A United States Judge Has Issued A Temporary Block On A $649 Million Clean-energy Transmission Line

by | Mar 23, 2024 | Daily News, Environmental News

Home » Environmental News » A United States Judge Has Issued A Temporary Block On A $649 Million Clean-energy Transmission Line

 

In a recent development, a federal judge has issued a temporary block on a $649 million clean-energy transmission line. It’s a halt on a critical land swap necessary for the construction of the pipeline passing through a wildlife refuge along the Mississippi River.

temporary block on a $649 million clean-energy transmission line

This decision has been delivered by the U.S. District Judge William Conley during a hearing in Madison, Wisconsin. It came in response to a legal challenge mounted by three environmental groups. The challenge was against the nearly finalized $649 million Cardinal-Hickory Creek high-voltage line.

The injunction effectively suspends U.S. government approvals for the land exchange. This thwarts developers ITC Midwest and Dairyland Power Cooperative from advancing with plans to carve out a pathway for the transmission line through the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.

The pause will remain in place until Judge Conley thoroughly evaluates the environmental groups’ objections. The environmental groups, represented by attorney Howard Learner, hailed the court’s decision.

They referred to it as a necessary step to prevent irreparable harm to the refuge. They argued that the transmission line’s construction would disrupt vital habitats. Moreover, they feel that it might pose a threat to the refuge’s ecological integrity.

The developers have expressed their disagreement with the ruling. They assert that permits for the project had been issued in accordance with U.S. environmental laws and regulations. They emphasized that the land exchange was a crucial component of the project’s implementation.

That’s because it’d enable the development of more than 160 renewable energy projects. Those projects were to be integrated into the Midwestern energy grid.

The disputed land swap, approved last month, involved transferring approximately 20 acres of refuge land in the line’s path to the developers. It also added 35 acres elsewhere to the refuge. This move aimed to mitigate environmental concerns and enhance the overall quality of the refuge, according to project proponents.

The legal battle ensued after several conservation organizations filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government. These organizations include the Driftless Area Land Conservancy, the National Wildlife Refuge Association, and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.

The lawsuit challenged the approvals granted for the land exchange. They contended that allowing the transmission line to traverse the refuge would disrupt floodplains. It’ll fragment crucial wildlife habitats as well, contrary to the conservation objectives of the refuge.

The court’s temporary block on a $649 million clean-energy transmission line represents a setback for the project’s advancement. It underscores the ongoing debate surrounding the balance between clean-energy infrastructure development and environmental conservation efforts in the United States.

Also Read: Water Is Vanishing From Mexico’s Crucial Desert Oasis Of Cuatro Ciénegas

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  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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