Friday, May 27, 2022


High gas prices are not slowing down Memorial Day travel, early voting starts tomorrow in Nevada, and Oregon activists seek accountability for dioxin contamination in low-income Eugene.


Education Secretary Cardona calls for action after the Texas massacre, Republicans block a domestic terrorism vote, and Secretary of State Blinken calls China the greatest challenger to U.S. and its allies.


High-speed internet is being used to entice remote workers to rural communities, Georgia is offering Black women participation in a guaranteed income initiative, and under-resourced students in Montana get a boost toward graduation.

Environmental Groups Raise Concerns Over Cardinal-Hickory Creek Line


Thursday, May 5, 2022   

Earlier this year, a federal court struck down plans to drive the Cardinal-Hickory Creek power line through the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, which stretches from Minnesota to Illinois.

The energy companies behind the operation are challenging the decision, raising concerns from environmental organizations.

Mike Senatore, vice president of conservation law for Defenders of Wildlife, said a proposal to swap land between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the energy companies who co-own the power line is particularly concerning, since it could set a precedent of using such methods to greenlight development projects.

"Beyond the impacts of this particular project, we have concerns that if this were allowed to occur here, it could set a bad precedent elsewhere," Senatore explained. "It's not uncommon for refuges to face development pressures."

Defenders of Wildlife, alongside other environmental groups, filed the initial lawsuit challenging the line's planned path through the refuge. Cardinal-Hickory Creek's co-owners argued the project was in compliance with federal and state laws, and the new project will replace preexisting power lines which cut through the protected area, reducing the electric transmission footprint in the refuge.

A federal-district court in January blocked construction on the transmission line's planned route through the refuge, determining it violated environmental laws and its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), was flawed.

Howard Learner, president and executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, which is representing the groups challenging the plan, noted the court then vacated and returned the project's EIS to three federal agencies for review.

"The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is the gem of the wildlife refuge system in the Midwest," Learner contended. "It's simply the wrong place to bring a high-voltage transmission line with up to 20-story-tall towers going smack through the middle of it."

The transmission companies and federal agencies have appealed the decisions to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. Simultaneously, Learner added they are pushing construction up to the edges of the refuge, in hopes the two prior decisions will be overturned, and they will be permitted to cross through the protected area.

"And that's a waste of ratepayers' money, and it creates an enormous amount of unnecessary environmental and property damage," Learner asserted.

In his decision, Judge William Conley described the companies' "wait and see" method as "little more than an orchestrated train wreck."

Disclosure: Defenders of Wildlife contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species and Wildlife, Energy Policy, Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Early voting locations will be open across Nevada for several weeks, from May 28 through June 10. (Jlmcanally/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Nevada primary election is June 14, and early voting starts tomorrow and runs through June 10. Mail balloting is now permanent, so every active …

Social Issues

Democrats in the Florida Legislature are reviving calls for stricter gun-control laws, following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Florida's …


This week, in honor of World Otter Day, conservation groups are looking to raise awareness about efforts to restore sea otters along more areas of …

There's been a roughly 38% drop in drowning deaths over the past two decades. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

With the unofficial start to summer, pools around Ohio are opening this Memorial Day weekend, and when it comes to swim time, experts encourage …


Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of water recreation season, and before putting on a swimsuit, Iowa environmental experts say being mindful …

A 2019 report from the Economic Policy Institute found teacher shortages were especially acute in higher-poverty schools. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

As the nation processes the horrific shooting in Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, teachers' unions across Illinois and America …

Social Issues

The cost of heading out of town this Memorial Day weekend will be higher than past years, with higher gas prices and inflation hitting travelers…

Health and Wellness

One of Connecticut's largest health systems launched a new resource in Hartford this month, aimed at helping patients access healthy and nutritious …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021