Q-1D South Comment Period Extended!

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Nuts & Bolts,Q-1 Upgrade,RUS EIS,Wisconsin — posted by admin on October 2, 2015 @ 11:17 am

SUCCESS!!!  But… but… but only extended by 10 days…  HUH?  We still don’t have much to go on here, and major details like the capacity of this project, well, they’re still leaving us in the dark.

Here’s the new info posted on the Dairyland Power Cooperative site:

 

Compare the posted Corridor Map with the ones I’d received a couple weeks ago, note how much is M-I-S-S-I-N-G!

Appendix_A_Q1D_South_Sheetmap_150616_June 2015

The most obvious thing missing is the access roads, every single one of them.  What else?

And look what’s added.  I think the big difference is that this is “environmental” information, based on the subjects they listed in their first notice, like prime farmland, wetlands, etc.  It’s not the construction/technical layer.  So by looking at these new maps, we get the picture of what they think impacts are, and we can at least get a feel for that.

On the first map, there’s a brown area along the river/creek, but I can’t tell what color that would be on the legend… yellow?  On the third map, there’s a huge section with many different markings, covering the Wildlife Refuge.  H How would 95 – 115 foot tall towers this close to the ledge of the drop off into the Wildlife Refuge not have an impact on the protected (and unprotected!) migratory birds in this corridor?  What does the greatly increased tower height do to the viewshed from below on the Missisisppi?  They’re lowering towers and configuring horizontally for the La Crosse River Floodplain, so doesn’t this mean there are avian considerations?  And what about the Airport Overlay that limits structure height?

And check out this “Fact Sheet.”  Briggs Road to La Crosse Tap (Q-1D South) 161 kV Rebuild Project – Fact Sheet

Dairyland Power Cooperative says:

“Can you tell me about the Project?”  Well, not much, this is a two pager.  Focus is on using existing RoW.  Note they do point out existing and temporary access routes.  I would guess that this is something they’d have to have easements for… do they have easements?

“Why is the Project needed?”  They raise reliability problems, but these were addressed in the Badger Coulee, and the record there says Badger Coulee addresses these problems.  Oh, but it’s also impacting the fiber optic service on these structures.  Hmmmm, fiber optic.  Leased to who and for how much?  I don’t see any information on the fiber optic upgrade that would logically occur with upgrade of the electrical part of this line.  DISCLOSE PLEASE!

“What if the line is not rebuilt?”  This isn’t a rebuild, this is an upgrade.  Higher towers, from 45 – 85 feet now to 95-115 feet.  BIG DIFFERENCE!  Capacity?  Who knows, they’re not telling me, but folks, I have some ideas, based on the MISO disclosure of use of 795 ACSS conductor.  This is conjecture, because I’m still waiting for information from Dairyland, with the 437 MVA Peak taken from prior docket info, and the 84 MVA Average as a low-ball number (because they always understate capacity).  Click on table for a larger version that’s not cut up by the sidebar on the right:

Q-1 161 kV 795 ACSS_ Calculated Magnetic Field

“How are environmental impacts considered?”  As they state, this is a financial project, they’re doing this for financing.  Financing approval is a “major governmental action.”  Think not, Dairyland?  RUS?  Let’s discuss it in the alley!  Dairyland’s blurb states that “RUS has determined that the project would require the preparation of an Environmental Report (ER) to analyze potential impacts to the natural and human environments.”  ER?  How does this not require an EIS?  How is an ER compliant with NEPA?  How is it that Dairyland is allowed to segment these Q-1 projects out and that Marshland – Briggs Road required a full blown EIS and this doesn’t?  IT’S ALL ONE PROJECT, this upgrading the Q-1 line!

Read their new documents carefully, and take a good look at the new maps, comparing with the other ones.  What’s your take?

As always in this, take a few seconds and ask for more information, and when you’ve reviewed this stuff disclosed today, send comments to:

  • Chuck Thompson, Manager, Siting & Regulatory Affairs, Dairyland Power Cooperative, 3200 East Avenue South, La Crosse, WI  54602-0617, or via email at cat@dairynet.com  (608) 787-1432.
  • Dennis Rankin, Engineering and Environmental Analyst,  USDA RUS, 1400 Independence SW, Mailstop 1571, Washington D.C., 20250-1571, or via email at dennis.rankin@wdc.usda.gov    (202) 720-1953

++++++++++++++++++++++++

Here’s the full blurb from Dairyland’s Chuck Thompson, hot off the press this morning:

Dairyland Power Cooperative is hereby extending the 30-day comment period related to prime farmlands, farmland of statewide importance, 100-year floodplains, wetlands, and other comments for the Q-1D South 161 kV rebuild.  Under this expanded period, comments should be submitted in writing to Dairyland Power Cooperative within 10 days of the publication of this notice.

Dairyland Power Cooperative, 3200 East Avenue South, La Crosse, WI 54602-0817, is planning to rebuild approximately nine miles of 161 kilovolt transmission line in La Crosse County (Q-1D South Project).  The Q-1D South Project begins just south of the Briggs Road Substation near the Village of Holmen and ends at the La Crosse Tap south of the La Crosse River near Keil Coulee Road. Constructed in the 1950s, the line is now in poor condition and reaching the end of its service life.  The rebuild will occur along the existing 161 kV alignment within the existing right-of-way.  It has been determined that the Project, as proposed, will be located in a prime farmlands, 100-year floodplain, and wetlands. The Project will occupy 126 square feet of prime farmland, 12.6 square feet of farmland of statewide importance, 63 square feet of 100-year floodplain, and 50.4 square feet of wetlands.

Dairyland Power Cooperative believes that there is no practicable alternative that will avoid locating the Project in prime farmlands, farmland of statewide importance, 100-year floodplains, and wetlands.  Additional information on the project can be found at:  http://www.dairynet.com/power_delivery/project_updates.php for sheet maps and a fact sheet.

Copies of all comments received will be forwarded to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service for consideration prior to approval of financing assistance or taking other Federal action related to the Project.

Send your comments to:  Chuck Thompson, Dairyland Power Cooperative, 3200 East Ave South,
La Crosse WI 54602 or email your comments to cat@dairynet.com.  

 

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace