Court halts completion of disputed Midwest power line

By Jeffrey Tomich | 03/25/2024 06:39 AM EDT

The injunction continues years of legal wrangling over a line initially approved by the region’s grid operator in 2011.

A portion of the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line.

A portion of the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line is pictured. American Transmission

A federal judge issued a temporary injunction Friday blocking the completion of a disputed $650 million high-voltage transmission line across the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.

U.S. District Court Judge William Conley of the Western District of Wisconsin issued the injunction following a hearing Friday in Madison, Wisconsin.

The order bars utilities ITC Midwest and Dairyland Power Cooperative from acquiring needed right of way from the federal government to construct the final segment of the power line — at least for now.


The utilities have completed all but 2.2 miles of the 102-mile Cardinal-Hickory Creek power line connecting Iowa and Wisconsin and seek to complete a land exchange with the Fish and Wildlife Service to gain easements needed to cross the federally protected refuge, a 241,000-square-mile habitat established a century ago for migratory birds, fish and wildlife along the winding Mississippi River.