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[from THE CIRCLE, December 1999 Issue)

Ojibwe, Cree say pull the plug on powerline

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe and the Pimicikamak Cree Nation in Manitoba are joining in cross-border resistance, opposing anew powerline and its electromagnetic field through Indigenous lands. In their resolution, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band said, “High power transmission lines have been shown to increase cases of childhood leukemia and cancer rates in general.” Further, the tribe said, their brothers and sisters, the Cree, have suffered enough loss and devastation.

The most massive powerline yet through this forested land — a 250-mile electric power transmission line that would cut across central and northwestern Wisconsin — is planned by the Wisconsin Public Service Corp. of Green Bay and Minnesota Power Inc. of Duluth, Minn.

The $125 million to $175 million transmission line will run from Wausau to Duluth and use power from a hydroelectric project at Cross Lake, Manitoba. Manitoba impoundments flood and make inaccessible northern forests, rivers and lakes, preventing wildlife from reaching the water’s edge and destroying bird habitat.

The Midwest Treaty Network and Indigenous peoples opposing the powerline are joined by homeowners at Save Our Unique Lands (SOUL), who say that the 345-kilovolt transmission line would drive down property values and denigrate the beauty of the north woods. (Brenda Norrell)