Public need for energy line lacking

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: December 14 2013 | 1:10 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 12:51 am in
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I lie awake at night, mad about the prospect of a profit-chasing business (Rock Island Clean Line) forcing itself upon my property and at the same time publicly patting itself on the back for all the good it is about to do.

The RICL, and its supporting cast, plan a wind-generation electrical transmission line from northwest Iowa to northeast Illinois with no outlets serving Iowa energy consumers. Illinois is already one of the top electricity-producing states in the nation and exports electricity to other states.

The open waters of the Great Lakes create an even better source of wind than northwest Iowa. Wind generators in and along that area can satisfy the renewable-energy expectations of the nearby population centers RICL wants to connect with.

States bordering the Great Lakes are racing to tap its wind potential. Ohio plans to have open-water wind generators operational in 2017. Economically depressed Michigan is reportedly capable of producing enough wind energy to supply 3 million homes.

Unwittingly, RICL claims its project is needed because wind farms east of Interstate 35 are not practical. Supporters of RICL tell me that I should appreciate the accompanying economic development that will benefit those who donít have to fear property condemnation. To those supporters, I ask you to appreciate that in 2006 the Iowa Legislature, by overwhelming bipartisan support, approved a bill restricting private property condemnations when public need canít be substantiated.

Curt Zingula

Central City

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