Board reaffirms opposition to 345KV power line
By TerrellBoettcherSawyerCounty Record
At its February 21 meeting, the Sawyer County Board of
Supervisors reaffirmed a stance that the board originally
took 2 1/2 years ago, by voting to oppose and protest
the Arrowhead to Weston power line.
In September, 1999, when the board voted 14-1 to oppose
the line, the 345,000 volt line had not yet been approved.
Last August, the state Public Service Commission approved
the line, which Minnesota Power of
and Wisconsin Public Service
Corporation of Green Bay
say will improve the reliability of the electric grid
The 250-mile line between Duluth
will cross portions of the Towns of Bass Lake, SandLake,
Couderay,Meteor and Weirgor.
Save Our Unique Lands (SOUL), an organization of private
land owners opposing the line, asked the Sawyer County
Board to take the same action that a DouglasCounty committee
did last month when it denied the companies the right
to survey along the route on county-owned land. But in
none of the proposed corridor is on county-owned land,
said board member Shirley Suhsen.
Jim Bassett said he was "really shocked that they
are taking (the line) between WhitefishLake and SandLake, one of
the most highly-populated and high-value property areas
in the county. You know it's going to devastate certain
Hal Helwig said one reason the companies say they chose
that route is because an existing highline and pipeline
run through there. But "there's a lot to be suspicious
about," he added. "It's a crazy thing, no question
Ray Silack said a company representative told him it's
cheaper to build a second line than to add on to the existing
Don Trettin, through whose property an Xcel Energy 161-KV
line runs, said that "when your property gets devalued
(by a power line), you cannot use that property (power
company easement for the line) for anything other than
a parking lot. You can't build on it. There are no tax
breaks----it's full value and you pay the same taxes as
if the power line wasn't there."
Bassett said the power company "will pay for the
trees" that are removed, but nothing more. "Sawyer
County taxpayers whose property this line crosses will
lose financially," he said. "This is a private,
for-profit company which in the end has the right of eminent
domain. There's something wrong there."
Helwig added that "There is something wrong with
the State of Wisconsin. If they would allow for the development
and expansion of our own power plants in the state, we
wouldn't have this (problem)."
The motion was approved unanimously on a voice vote.
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