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Appeals Court Allows AT&T Cell Tower Near BWCA

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — AT&T is welcoming a Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling that permits it to build a 450-foot cellphone tower with flashing lights that would visible from parts of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

A three-judge panel ruled Monday that a lower court erred by concluding the tower east of Ely would have a “materially adverse effect on the environment.”

AT&T said it now plans to replace a smaller tower that recently became operational with the taller tower. Spokesman Marty Richter says the impact of the tower is outweighed by the benefits of the improved service.

Paul Danicic, executive director of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, says the ruling “seriously compromises” Minnesota’s ability to protect its scenic vistas. He says his group will review it before deciding on further appeals.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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