Minn. Supreme Court allows BWCA cell tower
A 450-foot cell phone tower visible within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness will likely be built now that the Minnesota Supreme Court declined to review an appeals court decision. The high court on August 21 let stand a July ruling by the Minnesota Court of Appeals in favor of AT&T and against the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, according to the Associated Press.
Six law professors in late July petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the case that would allow AT&T to build the cell phone tower on the edge of the BWCAW, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The petition from the professors, in support of the lawsuit brought by the friends group, argued that the cell tower project would violate the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (MERA) by damaging the aesthetic value of the wilderness.
Last year, a district court judge agreed the proposed tower would violate MERA, but the appeals court overturned that decision saying the effect on scenic views within the BWCA would be minor, the newspaper reported. The friends group filed an appeal but the Supreme Court declined to review the lower court ruling.
The friends group argues that the tower, if built atop a ridge near Ely as planned, will be visible from 10 lakes within the BWCA, which encompasses about a million acres in northeastern Minnesota.
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