Letter to Editor by Annita Woz.

cable and power lines cuInspired by the current bookclub read for the Covergirls, Standing Up To The Madness by Amy Goodman and David Goodman, I am publishing here my final letter to the editor regarding the 345kv powerline proposed and approved for Dane County in June 2009. 

I orginally got into this battle in opposition to the siting process by working with Wisconsin Citizens for Responsible Energy, The Dane County Board of Supervisors, Save Our Unique Lands, Save the Badger Trail,  West Waubesa Preservation Coalition, Jablonski Law Offices and the Sierra Club.

During this process, the Wisconsin CRE group met many many individuals and organizations not listed here, but those people who make up these organizations, and their neighbors, supporters, friends and families are equally important and deserving of thanks for the hard work they did for people whose property and views carry the burden of these poles and lines, crisscrossing our lands, our great nation, so businesses and citizens can continue to take for granted the unsustainable amounts of electricity that we consume.   

Once upon a time, I believed that the placing of transmission poles, the building of substations, the endless stringing of lines would be affected by citizen input.

No amount of citizen input matters.

A referendum reflecting 76 percent of the voters in Dane County, where voters requested verification for the need for the line, was ignored by our Wisconsin Public Service Commission.

What was most offensive, was the city and the commission’s continuous call for citizen input at ATC open houses and at the Public Service Commission public hearings-   and the way our words were abused.  

It is my belief that anyone who wishes to oppose transmission line siting routes and processes for above or underground power lines, should not participate in the public process as it currently exists.  


This letter to the Editor w as Published in The Cap Times newspaper, Madison, WI and is reprinted here with thanks to the many great people and great ideas of those who taught me so much;  I am grateful for your education,  your stories,  your honesty.  

Annita Wozniak: ATC worked its PR magic — and won

Annita Wozniak
June 22, 2009
Dear Editor: Jacqueline Kelley’s letter to the editor about the puzzling lack of outcry over the state Public Service Commission’s placement of the enormous power lines along the Beltline is no mystery.

All commentary by citizens and local officials, and even the referendum requesting verification of the need for the line, was carefully recorded, analyzed and turned into a pro-American Transmission Co. ad campaign that citizens saw and heard on almost every channel and website in Dane County’s media market for the last two years.

ATC admits this PR method is part of a strategic plan that is put in place whenever a new line siting process begins.

Our local news channels hosted infomercials for ATC’s efforts as featured news pieces.

Our PSC and our local officials urged citizens to attend ATC open houses and register complaints in the name of participation in government.

Our own Department of Natural Resources gave ATC green tier status and took its money to promote conservation and environmental efforts; citizens ignored the irony.

ATC lawyer Lauren Azar left her job and took an appointment to the PSC, where, a year later, she voted in favor of approving ATC’s 345-kilovolt line.

All outcry, questions, objections and legal filings submitted at ATC open houses were reviewed, spun and regurgitated by ATC’s marketing department in an effort to reduce resistance to the lines.

And it worked.

ATC did not change how it does business; it just changed how it presented information about what it does.

Annita Wozniak

### blog posted July 6, 2009 by Annita Woz.


2 Responses

  1. What a fascinating blog, Annita! We lived in Marathon County for years. Wisconsin is special to me.

    In our small coastal NC town there are public hearings about whether or not to build the country’s fourth largest cement plant. “Hearings” is a funny word–there’s an implication that someone might be listening….

    Thanks for finding my blog and introducing me to yours. Love your writing list…my favorites, too!

    • I’m so glad you found something of interest here. Yes, the hearings process is so interesting. Citizens went into it thinking we were a part of a judicial type system that rights wrongs, looks at both sides, finds justice in the sacrifices we are asked to make and would see the unbalanced nature of this expensive project. We were so naive! The hearings, the commission decisions are not based on those things- but instead based on proving that certain factors are met, and therefore approval has to be given. The only way to stop the approval is to find a flaw in the factors. It is not about right and wrong, but about process. I spent about a week up in the Sierra Nevadas this spring , visited Hoover Dam (you know how many powerlines are there!) and found a new focus for balance in that the Giant Sequoia trees were still towering over power poles. It brought much peace…writing and “summering” instead of simmering over local government processes (or teakettles in your case…) Good to hear from you and I’ll keep checking your blog– love your writing style, your stories of realness…

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