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Friends of the BWCA requests Supreme Court review of cell tower ruling

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The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness is asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to review a Court of Appeals decision in the organization's lawsuit against AT&T over the company's proposed cell tower near Ely.

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The group believes the Supreme Court should overturn the Court of Appeals' ruling and affirm the district court's finding that the tower would have material adverse impact on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, according to a press release from the group.

"The 450-foot tower that AT&T wants to build next door to the Boundary Waters would be visible on several wilderness lakes, some up to 10 miles away," Paul Danicic, executive director, said. "The company has viable alternatives which were identified in court. We believe allowing this tower would send us down a slippery slope of impairing the wilderness without consideration of the thousands of people who cherish its wild character."

The group believes the Supreme Court should accept this case for review and take the opportunity to determine how Minnesota can best protect the important natural resources of our state, the release said.

"The fact is that every acre of the wilderness, every lake and river and wetland, is protected as wilderness by state and federal law," said Danicic. "And with AT&T alone having a plan to construct 18 cell towers in northeastern Minnesota in the near future, we need to ensure that our environmental laws will be correctly applied to preserve the wilderness and all of Minnesota's cherished places."

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