- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 1, 2016

PEOSTA, Iowa (AP) - A proposed $500 million high-voltage power line stretching through multiple counties in Iowa and Wisconsin drew few people to a recent public hearing in Peosta.

Six people attended the first two hours of a three-hour open house hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service. The agency is gathering feedback from the public and state and federal agencies as it begins assessing the project’s potential environmental impact, according to the Telegraph Herald (https://bit.ly/2fdUWE4 ).

The proposed 345-kilovolt Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line will stretch 125 miles, following existing low-voltage transmission lines, county roadways and state highways.

Chairman of the local chapter of the Sierra Club Charles Winterwood said the organization wanted to make sure the transmission line wasn’t going through environmentally sensitive areas and creating obstacles for migrating birds.

The three companies behind the project said the line will ease energy-delivery congestion, improve system reliability and improve access to renewable energy.

Policy program associate with Center for Rural Affairs Stephanie Enloe said the upgrades benefit both rural and urban energy users in the Midwest. She added that they are key to the expansion of clean and affordable energy, and will connect large cities to smaller areas generating wind energy.

“Wind is this great driver of economic and environmental benefits in the state, and transmission right now is really the bottleneck to be able to continue to build out our wind resources in Iowa and beyond,” Enloe said.

Opponents of the project said money would be better spent by shoring up the existing system.

An indefinite timeline calls for an environmental impact statement to be completed in summer or fall of 2018, and the transmission line is expected to be in service in 2023 according to ITC Midwest spokesman Tom Petersen.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com


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