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So much for the American Dream

By Staff | Jan 9, 2015

Growing up, we believe most kids were taught if you worked hard, you could live the American Dream of owning your own place and make a good living.

Over the past 20 years, we have worked hard and lived what we would call a modest lifestyle, to realize the dream.

A year and a half ago we were informed by registered letter that Texas and New York billionaires wanted access to our farm for their personal gain.

The Rock Island Clean Line wants to build a high voltage transmission line smack dab through our farm.

Even if this proposed project were necessary, they could use already existing rights of ways, they choose to traverse across some of the best farmland in the world because it is the easiest, cheapest route and they know farmers will maintain the weeds and brush under the line with their farming practices.

Never-mind that this group of investors has no experience building a transmission line let alone one of this magnitude or that it doesn’t have buyers or producers of the energy.

Never-mind that this is a highly speculative venture that could very well get sold to a foreign investment company or go belly-up before completion, leaving landowners and taxpayers holding the bag.

Never mind that more than 1,000 landowners will be forced to sell an easement if RICL is granted the franchise status which gives them the authority from the Iowa Utilities Board to use eminent domain.

Contrary to RICL’s purports, Iowa’s energy consumers will not receive one electron of energy from this line nor does the project upgrade Iowa’s infrastructure since it’s not connecting to the Midwest grid system in any way.

The manpower to build the line would be temporary, specialized, imported labor with a handful of jobs to maintain the line after it’s built.

We have asked Gov. Branstad, legislators, commodity groups and Farm Bureau for help and they tell us, “there is a process, let the process work.”

Those words don’t offer much consolation or reassurance when our property and livelihood is at stake.

Besides, we know how the system works.

We have already spent thousands of dollars to buy our farm, now we have to hire attorneys and expert witnesses for a trial just to keep someone else from stealing an easement through it.

Then everything comes down to the IUB process to decide our fate.

We have already anguished for more than a year and a half at the thought of what if the IUB grants RICL a franchise.

It’s anybody’s guess how much longer this case will drag on.

Why are Iowa’s lawmakers letting this group of investors destroy Iowa’s natural resources just so these investors can reap huge profits for themselves?

When are Iowa’s lawmakers going to take notice that this is an unjustified, rampant abuse by private, for-profit enterprise condemning other’s hard earned private property?

So much for the American Dream.

Ted and Kim Junker

Beaver Township, Grundy County

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