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Opposes loss of farmland to electrical lines

Published: Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT

I’m a volunteer with Block RICL and a young, area farmer. Recently, vandals damaged my property, breaking off my Block RICL sign. I wish those people would put their energy into learning more about Block RICL’s cause.

Block RICL is a grassroots group that opposes a private company, Rock Island Clean Line, and its proposed erection of power lines across private property for their profit. I’m a landowner who will lose farm ground to access roads and 200-foot towers with at least 28-square foot footprints. RICL wants 200-foot-wide easements across my business forever.

If RICL gets the Illinois Commerce Commission to grant it public utility status, it will then be able to apply for eminent domain, meaning it would seize part of my farming business for “the good of the public.” This project will not benefit Illinoisans, and 10 Eastern governors have stated they don’t want to buy expensive western energy as they want to develop their own in-state energy using Federal Clean Energy Act stimulus money.  

In the meantime, a taxpaying businessman that helps feed the world would lose his property. Part of my land would be unusable for food production forever, and surrounding farmable land would be impacted by soil compaction, weed issues, and drainage, GPS and aerial spraying disruption. My land’s value would depreciate, affecting the tax base.

Furthermore, I would be liable for towers and disruption of electricity if damaged – making them uninsurable. Would you want to have that liability forced on you or have your private property seized? 

This is an issue of property-owner rights. Why doesn’t RICL use existing right of ways along railroads or highways if their claim to be necessary and safe to the public’s health is true? Visit www.BlockRICL.com for more information.

Note to readers – Jeff Stevenson is a Block RICL volunteer.

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