In another example of Amish taking a public stand, over 100 Amishmen occupied the Cashton, Wisconsin village hall to register opposition to high-voltage power lines potentially cutting through their community. From the LaCrosse Tribune:

Wisconsin’s top utility regulator heard dozens of people explain why they don’t want or need high-voltage power lines running through a community that is home to the state’s largest Amish population and wind turbines that more than meet its energy demands.

Hundreds of people, nearly half of them Amish, packed the Cashton village hall Wednesday for the third of five public hearings on the Badger-Coulee project, a joint proposal of American Transmission Co. and Xcel Energy to build a 345-kilovolt line connecting the Madison area to a growing transmission network.

Most who spoke voiced similar concerns to those already on the record.

They complained of the line’s impact on health, property values, economic development, quality of life and wildlife as well as the lack of need, arguing a no-wire solution would be more cost-effective and less detrimental.

The symbolism of Amish–well-known for their rejection of public electricity–protesting a high-voltage transmission line is powerful.

Cashton Wisconsin Village Hall

Cashton Community Hall. Photo by Erik Daily, LaCrosse Tribune

I’ve never heard of Amish speaking out publicly against power lines in their communities. I don’t know anyone who’d want to live by a high-voltage line though.

Besides being an eyesore, some believe they pose health risks, though studies have shown little to no evidence they cause cancer. Cashton Amishman Rudy Borntreger spoke of concerns over health and safety while traveling under potential lines in steel-wheeled buggies. Said Borntreger:

“Our rural life allows us a closer communion with God…It is our sincere hope and wish to live in harmony with our neighbors, especially the English. We do not want to interfere with their lives and we know that many of them share our concerns about these proposed transmission lines.”

He also posed a memorable question: “We’re not using it, so why route it through our community?”

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