High Voltage Controversy Over Big Power Line

Iowa Farm Scene

A plan to build an electricity transmission line across Iowa is generating concerns from a number of farmers and other landowners.

Published on: December 4, 2013

The company says this is an opportunity for Iowa to export wind power, just like Iowa exports corn, soybeans and other farm commodities. People who are voicing opposition point out that none of the electricity carried by the line will be used in Iowa. They contend that the line isn't like a public highway where everyone can use it. It isn't for the public good, they say.

Beth Conley is Clean Line Energy's project manager for RICL. The company is working with landowners in Iowa, trying to get them to sign an easement and allow Clean Line to build across the landowners' property. Farmers and other landowners began getting letters from the company about the proposed project this past summer. Located in northwest Iowa, Clay County farmer Carolyn Sheridan is president of the Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance, a group of about 100 landowners whose property is in the path of the proposed RICL power line.

Iowa Utilities Board has not yet approved the project, and will hold public hearings

The Iowa Utilities Board has already received objections from some landowners opposed to the project. So the IUB will have to hold hearings in each county that would be affected, giving the company the opportunity to further explain the project to the public. Those meetings have to be held before the IUB can grant approval to Clean Line Energy to go ahead and build the power line, according to IUB spokesman Rob Hillesland.

Conley, Clean Line Energy's project manager in Iowa, says the company wants to pay landowners for a transmission easement; the company isn't buying or leasing the land. The landowner gets a one-time easement payment per acre for land around the line, for a width that's 145 to 200 foot wide. She says the company will also pay landowners for any damage to crops or other issues that arise as the line is built--such as soil compaction or damage to tile lines.

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  1. Ed Fisher says:

    We must all work together to stop this. Its just not right for this company to take our land from us. Its our land, we have spent years paying for it. For many of us, this land has been in our family for over 100 years. It is very wrong for some company out of Texas to come in and steal our land right out from under us to deliver power to the folks in Chicago. If Chicago wants clean power, let them build some windmills out on Lake Michegan. We must Stop this now.

  2. Block RICL says:

    At the Illinois Commerce Commission, experts have identified many red flags and problems with RICL's kool-aid sales pitch. Highlights and links can be found on: www.BlockRICL.com/testimony