Wisconsin commission backs power line despite protests

Wisconsin utility regulators have authorized the construction of a $500 million power line, despite claims that they ignored complaints, concerns and alternative solutions.

The Public Service Commission approved the plan Thursday, rejecting accusations of a conflict of interest that were brought by two conservation groups, the Driftless Area Land Conservancy and Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The groups say they’ll appeal.

The Cardinal-Hickory Creek line would run between Dubuque, Iowa, and Middleton, west of Madison. Construction is expected to start in 2021.

Project supporters say it will allow for the transmission of more carbon-free electricity and save customers money.

But critics say the state could transition to renewable energy without damaging natural areas along the planned route of the proposed power line.

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