Cardinal Hickory Creek
345 kV Transmission Line Proposal

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Developers' Information Sheet

Phase of Cardinal Hickory Creek Public Review Dates Action Decriptions/Links

2018 or 2019

Despite the enormity of the potential negative economic and environmental impacts on local economies and all Wisconsin electric customers, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission has been allowing the transmission builders to fully monopolize communications with landowners, elected officials and withhold fundamental information until their application is complete (sometime in 2016). It is crucial that you attend all of the developer's "Open Houses" to voice your concerns. Ask that all meritous claims be in writing, not just verbal. One method that has been effective in avoiding routing is to sign petitions, have your town, village and county adopt an "PSC Infor-mation Request" resolution with a list economic, cultural amd environmental sensitivities as early as possible. Take and discuss your resolution with your state legislstors. For Bager-Coulee, 13 legislators wrote letters supportng the resolutions and an energy future favoring investments energy efficiency and local power.


Beginning in 2018 or 2019 for
180 days while
PSC regards the completeness of application

The Public Service Comissioion of Wisconsin makes funds available for selected organizations and individuals to make their arguments during the quasi-legal review stage. For Badger-Coulee, SOUL was able to enlist the expertise of two, nationally known engineers to assess need and alternatives; other groups obtained support to hire cultural and economic experts. If you plan to intervene, it is very helpful to start analyzing the materials the transmission builders submit in their application and follow PSC requests for clarification prompted in part by the resolutions. Groups must file for intervenor compensation from the PSC within 30 days after the application has been deemed complete and the agency has notified the public of the transmission case proceeding. Intervenor funds can also be used to hire legal counsel.


"Scoping" period
lasts about 60 days

PSC staff uses the application, resolutions, letters from lawmakers and their own data to begin drafting a statement of anticipated environmental, economic and cultural impacts for all options: High Voltage Transmission (HVT); Low Voltage Transmission (LV) and No Wire Alternatives (NTA's). The HVT option has wide negative effects while money flowing into communities with NTA's creates net positive effects. As soon as the application is deemed complete, potentially affected landowners, residents and ratepayers across the state are invited to itemize impacts on the lands, local economies communities and energy investment options [sample]. This input requires specific impacts/locations and should be in writing. It can be submitted at the scoping sessions or mailed in. The agency is required to incorporate this input into the Draft Statement. [Sample Draft Impact Statement]

  About 90 days
after the
"Scoping" Period

For Badger-Coulee, the draft impact statement faied to include much of the information provided by landowners, residents, ratepayers and municipal governments. Though PSC staff asked the transmission builders to provide a thorough and ratepayer friendly comparison the costs and potential benefits of all alternatives [01.90], the builders stalled and eventually refused. Thus, the draft statement did not examine any positive benefits of the same billions invested into energy efficiency and local power (an important trend as energy use slows). Before the impact statement is finalized, the PSC provides formal opportunity to suggest corrections and ommissions, on-line. Use this opportunity! Within 60 days, the Final Impact Statement is made public The recorded deficiencies in the final were cited in the appeal of Badger-Coulee.


2019 -2020

At the same time that landowners and ratepayers strive for accountability in the PSC's Impact statement, the PSC announces monetary compensations for public intervenors. During the next four months, engineers working for public intervenors request additional information and file testimony about failures to demonstrate need for the high voltage transmission option and provide specific plans for long term solutions based on energy efficiency and developing local power resources that do not mandate ratepayer debt and produce other significant negative impacts. [Summary of SOUL's engineers findings]

At the close of the expert testimony phase, the PSC announces several Public Hearings to be held in the study area with on-line comment options. Citizens pour forth to make final comments in the case taking into consideration the energy investment option they prefer and their personal stakes in the case. A record number of more than 1000 comments [pg 14] were filed for Badger-Coulee-- nearly half outside of the study area. Less than 1% of the comments supported the high voltage transmission option and only 9% stated routing preferences without also questioning need.

A month later, the court-like, Technical Hearings begin at the PSC in Madison and continue for 3-5 days. Both public intervenor and utility witnesses are cross-examined before in-person and webcast attendees presided by an Adminsrative Law Judge. Utility-side experts strive to avoid new or contradictory evidence which reveals vulnerabilities in their acountability to ratepayers. These can include failure to examine non-transmission alternatives, failure to provide ratepayer-friendly estimates of average electric bill impacts and refusal to use non-exaggerated, furure energy use projections. Lawyers for the utilities cross examine the public intervenors' engineers hoping to punch holes in their recommendations.

After both sides file final comments and respond to each others' comments, the three PSC Commissioners hold internal discussion and take a vote. For Badger-Coulee, the Commissioners chose to ignore ratepayer interests and facts from hearings and staff findings. They labeled utility positions "thorough and complete," criticized concerns about probable net losses and did not risk substantive explanation about why they rejected the non-transmission alternatives. Their approval of Badger-Coulee was challenged with newer information and then a formal appeal. Several lawmakers made their disappointment known.


Why Cardinal Hickory Creek Matters to

Wiconsin's Public Service Commisioners are receiving uniform criticism for approving huge fee hikes to pay for past and new debt for transmission expansion and power plants that are failing to deliver net benefits as sought by state law [pg4]. Socially unbearable criticism awaits the commissioners should they choose to continue this unsustainable economic and environmental path. The cost of operating businesses in Wisconsin is no longer competive with adjacent states. The long term nature utility debt insures these disadvantages will persist for decades until Commissioners stop commmiting needless billions of ratepayer dollars.

Encouraging, wide ratepayer awareness by paricipating in utility cases will eventually force the PSC to choose energy investments that truly serve WI communities. Sheer economics demands it and legislators are eager to act once we help them understand.

Transmission expansion is not only an infrigement on our lands and local economies, it is ugly obstruction of energy priorities WI ratepayers seek [pg5]. There is no political division concerning affordable energy, encouraging savings through improving our homes, farms and business and producing power where we live. These, non-utility investments amount to a sliver of the costs of transmission expansion. They incur no long-term debt and they slash carbon emissions faster and more cost effectively than any other means.



8 High Capacity Lines Announced for Wisconsin

Non-Transmission Alternatives Are Profitable for WI Ratepayers
How to Access the PSC's Cardinal Hickory Creek Docket

Canvassing Landowners and Ratepayers to Petition to PSC
Regional Transmission Expansion

SOUL Debate with ATC ~~ WI EYE Badger-Coulee Video



Download [pdf]


JOIN the corps of Wisconsin ratepayers who are finding clever, low-cost ways to reduce their carbon footprint and save money. If your electric bill totals more than 700 kilowatt hours, likely you can make improvements in the 13-30% range. Each participant gets a personalized metrics page to record their progress. Our results will be used to lobby for increases in energy efficiency funding.

Ratepayer Fairness Petition

More than 90 Wisconsin municipalities have formally made this request to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. Sign the personal online version today and select the "Notify My Friends"option. Paper petitions are also available for DOWNLOAD.

Fork In The Road

2013 Wisconsin Energy Overview

Assessment of where the past decade of energy investments have taken us and our choices that lay ahead.

Data taken from Jan 29, 2013 WI State Senate Energy Committee reports bu utilities and consumer groups. Download [pdf]

SOUL of Wisconsin joined other groups and local governments across Wisconsin in testimony before a Bipartisan Legislative Meeting in Madison concerning Wisconsin's Energy Future. Here' a video of the 16 minute presentaton.

Municipal Resolutions asking the PSC of Wisconsin to provide the ratepayers of Wisconsin cost-benefit studies examining all available energy solutions including those that emphasize local job creation, agressive energy efficiency and locally developed renewable energy sources. Adopted by more than 90 local governments across Wisconsin.

$5 LIFETIME MEMBERSHIPS will be crucial when we intervene in Badger-Coulee. Consider joining with four fellow supporters for a minimum fee of $25. This will raise our ranks and make all five eligible to win a Kill-a-Watt energy use meter. Dona-tions are tax exempt.

SOUL of Wisconsin ____ P.O. Box 146 La Farge, WI 54639 ___ (608) 625-2339_____ Email:
sSOUL of Wisconsin - Citizen Energy Priorities