power lines Background on proposed MN-WI transmission lines
Transmission line - Updates: 2003 . 2001: 01-04 , 05-09 .
• 2000: 01-04, 05, 06-07, 08-10, 11, 12..  1999 .
  Wisconsin's Rural Rebellion
Model Resolution on proposed Transmission Lines
Background on hydroelectric dams destroying Manitoba Cree rivers
Hydroelectric Dams - Updates: 2001, 2000: 01-03., 04-07, 1999


Background on proposed
MN-WI transmission lines

Page Contents:
Save Our Unique Lands
Outcry From Below Utilities want power line from Duluth to Wausau Documents on the mine-powerline connection November 1999 Rallies in opposition to Proposed Transmission Line

Power Back to the People

Ellie and Roger Steffen of the anti-transmission line group Save Our Unique Lands (SOUL) at a rally at the Public Service Commission in Madison on February 23, 2001. Photo credit: SOUL.

A new electric transmission line proposal from Duluth, Minn. to Wausau, Wisc. has stimulated resistance from rural farming communities and the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe. The line would use power from a controversial hydroelectric project at Cross Lake, Manitoba, opposed by Pimicikamak Cree Nation. From the main 345-kilovolt line, a feeder line is proposed toward the planned Crandon mine, made up of a 115kv line from Rhinelander to the mine site at Mole Lake. The corporate/utility link between dams, transmission lines and mines has never been more clear. At every step of the way, from Cross Lake to Lac Courte Oreilles to Mole Lake, indigenous peoples would be negatively affected by this power project. The transmission line proposal is also an opportunity to build new regional and international alliances of Native nations, farmers, environmentalists, sports/ conservation groups, human rights advocates, and others. "People power" can stop the so-called "power" lines.

Midwest Treaty Network



Northwoods Group Against "Power Up Wisconsin"

For updates see http://www.wakeupwisconsin.com

Presently, The Wisconsin Public Service Corporation of Green Bay and Minnesota Power of Duluth are quietly planning to run a 150 foot wide, 250 mile long High Voltage corridor from Wausau, WI to Duluth, MN probably to purchase power from Canada. The swath it will cut will destroy already rapidly diminishing farmlands and forests alike reducing property values, altering bird, wildlife and plant habitat, raising health concerns and adding all the aesthetic beauty equivalent to 250 miles of solid billboards. The noise and Electromagnetic Fields produced by 345,000 volt transmission lines could have effects on humans and wildlife! Small landowners and farmers taken individually have little political clout when doing battle with multibillion dollar corporate interests, so we need your help! This might not only affect the citizens who's lands are directly affected, it could cost us all when our property tax base suffers because of the line. We could lose very badly needed government funds. Just because we live in some of the poorest counties in the state doesn't mean we are stupid!

Minnesota Power and the Wisconsin Public Service Corp. are taking over our northern Wisconsin farm lands by utilizing emminent domain law.... The line has the potential to cause health effects in our livestock, cancer in our children, reproductive problems in women, etc. The power companies themselves will not assure us with certainty that we will not become ill or that the electromagnetic fields from this line will not effect the health of our livestock. The things that we do know (that the electric companies themselves do not dispute) are that our land values will decrease by 18% to 53.8%, the line will be extremely noisy, and that the line will be unsightly. (To say the least.) We are being asked to sacrifice our health, happiness, and farm land for power company profits and for the industrialized communities on the other side of our state when we will not benefit from this line in any way. Please consider the economic, health, and enviromental impact this project may have on nothern Wisconsin's unique farm lands. Contact your government officials and protest the line. Please send requests for information or donations of funding for legal aid to:

P.O. Box 11
Mosinee, WI. 54455

Outcry From Below

Power Line Proposal Generates
Opposition From Land Owners

By Will Fantle

A huge new power line connecting Duluth to Wausau is sparking opposition from landowners under its proposed path. Carrying 345,000 volts, the power line is the largest that can be built under state law. Six similar lines carry electricity in parts of southeastern and central Wisconsin but a project of this scale hasn�t been attempted in Wisconsin for nearly three decades.

"What�s being proposed is another major tie line between Wisconsin and Minnesota," says Dave Valine, a spokesperson for Wisconsin Public Service (WPS). WPS and Minnesota Power are seeking approval from Wisconsin and Minnesota regulators for their power line proposal.

Utility representatives argue that the new line would help ease power shortage and reliability concerns in eastern Wisconsin that surfaced during the summer of 1997 and continue to linger. "The line gives us more import capacity into the state," Valine told a crowd in Ladysmith at one of the 14 informational meetings sponsored by the utility in July. "It gives us some geographic diversity."

"WPS is selling this line as a reliability line, but the real reason they want to build this line is deregulation," says Tom Kreager, a power line opponent who lives in the Town of Mosinee. Vast quantities of inexpensive electricity from Canada await buyers in the U.S. Kreager calls the juice "dirt cheap" and says pending deregulation of utilities in Wisconsin would allow WPS and Minnesota Power to funnel cheap electricity through Wisconsin and into a hungry Chicago market and points further east.

"This is not about making sure the lights go on when you flip the switch," insists Kreager. "This is strictly about money and politics."

Keith Reopelle, of Wisconsin�s Environmental Decade, acknowledges reliability concerns. "There is that possibility," Reopelle says, "that on hot days we�re going to run short of electricity." But he thinks state utilities should instead explore alternatives to the 345,000 volt line, such as building power plants near points of demand in eastern Wisconsin and investing in energy conservation and energy efficiency.

The high voltage transmission line proposal has gathered support from Wisconsin�s other electric utilities. The utilities jointly formed a study committee to investigate the state�s power needs following 1997�s summer power squeeze. The utilities ranked the Duluth to Wausau line first among six power line proposals and are urging the state�s utility regulator, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC), to approve the project.

Reopelle says a different alternative deserves more immediate attention: "We think it is imperative that the state first fully explore energy efficiency. It�s the cheapest option." Reopelle cites a recent report issued by his group on energy efficiency and conservation - "Cheaper, Better, Faster" - that concludes that saving energy in homes and businesses costs about half as much as a huge new power line.

The state PSC�s own studies indicate that Wisconsin could reduce energy usage by 35% over 20 years through a variety of measures, including process improvements in manufacturing, lighting efficiency measures in the commercial sector, and fuel switching for residential needs.

The state�s utilities have instead hacked away at money spent on their energy efficiency and conservation programs. Says Reopelle: "Public Service Commission records show that utility programs aimed at reducing household and business energy use and bills have dropped by $94 million, or 64%, in the past four years." Most utilities have eliminated popular programs like rebates for energy efficient new appliances. Reopelle notes that purchases of high efficiency furnaces snared 90% of the rebate assisted market in 1993 as opposed to only 20% today.

Alternatives to the proposed power line will be part of the review process conducted by the PSC. Jim Loock, the PSC�s chief electrical engineer, says the agency has yet to receive a formal application from WPS for the required "Certificate of Need," which starts their review process rolling.

Lock expects the filing will be made later this month or in early September. Once that occurs, the agency will prepare and release a draft environmental impact statement within 60 days. The public will have 45 days to comment on the draft before the final environmental impact statement is developed and public hearings commence.

WPS�s Valine hopes the PSC will approve the power line project by next spring and if so, he expects his company will need two years to build the transmission line with a goal of bringing the line into service by late in 2002.

The ultimate decision on the project rests with the three PSC Commissioners. All three members have been appointed by Governor Thompson, who has been outspoken and vigorous in his support for additional electrical generation and transmission capabilities in Wisconsin.

Each of the PSC Commissioners have been longtime Thompson supporters and have contributed heavily to his political campaigns. Ave Bie, who chairs the Commission, has given Thompson�s election efforts $1245 since 1991; Commissioner John Farrow has donated $2820 since 1991 (wife Margaret has given another $1750); and the third Commissioner, Joseph Mettner, contributed $1380 to Thompson�s election coffers over the past five years.

But on the ground, citizen opposition is brewing against big power politics. Roger and Eleanor Steffen built a home and retired to their rural paradise near Hawkins a few years ago only to discover they sit under the path of WPS�s 345,000 volt line. Along with Kreager and others they have formed SOUL - Save Our Unique Lands.

Roger Steffen says their organizing efforts against the power line are "gathering so much steam that we�re worried we�ve got too many people." With a length of 250 miles, the utility project cuts across a lot of lives. An estimated 7000 people have been contacted by WPS notifying them that their land is under consideration for one of the potential routes.

Steffen says that nearly half of the people impacted by the power line that he�s talked to aren�t even aware of the project. SOUL has been trying to obtain plat maps from the utility to help them identify all affected landowners. Steffen describes the effort as "like prying teeth out of them." One woman who contacted the utility for such information, he says, was told that they were keeping a file on her.

Members of SOUL are in agreement that they won�t fight over whose land to shift the line onto, instead, they want to see the project rejected altogether. They intend to have an informational booth - with a poster identifying landowners under the line - at this week�s Rusk County Fair and will set-up a similar booth in Phillips at the fair in Price County the following week.

Steffen says the group plans to extend its organizing efforts down to the township level. They want to locate township coordinators who know their communities to help distribute information. He also mentions the group is developing a web site, under the name Project David (for David vs Goliath), to widely broadcast SOUL�s message.

Kreager suggests another reason why he thinks Minnesota Power and WPS want the new power line - a potential merger of the two utilities. "For MP and WPS to be able to merge, they need a major [transmission] interconnect," he says.

Mergers and utility consolidation - under the banner of increased competition - have been rapidly increasing across the country and in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Power & Light recently merged with two Iowa utilities, Wisconsin Electric (the state�s largest utility) was blocked in its attempt to merge with Minnesota-based Northern States Power (NSP) and is instead now merging with a natural gas company while NSP has found a willing Denver-based utility that wants to dance.

WPS�s Valine scoffs at the prospect of a merger with Minnesota Power. "I haven�t heard anything," he says. "You may hear before us."

But the Environmental Decade�s Reopelle says he too has heard merger rumors and notes, "I think it was true that when Alliant was formed (Wis. Power & Light�s new entity) they needed a [transmission] link between Iowa and Wisconsin."

A smaller and shorter additional leg of WPS�s power line project calls for a new 115,000 volt line from Wausau to Rhinelander. Valine says the area suffers from power supply and reliability concerns as well. Kreager sees this line as partially based on power needs spawned by possible construction of the controversial Crandon mine.

WPS estimates the cost of their 345,000 volt power line project at between $125-175 million. While it is difficult to calculate the exact financial impact on customers, by way of comparison, this past July WPS requested a rate hike totaling a much smaller amount of $20.9 million from the PSC. According to Lori Ruedinger of WPS, that request will cost the average residential customer $2.50 a month. Ruedinger says she is "not sure how we are going to pursue rate recovery on the power line."

In spite of the influential forces pushing WPS�s power line, Reopelle doesn�t see the project as greased for approval. "I would urge people to keep in mind that from a legal standpoint no decision has been made," he says. He urges people concerned with the project to contact the PSC and have their names placed on their mailing list. Even more important, he says, will be written comments on the PSC�s draft environmental impact statement and testifying at public hearings. Adds Reopelle: "This is not a done deal."

- Will Fantle

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission phone number for Jim Loock is 608-266-3165 and the agency�s mailing address is PO Box 7854, Madison, WI 53707.

Will Fantle wfantle@execpc.com
Also contact Sandy Lyon water@spacestar.net

Utilities want power line from Duluth to Wausau

250-mile link would cut 150-foot swath

By Lee Bergquist
of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel staff
April 16, 1999

Two utilities on Thursday proposed a 250-mile transmission line stretching from Wausau to Duluth that they say will ease potential electric shortages, but the plan is bound to raise environmental concerns.

The power line, estimated to cost from $125 million to $175 million, could be in service by 2002 and, if approved, would be the state's first major long-distance power transmission project in 30 years.

Wisconsin Public Service Corp. of Green Bay and Minnesota Power Inc. of Duluth would build the line, which they say is needed because Wisconsin's power supply system often operates "close to the edge."

With a dearth of generation in Wisconsin, utilities often try to import power from Minnesota and other sources over a single transmission line across central Wisconsin -- the state's only connection to the west. But as recently as this week, an electric reliability group composed of utilities branded that transmission line one of the most congested in the Midwest.

Wisconsin Public Service and Minnesota Power said the overburdened line "leaves the entire upper Midwest vulnerable to blackouts."

Despite its intended benefits, the 345-kilovolt line is likely to ignite protests from environmentalists and landowners living in the project's path.

Although no specific route has been proposed, the power line and its 150-foot right of way could cross an Indian reservation and important wetlands, rivers and forests in central and northwestern Wisconsin.

That path could include the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation near Hayward, the Chequamegon National Forest and the St. Croix and Namekagon rivers.

"This line would appear, at first blush, to have some very significant environmental impacts," said Keith Reopelle, program director of Wisconsin's Environmental Decade in Madison.

Environmentalists are concerned that swaths of cleared woodlands could harm habitat for animals that live in interior forest spaces, such as woodland thrushes.

In highway terms, a 345-kilovolt line is comparable to an interstate. Such a line is capable of moving vast amounts of electricity over long distances. Smaller lines then feed the power to cities, towns and into neighborhoods.

The utilities acknowledge that the proposed line will stir opposition, and they have begun meeting with government agencies that oversee some of the land in question.

"Let's make no mistake about it, with anyone building a new transmission project, there will be challenges in the routing and the siting," said Larry Borgard, general manager of transmission at Wisconsin Public Service.

"We want to work with people," he said.

Borgard said the utilities will strive to propose a route that uses existing corridors of highways, railroads and gas pipelines. For example, an early plan for the power line followed Soo Line tracks from Superior to Ladysmith.

No specific route has been set. The area that the line would cross ranges from just east of U.S. Highway 51 to the east to just west of U.S. Highway 53 to the west, Borgard said.

Informational hearings could start as early as next month in the affected areas.

The state Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities, said it would take a year to review the project. Minnesota utility regulators, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and others also must review the proposal. After approvals, it would take two years to build.

The two utilities would generate revenue by earning a rate of return on their investment -- typically 11% to 12% -- approved by state and federal regulators. The companies also could charge for the use of the system, although such pricing could be eliminated in the future with the advent of shared transmission systems under deregulation.

In the past, new transmission lines have been hotly debated and slowed by opponents.

A smaller transmission line proposed across the St. Croix River at St. Croix Falls faces heavy local opposition. A transmission line in Kenosha County under construction by Wisconsin Electric Power Co. has been hit by numerous delays because of court challenges and red tape.

The announcement by Wisconsin Public Service and Minnesota Power essentially rules out a half-dozen other potential projects, all aimed at connecting Wisconsin to power sources outside of the state.

The latest proposal was dubbed "Power Up Wisconsin" and would connect Wisconsin to a substation north of Duluth that could tap two important sources of power: hydroelectric plants in Manitoba and so-called "mine-mouth" power plants in central North Dakota that generate electricity from generating plants built next to coal mines.

Such power is often 50% cheaper than electricity in Wisconsin, although the price advantage narrows as utilities in between charge rates for transporting the power over their systems.

Borgard of Wisconsin Public Service said the far-away power comes into play when utilities, strapped for power on peak-demand days, have to decide whether to turn on expensive peaking generators or ship in power from out of state -- if they can get it.

The existing 345-kilovolt line, from Minneapolis to Appleton, has frequently been pushed to capacity, forcing utilities in Wisconsin to scramble for alternative power supplies to feed demand on summer days. In the summer of 1997, unexpected heavy flows of electricity over the line caused a "near disaster" that nearly set off blackouts across parts of the Midwest, the utilities said in calling for the new transmission line.

That event, and electric shortages the last two summers, prompted Gov. Tommy G. Thompson and the state Public Service Commission to push utilities to beef up their infrastructure by adding new power plants and building a new transmission line.

"This transmission line, as proposed by Wisconsin Public Service and Minnesota Power, will go a long way to assuring Wisconsin residents will have affordable energy while at the same time helping to improve electric reliability," Thompson said in a prepared statement.

Wisconsin Electric Power Co. of Milwaukee also expressed its support for the project.

"The utilities are pulling together for what is best for Wisconsin in the long term," said spokeswoman Maripat Blankenheim.

David Benforado, executive director of the Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin, which represents 82 communities that own and operate their own electricity systems, also backed the proposal.

"We want it built tomorrow. We hope that there are no obstacles that will pop up," he said.

Map of proposed powerline corridor at bottom of article at http://www.jsonline.com/news/apr99/0416line.asp#power

Pull the Plug on Manitoba Hydro

For the last twenty-two years, 30,000,000 acres -- 50,000 square miles -- of one of North America's largest drainage areas have been altered irreversibly by a government-owned utility in Manitoba.

The Lake Winnipeg Regulation and Churchill River Diversion Project

In the 1960's, Manitoba Hydro, and the governments of Manitoba and Canada promised Manitobans a future of prosperity that would be fueled by inexpensive hydropower. Some of the electricity generated by the project would also be marketed to American utilities via transmission lines to Grand Forks, Minneapolis and Duluth. Construction and a cursory environmental review (no baseline assessment was ever undertaken) occurred simultaneously, thus hastening the transformation of one of North America1s sub-Arctic environments.

Eighty-five percent of the Churchill River1s water is now diverted into the Nelson River, and vast Lake Winnipeg is regulated mechanically to increase its depth seasonally, also increasing the Nelson1s flow. Water is held back in the spring, summer and fall (the most environmentally productive seasons) and released in winter when Manitoban and Midwestern demands for electricity are highest. The manipulated flowage in the Nelson and the unnatural seasonal inversion provide power to five huge generating stations and the reservoirs behind them. Forty percent of the kilowatt-hours produced go south to the United States; Manitoba Hydro reaps millions of dollars of profits annually.

Cree territorial destruction

Three million of the acres re-engineered by Manitoba Hydro are Pimicikamak Cree Indian traditional lands -- equal to three Boundary Waters wilderness areas. In Cree, Pimicikamak means 3a river that crosses a lake." Gideon McKay, an elder who lives in the community of Cross Lake along the Nelson River, describes graphically what happened to the land where his family1s trapline used to support generations of McKays. "They poured filth over the clean dish that I once had while my kids were eating from there. They took our plate."

An ecological and moral catastrophe

Unlike the dams and reservoirs in the American Southwest, Manitoba1s water impoundments, contained by miles of rock dikes, multi-story control structures and generating stations, have flooded or made inaccessible thousands of square miles of northern forests, rivers, lakes and muskegs. Over the years, drowned trees and other vegetation have accumulated on impoundment shorelines and prevent wildlife from reaching water1s edge. The Crees experienced a drop in local moose population, and noticed permanent changes in the population and well-being of other animal and bird species that formerly flourished in the biotic richness of river corridors, lakeshores and undisturbed boreal forests. Each year, the dramatic and frequent fluctuations in water levels continually erode banks and shorelines, decimating native fish, flora, aquatic mammals and invertebrates.

An unanticipated, serious consequence of such large impoundments is methylmercury, a toxin that bio-accumulates in fish and aquatic mammals. Women of child-bearing age, children and elders regularly receive warnings to severely limit their fish intake, formerly a dietary and spiritual staple of the Crees.

Because the flooding also obliterated burial grounds and other references of cultural and spiritual significance, the people of Cross Lake remain devastated by high rates of family violence, suicide and substance abuse. It is ironic that this is occurring within Canada, with its sterling reputation for human rights and for its assistance to other nations in times of need.

Astopwesewin: "Saving for others for the future"

In 1998, people from Cross Lake held a rally at Northern States Power1s Minneapolis headquarters because NSP is Manitoba Hydro1s biggest US customer. NSP1s executives came downstairs and met the Crees. In the summer of 1999, NSP announced a need for an additional 1,200 MW of electricity, and Minnesota Power in Duluth and its Wisconsin partner began notifying property owners about building more transmission capacity in Wisconsin.

Will Manitoba Hydro fill those needs? According to its 1999 annual report, the utility1s American export market now comprises thirty-five customers. 3With its proven track record as North America1s lowest-cost electricity producer, Manitoba Hydro continues to be well-positioned to make further inroads into that market."

"We know that electric power is very important," says Sandy Beardy, Traditional Chief of Pimicikamak Cree Nation, and a veteran of the Battle of Normandy and the liberation of Germany. "But here where the dams are, they are still destroying the environment and our hunting, fishing and trapping way of life. We can1t make you understand our loss which you haven1t experienced. But we pray that the people of Minnesota and the other states will use their wisdom and knowledge to ask their leaders to stop making contracts with a company that drowns the hopes of our children."

Substituting conservation for the ten percent of NSP power that is imported from Manitoba Hydro is one way Americans can help.

Make the connection

More megaprojects (only about half of northern Manitoba1s hydroelectric potential has been tapped) and continuing exports are the most serious threats to the survival of the Pimicikamak Cree culture and society. The Crees' own consumption of power simply does not figure in the equation of preventing further destruction of their boreal home. Neither does consumption in the Province of Manitoba, because all of its electricity needs are met from only a portion of existing capacity, and local Manitoba power consumption has been flat for years (virtually no growth).

Minnesota electric consumers need to be aware of the extent to which Manitoba Hydro and Minnesota's utilities continue to make them complicit in exporting the real costs of Canadian hydro onto the backs of distant Indians and their environment. But this isn1t just a moral crisis. The electric utility industry hopes that Manitoba electricity will qualify as "clean and green" energy for purposes of renewable portfolio standards in the coming era of utility restructuring. Under this scheme, however, Manitoba1s hydro-megaprojects threaten almost all utility-scale renewable energy developments and conservation initiatives in the American Midwest.

Depending on one long line

  1. provides disincentives by local venture capitalists, utilities and governments to invest real dollars in conservation and renewable energy development, except for "boutique" projects;
  2. undermines efforts by non-governmental organizations to protect the region's migratory birds and other threatened and endangered species which need access to the genetic diversity provided by the unflooded boreal ecosystem;

  3. perpetuates Americans1 negative historical treatment of indigenous peoples;

  4. sends dollars out of region that could be spent on siting smaller, newer, more reliable generation facilities close to customers that employ local labor;

  5. threatens the survival and subsistence way of life of a northern indigenous people;
  6. reinforces ignorance of the consequences and true costs of power production.

Empower yourself

  • Learn where your electricity comes from, how it1s produced and how to use it wisely.
  • Ask your utility what it1s doing to respond to your concerns.
  • Write to your governor and your elected officials.
  • Ask your faith community, environmental group, business or academic institution to speak out for the northern environment and human rights.

This material is distributed by Ann Stewart (USDOJ FARA #5313) on behalf of Pimicikamak Cree Nation. To learn more, contact Ann Stewart, US Information Officer, Pimicikamak Cree Nation, 121 West Grant Street/Suite 116, Minneapolis MN 55403-2340 USA. email: stewartship@visi.com, ph: 612-871-8404 or fax: 612-871-7922.
Additional information is available at the Department of Justice, Washington DC.

"First Nations and Hydroelectric Development in Northern Manitoba: The Northern Flood agreement, Issues and Implications" will help fill the information vacuum for Americans and Canadians alike.

Its respected contributors include Cross Lake community members, anthropologists, human rights lawyers and Manitoba government representatives. Its appendices include the complete text of the 1977 Northern Flood Agreement.

ISBN 0-921206-35-1, 226pp, paperback

To order by email: rupert.land@uwinnipeg.ca By fax: 204-774-4134
By mail: The Center for Rupert's Land Studies, The University of Winnipeg, 515 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg MB Canada R3B 2E9

Include your name and mailing address (city, state, zip) and make your check payable to The University of Winnipeg.

Price per copy is US $20.00, plus a postage and handling charge of US$3.00 on the first book ordered, and US $2.00 for each additional copy.

Lac Courte Oreilles backs Cross Lake Cree

Lac Courte Oreilles backs Cross Lake Cree

The Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians has become the first US tribe to pass a resolution against the 250-mile long, 345 kV transmission line being proposed by Minnesota Power and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation. Their "hydro history," opposition to the line, support for Cross Lake and the recognition that there are alternatives make this a model resolution for other organizations.

If you are so inclined, letters of support can be sent to the Tribal Governing Board, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (fax 715-634-4797; they do not have email).

Resolution No. 99-91

WHEREAS, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians is a federally recognized American Indian Tribe, organized pursuant to the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, 25 U.S.C. Section 462, et. seq; and

WHEREAS, the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board is the governing body of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians pursant to the Lac Courte Oreilles Constitution: Article III; and

WHEREAS, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians has inhabited the lands and waters of Northern Wisconsin on the Lac Couerte Oreilles Indian Reservation since time immemorial and;

WHEREAS, the Lac Courtes Oreille Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has experienced social and environmental devastation from the flooding of its lands and waters as a result of a hydroelectric project built sixty years ago; and

WHEREAS, the hydroelectric project has never been subjected to comprehensive social and environmental assessments; and

WHEREAS, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians lost a large part of its traditional economic subsistence of hunting, fishing and trapping base; and

WHEREAS, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians has learned that a 250-mile, 345 kV transmission line is being proposed by Minnesota Power and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation to carry bulk power from Manitoba Hydro through Sawyer County and other jurisdictions in Wisconsin; and

WHEREAS, high power transmission lines have been shown to increase cases of childhood leukemia and have shown to increase cancer rates in general; and

WHEREAS, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has a higher than usual rate of cancer, which may increase due to proposed transmission lines; and

WHEREAS, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians is aware that our brothers and sisters of Pimicikamak Cree Nation in Manitoba, Canada, have suffered the loss of their traditional ways of life and the destruction of vast areas of the lands and waters of northern Manitoba which they have inhabited since time immemorial; and

WHEREAS, Pimicikamak Cree Nation is living daily amid the environmental devastation caused by flooding or rendering inaccessible more than 3,000,000 acres of its traditional territory; and

WHEREAS, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians recognizes that flooding one of North America1s largest boreal forests has resulted in methyl mercury contamination of the Cree people and the fish, aquatic mammals and animals such as moose, that depend upon northern waters for their existence; and also the release of immeasurable quantities of the powerful greenhouse gas, methane, into the atmosphere; and

WHEREAS, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians is aware that Pimicikamak Cree Nation continues to suffer very high rates of crime, violence, substance abuse, suicide, and mass poverty and unemployment (reported to be among the highest in Canada); and that its youth are in despair because they have no future; and

WHEREAS, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians is aware that the Premier of Manitoba (its Governor) has recently asked Manitoba Hydro (a state corporation) to double its exports to the United States, which will result in the building of more generating stations, transmission lines, reservoirs, northern roads, and more flooding and environmental destruction; and

WHEREAS, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians recognizes that there are alternative methods for the generation of electricity that cause less harm to the environment, and in particular, to the indigenous peoples who depend upon the lands, waters and animals for economic, cultural and spiritual subsistence; and

WHEREAS, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, while recognizing the importance of electricity to the economic well-being of the state of Wisconsin, also believes that the full social and environmental costs of electricity generation must be included in its purchase price; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians strongly opposes the construction of transmission lines anywhere on the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation that will result in more harm to the peoples Lac Courte Oreilles as well as to the lands, waters and peoples of Wisconsin; and

The Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians calls for greatly increased investments by tribal, local, state and national governments, as well as by individuals and corporate and institutional entities in energy conservation and genuinely renewable energy sources in Wisconsin and the upper Midwest, to displace the "need" to purchase additional environmentally and socially destructive electricity from Manitoba Hydro; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians strongly opposes the building of transmission lines in the territory ceded in the treaties of 1836, 1837 and 1842 where Lac Courte Oreilles people hunt, fish and gather for their subsistence.


I, the undersigned, as Secretary Treasurer of the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board, hereby certify that the Tribal Governing Board is composed of seven (7) members, of whom being present, constituted a quorum at a meeting thereof, duly called, convened, and held on the 20th day of Sept. 1999; that the foregoing resolution was duly adopted at said meeting by an affirmative vote of 3 members, 0 agains, 0 abstaining, ad that said resolution has not been rescinded or amended in any way.

        Don Carley / Secretary Treasurer
        Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board

Now Therefore Be It Resolved:

That Lac Courte Oreille Nation strongly opposes the construction of transmission lines anywhere in Wisconsin that will result in more harm to Pimickamak Cree Nation, as well as to the lands, waters and peoples of Wisconsin;

That Lac Courte Oreille Nation calls for greatly increased investments by tribal, local, state and national governments, as well as by individuals and corporate and institutional entities, in energy conservation and genuinely renewable energy sources in Wisconsin and the upper Midwest, to displace the "need" to purchase additional environmentally and socially destructive electricity from Manitoba Hydro;

That such investments will result in local job creation, training and permanent employment, and greater reliability and self-sufficiency for tribal members and for the citizens of Wisconsin, rather than the "export" of these jobs to Manitoba, as well as having the people and tribes of Wisconsin dependent upon hundreds of miles of transmission lines for their electricity;

That Lac Courte Oreille Nation will communicate this resolution to the following: ...


Wisconsin Public Service Commission draft report, p. 11
Connection between powerline and Crandon mine

Sensitivity to Unexpected Load Additions - Crandon Mine

A mining company has proposed the construction of a new facility near Crandon, WI approximately 18 miles from Venus substation. A 115 kV transmission line, 18 miles in length would have to be built to serve the 20 MW load. The line is identified on AP-8 maps by key number 302-115-00 and environmental information pertaining to this line can be found in Appendix A of the CPCN application submitted by WPS on March 1, 1995, under PSCW Docket Number 6690-CE-165.

The addition of this mine load would accelerate the need to implement one of the six alternatives up to three years. Basically, this means that a reinforcement would be needed at the same time the mine goes into full production. Table MAR-6 demonstrates the performance of each reinforcement alternative in the 2007 base case with the Crandon Mine in service.

Alternative 2007 Base Case with Crandon Mine in Service
Critical Outage / Lowest Bus Voltage During Outage (% of Normal)
MAR-A NA - Discreet control of transmission system bus voltages with the SVS.
MAR-B Maine-Pine / Tomahawk 46 kV - 94.2%
MAR-C Weston-Venus / Tomahawk 46 vK - 96.3%
MAR-D Venus 345/115 kV transformer or Venus-Plains / Clear Lake 115 kV - 93.1%
MAR-E Black Brook-Aurora St. / Aurora St. 115 kV - 89.3%
MAR-F Black Brook-Aurora St. / Aurora St. 115 kV - 89.3%
Table MAR-7: Performance of Alternatives with Crandon Mine in Service

Alternatives MAR-A - MAR-D perform adequately following the addition of the Crandon Mine. It appears that capacitors in the Antigo/Summit Lake Area would be necessary to supplement alternatives MAR-E and MAR-F. The cost to add a 10 MVAR capacitor at Summit Lake is estimated to be $150,000.

Economic Analysis

The following economic analysis will summarize the following items for each alternative:

  • Construction investments in 1998 dollars.
  • Loss benefits relative to thee highesst loss alternative.
  • Present value revenue requirements.

Merrill/Antigo/Rhinelander Sub-Area Draft MAR-11

p. 15
Table MAR-13 summarizes the environmental impacts associated with the construction of the transmission line recommended by alternative MAR-D.

Area:        Iron Mountain, Monico
Problems:    Regional voltage stability during first contingency outages.
Solution:    Construct a new 345 kV transmission line.
Environmental Factor Plains-Venus 256-345-02
General Description New 345 kV Line
Length 59 Miles
Study Area 1062 Square Miles
Land Use 90% - Woodland, 30% - Wetland, 10% - Agricultural
Corridor Type U.S. Highway 8, Railroad
Public Lands 20%- Nicolet National Forest, 20% - Marinette County Forest, 5% - Forest Counry Forest
Sensitive Resources Little Rice Wildlife Area, Menominee River,
Pike River, Pine River, Popple River, Rat River,
Pine-Popple Rivers Fishery Area, Popple River Fisery Area,
Pike River Fishery Area
Cultural Resources Battle of Mole Lake Historical Marker,
Laona School Forest, MacArthur Pine (Newald),
Northern Highland Historical Marker (Crandon),
Nicolet Scenic Trail (Laona), St. Hubert Shrine (Goodman),
Camp Five Airport (Laona), Crandon Municipal Airport,
Dunbar Sportsman's Field, Ford Airport (Iron Mountain),
Island View Airport (Crandon),
Jackpine Knob Airport (Beecher),
Kingsford Airport, Patio Park Airport (abandoned),
Pembine Aero Field
Sources: USGS 1:250,000 Topographic Map, Cultural Map of Wisconsin, Michigan Atlas and Gazetteer, Wisconsin Atlas and Gazetteer, Airport Sites in Wisconsin 1992, and Major Public Open Space Map.
Table MAR-13: Environmental Impacts of the Alternative MAR-D Transmission Line.

Table MAR-14 summarizes the environmental impacts associated with the construction of the transmission line recommended by alternative MAR-E.

Merrial/Antigo/Rhineland Sub-Area Draft MAR-15

  • Please bookmark (requires Adobe Acrobat reader: http://www.mapp.org/publications/documents/maps/Xmapp_99.pdf

  • Quick PSC approval expected for high-voltage transmission line, May 3, 1999
  • John Bailey of Sustainable Minnesota has a new web wage up on transmission line issues. Please direct any additions you think would be useful to him at bailey@ilsr.org http://www.me3.org/issues/transmission/

  • Rob Zaleski series in The Capital Times (Madison) Fight the Power:

    Nov. 9 - Transmission line rally in Madison
    Hundreds protest power line plan
    Group heads to Madison to criticize Wausau-Duluth route

    By Lee Bergquist
    of the Journal Sentinel staff
    Last Updated: Nov. 10, 1999

    Madison - Kellie Carstensen and her husband lived in a trailer court for 20 years so they could save enough money to build the home of their dreams.

    They logged cedar trees off their land near Tomahawk. They milled their own lumber. And then did much of the construction work themselves and moved in earlier this year.

    Recently they learned that at least one of the tentative routes for a 250-mile electric power transmission line across central and northwestern Wisconsin would slice through their property.

    "I felt absolutely violated," Carstensen said outside the offices of the state Public Service Commission on Tuesday. "How can a big corporation just come in and say that they want our land?"

    The threat of the transmission line - the biggest built in Wisconsin in decades - spurred some 200 people living on or near the path of the line to drive to Madison and vent their criticism.

    The group showed up at the PSC and later at the Capitol to air its gripes. Opponents of the transmission line became the latest local landowners to fight major energy projects in Wisconsin. At a time when Wisconsin is struggling to meet its energy needs each summer, opposition to everything from transmission lines to wind farms is growing.

    Wisconsin Public Service Corp. of Green Bay and Minnesota Power Inc. of Duluth, Minn., are expected to file their plans this week for the $125 million to $175 million transmission line from Wausau to Duluth.

    Stung by electric shortages in recent summers, the state's utility industry, myriad business interests and utility regulators all say that the state desperately needs more power plants and transmission lines to move power through the state's energy grid.

    One group in favor of the the transmission lines is the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group, which representssome of the largest industrial power users in the state.

    In a prepared statement, Richard L. Olson, legal counsel to the group, said northwestern Wisconsin is a power-deficient part of the state.

    More power needs to be shipped into the area because there is an inadequate number of power plants in the region.

    "The transmission grid is like a circulatory system in that every part of it is critical to making the entire system work," Olson said.

    But representatives of Save Our Unique Lands, or SOUL, say that the 345-kilovolt transmission line would drive down property values and denigrate the beauty of the North Woods.

    They also voiced concern that the power line's electromagnetic field could cause health problems for those living nearby.

    The group wondered why alternative solutions to a huge new transmission line have not been proposed instead.

    One proposed route of the power line would cross over a portion of 40 acres owned by Dorothy Stevens of Glen Flora. "It's just sad," she said. "How can they ever compensate you for the land they take away?"

    Transmission lines are used to move bulk loads of power over long distances. A 345-kilovolt line is the largest capacity line used in the state.

    The lines have increasingly been used - and overburdened - since the federal government allowed utilities located hundreds of miles away to use them to buy power from each other.In this case, the transmission line would be on towers 90- to 120-feet high every 800 feet.

    Irked by the proposal, small groups organized along possible routes for the line, and then combined to form SOUL earlier this year. SOUL President Tom Kreager of Mosinee said the group has raised $20,000 and is ready to embark on a fund-raising campaign.

    SOUL also is seeking state intervenor funding on the case, a matter which will be decided by the three-member PSC next year.

    The group has also hired Ed Garvey, a Madison lawyer and former Democratic candidate for governor. Garvey brought the group to Madison to press its case. Leaders of the group met with PSC staff members, who barred the media from the meeting. SOUL members also listened to speeches from at least seven lawmakers, all of whom encouraged them to fight the project.

    The group will hire its own experts to refute the need for the project and buttress its argument that property values will tumble. SOUL cited a 1992 study in the Journal of Real Estate Research, which said that affected property values dropped by a mean of nearly 8%.

    If the PSC ultimately approves the project, Garvey said, SOUL would file suit.

    "This group is not going to be patted on the head and go away," Garvey said.

    Appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Nov. 10, 1999.

    Nov. 13 - Wisconsin Rally Against Proposed Transmission Line To Crandon Mine Draws 100

    Contact: Bill Ahrens (715) 275-3679

    The Wolf Watershed Educational Project (WWEP) drew 100 people to a Saturday, November 13 rally to stop a proposed transmission line to the Crandon mine. It was held at the intersection of Highways 8 and 45/47 in Monico, 12 miles west of Crandon. The purpose of the rally was to link movements against high-voltage transmission lines, metallic sulfide mining, and hydroelectric dams. The rally also alerted local landowners about the proposed construction of a 115 kv feeder transmission line to the Crandon mine, which involves Right-Of-Way land purchases and possibly condemnations. Numerous motorists and truckers blew their horns in support of the rally. The Hwy. 8-45/47 intersection is on the proposed transmission line route and near the Venus substation that is key to the feeder line, which would emanate from a planned 345 kv Duluth-to-Wausau line.

    Representatives spoke from the interconnected movements that oppose the Crandon mine, oppose new high voltage transmission lines through Wisconsin/Minnesota, and oppose the Manitoba dams that would be the source for much of the project's electricity. The representatives included members of the Mole Lake Chippewa, Save Our Unique Lands (SOUL), Midwest Treaty Network, Wisconsin Resources Protection Council, Mining Impact Coalition, Rusk County Citizens Action Group, U.W. student groups from Stevens Point and Oshkosh, and a spokesperson representing the Cross Lake Cree of Manitoba. A local landowner voiced opposition to the line, and gave rally participants to stop it. Bill Ahrens of the Wolf Watershed Educational Project read a statement supporting the rally from Rep. Sarah Waukau. He added, "This rally marks the expansion of the transmission line opposition into northeastern Wisconsin, and bring together environmentalists, farmers, and Native peoples opposed to the interconnection of dams, transmission lines, and sulfide mines." Participants performed theater depicting the toppling of a mock "transmission line" by shouts of opposition, and formed a circle at the end depicting the victory of "people power" over so-called "power lines."

    For information on the transmission line connection to the mine, see the see SOUL site at http://www.wakeupwisconsin.com. For updates, call Bill Ahrens at 715-275-3679 or billof@newnorth.net. For background information, call the Mining Hotline at (800) 445-8615.

    Appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Nov. 10, 1999.

    Background on proposed MN-WI transmission lines
    Transmission line - Updates: 2003 . 2001, 01-04 , 05-09 .
    • 2000: 01-04, 05, 06-07, 08-10, 11, 12 . 1999 .
    Wisconsin's Rural RebellionModel Resolution on proposed Transmission Lines
    Background on hydroelectric dams destroying Manitoba Cree rivers
    Hydroelectric Dams - Updates: 2001, 2000: 01-03, 04-07 . 1999 .
    Midwest Treaty Network Contents