According to Saltholz, ATC and Excel Energy have been working with local communities to get their feedback on the project for the last three years.
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"We fully encourage people to get involved with the process," Saltholz said.
Meeter says late July was the first his neighborhood has heard of it.
Besides holding a series of informational meetings, Meeter and other Holland residents are also pursuing legal action to stop this project in its tracks.
"We dont want this area to become a grid, for the power line companies. we want this to remain a beautiful area," Meeter said.
If approved by PSC, the power line project will begin in 2016 and be up and running by 2018.
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