Rock Island Clean Line LLC (RICL) proposes to build a high-voltage transmission line across northern Iowa and Illinois. The proposed route will forever remove about 12,000 acres of some of the world’s best farmland from production.
Placing towers and on this route are economic and operational burdens that farmers and ultimately consumers will have to bear. In contrast, RICL’s private, for-profit venture will be backed by the power of eminent domain (if the ICC grants them a certificate of public necessity) and subsidized by our federal tax dollars. This seems patently unfair.
In Illinois, RICL argues that the transmission line is needed per Illinois’s Renewable Energy standards. Those standards were intended to promote development of in-state renewable energy generation, not justify construction of transmission lines that import power from elsewhere without providing connection to renewable energy projects in Illinois. Further, the proposed lines would bypass most of the Illinois Smart Grid, one that residents are paying $3.2 billion to upgrade in the name of efficiency and enabling local renewable energy generation.
We need renewable energy. I disagree, however, with a for-profit entity granted status of a public utility so that it may construct its transmission lines at the expense of landowners and the general public. Consider alternative routes along already-disturbed corridors such as I-80 and I-39.
Please contact your state and federal legislators and the Iowa Utilities Board Electronic Filing Page and voice your opinion. The docket number is NOI-2011-0002.
(Owns farmland near Earlville, Ill.)
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