To the Editor:
A merchant transmission line with 13-16 story towers and an easement lane the width of a football field or more for 500 miles is what Rock Island Clean Lines wants to build.
The amount of land they want is equal to the land mass of Ames (200 feet times 500 miles) and every single mile is prime Midwest farmland.
RICL is adamant that we can still use the land. Except that we can't build any structures anywhere near it or build a fence or plant trees. We can't use it or cross the land while they are building or fixing the line. The easement can be sold or mortgaged at any time. We lose control of our property forever. Who is to say what the future uses of our property will be?
This land is the majority of our business investment and an outside party wants to use a loophole in our law to take our land and control it by the use of eminent domain. Imagine if this were your business or a section of your home that was being taken.
Iowa Representative Ralph Watts had this to say to the House recently."Some would say that we need to allow this line for development of wind energy in the state. This is not about wind energy. Iowa is leading the nation in development of wind resources. Iowa currently has nearly 4,000 MW of utility wind capacity installed or planned with nearly 2,000 wind turbines. NONE of those facilities required the use of eminent domain." He also said "After all is said and done if Rock Island Clean Lines is allowed the use of eminent domain for their project it could likely result in the largest unjustified taking of private property in the history of the state of Iowa."
Iowa landowners are against the use of eminent domain in this instance. Wind turbines cannot be erected by eminent domain yet are essential in the proposed reason for this power line.
Our environment, our homes, our businesses, our families and our view cannot be compromised by force so a few can make some money. We believe that any new commodity should have to pay and negotiate like all the rest of us do. There is no place for eminent domain here. This line may look like a utility but it is a profitable business venture for a few individuals and multimillion dollar private companies.
Read or watch this podcast - www.calt.iastate.edu/article/understand-easement-agreement-you-sign-it. If you sign with RICL make sure you know for certain how your property will be impacted.
(signed) Janna and Paul Swanson