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From Midwest Today , December 1999



A controversy is brewing in the Upper Midwest as a result of a plan by the Wisconsin Public Service Corp. (WPS) of Green Bay and Minnesota Power of Duluth to construct a 150-foot wide, 250-mile long high-voltage power line corridor from Wausau, Wis. to Duluth, Minn. A group of citizen activists have organized to oppose this move, arguing that the swath it will cut will destroy already rapidly diminishing farmlands, wetlands and forests, while significantly reducing property values, altering bird, wildlife and plant habitat, and despoiling the aesthetics of the countryside. The group also fears the power lines will subject nearby residents to the hazards of electromagnetic fields, to say nothing of the noise from 345,000-volt transmission lines.

Powerful corporate interests, emboldened by the support they enjoy from Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, are proposing a project larger than any seen in the last 30 years.

A broad coalition of opponents includes farmers, environmentalists, sportsmen, human rights advocates and even canoeists. Because the line would use power from Manitoba Hydro, the plan is also opposed by the Pimicikamak Cree Nation. Tribes have seen the loss of over 3 million acres of their lands that were taken over by the Canadian utility, which has in turn polluted the habitat.

Tom Kreager of Mosinee, Wis. notes that vast quantities of inexpensive electricity from Canada await buyers in the U.S. He says deregulation of utilities will allow wps and Minnesota Power to funnel cheap electricity through Wisconsin and into a hungry Chicago market and points east.

The state's utilities have reduced the money spent on their energy efficiency and conservation programs while pushing for government approval for the new lines.

"This is not about making sure the lights go on when you flip the switch," insists Kreager. "This is strictly about money and politics."

The citizen group has been distributing an earlier article from Midwest Today magazine on the dangers of EMFs. The story explored various scientific studies, and told how the Environmental Protection Agency raised suspicions of a causal link between electromagnetic fields and childhood leukemia, brain tumors, breast and prostrate cancer, as well as birth defects.

To read our earlier story on the dangers of High Voltage Power Lines, click here.


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