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Rock Island Clean Line is anything but “clean”

December 15, 2013
Representative Pat Grassley New Hartford , Reinbeck Courier

Rock Island Clean Line is barreling through the Iowa countryside. The transmission line starts in the wind farms of northwest Iowa and goes to the Illinois border with plans reaching farther east. Those behind the power transmission line spin tales of the "wonders" it will create for renewable energy and Iowa jobs. But those jobs will mostly be temporary, and the power traveling along the line does not power Iowa.

There's another reason to be concerned about this project. The Clean Line's claims of a "small footprint" on our land are actually deceptive. Farmers who have to deal with the invasion of the project on their land are concerned how it will affect spraying of crops, growing of seed corn, and soil compaction. They're also concerned how the company often ignores fence and property lines, putting the transmission lines straight through valuable Iowa fields.

I find it interesting landowners often have to pry from the RICL "spin masters" exactly what happens to those who object to this steamroller. What happens? They condemn their land. Period.

I seriously doubt the integrity of this company owned by out-of-state billionaires. The company has already attempted to receive special treatment by asking the Iowa Utilities Board to allow bifurcation. This would weaken property rights and negotiation parity, and of course, save RICL a lot of money. Thank goodness the IUB said "NO" last week. Makes you wonder what kind of neighbors and stewards the RICL would be.

In Grundy and Butler counties, landowners are gathering by the hundreds to oppose the RICL, as they are in other legislative districts. The local Farm Bureau groups are joining the fight, but the statewide organization has been strangely quiet. We need it to help fight for property rights.

I am happy to report, there will be several legislators who will stand with these Iowa landowners. As the grandson of the "wind energy champion" in the U.S. Senate, I also support the clean, renewable benefits of wind, but I cannot support this project. Look for a bill to be filed in January to let this out-of-touch company know Iowans still love their land and their property rights.



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