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State utility companies at odds over proposed permit changes

Power lines
Power lines

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin utility companies do not agree on a proposal to change the way the state DNR grants permits for electric transmission lines.

A proposed bill would force the DNR to either approve or deny a permit for a transmission line within 30 days after it's requested.

Right now, the process can take months. Also, the DNR would have just one opportunity to seek more information about a project.

Xcel Energy and the Dairyland Power Cooperative favor the measure. Xcel's Matt Pagel says it would streamline the process, and avoid delays that can cost more for electric customers.

Not all utilities and power line companies agree. The American Transmission Company tells Wisconsin Public Radio the bill could reduce the DNR's involvement in the permit process -- and it may have effects on the environment.

We Energies, Alliant Energy, and Madison Gas and Electric also oppose the bill. Some say the current process works fine. 

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)