The Baraboo City Council delayed taking a stand against a proposed high-voltage electrical line being built near the city after some aldermen said the statement wasn’t strong enough and asked for it to be rewritten.
Council members reviewed a draft resolution opposing construction of the 345,000-volt Badger Coulee Transmission Line near the city. The American Transmission Company proposes to carry power from near La Crosse to the Madison area through a 150-foot-wide corridor on towers that could reach that height.
ATC has just begun taking public comment on a variety of possible routes, one of which comes down U.S. Highway 12 near Baraboo/West Baraboo and south over the Baraboo Bluffs. A variation of that route skirts the south side of the city and heads east.
Other variations of the Badger Coulee Line follow the Interstate 90/94 corridor or go as far east as Columbia County. Any route must win approval of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, and ATC officials say they will submit final plans for the line in 2013, after taking public comment.
City Administrator Edward Geick said he wrote the resolution based on opposition to Badger Coulee voiced by Baraboo’s Plan Commission, the council’s administrative committee and the Baraboo Economic Development Commission.
It warned of the "negative aesthetic and environmental (effects) the line would create in the area," opposed having the line being constructed along the Highway 12 corridor and suggests that the Badger Coulee Transmission Line follow the interstate.
Alderman Tom Kolb said he wanted the city to make a stronger statement opposing the line.
"One of the things that came up at Plan (Commission) is we wanted documentation that it was even needed at all," he said. "I’d like to see this reworked and beefed up a little bit."
Alderman Gene Robkin, chair of the administrative committee — which oversees the Baraboo-Wisconsin Dells Municipal Airport — agreed. His primary concern was that the Badger Coulee route following Highway 12 passes close to the airport and could intimidate pilots of small aircraft landing on the turf runway, which is oriented from northwest to southeast.
Robkin said the statement should be comparable to his grandmother’s outbursts when someone did something she didn’t approve of. "Explosions and screaming, that’s what I had in mind," he said.
After discussion, council members agreed to bring a stronger version of the resolution back for action at their Aug. 9 meeting.