Yes, No, Maybe So- Cell Service
Friends of the BWCA can’t be pleased about the reversal of an earlier ruling. They had entered a lawsuit to prevent a cell phone tower from being put up near Ely, MN. Since it is visible from the Boundary Waters they did not want the flashing lights to take away from the wilderness experience. The first judge ruled in their favor but now an Appelate Court reversed the decision granting AT & T permission to build the tower.
Appeals Court Reverses Decision on AT&T Tower Near BWCAW
June 18, 2012 Updated Jun 18, 2012 at 1:59 PM CDT
Minneapolis, MN (Northland’s NewsCenter) — Reversing a Hennepin County judge’s decision, the Minnesota Court of Appeals now says that AT&T can build a cell phone tower in the area of the BWCAW.
A three-judge panel weighed the decision by a Hennepin County judge back in August of 2011 who ruled that construction of AT&T’s proposed 450 foot cell tower would violate the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act.
The Court of Appeals reversed that decision saying that the judge erred in his conclusion that the cell phone tower would have a "materially adverse effect on the environment."
The panel ruled that the judge did not properly review how the tower would affect the scenic views in the BWCAW. In the panel’s decision, they stated "that evidence of human existence (including a water tower, cabins, and existing communication towers) is already visible from one of the lakes in question and that the lake is nevertheless popular with BWCAW visitors."