Power Grid, National Security Issue
State Senator Dale Schultz has been a part of an ad hock energy committee along with State Senator Jennifer Shilling. Several months ago, the Decline the Line, a citizens group active in trying to keep the 345-kilovot lines out of Wisconsin, asked Schultz to explain the State’s Energy Policy. Schultz said, “I thought it would be easy to have a member of the Public Service Commission or staff explain it but to my chagrin, I couldn’t even get staff people to come here.” So instead, Monday night Schultz invited a long-time friend and UW-Extension professor, Tim Baye, to present his just completed project on energy policy in Wisconsin to fifty-plus area residents at the Mauston Hatch Public Library. And the consensus of the gathering? Wisconsin has no energy policy. The utilities are driving policy and ratepayers have no leverage, they’re a captive audience. The local resident feels the national power grid is being imposed on them and the transmission company has not justified the need for 170-foot power poles on their properties and near their buildings. They haven’t been convinced they should sacrifice for the common good. Baye stated at the beginning of his presentation that energy policy is considered a national security issue as a result of a car accident in southeast Ohio in 2003 that blacked out the east coast. The National Power Grid is similar to the Interstate Highway System constructed during the 1950’s and 60’s, also for national security.
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