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Court Rules In BWCA Cell Tower Case

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN (KDAL) - A Minnesota district court on Wednesday issued a final ruling in a trial concerning AT&T’s attempt to place a cell tower on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  The Court agreed with the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness that the proposed 450’ tower would materially impair the scenic and other natural resources of that wilderness and violate the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act.  The decision precludes AT&T from constructing the proposed 450-foot tower, yet permits a 199-foot tower which would afford similar cell phone coverage without impairing the wilderness, as proposed by the Friends.
In its ruling, the Court rejected AT&T’s arguments regarding the impact of the proposed tower, finding that the proposed tower would “have a significant, persistent and long term negative effect on the scenic views from numerous locations within the BWCAW.”  The Court also rejected AT&T’s contention that there was no feasible and prudent alternative to the proposed erection of a single 450’ cellular tower, stating “the evidence strongly shows that there are reasonably feasible and prudent alternatives to the Proposed Tower.”

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