ATC Transmission Line Project

Update as of 12/12/18 – by Michael McDermott

The Cardinal Hickory Creek 345 KV transmission line project application has been deemed complete several weeks ago and a decision will be made within a year from now. Click here for the PDF of the federal Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) or you may click here for a link. At present environmental impact statements (EIS) are now this stage of the process. There are two EIS reports, one is here and the other, for the state and more important, is in the stage of scoping to gather public comments before it comes out. The present one is a Federal draft EIS as Dairyland Power cooperative seeks loan guarantees from Rural Utility Services of the Department of Agriculture. Once a draft EIS comes out there are periods of public comments. Responses to the federal DEIS are due by Feb. 5. Here is the link for the email to send comments:

The state EIS is in the scoping stage. You may present comments here: Comments are most effective is they are specific to properties or features that you are concerned but also such topics as cost, need and alternatives. Comments for the scoping process are due by January 4, 2019! The date for releasing the state DEIS is unknown but likely in the next month or two. Comments will then be accepted on the draft.

The DEIS is over 400 pages but the table of contents is of some help. If you go by page numbers from the table of contents you must add 40 in the page search at the top. The executive summary and the tables of contents themselves take up these 40 pages. For example, if you want to see alternatives on page 56 you have to put in 96 on the page search function at the top.

Effects on local environmental issues, farming, soils, plant and animal species, creeks and wetlands are  little hard to find as “local” effects are along various alternative routes and we are only a small part of alternative routes 1,2, and 3. We are only a small part of “section p” which is the old northern route. (See map on page 65) and alternative routes 1, 2, and 3 all include section p. It is important to note that both EIS’s will not use the old “alternate and preferred routes”. We are on the alternate route but the EIS does not deal with that difference.

The executive summary is worth reading to get a general orientation. The table of contents comes after that. Alternatives are started on page 56 in Chapter 2. Most of the other items of concern are in Chapter 3, Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences. This includes soils, vegetation, wetlands, plants, wildlife, water, noise, transportation, recreation, historical and cultural places and more. There is usually and introduction, then specifics of that area then it is broken down by route options and then a table of summary.

The EIS in general functions entirely within the transmission framework and dismisses any other approach. In general it claims that there will be no long term consequences. Take a look about your own areas of concern and you will see that they are either not addressed or else dismissed. You might consider in thinking about this federal EIS commenting directly or commenting to the scoping for the state based on your reaction to the federal one.


Background on the Proposed Cardinal Hickory Creek Project

American Transmission Co., ITC Midwest LLC and Dairyland Power Cooperative have proposed to build a 125-mile transmission line from Madison to Dubuque County, Iowa. The entities listed above indicate that the “…project would deliver benefits to Wisconsin, Iowa and the Midwest region by: 1) Improving electric system reliability locally and regionally 2) Delivering economic benefits for local utilities and electric consumers 3) Expanding infrastructure to support greater use of renewable energy”

One of the proposed routes goes directly through a northern part of the Town of Vermont to reach the Town of Cross Plains. Please click here to review the recently revised map of proposed routes which go through the Town of Vermont.

Michael McDermott leads a committee of citizens who have been meeting to discuss concerns and potential actions related to the ATC project. The Citizen Action Committee has put together a pamphlet as well as a video. If you are a resident, please click here to sign the online letter of support. And for the friends of Vermont Township, the committee is inviting you to sign the online letter of support by clicking here. 

Please feel free to leave comments below regarding the proposed ATC transmission line. If you would like to participate in the Citizen Action Committee, contact Michael McDermott at 608-767-3077 or email

For additional information related to energy generation and concerns regarding the Cardinal Hickory Creek line, you may be interested in the links below: