Senate Bill Passes, Opponents Brace Themselves

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Senate Republicans are waiting on pins and needles as Governor Jim Doyle decides whether to approve a bill that would put the finishing touches on the Arrowhead-Weston Power Line.

"My guess is that he'll move forward with this as well," said State Senator Ron Brown, adding that the bill is Wisconsin's only alternative.

It would keep local leaders from boxing out a power company that wants to buy public land and put up a transmission line.

"It's better, we belive to move it across public property than to take more private property."

Those smaller governments and power companies would get about six months to negotiate what the land is worth, before the issue would go to arbitration, but opponents are convinced this is about more than dollars and watts.

"The utilities have ruled the Legislature and taken away the abilities of local communities to protect themselves from projects they don't want," said Will Fantle of Northern Thunder. He said the Arrowhead-Weston Power Line would only work to the benefit of other states.

"This power line is designed not to move energy into Wisconsin, but through Wisconsin."

Supporters maintain the line will give the state an alternative source of energy should any major lines go down. They say nobody likes this kind of thing in their backyard, but it has to end up somewhere.

"This is what we've done in the past, these are the general principles we've followed, and we need to do it in this case," Senator Brown said.

Since the Governor has already supported the measure through his words, it seems that it's only a matter of time before he does the same with his pen.