Residents of Holland are gathering for their first opportunity to sway a decision that could impact future generations.
Monday at the town hall, Wisconsin's Public Service Commission held its second of six meetings across the state to hear what residents have to say about the potential power line that could criss-cross through Holland and other communities.
The Badger Coulee project - a 180-mile, 345-kilovolt power line proposal - was submitted by American Transmission Company and Xcel Energy last October. The PSC has the final say on whether the project will come to fruition, and members are now taking comments from the public as they create an environmental impact report.
Coulee Region residents were able to stop at the Monday meeting to submit their comments, which will help mold the impact report and potentially influence the PSC's final decision later down the road. Town of Holland officials highlighted the importance of public input and urged their fellow neighbors to become part of the conversation.
"It is very important that town of Holland residents and the town of Onalaska and the village of Holmen - for [those] residents to show up and speak," said Marilyn Pedretti, town of Holland clerk.
The six meetings, known as scoping sessions, are just one step in a process of information-gathering the PSC will continue into the fall. Once members draft an environmental impact report, they will open it up to more commentary from the public. A final environmental impact report will be submitted, and Wisconsin residents will yet again have an opportunity to share their thoughts on the Badger Coulee power line project.
PSC members say they will take several factors into consideration while coming to a decision, from ratepayer impact to environmental side effects. There is no one deal breaker to the decision.
PSC officials don't anticipate reaching a decision until late 2014 or into 2015.
If you would like to make a public comment that could impact the PSC’s decision, the agency will take comments on environmental impact up until July 15. You can fill out a form online to submit your thoughts. Officials remind those interested that comments should be specific, explain why you are for or against the project, and offer a solution or alternative.