Appeals Court allows AT&T cell tower near BWCAW


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Reversing a lower court, the Minnesota Court of Appeals says AT&T can build a 450-foot cellphone tower with flashing lights that would be visible within parts of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

A three-judge panel ruled Monday that a Hennepin County judge erred by concluding that allowing the tower east of Ely would have a "materially adverse effect on the environment." It says the district court failed to properly weigh the relative severity of the effects of the proposed tower on the views within the Boundary Waters.

The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness had sued to block the tower, saying it would be visible from several lakes within the BWCA, and arguing that a shorter tower without lights would be sufficient. The group says it's studying the ruling.

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