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Latest News on CHC

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July 14, 2021 Brief Opposing ATC's Motion to Stay

By Driftless Area Land Conservancy

Environmental Law and Policy Center attorneys filed a Brief Opposing Transmission Companies' Motion to Stay filed in the Circuit Court by Dane County, Iowa County, Village of Montfort, Town of Wyoming, Driftless Area Land Conservancy, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.  “The Court should reject the Transmission Companies’ attempted legal sanitization of their wrongdoing and Commissioner Huebsch’s bias or at least appearance of bias, which establishes a due process violation.” DALC & WWF Response Brief


June 29, 2021 ATC files to rescind permit. Statement forthcoming.

By Driftless Area Land Conservancy

Circuit Court Rules in DALC's Favor

By: Driftless Area Land Conservancy

Circuit Court Judge Jacob Frost issued a ruling in our favor on May 26, 2021.  We have long asserted that that Commissioner Mike Huebsch had a perceived conflict of interest that biased his ruling in favor of the Cardinal Hickory Creek transmission line.  This ruling is a huge victory for the case against ATC and the CHC line.  “Essentially the judge said there’s a lot of smoke, and we’re entitled to make our case that there is fire.” Read the full decision here.  

Court Challenges Continue

By Environmental Law and Policy Center

In addition to the state court case, Driftless Area Land Conservancy (DALC) and others are challenging various state and federal agency approvals for the CHC transmission line in three lawsuits in Federal Court.


The first lawsuit argues that the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin’s approval for the CHC transmission line is invalid because Commissioner Huebsch and Chair Valcq had entanglements with the parties supporting the transmission line.  These entanglements violated federal Constitutional due process.


The Commissioners asked the U.S. District Court to dismiss our case, but Federal District Court Judge William Conley ruled that DALC and co-plaintiff Wisconsin Wildlife Federation (WWF) can proceed with their claims against Commissioners Huebsch and Valcq. The Commissioners appealed the Court’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, arguing that they cannot be sued in federal court. We disagree!  The parties have submitted briefs and held oral argument on February 17th. We await a decision by that Court.


Plaintiffs: Driftless Area Land Conservancy and Wisconsin Wildlife Federation


The second and third lawsuits challenge the environmental analysis and approvals issued by several federal agencies – the USDA Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. For example, the agencies failed to consider alternatives like upgrades to existing lines paired with distributed generation, battery storage, demand response, and energy efficiency.


These cases are still in their early stages and will likely be litigated together. The current schedule calls for the parties to submit all of their briefs by early November, after which the Court will issue its ruling.


Plaintiffs: The Driftless Area Land Conservancy, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Refuge Association, Defenders of Wildlife


August, 2019 Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s Decision and DALC’s Response

By Driftless Area Land Conservancy

In spite of overwhelming public opposition, modeling by the Commission’s own staff, and the compelling testimony of expert witness, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved this project.   Nevertheless, we are convinced that CHC is not in the public interest and that there are viable opportunities to stop this project through the court system. DALC is working closely with the Environmental Law & Policy Center, a highly reputable Midwest non-profit environment and natural heritage law firm to appeal this decision in both the state circuit court and in federal court.  As of early 2020, these proceedings are just beginning to unfold.  We will post updates as they develop.

Dane County Circuit Court - Initial Briefs 
By Environmental Law and Policy Center
These briefs are challenging the merits of the Public Service Commission's approval of the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line and argue that in a broad range of aspects, the PSC decision did not comply with legal standards. Read the briefs.

Knowledgeable Experts Oppose CHC
By Driftless Area Land Conservancy
During formal review of the project, eight expert witnesses testified on behalf of Driftless Area Land Conservancy and Wisconsin Wildlife Federation in front of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.  They presented a compelling case in opposition to the project.  We’re very grateful to: Kerinia Cusick, George Meyer, Rao Konidena, Curt Meine, Jon Wellinghof, Don Waller, Mihir Desu, and Terry Ingram.  Their testimonies affirmed that a clean, economically viable, reliable energy future is possible without Cardinal-Hickory Creek.  We can avoid the destruction of a large track of our nationally significant Driftless Region.