Letter to the Editor

RICL transmission line a bad idea

To the editor:

Rock Island Clean Line (RICL) is proposing to build one of the largest transmission lines in the country.  It would be traversing 16 Iowa counties, rolling over everything in its path.   Our family farm is just one of hundreds in the path of this monstrosity.  My family and other families have spent our lives working our farms.  Why should a private, non-regulated, for-profit business like RICL be allowed to jeopardize my livelihood and so many other family farms?  RICL would be taking thousands of acres of private property for their own economic gain.  What would be the purpose or incentive to work hard and buy land or a business if another business can take that away?  Allowing RICL to do this would set a dangerous precedent.

RICL  claims it would be furnishing electricity to the Chicago area where “they are hungry for wind energy.”  This is simply not true and RICL uses this tactic to gain public support for their project.  Illinois has an excess of energy and does not have a demand for the electricity.   RICL has no contracted buyer for the electricity and this highly speculative project could end up being a line to nowhere.  Taken from an article in the Iowa Farmer Today, dated Dec. 7, 2013;  U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., wrote a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee, stating, “The growth in wind energy is driven not by market demand, but by a combination of state renewable portfolio standards and a tax credit that is now more valuable than the price of electricity the plants actually generate.”  The letter was signed by 52 of his colleagues-both Republicans and Democrats.

Consumers would be paying more for expensive wind power than other less expensive forms of energy.

RICL claims it would be updating Iowa’s outdated infrastructure.  This is not true since this line won’t even be connecting to Iowa or the Midwest grid system.  Several local public utility companies are already making updates to Iowa’s infrastructure.

This company ‘paints a rosy picture’ of their project.  However, RICL has no experience building a transmission line, let alone one of this magnitude.  They lack capital, qualified personnel to do the job, and credibility.  They have even admitted to the probability of selling the land easements to a foreign company.  This is all documented evidence and testimony presented at the Illinois Commerce Commission hearing.

This company makes lavish verbal promises to landowners in hopes of securing voluntary easement contracts.  However, the contracts are written in RICL’s overwhelming favor and Roger McEowen, Director of Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation advises landowners not to sign the contracts in their present form. 

It’s no wonder so many landowners are objecting to this unnecessary project considering all the long term damages and problems this line will inflict to their property and livelihoods.  Because of its huge size and location on private property, this transmission line will drastically impair farmer’s abilities to use modern farming technology such as aerial seeding, spraying, efficient fertilization, weed control and possible GPS interference, not to mention, poor production from years of lingering compaction, ruined drainage tile and decreased land values.

Aside from the huge eyesore across Iowa, this transmission line would be a drain on Iowa’s natural resources, the environment and prime farmland.

Contact The Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance for more information at 712-262-5229, website- www.iowastopricl.com, or email at iowastopricl@gmail.com

Kim Junker, New Hartford, Grundy County