I am an affected landowner and also on the board of the Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance. For those who don't know, we are the nonprofit organization formed to oppose the transmission line proposed by Rock Island Clean Line, or RICL for short. The intended 375 mile route through Iowa to take wind power from O'Brian County to Chicago and on east will need to get many parcels of land by eminent domain if they are to succeed with their plan. As of now, to our estimation, they have less than 7% voluntary easements. What that says to me is this line is actively opposed by the landowners whose farmland through which it passes.
To me the question is what precedent do we want to set? Do we let a private company use eminent domain for most of a project through prime Iowa farmland? Talking and writing to landowners and concerned citizens across the state tells me it will come to that. A majority of folks who contact us do not want this line on their property no matter what payment is offered. They say they won't sign, and it will have to be taken by condemnation.
Soon we are now going into spring planting. Everyone is busy and concerned with farming and RICL is pushed to the back of our worries. However their land agents will be out there trying to get the voluntary easements so important to their project. Please look carefully at the easement when they come calling. Have an attorney look it over. Confer with other family members. Better yet don't sign if you are against this line!
It isn't over by a long shot. RICL has much to accomplish before or if ever they are granted their franchise by the Iowa Utilities Board.These easements are forever folks. There is no going back, so think it over very carefully. We of the preservation are not opposed to wind energy. We are against this line for a multitude of reasons. Our Iowa utilities are doing a fine job of developing wind energy. The people of our state will get greater benefit from them than anything RICL has to offer. All I ask is that you do your research and consider standing with the Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance to help stop RICL. For some excellent information concerning the easements being offered by RICL go to www.calt.ia.state.edu. Roger McEowen and Kristine Tidgren of the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation Iowa State University have a pod cast explaining many things to be aware of and what to consider for your protection as landowners.