HIGH VOLTAGE POWER LINES AND THE DRIFTLESS AREA ENVIRONMENT

Here is a second article Doug and I wrote recently on the topic of a high-voltage power line and how it would affect the Driftless Area environment. This article appeared in Isthmus.

Scientific Scrutiny

science-tower-cratc-09292016

While the height of the towers (10-15 stories) is the most apparent issue, what is happening to the environment at ground level is just as important.    (Photo Credit: American Transmission Company)

A Chicago environmental legal advocacy group is scrutinizing the Driftless Area west of Madison and the damage that could be done there with construction of a high-voltage American Transmission Company power line.

 

The ATC project would carry electricity from Dubuque County, Iowa, to Middleton along 500 steel towers, each one 10 to 15 stories tall.

The Environmental Law and Policy Center has led a number of successful advocacy campaigns designed to protect natural resources throughout the Midwest. In 2003, the group led the effort to get a court order that halted accelerated logging in Wisconsin’s Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, safeguarding 22,000 acres of forestland.

One of the tactics that makes the center successful is its Science Advisory Council. Susan Mudd, the group’s senior policy advocate, says, “Each scientist contributes pro bono advice and connects us with other experts and research that relates to our work.”

One of these experts is Don Waller, a UW-Madison professor of botany and environmental studies. “This Driftless Area Project and the transmission corridor is a new approach,” Waller says. “Instead of just focusing on one issue, we are looking at the range of threats now and in the future for a particular region and how those threats can be addressed in an effective and collaborative way.”

dicknest

Grassland bird eggs like these become a handy and accessible meal for raccoons and crows commuting along the transmission corridors. Photo source

 

Waller has studied how development and forest fragmentation diminishes plant diversity. “Similar work has been done on birds,” he says. “Everything clearly indicates that when extensive edges are created, such as when you install a power line corridor, you reduce habitat and diminish local diversity within the remaining patches of habitat.”

 

Read the rest here.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 replies

  1. Hi Denise, The link you provided, talks about everything other than the high voltage danger. I would think that a 500 KV transmission line would pose more problems. Do you have any thoughts?

    Peter

    On Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 2:01 PM, Digging in the Driftless wrote:

    > Denise Thornton posted: “Here is a second article Doug and I wrote > recently on the topic of a high-voltage power line and how it would affect > the Driftless Area environment. This article appeared in Isthmus. > Scientific Scrutiny A Chicago environmental legal advocacy group is” >

    • Hi Peter,
      Thanks for your comment. What struck me as newsworthy about this article were the comments by environmental scientists. That’s the kind of substantiation required by my editors.

      I’m not aware of any scientific articles on high voltage health and environmental risks from projects like the proposed 345 KV transmission line and would welcome anything you can share. If you can lead me to anything by creditable scientists on this topic, I’d be glad to follow up on it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s