Before, Onalaska’s scenic overlook, gazebo, and “Sunny” the famous Onalaska fish:
After Xcel Energy’s chain saw workout to “relocate” its 69 kV line away from Hwy. 35:
What do you think of this clearcutting for Xcel’s 69 kV line along Hwy. 35 as it goes through the heart of Onalaska, at the Mississippi overlook and “Sunny,” the Onalaska Fish? Is that butt ugly, or what?
Xcel Energy’s Nancy Dotson and ___________, their engineer (where are my notes?) said the line would be moved to down below Sunny and the observation deck/gazebo, and that they would not clear cut the area. I was skeptical because if they run the line through, trees come down, that’s the story of transmission. When trees come down for transmission, it’s permanent impact, because you can’t grow trees under or near transmission lines. Oh, but no, they said, it’s not going to be that bad.
Well, it is that bad. It looks like shit.
And Joe Chilsen, the Mayor of Onalaska, knew this would be the result when he went before the La Crosse Board of Zoning Appeal to allow an exemption to the airport height restriction to get this project through. He signed off on Xcel Energy’s application on January 21, 2016, a month before it went to the La Crosse Board of Zoning Appeal, and about two months before Xcel Energy took their chain saws to the trees.