Driftless Area Land Conservancy

The Driftless Rally

“Do I oppose the line? You bet” said Boyd Gibbons of Wyoming Township. “The beauty of the Driftless Area supports the local economy and this transmission line would be a permanent assault on this unique place.”

Gibbons was one of nearly 400 concerned citizens that packed the Lloyd Jones Barn Pavilion at White Oak Savanna on Saturday July 15th for Driftless Area Land Conservancy’s Protect the Driftless Rally.

The goal of the Rally was to give families, farmers, community members, and business owners a platform to share their concerns about American Transmission Company’s proposed Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission project, a 125-mile project that if built would cut across the heart of the Driftless Area, and would dominate any natural or man-made feature in the region with 170 foot towers.

“We came today because we feel strongly that this line should not be built. We have a farm that has been in my family for three generations. My daughters are the future of this land and I don’t want them to inherit this property covered with power lines” shared Dave and Lianne Stephenson.

More than 5000 families like the Stephensons have been identified under the routes of the proposed line. And each one has a unique story to tell.

Kate Franzmann of Barneveld shared “My husband and I bought land here 15 years ago. I grew up hiking and exploring the Driftless Area and we are excited to share this beautiful landscape with our children. This place is a part of us and I feel that is the same for many others in our community.  To see our land fall victim to an unneeded transmission line would be a crime.

David Clutter, Executive Director of the Driftless Area Land Conservancy said, “The Cardinal Hickory Creek transmission line, if built, would threaten unique habitats, degrade the beauty of the region and undermine land values and tourism. For a project that is clearly not needed, we’re unwilling to take those risks. That’s why we’re opposed this line.”

Driftless Area Land Conservancy, a local land conservancy based in Dodgeville WI since 2000, assists private landowners & communities throughout Southwest Wisconsin by helping them protect unique natural and agricultural lands.

“When I first saw the placement of the proposed ATC line, it was absolutely clear that the Pleasant Ridge route would be totally inappropriate for a utility of this magnitude.” Shared Nan Fay who protected her land last year with the Conservancy. “The Pleasant Ridge is the highest ridge in Iowa County and it would be visible for miles.”

The Cardinal Hickory Creek transmission line’s visibility would mar not only the beauty of the land it would diminish local business profits too.

“I have people from all over the world stay here in the Driftless region at my Air B&B” shared Marshall Braun of Dodgeville. “When they come, they want to come back because this really is one of the most beautiful place in Wisconsin and that is why I oppose ATC’s line”

Business owners, it appears, are not the only ones who would feel the burden on their finances.

While ATC is set to make the profits, we will be the ones paying for the line” said Mark Mittelstadt, Driftless Area Land Conservancy Board Member. “Rates will go up for all users, even if you don’t use more electricity you’ll be paying more for it. That’s simply how regulated utility works.”

“We’re at a fork in the road.” said John Walté of Highland. “Now is the time to invest in locally generated wind and solar electricity, not excess energy sent to another state.”

“I’m sure you all have stories similar to mine.” shared presenter Betsy D’Angelo of the Driftless Defenders “I am sure, like me, others were shocked to learn that ATC planned to take control of their land to build their massive and unneeded transmission lines.”

To help the many landowners affected by this line. Driftless Area Land Conservancy has retained the Environmental Law and Policy Center of Chicago to aid in this fight to stop ATC.

Howard Learner, Executive Director of the ELPC shared that Cardinal-Hickory Creek is not a “done deal.”

Farmers, families, and business owners came together to send a message to ATC that Driftless Defender Boyd Gibbons stated so clearly, “It’s a bad idea, it shouldn’t happen, and we’re opposed to it.”

If you would like to learn more about the effort to stop American Transmission Company’s Cardinal-Hickory Creek line please visit www.protectthedriftless.com or call Driftless Area Land Conservancy at 608-930-3252. Or visit our office at 206 S. Iowa Street Dodgeville, WI 53565

Daniel Libby