Iowa landowners fight proposed power line

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A group of Iowa landowners are organizing to fight a proposed $2 billion electric transmission line that would provide a boost to wind power in the state.

The proposed 500-mile line that a subsidiary of Clean Line Energy Partners wants to build would stretch from O’Brien County in northwest Iowa to Morris, Ill., the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported.

Company officials say the transmission line would connect Iowa wind farms with communities in other states that want the electricity, and more wind projects would be possible.

“The project will deliver enough clean energy to power around 1.4 million homes, contribute to energy security, increase state and local tax revenues and reduce pollution,” said Hans Detweiler with Clean Line.

But Ted and Kim Junker don’t like the idea of the line crossing their farm in Grundy County. Kim Junker says the construction of towers for the line and maintenance could hurt the farm.

“There’s going to be a lot of compaction and a lot of disruption to the fertility of the land,” she said.

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Clean Line says it needs to secure 1,247 easements from 2,295 individuals or entities, and opponents are trying to make that difficult.

Transmission line opponents established the Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance in July to fight the project. The group is urging landowners not to sign voluntary agreements with Clean Line in order to force the company to either negotiate individually or pursue condemnation.

Carolyn Sheridan, the alliance’s board president, said forcing Clean Line to do more work to acquire easements for the line may help defeat the project.

Farmer Eric Andersen said he doesn’t think the company could offer him enough money for him to agree to the easement because he believes the land would be less productive.

“The company says the company will compensate us, but I’m not sure they ever really will be able to,” Andersen said. “It cuts through literally the best farmland in the world.”


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