MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A state panel has approved an 80 mile natural gas pipeline to serve future frac-sand mines in western Wisconsin.
The Public Service Commission voted 2-1 Wednesday to let We Energies' Wisconsin Gas division build the new lateral from Tomah to Eau Claire. The utility says the new line will help the region's economy by accommodating the growth of silica-sand mining.
We Energies says it's possible that up to five new mines -- with up to 400 jobs -- could open within 6 years after the gas line goes in. The project will cost at least $180 million.
The PSC says it will add $24 a year to the bills of We Energies' gas customers in most of Wisconsin outside of Metro Milwaukee.
Commissioner Eric Callisto said it's too expensive for the utility customers. He questioned whether the pipeline network would be overbuilt if the projected mines don't open.
The other commissioners said the panel could re-review the project if gas sales don't meet their projections.
The new pipeline will start going in next year.
(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)