Construction of a high-voltage power line between Holmen and Madison could result in the loss of endangered and threatened species.
Soil borings for the towers supporting the Badger-Coulee transmission line in Jackson could damage plants that host phlox moths and the frosted elfin butterfly, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, which is proposing to issue the project owners a permit to allow incidental losses of either species.
Classified as an endangered species in Wisconsin, the phlox moth has been cataloged in five counties, including Monroe and Jackson. It relies on the downy phlox plant, which according to the DNR does not rapidly colonize new openings.
The frosted elfin butterfly lives in similar habitats and is listed as threatened in the state.
The DNR has also proposed to issue permits for the loss of three endangered reptiles and amphibians native to Sauk, Columbia and Juneau counties.
The DNR will accept comments on the Jackson County permit through Feb. 16 and on the others through Feb. 18.
Visit the DNR website for more information and to submit comments.
A joint venture of ATC, Xcel Energy, La Crosse-based Dairyland Power Cooperative and two other utilities, the 345-kilovolt line will originate at a new substation on Briggs Road in Holmen that was completed this fall as part of CapX2020, another high-voltage transmission project running across Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
According to ATC, the 180-mile line will improve system reliability and provide a pipeline to bring wind energy from western states to eastern population centers. The $580 million estimated price tag will be passed on to ratepayers throughout the Midwest. It will connect to CapX2020, a project connecting western Minnesota and the Dakotas to Rochester and La Crosse.
The Wisconsin portion of CapX was completed in September with an approved price tag of $211 million.
Construction of Badger-Coulee began Jan. 20 in Dane County and is expected to continue through the end of 2019.
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