THE UGLINESS OF ALLIANT
When the electrical utilities come out to your neighborhood to install or replace your electrical lines, they do not do so at your convenience. If you live nearby, or anywhere in the nearby area, they are sending a company the utility companies all own together called American Transmission Company (ATC). When ATC comes out their employees install the telephone poles, or dig up the ground to do whatever they please, that meets the necessity of putting poles in or laying lines down. They have plenty of trucks and employees already working the lines out there. One could say that the laying of lines and initial putting up of lines was a specialty better laid off to experts, but the more likely reason is that the utility company requesting and charging for the work does not want the complaints that have begun flowing in since these operations have begun which includes clear cutting the trees and shrubs along the path of their installation.
In the ‘old days,’ the utilities exercised great care to install equipment (and service it) without destroying the landscape, but those days are gone. As the utility lines on the grounds of an animal environmental operation called Fellow Mortals discovered. American Transmission Company made decisions which resulted in multiple complaints, but the utility company didn’t get the complaints, ATC did. Why? ATC cut down every tree in sight, just as it has been doing out on South Lake Shore Drive in the area of Luis’s Pizza. Neither Town of Linn, nor the residents of the properties nearby in Town of Linn had a thing to say about which trees got cut, and which trees got saved. ATC makes those decisions.
Interpretations of Wisconsin State Law in recent years has given these utilities full power to basically do whatever they want in the way of preparations, installation and even in cleaning up. While installing and clear cutting along South Lake Shore Drive some management members of ATC were approached to see if they could be reasoned with regarding the cutting down of a particularly old tree (a 150-year-old oak). The management member approached said that the utility had full rights to do whatever it wanted. When asked about residents objecting, that management member simply asked; “do you want us to give you electricity or not?” There was, at that point, no point in making the case that neither the utility company nor ATC was “giving” anything away. What was heard quite clearly was an attitude expressed by that message, more than what was in the words themselves.
By the side of the road, not far from Luis’s Pizza, a very tiny metal sculpture had been emplaced. It was only about three inches high and was set a couple of feet from the edge of the asphalt. The little memorial was placed there because a beloved pet had been run over by a car at that exact spot. The little memorial’s polished Snap-On metal surfaces caught the sunlight every morning, and late afternoon, and flashed a remembrance. ATC removed the memorial and trashed it when installing a telephone pole nearby. When the workers from ATC were approached about the small missing memorial they said it was in the way and that the public had no right to place anything on the area of the utility company’s easement right of way. Alliant Energy not only uglified South Lake Shore Drive by putting in their new “yes, we can make uglier telephone poles than we did before,” and leaving the old ones up on the other side of the road too, they took a tiny meaningless little memorial and callously discarded it without care. The loss of the trees cannot be replaced. The beauty of the road may not ever return. Alliant Energy will not go into the future facing much in the way of complaints,
The loss of the trees cannot be replaced. The beauty of the road may not ever return. Alliant Energy will not go into the future facing much in the way of complaints, for, after all, they are a huge, powerful and rich company, and they have ATC to hide behind. But that little tiny memorial, only meaningful to very few human beings across the road, will grow to become a monster of meaning and worth because that’s what America is all about.
If individual American rights and cares become submerged to the point where giant corporations can tread carelessly upon them, then there will be no real America left.