The proposed Badger Coulee transmission line has the potential to damage wetlands, woodlands and other sensitive areas in Western Wisconsin. Portions of the proposed routes could require the clear cutting of native hardwood trees like oak and hickory. The changes in vegetation would also contribute to increased erosion, further degrading the area.
Given the high-quality natural resources and forests along the proposed routes, Clean Wisconsin is asking that the routing for the Badger Coulee line be chosen to follow the least wooded and most parallel to the Interstate system and to maximize the use of existing right of ways.
Transmission lines are designed to bring power from one place to another, and some groups have stated that the line is needed to bring wind power to Wisconsin. According to the testimony of Wind on the Wires, congestion along transmission lines is requiring operators of existing wind turbines to reduce their output (otherwise known as curtailment). In 2013, 1,754,000 MWh of wind energy was curtailed on the Midwest grid. As wind has no fuel costs and displaces the most expensive fossil fuel on the grid, more access to wind power could mean lower energy prices and cleaner air for all of us. It is critical that we balance the need for more clean energy with the environmental impacts of the line.