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Transmission line should be stopped now

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

Rock Island Clean Line is a private company that intends to build a high-voltage transmission line through Iowa and Illinois. It’s likely you’ve noticed “Block RICL” signs along roadways. Its opposition has become a heated topic among agriculturalists, landowners, legal professionals, and concerned citizens.

More people are fighting RICL’s request to become a public utility in Illinois. Under current state law, a company can apply to become a public utility to operate within our state lines.

RICL plans to sell very little of this energy to Illinois customers. The minimal power sold to Illinois customers will be at projected rate 50 percent higher than existing wholesale prices.

A public utility company should be transparent and forthcoming to the stakeholders.  RICL has been trying to get landowners and county governments to sign contracts and agreements before the project has approval from the ICC. They’ve filed motions to hide information about their company and the project’s intent.

The most negatively affected are the landowners. By gaining public utility status, RICL is able to use the power of eminent domain to take land away from landowners. With eminent domain on its side, RICL can take land away from anyone –  businesses and even our homes can be taken against our will for the benefit of this private company.

Clearly, taking 12,000 acres of highly-productive farmland out of production for the benefit of a few wealthy investors is a detriment to the public.  

One of RICL’s goals is to build a transmission line “in the most cost-effective way possible.” Instead of using existing utility easements that are less intrusive, they have chosen the cheaper, easier way of cutting through our local farmland.

Please encourage local, county and state leaders to stop this private, for-profit corporation from proceeding. Become educated by visiting www.BlockRICL.com and discover the impact of this project.

Note to readers – Jeff Landers is the agriculture teacher and FFA adviser at Mendota High School.

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