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Property rights at stake

By Staff | Mar 14, 2014

To the editor:

Farm News carried a story on the front page of the March 7 issue, “NW Iowa feels wind power windfall” which epitomized the “glory” of wind energy and the financial reward to all.

It’s funny, but even after a half dozen articles in Farm News extolling the “wonders of wind,” I have a difficult time seeing the glory of Rock Island Clean Line’s transmission line passing directly through the center of my farm exporting wind energy from “future” wind turbines to a yet-to-be-determined customer or customers near Chicago.

But RICL wants me to sell them an easement or else they will force me to sell using eminent domain.

A strange quirk in Iowa law allows a private company to use that power if they are granted a franchise designation by the three-person – now just two since the newest appointee had been representing RICL for several years and recused herself – Iowa Utility Board appointed by the governor.

The Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance was formed to prevent this unwanted takeover of private property by informing the landowners, tenants and other interested citizens how to fight RICL.

Our primary advice is to not sell voluntarily, even if you want to, because the price is always higher if eminent domain is used. Don’t give up. This is not a done deal.

With the exception of corn-based ethanol, all the other green energy sources – wind, solar and cellulosic ethanol – cannot compete economically with fossil fuels without government subsidies.

Wind doesn’t blow 24/7. In fact, more than 60 percent of the time there is not enough velocity to generate power.

RICL doesn’t advertise they will be using electricity 60 percent of the time from other sources, such as coal, oil and natural gas, to keep a constant flow to their customers.

This article quotes unnamed supporters wondering why farmers are upset because they get paid for the easement and can continue to farm the land “under the lines and turbines.”

They are either not farmers or farmers who look at their farm as a commodity. Most farmers, including myself, view our farms as a way of life, our heritage, present and the future for our children and grandchildren.

The thought of dozers, semis, cement trucks running through my easement destroying 44 years of hard work and 30-plus years of continuous no-till causes me to wake-up in a cold sweat.

Hopefully, this is only a nightmare and my first view in the morning won’t be those ugly transmission lines and towers.

RICL proposes building this 3,500-mega-watt transmission completely on private land stealing electricity from Iowa which ultimately will raise the cost for Iowans because none of the electricity on the line can be accessed.

This is nothing more than a giant extension cord running from O’Brien County to some place near Chicago devastating every single farm it crosses.

Join our fight at iowastopricl.com, because if we fail, we all lose because there will be no such thing as property rights.

Jerry Crew


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