Environmental groups sued the Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday in federal court over its permitting of the $492M project known as Cardinal-Hickory Creek.
The groups claim two commissioners had perceived conflicts of interest that tainted the decision to grant the permit, which ultimately gives the utilities the right to take private property through eminent domain.
Judge William Conley denied the requests, ruling that while the PSC is not charged with protecting the developers’ interests, in seeking to uphold the permit the commission will effectively defend the rights granted.
The plaintiffs claim the rate structure approved last year violates federal law.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Environmental Law & Policy Center challenges the decisions of Public Service Commission Chairwoman Rebecca Valcq and Commissioner Mike Huebsch to vote on the line known as Cardinal-Hickory Creek.
A majority of respondents said they would favor candidates who support more regulation to protect drinking water, and two thirds believe water quality will be an issue in the next general election.
In a joint letter to the Public Service Commission, Sen. Howard Marklein and Reps. Travis Tranel and Todd Novak said hundreds of their constituents attended public hearings last month to show opposition to the project known as Cardinal-Hickory Creek.
A judge ruled Tuesday that the motivations of the Driftless Area Land Conservancy aren’t relevant to the credibility of expert witnesses the group has hired to testify against the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line.
Attorneys for the utilities have sought to question Driftless Area Land Conservancy executive director David Clutter and to force the land trust to turn over eight years of internal communications regarding the line and to identify “the individual/s that first proposed having DALC oppose the Project.”
Wisconsin Democrat calls on the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service to conduct “a meaningful analysis” of alternatives to the 345-kilovolt transmission line as well as other possible spots to cross the Mississippi River.
As the Public Service Commission grapples with another controversial power line some opponents question whether the law allows enough time to thoroughly vet the $500 million Cardinal-Hickory Creek project.
Both Madison Gas & Electric and Alliant Energy are asking state regulators to approve new community solar programs, while Xcel Energy has completed its second solar garden in Wisconsin. The programs allow customers to buy into solar projects without having to put panels on their roofs.
Chicago-based Invenergy last week submitted an engineering plan for a 200-megawatt solar farm with a 50-megawatt battery component, which is larger than any currently-deployed battery in the United States and would be the first in Wisconsin.
Train boosters in Wisconsin aren’t the only ones frustrated with Gov.-elect Scott Walker’s promise to kill the proposed rail link between Madison and Milwaukee: so are our neighbors to the west.