Some raise concerns over Xcel Energy’s request to cross marsh to replace power polls

A proposed power line project meant to span the La Crosse river marsh is getting some push-back.

Xcel Energy went before the city’s Board of Public Works on Monday, asking if they could access their lines and property in the marsh through Myrick Park Drive. The company is replacing transmission lines beginning next year and is hoping to get some of the work completed now while the ground is frozen.

But some are concerned about where Xcel wants to cross the marsh, saying they should access the land through a point agreed on in the past. The “Friends of the Marsh” group also raised concerns about the permits currently granted for the work.

“They are required to have both Wisconsin DNR and U.S. Corps of Engineers permits. // Neither of those permits include this provision of crossing the marsh where they say they are crossing it. We think that’s a deficient permit and should be redone,” said Friends of the Marsh President Chuck Lee.

The “Friends of the Marsh” say they understand the need to do these kinds of updates but wants to ensure X-cel is doing it in an environmentally-friendly way. And the company is trying to assure everyone they have those concerns in mind.

“The challenge is just to get information out there to let people know what we’re planning on doing. We’re going to try to do this as environmentally conscious as we can. And to let the various stakeholders know that. We’re trying to get this done in the winter when there’s less impact on the ecosystem,” said Xcel Energy Community Service Manager Mike Herro.

La Crosse’s Mayor also wants to see Xcel’s permits updated before moving forward with the new plan.

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