Can You Hear Me Now?

     You might be able to hear this in the BWCA near Ely if the Friends of the Boundary Waters lawsuit isn’t successful.

Lawsuit filed to protect Boundary Waters from visual impact of cell phone tower


The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness (“Friends”) has today filed a lawsuit against AT&T Mobility (“AT&T”) to stop the construction of a telecommunications tower that will significantly impair the natural and scenic beauty of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the surrounding area.

AT&T has proposed to build a 450-tower on an elevated ridge within two miles of the Boundary Waters that will loom approximately 600 feet above the surrounding wilderness landscape, a height that rivals some of the tallest skyscrapers in the Twin Cities. The tower will be illuminated day and night with strobe and beacon lighting, and will be visible for miles inside the wilderness area on several popular lakes, including Basswood, Fall, Ella Hall and South Farm Lakes.

“The scenic beauty of the Boundary Waters, a 1.1-million-acre, federally-protected wilderness area, must be preserved now so the wilderness continues to be a natural, pristine and unspoiled environment for generations to come,” said Paul Danicic, Executive Director of the Friends.

The Friends has repeatedly expressed its concerns about the proposed tower to AT&T and to the Lake County zoning authority. The Friends sought to discuss with AT&T the need for an environmental assessment of the tower’s effect on the Boundary Waters and to consider less environmentally-damaging alternatives that would provide area residents with improved cell phone service. AT&T did not respond.

“Protecting the Boundary Water’s natural beauty is important not only for its own sake, but for the many Minnesota businesses that rely on revenue generated by the thousands of visitors each year,” added Danicic. “People come to the Boundary Waters for recreational opportunities and to experience the spectacular scenery in a natural environment. All Minnesotans share an interest to protect Minnesota’s most treasured natural space so that business can continue to thrive through tourism dollars.”

The lawsuit was filed in Hennepin County District Court alleging a violation of the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act. The lawsuit asks the court to enjoin the construction of the proposed tower and declare that the construction of the proposed tower would violate Minnesota Environmental Rights Act.

The Friends remains committed to finding a solution that meets the needs of area residents and preserves the Boundary Waters. AT&T’s failure to engage in any dialogue whatsoever about less environmentally-damaging alternatives leaves the Friends with no choice but seek relief in court.