Earl and Patty Lovell will look for a new home if a proposed transmission line ends up near their Onalaska property. “Not in my backyard,” Earl Lovell said of American Transmission Co.’s plans for a 150-mile line from north of La Crosse to Dane County.
The family chose the site 12 years ago to get away from such infrastructure, he said.
For Toni and Charles Holter of Bangor, moving isn’t really an option.
“I spent the last 25 years trying to buy this land,” Charles Holter said of his 92 acres of bluffs.
He wonders whether the lines would disturb radio and digital television signals, or put a damper on his hunting.
The Lovells have a “gut feeling” that besides being an eyesore, the lines could be dangerous.
More than 450 area residents brought such questions and concerns to ATC’s six-hour open house on the project Monday.
ATC has set a series of open houses this month for public input on more than a dozen potential routes for the line, which could run within about a half-mile of 40,000 homes.
The first round of open houses in the fall presented a broader plan. The company since has expanded its study area north of La Crosse to allow the option to connect to the CapX2020 project that will extend from Hampton, Minn., to La Crosse.
The main topics discussed Monday included the preliminary routes, if the project is essential and what type of power lines would be put up, ATC spokeswoman Kaya Freiman said.
ATC says the $425 million project will improve system reliability and efficiency, increase access to wholesale electricity markets and help connect to wind power resources in the West.
ATC also identified five potential substation locations – in the town of Onalaska, Galesville, Ettrick and Arcadia areas – where this project could connect with the CapX2020 lines, which would end at a new substation near Hwy. 53 and Briggs Road in the town of Onalaska. The CapX2020 project is expected to begin construction in 2013 and be energized in 2015.
ATC plans a third round of open houses in spring 2012, then a fourth round on preferred routes that fall.
ATC expects to apply to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission in 2013 for permission to build the line. If approved in 2014, construction would begin in 2016 and the line would be in service in 2018, the company said.
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