Friday, December 2, 2022


Group wants rollbacks of some IA voting restrictions; RSV, Flu, COVID: KY faces "Triple Threat" this winter; Appeals court halts special master review of documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.


The Senate passes a bill forcing a labor agreement in an effort to avoid a costly railway worker strike. The House Ways and Means Committee has former President Trump's tax returns in hand. The Agriculture Committee is looking at possible regulations for cryptocurrency following the collapse of cryptocurrency giant FTX. The Supreme Court will be reviewing the legality of Biden s student debt relief program next year. Anti-semitic comments from Ye spark the deletion of tweets from the the House Judiciary Committee GOP's Twitter account.


The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and if Oklahoma is calling to you, a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

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
According to the Brennan Center, at least one bill with a provision restricting access to voting was introduced in the legislature of every state except Vermont in 2021. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Iowa League of Women Voters plans to ask the Iowa Legislature to rethink the voting restrictions put in place prior to last month's midterm electi…


Agriculture groups and government agencies aren't slowing down in trying to convince farmers to use more sustainable practices such as cover crops…

Social Issues

Winter is here, leaving many older South Dakotans vulnerable to social isolation. But a growing body of research, as well as opportunities, shows …

Almost 60% of Black students and 50% of Latino students experience food insecurity, compared with 30% of their non-Hispanic white peers, according to a study by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

By Jala Forest / Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan Reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration Nearly 40% of college students a…


The Biden administration has proposed a rule to limit methane flaring from oil and gas development on public lands. The rule would impose royalty …

Each year in the United States, an estimated 58,000 to 80,000 children younger than 5 are hospitalized due to RSV infection, according to the CDC. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The flu, COVID and RSV are rapidly spreading in Kentucky, and health experts say that's a problem for hospitals, schools and the state's vulnerable …


As its 125th anniversary nears, the Connecticut Audubon Society has released a report detailing the effectiveness of conservation efforts in the …

Social Issues

2022 was a banner year for women elected as governor. Nearly one-third of America's governors will be women next year, which is a record. Iowa …


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