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County Executive Falk Urges PSC to Consider Need and Natural Resources in Transmission Line Decision

April 11, 2006
Lesley Sillaman, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
County Executive

Madison – Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today sent the following letter to the Commissioners of the Public Service Commission (PSC), urging them to factor in both the need for new transmission lines and the preservation of natural resources when making their decision regarding the American Transmission Company’s (ATC) request to build new transmission lines in Dane County. The text of the letter is copied below: April 11, 2006 Members of the Public Service Commission Dear Commissioners: In the near future, you will be considering major upgrades in new transmission lines, including a new 345 KV line Dane County. Much work has been done locally by citizens, local governments, the environmental community and the private sector to examine the many complicated issues related to providing reliable energy to Dane County. As you review this work and make these decisions, I ask that you use the following principles to guide your decisions. Citizens have two key and related questions as you make your decisions. The first is: are these new lines, especially the 345 KV lines, really necessary? People will be more willing to accept these unavoidably ugly facilities if a fair analysis convinces them that new facilities are needed. The Certificate of Public Convenience & Necessity (CPCN) is the part of the PSC process specifically designed to address these questions of needs and alternatives, with the full transparency that will inform our citizens and local government officials regarding the need for these projects. It is important to know what additional generation capacity may be available locally, and what effect this capacity might have on the need for new transmission lines. The CPCN process provides the key opportunity to explore these issues. Finally, in this regard, the PSC must take on the question of whether improved conservation in conjunction with reasonably and economically available additional generation could delay or obviate the need for these new lines. Secondly, citizens in Dane County treasure the parks, trails, and natural resources that have been identified, created, or restored in the areas that the new lines might traverse. Often, these efforts have received considerable county funding; furthermore, all of these areas are eligible for future and greater county investment in their protection. Citizens are asking if these lines can be sited without harming such resources. If these lines prove to be necessary, I urge you to avoid locating them in, along, or in close proximity to those types of resources. Examples would include but are not limited to the Ice Age Trail or the Badger Trail. Thank you for your consideration of these issues. I appreciate your attention to local government and residents’ concerns and am looking forward to participating in a rigorous process with the PSC in examining these complicated projects. Sincerely, Kathleen M. Falk Dane County Executive
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