Opportunity for Action: Comment on Vista Sands Solar Farm

WI Green Fire, June 6, 2024

Photovoltaic panels, Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Photovoltaic panels, Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Your opinion matters! 

Send a comment to the Public Service Commission about the draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Vista Sands Solar Farm by June 14, 2024. Read on for more details.

The proposed Vista Sands Solar Farm would cover about 10 square miles in Portage County and could become Wisconsin’s largest solar development.

While this project promises to provide renewable energy and address climate change, the location presents environmental concerns, particularly impacts to wildlife like greater prairie-chickens. These once-common grassland birds now only remain in Wisconsin at sites near the proposed solar farm.

A 147-page draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was prepared by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and Public Service Commission (PSC) about the Vista Sands Solar Farm. This DEIS is currently open for public comment until June 14, 2024.

Experts from our Climate and Energy Work Group, Wildlife Work Group, and Fisheries Work Group at Wisconsin’s Green Fire have teamed up to send a detailed comment letter to the PSC next week.

Our letter outlines changes that we feel are important for this DEIS before it is finalized. Our comments center on:

  • impacts to wetlands and waterways, plus cumulative effects,
  • impacts to greater prairie-chickens and wildlife habitats,
  • impacts from fencing around the solar farm,
  • impacts to agriculture and recreation in the surrounding area,
  • lack of detail on reasonable alternatives.

We encourage the WGF community to submit comments to the PSC. 

All comments should reference PSC docket number 9820-CE-100.

  1. Email comments to: anna.edmunds@wisconsin.gov
  2. Mail comments to: Anna Edmunds, Environmental Review Coordinator, Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 7854. Madison, WI 53707-7854
  3. Submit comments electronically at https://psc.wi.gov.
    1. Click on the “File a Public Comment” link under eServices at the bottom of the page.
    2. On the next page select the “File a comment” link that appears on the left side of the page.
    3. Locate the Vista Sands Solar docket (9820-CE-100) and file a comment.

There is no need to wait for the WGF letter to send your comment!

To help craft your message, take a look at example statements from organizations like Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and RENEW Wisconsin that are acting as “intervenors” in the review process.

Greater prairie-chickens by Gregory 'Slobirdr' Smith via Flickr

Greater prairie-chickens by Gregory
‘Slobirdr’ Smith via Flickr

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